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rdouthit

Sony A9 vs. Sony A7SII 4k Video

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Yesterday, I filmed part of a project with the Sony A7SII in Cine4.cine, which we use every day. I also produced many of the same shots using a new Sony A9 (standard color) that Sony sent us to evaluate (yay for Sony Pro Services). This was done in about 77º weather (f) and both cameras were in direct sun the whole time. No indications of overheating by either camera. 

You'll note a slight crop in the A9 image as its sensor is slightly smaller than the A7SIIs. Also, out of the box, the A9s skin tones are quite nice though highlight roll-off is pretty harsh given the lack of cinegammas. 

 

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EOSHD Pro Color for Sony cameras EOSHD Pro LOG for Sony CamerasEOSHD C-LOG and Film Profiles for All Canon DSLRs

Which model of FIAT 500 is that? It's really nice with that color and those accessories. I have a FIAT 500 Lounge ,white, bought a couple of months ago, btw :)  It has different rear projectors from the one in your video. Here it is:

nuova-fiat-500-2015-foto.jpg

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15 minutes ago, Marco Tecno said:

Which model of FIAT 500 is that? It's really nice with that color and those accessories. I have a FIAT 500 Lounge ,white, bought a couple of months ago, btw :)  It has different rear projectors from the one in your video.

 

Fiat dropped off a base-trim 2017 POP edition for us. It doesn't even have a backup camera. Lol. I much prefer the rear treatment of your Lounge. I think your taillights are only on the Euro model. Are they LED?

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13 hours ago, rdouthit said:

Fiat dropped off a base-trim 2017 POP edition for us. It doesn't even have a backup camera. Lol. I much prefer the rear treatment of your Lounge. I think your taillights are only on the Euro model. Are they LED?

Yes, they are LED (and also the small front lights are). Anyway this is a very cool small car :)

 

Great videos btw! The A9 has more RS than I thought.

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Here's a test of the autofocus. I used a 6-stop ND to force a higher ISO at the same time. It's partly cloudy, so it's not 100% scientific. (I had to drop the A9 to ISO 800 for one shot to maintain f/2.8 for example)

 

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It might be time we re-visited the poor old A9 since the price halved!

Help yourself here -

https://www.mpb.com/en-uk/search/?www-product-search=sony+a9&www-department=all

It is still around £400 more than an A7 III but it has some interesting extras:

  • Slight more natural edge to very fine detail in 4K
  • Far less rolling shutter and possibly slightly better motion cadence
  • 20fps RAW for 10 seconds to 240 shot buffer = might be creatively interesting for video
  • Drive dial and AF mode selection lever
  • Electronic shutter usable in artificial light without banding (1/160 second sync / readout speed vs 1/30 on A7 III I believe?)
  • No viewfinder blank out
  • 50% higher resolution screen (1440k vs 922k) and EVF (3.6m vs 2.3m)
  • Slightly more tactile ergonomics and buttons
  • Possible improvements in white balance and colour on A9 (unproven to my eyes unless I get hold of an A9)

Of course we still lack S-LOG / picture profiles / HGL but if you're doing light grading, it is surprising how much you can colour correct Neutral.

A7 III is also a bit cleaner in low light then REALLY pushed or shadows raised +6ev in RAW stills... As it hasn't got a hot RAM chip glued to the back of the sensor. Otherwise they are both very impressive at high ISOs.

There is still a chance it could get a firmware update for at least HGL, then it makes it a no brainer to pay just £400 more for a used A9 than get the A7 III, in my opinion!

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Still hoping they do a firmware update to add picture profiles to the A9.  Then we could get EOSHD color on it :).  Every time I see a new firmware release for the A9 (new one yesterday!) I get my hopes up, but every time it's not in there.  Pretty certain we're never going to get them.

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I wonder why Sony don't give the A9 picture profiles. They are not losing money on it if somebody picks up an A9 instead of an A7 III for video. It has a higher margin than that model, surely.

I am going to see how close to Pro Color I can get one of the Creative Styles with a LUT, but the dynamic range will never be as good, unless we get LOG gamma curves in there.

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2 hours ago, Andrew Reid said:

I wonder why Sony don't give the A9 picture profiles. They are not losing money on it if somebody picks up an A9 instead of an A7 III for video. It has a higher margin than that model, surely.

I am going to see how close to Pro Color I can get one of the Creative Styles with a LUT, but the dynamic range will never be as good, unless we get LOG gamma curves in there.

It's extremely unlikely there will be picture profile firmware update for A9, they can't justify the R&D cost for a video-centric feature. Most A9 users - sports photographers won't pay more for features they rarely use.

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What R&D costs? It already exists. A simple firmware patch to copy the existing code to the A9 firmware, as easy as slotting in an existing procedure to existing codebase.

Plus a bit of internal testing / QA.

It might even already exist in the firmware, but is hidden in the menus.

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19 minutes ago, Andrew Reid said:

What R&D costs? It already exists. A simple firmware patch to copy the existing code to the A9 firmware, as easy as slotting in an existing procedure to existing codebase.

Plus a bit of internal testing / QA.

It might even already exist in the firmware, but is hidden in the menus.

A9 has a completely different sensor with BSI and stacked DRAM. Readout modes, ADC, gain setting and colorimetry all require R&D work.

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It's not so much whether it makes sense for pro stills photographers or not. It's a pro camera. Whatever you do with the pro camera, you will mix at some point with other pro cameras. The other cameras will be delivering LOG and this won't. Therefore to match them is going to be tricky. Say for instance your job is 99% photography for a news channel - but you've shot the odd video and it ends up that the editor wants to use that video, in the midst of a section shot on proper cameras like an FS7. All that FS7 stuff is going to be LOG. The A9 should be as well. No excuses. Sony has ballsed this up. So has Canon leaving Canon LOG out of the 1D X Mark II, because it's "a stills camera". I'd love to be an editor working 99% with LOG footage and then the photographer gives you a 1D X II video clip shot in Vivid! Good luck putting a LUT on that or matching DR.

On the R&D side, for some reason you're speculating as if Sony need to start again from a blank sheet of paper. It's actually the same sensor as the A7 III but with a DRAM chip solder bumped to the back instead of the traditional RAM buffer sat on the mainboard far away with a bus in-between. Integrating the buffer with the sensor allows it to exploit the full speed of the sensor. Which is why the image is identical between the A9 and A7 III aside from the shooting rates and rolling shutter speed. You can read out the same sensor much faster into a stacked DRAM chip, than you can going through a bus to the mainboard and image processor. Sony have already done the ADC, gain settings and colour science for that sensor. To think they need to start again on all that separate R&D just to change the gamma curve? Think about it dude. Hybrid LOG Gamma is just a gamma curve and colour gamut on the image processor, that can be applied to the raw sensor data. So if the sensor is the same, they don't even need to tweak anything. The buffer is different. The sensor is the same.

Anyway it's probably an existing function of the image processor already, just turned off in the firmware... The code might even already exists in the camera, just commented out. It's easier to comment out or disable something with a variable, than to rewrite the firmware without it in or rip pieces out of the codebase.

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29 minutes ago, Andrew Reid said:

It's not so much whether it makes sense for pro stills photographers or not. It's a pro camera. Whatever you do with the pro camera, you will mix at some point with other pro cameras. The other cameras will be delivering LOG and this won't. Therefore to match them is going to be tricky. Say for instance your job is 99% photography for a news channel - but you've shot the odd video and it ends up that the editor wants to use that video, in the midst of a section shot on proper cameras like an FS7. All that FS7 stuff is going to be LOG. The A9 should be as well. No excuses. Sony has ballsed this up. So has Canon leaving Canon LOG out of the 1D X Mark II, because it's "a stills camera". I'd love to be an editor working 99% with LOG footage and then the photographer gives you a 1D X II video clip shot in Vivid! Good luck putting a LUT on that or matching DR.

On the R&D side, for some reason you're speculating as if Sony need to start again from a blank sheet of paper. It's actually the same sensor as the A7 III but with a DRAM chip solder bumped to the back instead of the traditional RAM buffer sat on the mainboard far away with a bus in-between. Integrating the buffer with the sensor allows it to exploit the full speed of the sensor. Which is why the image is identical between the A9 and A7 III aside from the shooting rates and rolling shutter speed. You can read out the same sensor much faster into a stacked DRAM chip, than you can going through a bus to the mainboard and image processor. Sony have already done the ADC, gain settings and colour science for that sensor. To think they need to start again on all that separate R&D just to change the gamma curve? Think about it dude. Hybrid LOG Gamma is just a gamma curve and colour gamut on the image processor, that can be applied to the raw sensor data. So if the sensor is the same, they don't even need to tweak anything. The buffer is different. The sensor is the same.

Anyway it's probably an existing function of the image processor already, just turned off in the firmware... The code might even already exists in the camera, just commented out. It's easier to comment out or disable something with a variable, than to rewrite the firmware without it in or rip pieces out of the codebase.

Nah, I have the datasheets, A9 sensor is fundamentally different from A7III.

My point is, if Sony want to do it, it'll be a piece of cake for them. Do you know A7III sensor is actually capable of FF 4K 60P? And yet even the 4K 30P is cropped. 

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I shot a few tests last weekend on the A9 to test object tracking in video with the new firmware and it was really impressive.  I was shooting my wife at ~35mm f/2.8 from a few feet away up to less than half a foot, so fairly shallow DOF.  She was moving forward and back, left and right, and the tracking was keeping her almost perfectly in focus the whole time.  Only when she moved almost out of the frame did it start to lose her, but regained focus in less than a second.

I'm excited to try using this in some more real-world situations like on a gimbal, but so far it looks to be what I've always wanted - awesomely accurate tracking AF with touch-focus.  Huge kudos to Sony for adding this in a firmware update. Now if they would only add picture profiles so we could get an EOS HD color profile on the A9...

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