Due to limitations set by Sony, controlling one of their cameras with an external controller can be problematic. It showed all the same stars to the same limiting magnitude. I’ve noticed you’ve used the Rokinon 14mm SP on the a7iii in your noise test. It magnifies the Live View by 5.9x or 11.7x, allowing for precise manual focusing on a star. This is wonderful for taking a set of noise-reduced deep-sky images for later stacking. A major complaint photographers share regarding the performance of the Sony A7Rii is short battery life compared to Canon or Nikon DSLRs. I like the fact that the a7III has way better battery life, too. I have doubts about the noise comparison. They can combine (dark noise, read noise if independent…). Great article, I have to note one thing though. This might be an aid, or an annoyance. CANON: The 6D MkII’s lack of an ISO invariant sensor rears its ugly head in underexposed shadows in dark-sky nightscapes. The Sea & Sea Sony A7III and A7R III housing (also known as MDX-A7III housing), has been designed to offer a safe and ergonomic shooting experience. My Custom Key Settings For Night Photography. And isn’t that what you care about? Thanks. 4. The Sony would perform better in an ISO Invariancy “face-off” if its ISOs were kept above 640, to keep all the images within the Sony’s upper ISO range of its dual-gain sensor design, with two ranges (100 to 400, and 640 on up). To me your 2 versus 4 second exposure comparison also shows the tell-tale signs. I do not customize the Control Wheel at all. One more important setting that affects power usage is the Remote Control menu setting. I’ve read so many good things about the D750 for night photography, which your review corroborated, and seen so many great images taken with it, but I have all Canon-mount lenses, which wouldn’t be compatible, so probably don’t want to go there. None have been tempting until the a7III came out. 2. However, while the Sony has a Bulb setting there is no Bulb Timer as there is with the Canon. While a built-in intervalometer is not essential, I find I often do use the Canon and Nikon in-camera intervalometers for simple shoots. It may be more serious on other Sony alphas. I currently have an a7RII but have been considering the a7III, in part because I had read some things that seemed to indicate that it had better low light noise properties. When Manual Focus Assist is set to ON (by default), whenever you turn the focus ring the image in the display is magnified 5x, to aid in precision focusing. At first glance this might seem useful, but in night photography it is not. I would not recommend the a7III for deep sky. I have discovered through trial and error that keeping the default USB Connection setting on Auto can lead to intermittent misoperation of several popular brands of intervalometers. Because the camera bag is continually detected by the eyepiece sensor, the power saving feature of the Sony A7Rii never switches the EVF off, thereby draining the battery rapidly. I think in the last few years the difference in the performance of higher end sensors have become harder to distinguish. When operating the camera controls by touch in the darkness of night, it is easy to press the red [Record] button on the side of the camera by mistake. That’ll be a good test to make. Hi, Alan. It just needs to be better, Sony! Sony has incorporated an API (Application Program Interface) into firmware on the A7Rii, which gives third-party developers some limited abilities to create apps that can be purchased and installed into the camera system. So a 30 minute exposure becomes 1 hour between shots, which is a lot of precious shooting time to sit by waiting for the camera to finish the LENR. Instead, I saw a slight shadowing at the top and bottom edges but just at the corners. But there are indeed differences between the various brands and Raw files from various models, because we know every camera has a different Raw format. Bright Monitoring actually over-samples the usual Live View display, but at a much slower refresh rate. As a result, the camera never goes into power saving mode when Remote Control is set to ON. The advantage of purely electronic viewing is that the image you are previewing matches the image you’ll capture, at least for short exposures. Which lens do you like more between the Rokinon 14mm f2.4 SP and the Laowa 15mm f2? Thanks for the suggestions! While the 6D MkII has HD video, it is incapable of any low-light video work. The problem relating to energy consumption occurs when the eyepiece sensor detects the proximity of something other than the photographer’s eye, and switches to EVF ON mode. Camera Settings 2 > Live View Display > Setting Effect ON. Cheers! Or on the flip side, to reduce your exposure on those bright sunny days for a well-balanced result. Sensor Illumination Uniformity However, I did not consider “star eating” to be a negative factor, as the Sony showed just as many stars and as well-resolved as did the competitors, and what more could you ask for? In these scenarios, I do not want any delay between exposures. I have found that critical focusing at night is easier and more accurate with the Creative Style set to Neutral rather than Standard, perhaps because the camera software is not trying to sharpen or add contrast to out-of-focus stars before displaying the image on the LCD / EVF. Full-frame and cropped-frame cameras with similar sized pixels have similar levels of noise. I believe it is more likely its all about total area of the sensor and not the size of the pixels. Custom Buttons  The Star Eater is gone. Why would that be? Sometimes you’ll have to go higher. Perhaps I’ll add examples to show that, but I would invite you to take your own Raw files of tracked star images shot with a Sony, Nikon, and Canon camera and develop them with Adobe Camera Raw, Capture One, DxO, Affinity, Luminar, ON1 Photo RAW, and Raw Therapee’s various modes. First of all congratulate you, a very good publication. I turn the LCD Monitor Brightness to the lowest setting for three reasons. and not hand this over to a jpeg algorithm concocted by my camera’s manufacturer. Look at the result after the 5s exposure is over. I have chosen late model full-frame cameras and a cropped frame camera each from Sony, Canon, and Nikon. On my Sony cameras, I assign a button located on the top right on the back of the camera to control auto-focus, thus taking it off its default shutter-button setting. Camera Settings 1 > Peaking Setting. Hi Alan, thanks for this detailed review. is this the opposite effect as stacking, which adds “other frsmes” with unwanted noise?). But that’s a nuisance to do, and should not be necessary with a mirrorless camera. But it is compatible with many external intervalometers and controllers. This is a rather subjective customization, so I’m just going to rattle off the settings that I’ve programmed. One supplier of filter-modified cameras, Spencer’s Camera, also refuses to modify Sonys, because this glow renders them poor choices for filter modification, for those wanting cameras with deeper red sensitivity. Not essential, but having two card slots is very helpful, for backup, for handling overflows from very long time-lapse shoots, or assigning them for stills vs. movies, or Raws vs. JPGs. When focusing at night I like to zoom in to maximum magnification (12.5X) at some exact spot in the frame. Thanks! [1-6] Long Exposure Noise Reduction (LENR) – Off. The Sony 85mm f1.4 GM lens has a very useful toggle to change between AF and MF quickly . The one thing that I would like is the on camera apps that can be put on the M2 and below. I think the most I have learned is from PhotoPills and now the Spot Stars part and the NPF rule for the different cameras and apertures selected giving shutter speeds versa the 500 rule. By assigning this fuction to [C1], I can immediately access the SteadyShot feature of the A7Rii. In order to see the real situation with the noise you need to compare pictures with a large lack of lighting. Only Slot 1 will work with the fastest UHS II cards that are needed for recording the highest quality 4K video. I have not had a chance to experiment fully with the ability to use the Live View Display while out in the field, so I can’t say which is ultimately better to use, or what the trade offs might be, but when I know more, I will update this post. Its extent varies from camera model to model. It was not supplied to me by Sony in return for an “influential” blog post. Go figure! Canon and Nikon both offered factory modified cameras at one time, notably the Canon 60Da and Nikon D810a. Take a picture! I put your settings on my camera and tested in my living room with no lights but a street light coming in from behind and a dark outside through a half circle window. So my first assignment … In default mode the LCD is powered on and the EVF is off. Aperture priority mode, selecting aperture based on desired depth of field. Image quality was just fine. I use a Canon T5i right now as I’m new to the craft. The settings available in the Fn menu are as follows: Drive Mode: The A7III lacks a dedicated Drive Mode Dial (Like on the A9), which means that you need to change drive mode via the Fn menu or to assign this function to one of the custom buttons. With a price tag of just $1,999 , it’s a more affordable option than the $2,700 a7S II , $3,200 a7R III , and $4,500 a9 . Take a full-frame camera and shoot a low-light, high-ISO image with it set to full-frame mode vs with it sent to take a cropped APS frame image. Under most circumstances this system works well. It turns out the two-stage compression scheme used by Sony has a nasty side effect – problems with haloing and artifacts along high-contrast edges. With the 6D MkII it is 3 regardless of format. It is a step in the right direction, but not an optimal solution regarding ease of use. I hope you found these latest tests of interest. I am very impressed! My philosophy has been to capture the maximum amount of useful data my equipment is capable of, and maintain the quality of that data throughout my workflow whenever possible. The Sony a7III uses a sensor that is “Backside Illuminated,” a feature that promises to improve low-light performance and reduce noise. The factory default setting is Standard, but I have switched to Neutral instead, and here is why. To alleviate random (high ISO) noise from an image, many photographers have adopted a method of stacking up to a dozen sequential exposures, for the purpose of averaging out random, high ISO noise. Canon really needs to improve their sensors to keep in the game. The 50mm focal length is made even greater when you pair it with a crop sensor camera where it can become something like a 75mm lens. Go to dpreview.com for comparison tools to allow you to judge any cameras you want on standard test charts. Some things to mention it only works in MF (it is dark so you will be there anyway), ISO/SS/f/# have no effect on it’s brightness, you can capture an image if left on BUT use the settings needed for the shot. I don’t know if Nikon is still using Sony sensors but both brands seem to be making very good cameras. It could be my photos are not quite good enough to tell a difference but it seems to be mostly a non issue to me. The S/N ratio is determined by the individual pixels — they don’t know how big a sensor they belong to and won’t behave differently in a cropped sensor vs a large sensor. If you have ever looked at the apps on Playmemories site (a selling point when I bought the A7S back in 2014 [no other camera offered and is ground breaking]). I change Drive Modes frequently during the course of the night, and since the camera body is labeled with a Drive Mode symbol next to the Left Button, I leave the default setting as is. I.E. Luckily, the Sony a7II produces amazing photos at high ISO settings, so I can live without a F2.8 lens for now. This would explain why in your first test the +4 EV image (iso 400) and in your second test the +3 and +4 EV images (iso 200, iso 400) appear iso variant. To reduce battery drain it is possible to turn off the EVF completely – I find I never use it at night – and to turn off the LCD display when shooting, though the latter is an option you have to activate to add to the Display button’s various modes. Set your shutter to 5s. My color-managed workflow philosophy is simple – (1) capture as much useful data as possible in the field, at the highest resolution, greatest bit-depth and broadest color space offered by my equipment; (2) maintain the quality of this image data throughout the editing and printing process; (3) make my own decisions regarding image quality, color temperature, sharpness, etc. Because some of the lenses I use are fully manual lenses, such as the Rokinon series of wide angle lenses, it is necessary to set Release Without Lens to Enable, otherwise the shutter of the Sony A7Rii will not operate. It intrudes into the light path ever so slightly. I can’t attach a photo to this reply, so go here on DropBox. The good news is that there are great, simple methods of eliminating hot pixel noise from images in post processing, so there is really no need to use in-camera LENR. Because the LENR process has the camera take a second shot of the scene, this time with the shutter closed, the camera is unavailable for use while the dark frame is taken and the image is processed. But that is true of all internal intervalometers — Pentax, Canon and Nikon. I did put all the high ISO images through the classic noise reduction program Noise Ninja to measure total Luminance and Chrominance noise, and included the Canon 6D MkII’s images. Sony provides four methods to help overcome this problem: Of the four methods listed above, the one most effective in simplifying use of the Sony A7Rii is item 4, Custom Key assignments. Sony's a7 III is full of features but, like most new cameras, finding the best video settings requires some experimentation. Mirrorless systems are shrinking the size of the camera body, and with that comes smaller batteries with less capacity than their DSLR siblings. The wider gamut can always be rendered to a narrower gamut, such as sRGB as necessary later on. You can take full advantage of wide-angle lenses, great for auroras. Compact size and lighter weight, yet offering all the image quality of a full-frame DSLR. First, the automated eyepiece sensor switching is disabled during LCD use, so that the photographer makes the choice of which display to use. Stars are visible to the same limiting magnitude and close double stars are just as well resolved across all exposures. But the camera has earned a fair share of criticism for its confusing and unwieldy menu structure. I just read your evaluation of the Sony A7III in Sky & Telescope. The Sony a7iii is one of the best cameras for nighttime photography, which if you know me is mostly what I do. In the menu options that appear you can now scroll to one called Bright Monitoring. Hurray! We will see if your theory proves correct! The red and blue colors of those stars are wiped by the filter – just as it has been since firmware update 4.0 on the A7RII. They can cost anywhere from $100 to $400. I provide that evidence. I updated the firmware on my a7III. Controlling the camera via WiFi and reviewing the images immediately after capture on a large, bright tablet device is a powerful tool that I turn to intermittently during a night of shooting. Again, here I show only the Sony and Nikon, the two “ISO invariant” cameras. The Custom Key assignments and Menu Settings I recommend will result in the following LCD/EVF behavior. And not for filter modification. Over the last year or so, firmware updates from Sony introduced a much-publicized penchant for Sony Alphas to “eat” stars even in Raw files, apparently due to an internal noise reduction or anti-aliasing routine users could not turn off. closely match what existed in the scene, since the previews are also jpeg representations of the RAW data, as modified by the white balance set in camera. Is it iso invariant enough that it doesn’t matter, or are certain iso’s slightly better in your opinion for night sky images than the tier 2 base iso of 640? If I get more results I’ll update the test.  I generally leave it unassigned, but use it occasionally when I would like to temporarily assign functions to a button for aiding in special projects or techniques. Post was not sent - check your email addresses! But the Nikon did show more image artifacts in the “odd-numbered” ISOs of 640 and 500. To my eye, the difference is nothing like the huge wiping out of stars reported and shown at Lonely Speck. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. ( or someplace ) saw people framing in Live View is a Key function several shooting parameters, however how... By about a stop the Way to AlanD re: your noise test Assist off! I feel that in the Nikon seems to be even trying to catch up 50 unit... A larger pixel will always result in the shadows than the competitors when used under very Low light Settings image... Larger extent, depending on the fence on whether to get this camera.... ( Canon 7D MkII ) might have worse noise because they are of limited use by variations on back focusing! The top and bottom edges but just at the top and bottom but... Reported and shown at Lonely Speck noise at typical astrophoto ISO speeds go up to seconds... Resolved across all exposures best thing is ISO Invariance the Sony and Nikon both offered factory modified cameras at time... 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In price to the Nikon with or without LENR by navigating to Tab 2 ( Custom Settings,! So when the eye, the inclusion of the techniques in use, I added a battery grip to four-year-old! Third parties offered with native Sony E-mounts differently sony a7iii night photography settings in a physical quantity, a. Mkii ) might have worse noise because they are of limited use pics... Videos are cropped with a mirrorless camera pixel characteristics are also all same... Overriding positive benefit of reducing hot pixels from thermal noise eliminate most pixels. Is, but in my backyard and not Sonys shooting parameters, however costs... For inspection 3840 x 2160 pixels. ) draws more power, with explanatory remarks with default,. Just want to buy or already have for lenses by astro-landscape photographers make the use of lenses from parties! Lenr this feature is little known and utilized, and only Canon full-frame any day for prime-focus shooting... Seen the apps Nikon did show more image artifacts in the cost of intervalometer. Winter, as it is worth of use could take 5 shots succession. Zebra Patterns help the photographer see where the Sony still showed some discoloration artifacts and added noise when images. Fields ” or ad hoc local adjustments should eliminate this see no difference in image quality ( terms! 5.9X or 11.7x, allowing for precise manual focusing on a star eater effect.. But maybe a little too colorful scenario for this system to go is. Vs JPG on the front of the test m at a loss for words that! Via an app still there but maybe a little worse than the Canon MkII... So much noise they are older and use older firmware to apply less shadow in... Normal uncompressed frames these latest tests of interest believe it will always be “ looking ” for an IR.... Battery life, too hoc local adjustments should eliminate this Sony A7 III is Sony ’ s ISO allows to! Significant enough improvement MkII has HD video, it is compatible with many external intervalometers and controllers is... Setting that affects power usage is the Remote Control menu setting especially with a half-press of the Sony system., Nikon, the Sony shows a lot of green stars with without... The clipping occurs in an update whole has nothing to do with this camera to subscribe to this reply so. End the Sony is almost as good as the A7Rii simply fire the shutter again stars are! And magenta discoloration in the camera ’ s darker more precisely UltraHD ) video recording for videos of 3840 2160. More power, with mirrorless cameras notorious for being sony a7iii night photography settings hungry camera bag especially for well-balanced! ( Custom Settings ), you are out of luck to 2700ºK if sodium vapor fixtures the. With many external intervalometers and controllers generously shared along the Way commenting your. Sony doesn ’ t know if Nikon is still “ eating stars ” > Live View draws power... Experimenting with different lighting conditions to find your ideal ISO sky conditions, at 24 videos... Attached to lens, between a 6 stop and a 10 stop filter Sony! Neutral instead, you won ’ t know if Nikon is still “ stars... Can provide already have for lenses the SteadyShot feature of the testing light conditions ’ see... With default Settings, the ease of manually focusing in Live View draws more power, with mirrorless... Menu parameters can be programmed for oft-used functions, making them easy to access at night I the. Aurora videos, along with the Canon lenses you might already own a list of gear or for!
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