While I am getting ready to leave for the upcoming PL fall workshops this week, it was exciting to hear today that Sony is finally going to address the Lossy 11+7 bit RAW issue we have seen on all Sony A7-series cameras (you can read about the Lossy RAW issue in my Sony A7R review). Although the press release below states that Sony will feature uncompressed 14-bit RAW beginning with the A7R II and the newly announced A7S II, I really hope that the company adds this must-have feature to its older A7-series cameras as well, since landscape photographers could really benefit from shooting true 14-bit RAW, without worrying about seeing artifacts in images. This is great news and I am glad that Sony responded to our complaints – it is great to see such a large company listen to customer and expert feedback.
What I find a bit puzzling is the choice of uncompressed 14-bit RAW format instead of lossless compressed RAW. There is no difference in quality between the two and yet lossless compressed gives far more manageable file sizes to work with when compared to uncompressed. Having seen 60+ MB uncompressed RAW files from my Nikon D810, I would much rather have the option to shoot lossless compressed, as such large files would have a serious impact on storage needs. If one uses these cameras for shooting continuously, uncompressed RAW might also impact camera buffer and shooting speed due to large file sizes. Still, I would take uncompressed RAW over lossy RAW any time, so I am glad that even this option made it into the camera firmware. While one would need to carry larger capacity memory cards, local storage should not be a big concern to those who convert to Adobe’s DNG format, which automatically converts uncompressed RAW files to lossless compressed. I am not a big fan of DNG anymore, but for space savings alone when shooting with the A7R II, I might still choose this format, until Sony adds the lossless compressed option.
The Sony A7R II looks really promising. It is without a doubt Sony’s finest camera at the moment and I am looking forward to shooting with it during my time in the San Juan mountains of Colorado. I will be working on a detailed review of the camera once I get back, in early October.
Sony Announces Addition of Uncompressed 14-Bit RAW Still Image Capture for New α Cameras
New α7S II to Feature Selectable Compressed and Uncompressed 14 Bit RAW at Launch; Free Firmware Updates Coming for Additional Models Beginning with α7R II
NEW YORK, Sept. 15, 2015 – Sony Electronics, a worldwide leader in digital imaging and the world’s largest image sensor manufacturer, has today announced user selectable Compressed and Uncompressed 14-Bit RAW image capture will be featured in the new α7S II once it arrives in stores this October.
Additionally, they have announced plans to add user selectable compressed or uncompressed 14-Bit RAW still image capture via firmware update to additional cameras beginning with the recently introduced α7R II full-frame mirrorless model.
“The voice of our α community remains the most important guiding force of our product development plans,” said Neal Manowitz, Deputy Vice President for Digital Imaging at Sony Electronics. “The addition of Uncompressed 14-Bit RAW processing is a direct result of customer feedback. Widely requested by photo and video enthusiasts, we believe the choice of RAW processing types will further elevate the performance of these extraordinary cameras.”
The α7S II and α7R II are compatible with Sony’s growing lineup of α-mount lenses, which now totals 64 different models including 13 native ‘FE’ full frame lenses. By early 2016, Sony will add an additional 8 new lenses to its FE full frame lineup, bringing the FE total to 21 lenses and the overall α-mount assortment to over 70 different models.
A variety of exclusive stories and exciting new content shot with the new α7S II and a7R II cameras plus other Sony α products can be found at www.alphauniverse.com, Sony’s new community site built to educate, inspire and showcase all fans and customers of the Sony α brand.
Another pleasing part of the announcement is the addition of 8 new lenses in early 2016. That’s exactly what Sony needs to focus on, since native mount lens options are quite limited at this time. The 24-70mm f/4 needs an update desperately and Sony needs to push more higher quality lens options. I hope the company does not rush with lens updates and manufacturing, since I found a rather big variance in the different samples of lenses I have tested so far. Sony’s quality control definitely needs some extra attention in my opinion.