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 Post subject: a700 Firmware version 4
PostPosted: Mon Sep 08, 2008 8:51 pm 
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Found this info somewhere else, but there's a big fuzz about a discovered firmware version 4 for sony a700. With a noise reduction off menu setting, which pretty much gets rid of the infamous watercolor effect in the higher ISO range.

I have not been able to download the file yet, as the downloadlinks are down or overrequested, but I think an official announcement is not far of.

Examples of someone who tested the new firmware:
http://picasaweb.google.com/carsten.kremer/Firmware4#

I have not yet experienced the new high ISO capabilities with noise reduction off, but I think this will bring the IQ a step closer to what Nikon's D300 is giving us with more or less the same sensor!

Good news for a700 owners!

Links to 'discovered' firmware:

http://support.d-imaging.sony.co.jp/dow ... 700v04.zip
http://support.d-imaging.sony.co.jp/dow ... 700v04.exe

Edit:

Curious as I am, I now have been able to download and install the new firmware. It is true, with noise reduction off, the blurry watercolorish effect is replaced by a (imho) much nicer grain... :D

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Sep 08, 2008 9:19 pm 
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And a nice article to go with it ;)

http://www.photoclubalpha.com/2008/09/0 ... so-nr-off/

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Sep 09, 2008 5:35 am 
Dumb question. Isn't there an option to switch off NR (there is with my A200) and wouldn't shooting in RAW mean that the camera doesn't post process the image for you, unlike if you shot in JPEG?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Sep 09, 2008 7:42 am 
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Not a dumb question. Apparently, the A700 has 3 noise reduction stages, and not all could or can be switched off. Until version 3 there was only a "LOW" setting for High Iso NR. This can now be switched completely off in version 4.

It's not very clear to me which NR stage is disabled with this option, but some users assume it is the JPEG stage. There 's also a "on-sensor" noise reduction, specially designed for the A700, and many assumed that this was the source of the blotchy colors in the higher ISO ranges, since they also occurred in RAW files. This resulted in many debates about the performance of the A700 versus the D300 which uses the same chip, but without the noise reduction on the sensor.

Perhaps a official Sony announcement makes clear what exactly has been addressed with the new firmware. :)

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2008 10:32 am 
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The firmware update hasn't been added to the official Sony support page yet, so I'll wait a little longer (the links you posted don't work (too many users).
Is that all Sony's improved compared to v3? Just the NR Off feature, or is there more?

- Bjorn -

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2008 11:09 am 
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There's an entry on Sony Electronics blog concerning the new firmware.

Beside the NR off option, which is a major step forward in my opinion, there's also a new bracketing option. The official release is due September 16th.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2008 11:11 am 
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Thanks. I'll wait till the firmware pops up on the page I linked to and install it!

- Bjorn -

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2008 12:04 pm 
martino wrote:
there's also a new bracketing option.


I need that for my A200! I hope they will release it for all alphas, since hte -0.7/0.7 EV bracketing on the A200 is a bad joke.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Sep 11, 2008 1:25 pm 
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It's just a +/- 2EV bracketing option, mainly to be used for HDR images, so not all that special.
4 more days... Then it will be available!

- Bjorn -

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Sep 11, 2008 5:53 pm 
It's still a lot better than the current -/+ 0.7 EV on the A200. At the moment it takes me at least 10 seconds to take 3 exposures. A firmware update to the bracketting mode could take that down to 2 seconds, easily.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Sep 11, 2008 8:52 pm 
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I think we'd all like to see some before and after shots from you A700 owners!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Sep 12, 2008 1:15 am 
Here some examples, are JPEG I don´t download to my PC the RAW yet.

ISO 1600 with 100% crop without NR, just crop...
Image

ISO 3200 same...
Image

ISO 6400 same...
Image

Here two images, don´t crop to ISO 6400, the first JPEG just crop and the second the same image with NR through NoiseWere default...

ISO 6400 without NR
Image

ISO 6400 with NR
Image

Now I don´t have near a RAW with v3, but then I post it...


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Sep 12, 2008 12:24 pm 
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Gordon, once I've updated my firmware, I'll show some comparisons between Noise Reduction (NR) High, Medium, Low and Off.

- Bjorn -

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Sep 16, 2008 3:35 pm 
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Version 4 of the A700 firmware is available from this Sony Europe page.

Bob.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Sep 17, 2008 8:21 am 
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The editing software, Image Data Suite, has also been updated. Most notably the Raw Converter, which contains some nice improvements.

Quote:
Improvement of operability
Higher speed of display
Addition of the peripheral illumination compensation function
Addition/Improvement of the D-range optimizer, etc.

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