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Sony Alpha A7 Gordon Laing, November 2013
 
 

Sony Alpha A7 vs Canon EOS 5D Mark III Noise JPEG

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  Sony Alpha A7 results
1 Sony A7 vs A7r quality
2 Sony A7 vs A7r noise
3 Sony A7 vs Canon 5D Mark III noise
4 Sony A7 vs Nikon D800e noise
5 Sony A7 vs A7r RAW
6 Sony A7 Sample images

To compare noise levels under real-life conditions, I shot this scene with the Sony Alpha A7 and Canon EOS 5D Mark III, within a few moments of each other using their RAW+JPEG settings at each of their ISO sensitivity settings; my RAW results will follow once support is available in ACR.

The Alpha A7 was fitted with the Zeiss 35mm f2.8 lens and the Canon 5D Mark III with the EF 35mm f1.4 lens, both set to f8 in Aperture Priority mode. DRO and other contrast enhancers were disabled as they can introduce noise. The White Balance was set manually.

I also have comparisons with the Nikon D800e taken moments later - see the index above left.


I rented the Canon EOS 5D Mark III and Nikon D800e from BorrowLenses.com - a great service for evaluating gear in the US! If you're in the UK, I'd recommend renting gear from Hireacamera!

My second noise comparison is between the Sony Alpha A7 and Canon's EOS 5D Mark III. I fitted the A7 with the Zeiss 35mm f2.8 lens and the 5D Mark III with the EF 35mm f1.4 lens, both set to f8 in Aperture Priority. What you're looking at below is a 24 Megapixel model versus a 22 Megapixel model, both with optical low pass filters.

At first glance the Sony A7 looks superior thanks to crisper image processing by default on its JPEGs. In comparison the Canon 5D Mark III looks a little soft. But look closely and you'll see both sets of crops share essentially the same amount of detail, with the main difference simply being the amount of sharpening and noise reduction applied by default for out-of-camera JPEGs.

Beyond 6400 ISO the Canon appears enjoys an advantage, but this may again be down to processing more than a better sensor. But below 6400 ISO I'd say they're actually very evenly matched, with any differences again being down to processing strategies.

I personally feel Canon is a being a bit restrained on its DSLRs, applying modest sharpening and arguably a little too much noise reduction at higher sensitivities. This gives their default JPEGs a softer look. Meanwhile I think Sony has struck the balance just about right - at least to my tastes - on its default JPEGs with sufficient sharpening to bring out the details without suffering from unwanted artefacts.

Ultimately though it's pretty much just image processing strategies you're comparing below, and it is of course possible to boost the sharpening on the Canon or indeed turn it down on the Sony if preferred. I'm very familiar with Canon's files and know the 5D3 images respond very well to a boost in sharpening, especially applied to RAW files and that's just what I'll do when the Sony cameras are fully supported in Adobe Camera RAW.

But for now I'd say the Alpha A7 and 5D Mark III share very similar levels of detail and noise across most of their sensitivity ranges.

But what happens when you compare the A7 to another 36 Megapixel full-frame sensor without an optical low pass filter? Find out on my Sony A7 vs Nikon D800e noise results page, or if you've seen enough, skip to my Sony A7 sample images.


Sony Alpha A7 JPEG
 
Canon EOS 5D Mark III JPEG
f8 50 ISO
f8 50 ISO
f8 100 ISO
f8 100 ISO
f8 200 ISO
f8 200 ISO
f8 400 ISO
f8 400 ISO
f8 800 ISO
f8 800 ISO
     
f8 1600 ISO
f8 1600 ISO
     
f8 3200 ISO
f8 3200 ISO
     
f8 6400 ISO
f8 6400 ISO
     
f8 12800 ISO
f8 12800 ISO
     
f8 25600 ISO
f8 25600 ISO
     
51200 ISO not available
f8 51200 ISO
     
102400 ISO not available
f8 102400 ISO
 

Sony Alpha A7 results : A7 vs A7r quality / A7 vs A7r noise / A7 vs 5D3 noise/ A7 vs D800e noise


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