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Sony Alpha DSLR-A580 Multi-frame Noise Reduction preview

What follows is a preview page from our forthcoming review of the Sony Alpha DSLR-A580.

All samples taken with final production cameras. Check back soon for our review which will include RAW comparisons!

Sony Alpha DSLR-A580 High ISO Noise: Multi-frame Noise Reduction

 
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The Sony Alpha DSLR-A580 builds-upon its Handheld Twilight mode with additional Multi-frame Noise reduction options. Like Handheld Twilight mode, these fire-off six frames in quick succession and automatically combine them into a single image in an attempt to reduce noise. Where Handheld Twilight mode operates with automatic exposure and sensitivity though, Multi-frame NR can be applied in any exposure mode and to any manually-selected sensitivity. This allows us to compare the output with a single frame against a multi-frame composite at every sensitivity. Confident in the abilities of Multi-frame NR, the A580 also extends its sensitivity range by 1EV to 25,600.


The Sony Alpha DSLR-A580 builds-upon its Handheld Twilight mode with additional Multi-frame Noise reduction options. Like Handheld Twilight mode, these fire-off six frames in quick succession and automatically combine them into a single image in an attempt to reduce noise. Where Handheld Twilight mode operates with automatic exposure and sensitivity though, Multi-frame NR can be applied in any exposure mode and to any manually-selected sensitivity. This allows us to compare the output with a single frame against a multi-frame composite at every sensitivity. Confident in the abilities of Multi-frame NR, the A580 also extends its sensitivity range by 1EV to 25,600.

As before, the A580 was set to f8 in Aperture Priority and focused using Live View at the highest magnification. The Dynamic Range Optimizer was disabled as it can introduce noise.

Between 100 and 400 ISO, there's little to tell the single and composite frames apart. There's already so little noise present on single frames at these sensitivities, that any additional noise reduction is unnecessary. Pixel peepers may however notice the Multi-frame NR samples look a tad smoother with a fractionally softer appearance.

At 800 ISO the difference between single and Multi-frame begins to become apparent, with the former exhibiting subtle noise textures which are simply absent on the latter. Again the Multi-frame version looks a tad softer, but there's no loss of detail, so it's a good result for the composite option here.

At 1600 ISO noise has begun to appear on the Multi-frame NR sample, but it's still lower than the version without. Likewise at 3200 ISO where the noise grain is finer and preferred over the single frame version.

There's a big drop in detail at 6400 ISO with softness on both samples, but again the noise levels are much lower on the Multi-frame NR version. It's the same story at 12,800 ISO where neither samples look great, but the Multi-frame version is a significant improvement. Confident in the capabilities of the Multi-frame NR mode, Sony goes on to offer it at 25,600 ISO, which impressively looks better than the 12,800 ISO single frame sample. Not that you'd want to use it for anything other than an emergency, but it remains preferable to the single-frame mode at its maximum sensitivity.

Anyone hoping for a magic bullet which eliminates noise at high sensitivities may be initially disappointed to find artefacts present in the multi-frame composites from 1600 ISO upwards, but there's no doubt they're cleaner than the single-frame versions. There's a slight softness to the Multi-frame NR versions, but by delivering cleaner images without losing detail, they offer a valuable option that's lacking from more conventional models from the likes of Canon and Nikon.

Sony's really taking the lead in this respect and should be commended for exploiting new technologies to combat the problems facing digital photography.

Now check out a selection of videos filmed using the A580 in our Sony Alpha DSLR-A580 Movie Samples page.

We'd love to hear what you think about the Sony Alpha DSLR-A580 in our forum!


Sony Alpha DSLR-A580 (standard single-frame setting)
with Sony DT 18-55mm SAM
 
Sony Alpha DSLR-A580 (Multi-frame Noise Reduction)
with Sony DT 18-55mm SAM
100 ISO
100 ISO
     
200 ISO
200 ISO
     
400 ISO
400 ISO
     
800 ISO
800 ISO
     
1600 ISO
1600 ISO
     
3200 ISO
3200 ISO
     
6400 ISO
6400 ISO
     
12800 ISO
12800 ISO
     
25600 ISO not available
25600 ISO


See how the noise levels compare against the Nikon D7000 in our Sony Alpha DSLR-A580 High ISO Noise page.

We also have a selection of 1080i HD clips on our Sony Alpha DSLR-A580 HD video samples page.

Check back soon for our review! Discuss this page and the A580 in the Cameralabs forums!

 

 


 

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