Sony Alpha NEX-7 Ken McMahon, March 2012

Sony Alpha NEX7: Hand-held Twilight vs Aperture Priority mode at 1600 ISO

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  Sony NEX-7 results
1 Sony NEX-7 Quality
2 Sony NEX-7 RAW vs JPEG
3 Sony NEX-7 Noise
4 Sony NEX-7 Handheld Twilight
5 Sony NEX-7 Sample images

The Alpha NEX-7 inherits the Handheld Twilight mode from recent Sony cameras. This fires-off six frames in quick succession and stacks them into a single image in an attempt to lower noise levels.

On this page I've put the NEX-7's Handheld Twilight mode to the test. This automatically selects the sensitivity so I've compared it against the closest manual ISO.

The above shot was taken with the the Sony Alpha NEX-7 using Hand-held Twilight mode.The camera automatically selected an exposure of 1/60 at f4 with a sensitivity of 1600 ISO and the original file measured 4.56MB. For the comparison, I switched to aperture priority mode and selected f4 at 1600 ISO and the camera metered the same 1/60 exposure.

As we saw from the high ISO noise tests, 1600 ISO is the point at which the NEX-7 starts to exhibit quite visible and intrusive noise that affects medium sized image detail. You need to look quite closely at the first crop to see that the Hand-held Twilight crop is not only slightly warmer, but also displays more detail in the stone column than the Aperture Priority shot. Again in the second crop, it's not glaringly obvious but close inspection reveals more detail in the flower heads as well as the wood panelling behind - you can clearly make out the horizontal grooves in the Hand-held Twilight crop but they're almost obscured by noise in the Aperture Priority one. But it's the final crop that most clearly demonstrates the Hand-held Twilight advantage. In the Aperture Priority crop the flat grey areas are grainy and speckled but the Hand-held Twilight crop is much smoother. The detail is also much clearer along the verticle boundary made by the white frame and along the horizontal edges of the shelf.

Because it fires off six frames in quick succession, Hand-held Twilight mode can be a bit intrusive, but in terms of quality it gives clearly superior results in low light and I'd recommend you use it whenever possible.

Now head over to my NEX-7 sample images to see some more real-life shots in a variety of conditions.

Sony Alpha NEX-7: Handheld Twilight mode at 1600 ISO
f4, 1/60, 1600 ISO
f4, 1/60, 1600 ISO
f4, 1/60, 1600 ISO

Sony Alpha NEX-7: Aperture Priority at 1600 ISO
f4, 1/60, 1600 ISO
f4, 1/60, 1600 ISO
f4, 1/60, 1600 ISO

Sony Alpha NEX-7 results : Quality / RAW vs JPEG / Noise
/ Handheld Twilight

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