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Sony A7s - New Low-Light Camera - Wow!

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#301 bwallan

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Posted 28 July 2014 - 10:21 PM


Great stuff Brian. M33 is phenomenal. The colors in Eagle are some of the best ever. Of course, my favorite is the single 30sec sub of M51. Not bad. I wonder what happens when you turn on the BionZ noise reduction, or step down the ISO just a little more...


Turning on the Long Exposure noise reduction works quite well but doubles the exposure time. I would use MultiFrame noise reduction before going this route. The high ISO noise reduction, in my opinion, "flattens" the image taking with it a fair bit of the detail; not my favorite noise reduction algorithm. I prefer to turn off ALL in-camera noise reduction and do noise reduction in postprocessing where I have some control over it.

Images at ISO's below 3200 are quite amazingly clean. ISO 1600 on the A7S is my ISO 200 on the Canon 60D... and at ISO 3200 with a bit of light:

https://plus.google....258818477201...

bwa

#302 GJJim

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 01:05 AM

The high-ISO shots of M51 seem to show color pattern noise on a large scale, almost a checkerboard effect. What do you think is causing that?

#303 bwallan

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 02:03 AM

The high-ISO shots of M51 seem to show color pattern noise on a large scale, almost a checkerboard effect. What do you think is causing that?


I have no idea!?

It appears to be random, i.e.: when I align and stack multiple subs, the effect is greatly reduced but still detectable. https://plus.google....148685511342... (the last one in the album) is one of subs used in the final M51 image. The pattern you mention is quite obvious.

It might have something to do with using JPG's instead of RAW subs? I'll shoot some RAW's for testing tonight!

bwa

#304 mclewis1

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 08:57 AM

I've never broadcast on NSN but I would assume if you can output it to an HD monitor / TV you can get it to NSN?

Brian, Actually no, it wouldn't be quite that simple.

NSN uses a video streaming capability created by Adobe Flash plugin (or a Flash emulator) in various web browsers. That Flash capability is looking for a webcam like video stream. The video stream is piped through the browser to the NSN website where it's distributed to the various folks viewing.

One method that will work is if you have the hardware to down convert the HDMI video stream to something like CVBS/S-Video, then one of the inexpensive USB video frame grabbers can be used to present the video stream to Flash/NSN. Not an optimal solution but it will work for broadcasting.

The other method is to capture and redirect the higher resolution video being displayed on a PC (so you have to first figure out how to get the HDMI video displayed on the PC). There are a few popular pieces of Windows software that will perform this redirect - WebCamMax, ManyCam, and SplitCam.

The Flash component can handle various forms of higher resolution (than CVBS/S-Video) video but so far there isn't a lot of definitive info on what works and what doesn't. It seems to be about getting the HD video stream onto a PC in a device format that Flash can work with.

#305 bwallan

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 12:40 PM

I've never broadcast on NSN but I would assume if you can output it to an HD monitor / TV you can get it to NSN?

Brian, Actually no, it wouldn't be quite that simple.

NSN uses a video streaming capability created by Adobe Flash plugin (or a Flash emulator) in various web browsers. That Flash capability is looking for a webcam like video stream. The video stream is piped through the browser to the NSN website where it's distributed to the various folks viewing.

One method that will work is if you have the hardware to down convert the HDMI video stream to something like CVBS/S-Video, then one of the inexpensive USB video frame grabbers can be used to present the video stream to Flash/NSN. Not an optimal solution but it will work for broadcasting.

The other method is to capture and redirect the higher resolution video being displayed on a PC (so you have to first figure out how to get the HDMI video displayed on the PC). There are a few popular pieces of Windows software that will perform this redirect - WebCamMax, ManyCam, and SplitCam.

The Flash component can handle various forms of higher resolution (than CVBS/S-Video) video but so far there isn't a lot of definitive info on what works and what doesn't. It seems to be about getting the HD video stream onto a PC in a device format that Flash can work with.


Sounds to be beyond my meager software engineering talents... :). One of the reasons I've never tried to broadcast on NSN; the other (probably the major reason) being my limited bandwidth over satellite internet.

bwa

#306 Moromete

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 03:35 PM

The past two night have finally given me an opportunity to use my unmodded Sony A7S camera for some serious astro-imaging. On July 27th I used the A7S with a 300mm f/2.8 Tokina lens in APS-C crop mode. On July 28th I mounted the A7S on an Astro-Tech 8" RC scope (1600mm fl, f/8) in full frame mode. The AT8RC is far better correctly than the ol' Tokina lens (which is actually an APS-C lens)!

None of the subs were in excess of 30 sec; some less. All subs were shot at relatively high ISO's, some as high as ISO 25600. No target session was longer the 20 minutes! I've also included some individual subs off the AT8RC at ISO's all the way up to 409600 (pretty much unusable but great for Sony marketing!).

The album:
https://plus.google....014868551134257

My two favorites are the East Veil and Eagle nebulas (off the AT8RC); however, M33 is probably the best version of it I've ever captured...

East Veil (smaller version attached):
https://plus.google....148685511342...

Eagle Nebula:
https://plus.google....148685511342...

M33:
https://plus.google....148685511342...

It should be noted only Sony's Ultra Fine JPG format was captured, i.e.: RAW subs were NOT used.

My conclusions:
1) It's a "keeper"!
2) It is about 2-3 stops (4x-8x) faster than the A7R, i.e.: A7R ISO 3200 === A7S ISO 12800-25600, AND about four stops (8x) faster than my Canon 60D. "Faster" might not be the correct terminology? About the same noise level, if you get my drift?
3) Silent shooting mode is eerie; totally silent, no shutter shake, no noise, ...
4) Battery life is about two hours of continuous shooting.
5) Electronic viewfinder and liveview screens both great for focusing on their own, with Focus Peaking or with a Bahtinov mask.
6) Usable up to about ISO 51200 if one shoots lots of subs (50+) to increase the signal-to-noise ratio.
7) ISO's above about 102400 are mainly for Sony's marketing campaign!

Also, after this round of testing I'm debating whether to actually modify the camera. I really like it for daytime usage AND with its sensitivity I can simply up the ISO and/or shoot longer exposures to capture Ha. As it is, it is fairly sensitive to Ha...

Clear skies

bwa


Superb images considering such short exposures and high ISOs!

It seems the A7S is as good in low light as Nikon D3S was or it's even a little better.

Alan, I have a few questions regarding your experience in field with A7S:
1) how bad is Amp Glow and at what ISOs and/or long exposures becomes noticeable? Under the same conditions, does the Amp Glow dissapear in APS-C mode?
2) does the camera allow you to use MultiFrame noise reduction with very long exposures? How many shots does it take to create a single image with MultiFrame noise reduction?
3) what is the maximum distance (without obstacles) at which the A7S can be controlled via WiFi with a PC/Android phone/etc.? (With Android you can use this app https://play.google....nycamera&amp... )
4) how do you program/control the A7S to take 30 shots automatically? Have you found an intervalometer for this camera?
5) how sensitive is A7S in Ha compared to your Canon 60D?
6) is the 921.000 dots resolution of the LCD screen enough for precise focusing on a star for astrophotography?
7) does in-camera dark frame subtraction remove Amp Glow?
8) how do you find the 12Mpx resolution for astrophotography and day time shots?

Thank you.

#307 bwallan

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 07:37 PM

Superb images considering such short exposures and high ISOs!

It seems the A7S is as good in low light as Nikon D3S was or it's even a little better.

Alan, I have a few questions regarding your experience in field with A7S:
1) how bad is Amp Glow and at what ISOs and/or long exposures becomes noticeable? Under the same conditions, does the Amp Glow dissapear in APS-C mode?
2) does the camera allow you to use MultiFrame noise reduction with very long exposures? How many shots does it take to create a single image with MultiFrame noise reduction?
3) what is the maximum distance (without obstacles) at which the A7S can be controlled via WiFi with a PC/Android phone/etc.? (With Android you can use this app https://play.google....nycamera&amp... )
4) how do you program/control the A7S to take 30 shots automatically? Have you found an intervalometer for this camera?
5) how sensitive is A7S in Ha compared to your Canon 60D?
6) is the 921.000 dots resolution of the LCD screen enough for precise focusing on a star for astrophotography?
7) does in-camera dark frame subtraction remove Amp Glow?
8) how do you find the 12Mpx resolution for astrophotography and day time shots?

Thank you.


You are a slave-driver! :bow:

1) Amp Glow is noticeable at about ISO 51200 and above and really doesn't seem to get worse with exposure; not like the Amp Glow I've seen off other cameras where Amp Glow can consume almost half the image.
1a) No noticeable Amp Glow in APS-C crop mode

2) MultiFrame noise reduction takes four(4) images and stacks them. Doesn't make any difference what the exposure is up to 30 sec; not applicable in Bulb mode. There are also two different implementations of high dynamic range (HDR) on the A7 series cameras and dynamic range optimization. The HDR employs three images.

3) I don't normally use WiFi with the camera; however, my iPad will control it from about 20 feet away. Have no idea what the max. distance is?

4) I'm using a wired remote time. JJC TM-F2 Remote Timer for SONY A58 NEX-3NL A7 A6000 HX300 HX50V RX10 RX100III from Buy-Market on eBay. $20 each. I bought two; they work fine.
4a) I also use the Time-Lapse App on both the A7R and A7S. It works up to 30 sec exposures but not with MultiFrame or Long Exposure noise reduction or in silent shutter mode. The silent shutter also does NOT work in Bulb mode; real bummer!!

5) WRT Ha, the A7S has better Ha sensitivity but is definitely not as good as the full spectrum A7R. Still debating whether to mod the A7S?

6) I've used the electronic viewfinder and liveview screen for focusing by themselves, with Focus Peaking and with a Bahtinov mask. With Focus Magnification you get 1:1 display so more than adequate for accurate focusing. I've found Focus Peaking is just as accurate as using a Bahtinov mask. You can also use the electronic zoom feature to give you a 4x larger image.
6a) I used the liveview screen and a Bahtinov mask last night to focus through an Ha filter with no problem.

7) In-camera dark frame subtraction (Long Exposure Noise Reduction) does remove Amp Glow.

8) I've sort of concluded I'll use the 36 MPixel A7R for wide-field where I really need higher resolution and sensitivity isn't as important (f/1.0->f/6) and use the A7S on longer lenses/scopes where resolution isn't as important but sensitivity is (f/8-f/15+). For astrophotography I try to "design" for about 1-2 arcsec/pixel, i.e.: the A7R on lenses/scopes less than 500-750mm focal length and the A7S on longer scopes, although I used the A7S on a 450mm scope (AT65EDQ) last night and the results look good... But the A7R on the AT65EDQ is a combo made in heaven!
8a) I really like the A7S for daytime usage; one of reasons I'm dragging my heels getting it modded. With the 28-70mm zoom (A7 kit lens) it is a great general purpose daytime and low light camera, and it autofocuses literally in the dark. Handheld at 11:00pm; only light was the Moon is a case in point (you can see a few other nightscape shots in this album). As for inside shooting, I haven't run into a situation where I would even consider the need for a flash! If I can see a hint of my target, I can take a reasonable picture of it. I'm still amazed by this having started photography when 50-100 ASA film was the norm.

9) Although not asked. To this point I've been shooting primarily Ultra Fine JPG's. On the A7R there is considerable difference in image quality between RAW's and JPG's, even the best JPG's. I shot both RAW's and JPG's when I was shooting astrophotography in New Mexico with the A7R. I processed all the wide-field shots from JPG's and a few weeks later went back and tried extracting some of the smaller targets; didn't work well. So I reprocessed all the smaller extracts from the RAW's, worked MUCH better, per: Extracts from RAW's. One of reasons I like the A7R for wide-field! I'm sure the results would NOT have been as good off the A7S. I will be shooting RAW subs off the A7S when I go after serious targets.

Clear skies!

bwa

#308 bwallan

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 07:58 PM

4) how do you program/control the A7S to take 30 shots automatically? Have you found an intervalometer for this camera?


The link: JJC TM-F2

#309 bwallan

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 10:43 PM

Added two additional images to the album:
https://plus.google....014868551134257

The 1st image is the North America & Pelican nebulas in Ha off the A7S; 30x60sec @ ISO102400. The 2nd is IC1396 in Ha; 30x60sec @ ISO204800. I had to push the ISO on IC1396 because thin cloud had rolled into the field-of-view; obvious from the "feathering" in the image. I suspect the poor quality of this image is a combination of sky quality and the high ISO; may just be the sky quality but the ISO204800 is suspect! Both of these images were generated from RAW subs.

I think I could get much the same Ha images as those above off a full spectrum A7S at about 30x30sec @ ISO6400?

Clear skies!

bwa

#310 bwallan

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Posted 30 July 2014 - 08:55 PM

Added another five images to the album:
https://plus.google....014868551134257

The 1st new image is the 3rd one in the album. This time I used an Astro-Tech 65EDQ and Deep Sky filter with the A7S... A mix of nebulas, dust lanes and one planet, Neptune. A few of the images are single shots as opposed to multiple sub images.

Clear skies!

bwa

#311 bwallan

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Posted 30 July 2014 - 10:54 PM

Video showing sky conditions while imaging NGC 6888 in my previous post:
NGC 6888 Sky Conditions Video

Enjoy!

bwa

#312 tim53

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Posted 31 July 2014 - 10:46 AM

It's taken a while...

http://petapixel.com...ography-review/

-Tim.

#313 DuaneS

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Posted 31 July 2014 - 05:34 PM

Where can one get a 2" adapter for this to use in the scope?

Duane

#314 bwallan

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Posted 31 July 2014 - 07:50 PM

Where can one get a 2" adapter for this to use in the scope?

Duane


I purchased mine from http://cncsupplyinc.com/ I bought both a 2" nosepiece and an E-mount -> female T2 adapter.

You can, of course, go an E-mount->Canon EF adapter then a 2" EF nosepiece or EF->T2 adapter...

bwa

#315 bwallan

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Posted 01 August 2014 - 09:47 PM

We had one heck of a good lightning storm last night:

Video extracts from 30 minutes of A7S video

Slide show using 12 frame captures from video

Don't beat me up on the image/video quality. I forgot to set manual focus and automatic focus wandered all over the place. These are the best segments... :(

There are four full sized frame captures following the video in the album.

bwa

#316 Moromete

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Posted 02 August 2014 - 06:36 AM


Superb images considering such short exposures and high ISOs!

It seems the A7S is as good in low light as Nikon D3S was or it's even a little better.

Alan, I have a few questions regarding your experience in field with A7S:
1) how bad is Amp Glow and at what ISOs and/or long exposures becomes noticeable? Under the same conditions, does the Amp Glow dissapear in APS-C mode?
2) does the camera allow you to use MultiFrame noise reduction with very long exposures? How many shots does it take to create a single image with MultiFrame noise reduction?
3) what is the maximum distance (without obstacles) at which the A7S can be controlled via WiFi with a PC/Android phone/etc.? (With Android you can use this app https://play.google....nycamera&amp... )
4) how do you program/control the A7S to take 30 shots automatically? Have you found an intervalometer for this camera?
5) how sensitive is A7S in Ha compared to your Canon 60D?
6) is the 921.000 dots resolution of the LCD screen enough for precise focusing on a star for astrophotography?
7) does in-camera dark frame subtraction remove Amp Glow?
8) how do you find the 12Mpx resolution for astrophotography and day time shots?

Thank you.




You are a slave-driver! :bow:

1) Amp Glow is noticeable at about ISO 51200 and above and really doesn't seem to get worse with exposure; not like the Amp Glow I've seen off other cameras where Amp Glow can consume almost half the image.
1a) No noticeable Amp Glow in APS-C crop mode

2) MultiFrame noise reduction takes four(4) images and stacks them. Doesn't make any difference what the exposure is up to 30 sec; not applicable in Bulb mode. There are also two different implementations of high dynamic range (HDR) on the A7 series cameras and dynamic range optimization. The HDR employs three images.

3) I don't normally use WiFi with the camera; however, my iPad will control it from about 20 feet away. Have no idea what the max. distance is?

4) I'm using a wired remote time. JJC TM-F2 Remote Timer for SONY A58 NEX-3NL A7 A6000 HX300 HX50V RX10 RX100III from Buy-Market on eBay. $20 each. I bought two; they work fine.
4a) I also use the Time-Lapse App on both the A7R and A7S. It works up to 30 sec exposures but not with MultiFrame or Long Exposure noise reduction or in silent shutter mode. The silent shutter also does NOT work in Bulb mode; real bummer!!

5) WRT Ha, the A7S has better Ha sensitivity but is definitely not as good as the full spectrum A7R. Still debating whether to mod the A7S?

6) I've used the electronic viewfinder and liveview screen for focusing by themselves, with Focus Peaking and with a Bahtinov mask. With Focus Magnification you get 1:1 display so more than adequate for accurate focusing. I've found Focus Peaking is just as accurate as using a Bahtinov mask. You can also use the electronic zoom feature to give you a 4x larger image.
6a) I used the liveview screen and a Bahtinov mask last night to focus through an Ha filter with no problem.

7) In-camera dark frame subtraction (Long Exposure Noise Reduction) does remove Amp Glow.

8) I've sort of concluded I'll use the 36 MPixel A7R for wide-field where I really need higher resolution and sensitivity isn't as important (f/1.0->f/6) and use the A7S on longer lenses/scopes where resolution isn't as important but sensitivity is (f/8-f/15+). For astrophotography I try to "design" for about 1-2 arcsec/pixel, i.e.: the A7R on lenses/scopes less than 500-750mm focal length and the A7S on longer scopes, although I used the A7S on a 450mm scope (AT65EDQ) last night and the results look good... But the A7R on the AT65EDQ is a combo made in heaven!
8a) I really like the A7S for daytime usage; one of reasons I'm dragging my heels getting it modded. With the 28-70mm zoom (A7 kit lens) it is a great general purpose daytime and low light camera, and it autofocuses literally in the dark. Handheld at 11:00pm; only light was the Moon is a case in point (you can see a few other nightscape shots in this album). As for inside shooting, I haven't run into a situation where I would even consider the need for a flash! If I can see a hint of my target, I can take a reasonable picture of it. I'm still amazed by this having started photography when 50-100 ASA film was the norm.

9) Although not asked. To this point I've been shooting primarily Ultra Fine JPG's. On the A7R there is considerable difference in image quality between RAW's and JPG's, even the best JPG's. I shot both RAW's and JPG's when I was shooting astrophotography in New Mexico with the A7R. I processed all the wide-field shots from JPG's and a few weeks later went back and tried extracting some of the smaller targets; didn't work well. So I reprocessed all the smaller extracts from the RAW's, worked MUCH better, per: Extracts from RAW's. One of reasons I like the A7R for wide-field! I'm sure the results would NOT have been as good off the A7S. I will be shooting RAW subs off the A7S when I go after serious targets.

Clear skies!

bwa



Thank you for your exceptionally complete answers and please excuse me if I was a slave-driver (it wasn't my intention) !

Again ,please excuse excuse but my restless brain has another question for you ( :) ) : why there is no red color (Ha) present in your IC 1396 image when used with a DeepSky filter but M16 image has alot of red in it, both images being taken with A7S?


PS: you have also taken wonderfull daylight images with A7S as shown in your gallery.

#317 Moromete

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Posted 02 August 2014 - 10:20 AM

We have Sensorgen data for the A7S: http://sensorgen.info/SonyA7S.html

#318 Dom543

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Posted 04 August 2014 - 12:35 PM

Since this thread is in the EAA forum, I assume that the results of the successive exposures can be seen in near real time and continually updated. Either on an attached monitor or on a computer.

 

How does this exactly happen? Suppose I want to use 30 sec exposures and have a monitor or a computer. Does the camera have an output jack through which the image resulting from the most recent exposures are accessible? Or does it come with software to do this from a computer?

 

Thank you,

--Dom



#319 Relativist

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Posted 04 August 2014 - 08:13 PM

This is a new camera so that is still one thing to figure out for some. I have seen someone use an HDMI frame grabber to broadcast the video mode output.

 

From what I can tell, the Deep Sky Stacker real time additions are the best bet. As far as I know though DSS does not yet support A7 raw files (that support is in beta). and the add-ons we need are not yet compatible with the beta.

 

In addition, I PMed the BYEOS author about possibly making a version for Sony cameras, and specifically the A7, he said not at this time.

 

I'm sure with a bit of time we will have more options than just the HDMI output.



#320 xavierq

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Posted 05 August 2014 - 08:18 AM

Don't get too excited yet.

According to this link http://www.eoshd.com...ng-shutter-test it seems Sony is not aiming for a "decent" price (up to 2000$) and a 4000$ price appeared on the Sony UK site shortly.

That's a crazy price. It's not worth more $ than A7R.

this



#321 Relativist

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Posted 05 August 2014 - 02:41 PM

Here is a side by side comparison to the canon 5d:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wGr_hXgJVGs

 

I'm wondering if anyone has used the SDK to see what else the camera can do.



#322 Dom543

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Posted 05 August 2014 - 04:22 PM

 

Don't get too excited yet.

According to this link http://www.eoshd.com...ng-shutter-test it seems Sony is not aiming for a "decent" price (up to 2000$) and a 4000$ price appeared on the Sony UK site shortly.

That's a crazy price. It's not worth more $ than A7R.

this

 

 

The price for the Sony A7s body on Amazon is $2500.

--Dom



#323 Thierry Legault

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Posted 06 August 2014 - 03:27 AM

As far as I know though DSS does not yet support A7 raw files (that support is in beta). and the add-ons we need are not yet compatible with the beta.

 

You always have the possibility to convert any raw file of any kind into DNG Adobe "standard" raw format with Camera Raw (Photoshop) or Adobe DNG Converter (free). That's what I did to measure noise and gain with Iris.

 

:)


Edited by Thierry Legault, 06 August 2014 - 03:28 AM.


#324 DuncanM

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Posted 12 August 2014 - 11:34 AM

Has anyone tried long exposures at the A7S base ISO? 



#325 ccs_hello

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Posted 12 August 2014 - 09:31 PM

Duncan,
 
Since you were asking base ISO (low gain), I'd suggest following up in this DSLR Astro subforum thread.
 
Clear Skies!
 
ccs_hello

Edited by ccs_hello, 12 August 2014 - 09:33 PM.



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