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Sony Alpha Mirrorless and DSLR
Sony Alpha a7s: Full HD Recording in XAVC and 4:2:2 UHD 4K Output via HDMI.


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Old December 13th, 2012, 02:53 AM   #16
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Re: A99 video a major disappointment

Also Chris, it might help to add "NEX"/E Mount sections, as the little NEX5N has been a big hit. Not everyone is using the higher end E mount cams <wink>.

Sony has 1080 60p capable cameras in the P&S line, the NEX series, and the Alphas, so logically there might be room for a couple new forum sections.

The little RX100 is a very "hot" product right now, it's sort of a "new critter", a P&S on steroids... and has manual controls while shooting video (don't ask how they squeeze everything in on such a tiny cam, I'm still trying to figure out how to configure everything!).
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Old December 13th, 2012, 10:14 AM   #17
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Re: A99 video a major disappointment

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Originally Posted by John McCully View Post
Interesting. I downloaded footage untouched off the a99 camera and it looks soft, just like footage shot with my NEX 5n, and seemingly similar to the footage shot by Philip Bloom here in New Zealand using the Canon 5Dmk3 which he described as ‘disappointing’ regarding sharpness. ‘The detail just wasn’t there, it felt really quite...almost muddy’, he said.

He goes on ‘and then something happened’. He applied sharpening in post and ‘suddenly it just went bing – and it was like it’s sharp’.

Well, I did that with the A99 footage I downloaded and some NEX 5n footage I have and I was indeed surprised and delighted with the result after sharpening in post.

Just a thought...
I posted stills and a video in the other thread, with sooc and sharpened footage. The A99 just lacks detail. Its not like the 5d3 - soft but sharpening pulls out lots of detail - its mushy. So sharpening makes it look a little better, but any areas of fine detail have the watercolor effect and artifacts show up pretty quickly as the codec doesn't have a lot of latitude. I notice it most with anything outside, grass, trees, buildings and so on, they all lack detail and I can't have a strictly shallow DOF camera.

This is a nice video shot in Utah with a d800 and a A99, its pretty clear which camera was used for each shot.


Then there's the moire and aliasing.

I'm still tempted to try out an external recorder with the A99 before I have to return it, but at this point I think it'd be a waste of money.
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Old December 13th, 2012, 02:17 PM   #18
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Re: A99 video a major disappointment

Hmm, definitely see the "tack sharp" vs. the blurry... Doesn't the Nikon also use a Sony sensor? That would indicate it's in the processing/processor?

I'll go back and review some A65/A57 footage I have, but they looked pretty good right out of the cam, acceptably "sharp", not "blurry" when I reviewed footage. Both of those are of course APS-C, not FF, 24M and 16M, but one would expect that a 24M FF sensor should produce similar quality to the 24M sensor of the A65?

I can attest to the fact that Sony compression seems to vary A LOT between cameras, some are very good, others produce a "watercolor" effect (at least in stills from the P&S lines, I'm very aware of it) when you zoom in on the image. Other Sony cams are quite sharp under identical shooting. It can be a tad frustrating, and I have noticed that the 18Mpixel sensors in "this years model" don't produce as good a picture as "last years" 16 MPixel models - the "watercolor" effect is more noticeable in almost all shots. From what I've experienced, NONE of the Alphas exhibit the "effect" even in the worst low light shots, and I've been putting the little RX100 through similar difficult tests, and it remains clean, as do several of "last years" TX series.

Sony does sometimes take a little time to "tweak" the best performance out of a given set of hardware - although they seem to have "nailed it" with the 16.2Mpixel APS-C sensor.

IF the HDMI out is pre-compression, you might get better results with an external recorder, a lot will depend on exactly where in the internal processing "chain" the blurriness is introduced, and where the HDMI output is in that chain.
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Old December 13th, 2012, 02:52 PM   #19
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Re: A99 video a major disappointment

Look like the Nikon were still timelapse and Sony were video so yeah of course it is going to look much sharper.
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Old December 13th, 2012, 04:40 PM   #20
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Re: A99 video a major disappointment

The guy that shot the Utah video posted some frame grabs between the d800 and the A99 - his results mirror my findings from shooting it next to my EM5 and Nex5n - its mush compared to others, it just shows no detail. The soft video coming from the A99 has been brought up by others across the interweb, so its definitely not just me.

FWIW - I plugged my camera into my LED TV just to get an idea of what the HDMI is outputting, and even though the TV registered the incoming signal as 1080p, it looked just like the stuff I recorded to the card. That's one of the many reasons I'm hesitant to plunk down cash to rent an external recorder when everyone that has one reports a marginal improvement in IQ. I just want the higher bitrate for broadcast stuff, but I really don't want to deal with files that large when they're still mushy.

Everything else about the A99 makes it an incredible camera, shallow DOF stuff looks almost 3-d with stills and video, the tilt/swivel LCD is awesome, AF is fantastic, still DR/IQ is phenomenal, steadyshot stabilizes everything including manual glass, love my Zeiss zoom, love the controls and so on - all reasons I choose the A99 over the 5d3 and D800. But the crappy video kills any chance of me keeping it. I'm pretty sure something will be improved down the road, but when and how much is anybody's guess, and that's not a bet I'm willing to take.

I think after I shoot an event this weekend and a few more test vids its going back to Sony and my time in the Sony camp will have lasted all of 6 weeks.
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Old December 15th, 2012, 01:19 PM   #21
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Re: A99 video a major disappointment

You mention that shallow DoF stuff looks almost 3D, inclding the video - just curious if you find the parts that are in focus acceptably sharp? It may be that the detail in a NON shallow DoF image is getting lost in the compression when it tries to crunch a complete frame that is all supposed to be "in focus".

Now I'll have to go back and do some tests - I know that I see the "3D effect", and frankly that was what I expect from an SLR/SLT camera - I'll use a regular video cam if I need deep DoF. Hadn't really considered whether the SLT will handle "scenic" shots well... just presumed that they will handle "video" with shallow DoF with good results.

It occurs to me that the algorithms Sony uses for crunching the data may be optimized for shots where there is a blurred background, and become overwhelmed, where Nikon may have taken a different approach, more geared to the "landscape" shot that has the entire frame "in focus"? IIRC the Nikon uses a Sony sensor, so the discrepancy is a bit of a surprise.
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Old December 15th, 2012, 06:56 PM   #22
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Re: A99 video a major disappointment

Dave, I think a big part of the 3d look is just the fantastic DR of the Sony FF sensor and that phenomenal Zeiss zoom, the tonal gradations are just so smooth - that's what keeps me from going all in on M43. I just can't stand posterization of highlights. And its just so easy to get great subject separation from the background, even at larger apertures in the 5-6 range.

There's definitely something wrong with the way the A99 renders deep DOF scenes. I don't think Sony got it completely sorted in the push to be the only one with 60p on a FF camera. Amid the endless flame war on DPreview after I posted samples were a bunch of "you're an idiot Sony hater because the A99 can show great detail" rebuttal videos that showed the same crappy watercolor effect that the blind faithful just refused to acknowledge. There's just no texture or anything, I shot a stucco building from across the street and the walls were perfectly smooth, the grass showed no detail, plants were just blobs, pavement looked really smooth, rocks are just shapes and so on - not to mention the crazy moire and aliasing, worse than the D800 and far worse than the 5d3.

After going back and watching all the A99 promo videos, all I see are shallow DOF shots and anything wide has no detail. I feel like a bonehead for missing it, but at least I discovered it before my return window closes. That's why you shoot tests eh?

Like I said, I really like the camera overall. I just shot stills of an event, captured 600 images, and shooting with the A99 was such a joy. Overhead room shots and low angle shots were a breeze to frame with the tilt LCD. I could easily tweak aperture/shutter speed/exposure compensation with the two dials and the front control knob. The quick menu and joystick makes it a snap to adjust focus points, AF modes and so on.

But the video is bunk and that's a dealbreaker. I think I'm heading back to Canon and a 5d3 after I shoot a couple more comparisons in the next few days unless nikon extends the crazy D600 discount to the D800. I really don't want to have the cash tied up in a dedicated video camera just to get wide shots as my needs are slowly moving toward a more even stills/video split.
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Old January 3rd, 2013, 07:03 PM   #23
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Re: A99 video a major disappointment

My last test with the A99. This time it locked horns with the little Nex5n and came out looking not so good. Its on its way back to Sony, it had potential to be THE camera, but it falls short for my needs.


Shoots great stills though.
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Old January 15th, 2013, 01:52 PM   #24
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Re: A99 video a major disappointment

This camera had EVERYTHING I could have wanted. I got rid of my Canon gear and jumped on board with Sony. Two body's, a 24-70 and a 70-200. Oh, and I LOVE the XLR inputs. I never imagined the image quality could be so soft. I'm about to switch back. :(

Here is a quick raw clip if anyone would like to take a peek. It's about 275 meg:
https://dl.dropbox.com/s/yhhosqs20ejt6yh/00001.MTS?dl=1

Last edited by Darrell Boeck; January 15th, 2013 at 08:06 PM.
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Old January 15th, 2013, 02:03 PM   #25
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Re: A99 video a major disappointment

Yeah A99 video sucks alright, Sony missed the boat on Video for DSLR again.
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Old January 16th, 2013, 11:03 PM   #26
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Re: A99 video a major disappointment

Again?

It certainly looks like they have some issues they need to iron out with the FF sensor, but the other Alphas seem to be fairly well received (using the same sensors as the NEX's)... not perfect, but pretty good while supporting a lot of legacy design elements.
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Old January 20th, 2013, 09:50 AM   #27
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Re: A99 video a major disappointment

I agree with you Dave, I'm getting great results out of my Nex 5n. Its such a great little camera.
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Old January 22nd, 2013, 01:38 AM   #28
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Re: A99 video a major disappointment

Whatever you do, don't bring up the a99's poor video on DPReview. They will come at you with a venom like I've never seen - the homers on that site are out of control. I think I was the first one to point out the a99's softness and lack of detail originally - I had to sell the a99 + my $5k lens collection and I switched to a 5d3.

Very happy now with the AF / low light / stills / lens choices / video quality.

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Old April 17th, 2013, 09:01 AM   #29
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Re: A99 video a major disappointment

You know I'm still frustrated by how poor the auto focus is in even moderate light and how dumb it is when not in face detection mode. Does anyone know if Sony checks this site or others for feedback? I would love to be able to use face detection for glidecam shots but alas Sony exports the face detection box to my ninja 2 and burns it into the recording. Any idea if they'll ever fix this?
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Old April 17th, 2013, 09:10 AM   #30
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Re: A99 video a major disappointment

Quote:
Originally Posted by Betsy Moore View Post
Does anyone know if Sony checks this site or others for feedback?
I can assure you that the Sony professional broadcast group -- the division handling XDCAM and other higher-end gear -- monitors DVi regularly. As far as the little Alphas go, I can't say for certain if there's someone here watching out for that.
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