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Reader Comment: Portraits and Sharpness and Skin Tones with Sony A7, A7R, A7R II

Get Sony Alpha A7R II mirrorless at B&H Photo.

Richard J writes:

I am very excited about this camera, it seems to have everything I want except (price point LOL) for one large element of my photography. The difference between the Sony A7 and the Sony A7r was of course megapixels and the anti aliasing filter.

I loved the sharpness of the A7r however the lack of AA filter, I found, was not great for portraiture and skin tones and I found myself preferring the A7 for my portrait shoots over the A7r. This could be a number of factors including to much detail on peoples faces and also being a Canon man for so long.

In reading all the papers on the new Sony A7R II, nowhere has it mentioned if the new chip is anti-aliasing filter free or not. One would assume from the name that it doesn't have the AA filter and even if it doesn't have the filter the skin tones may be better then the previous A7R.

DIGLLOYD: The A7R II does not have an anti-aliasing filter. The lack an anti-aliasing filter vs detail on faces—this theory flies in the face of sharpening technique which can (almost) negate this factor, so I cannot agree here. There is more resolution and that is what you’re seeing. Sharpen less for portraits and/or shoot at f/11 where diffraction will naturally soften details. Or just shoot JPEG which blurs fine details.

Skin tones—every sensor has its own feel and the A7R II sensor is a new type of technology, so no assumptions should be made here. But also, Camera Profiles for Sony A7R / A7 in Photoshop and/or Lightroom alone can make a huge difference in color and contrast. I regularly choose among Camera Standard, Camera Portrait and Adobe Standard and make other modifications at times to contrast and color saturation when I process my Sony files, for sometimes subtle and sometimes radical differences. Moreover, it is my view that Sony cooks the raw data in a way that sometimes causes color crossovers; very frustrating (Nikon D810 has no such hassle).

BUT if you still don’t like the skin tones, try using PhaseOne CaptureOne Pro which is favored by many pros for its color rendition. DxO Optics Pro is also worth looking at.

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