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Sony A7R II: Uncompressed Raw

Sony has released its firmware upgrade supporting the Sony uncompressed raw format for the Sony A7R II.

I have yet to upgrade my A7R II* but I plan on doing so today. Though maybe that’s not a good idea, as the starter motor in my wife’s car failed today, and so did the washing machine. Who knows what a firmware update might do?

* Always a hassle as I prefer to sidestep the Sony root kit approach to updating camera firmware. Nikon does it right. Why do other vendors do it *so wrong*.?

Alex T of RawDigger writes:

Just upgraded my A7R-II. RawDigger 1.2 works fine. FastRawViewer 1.1 is not, but we just started the FastRawViewer 1.2 public beta testing program (A7R-II/A7S-II uncompressed files are supported). Other observations:

  • Image buffer is 2x times less, only ~10 images.
  • Silent Shooting produces 12-bit images (histogram gaps), but with full 16-bit data format, so file size is ~85Mb in this mode.
  • Histogram shows gaps every ~25 levels, some kind of cooking (noise suppression??).
  • Data format is 'linear 14 bit' (with 16-bit storage, upper two bits are zeroes), no contrast curve, nothing.

Very simple and very efficient to handle. As a RAW tools developer, I'm very happy, it is very easy to handle this data format efficiently. As a RAW shooter, I dislike 2x waste of space: DNGs converted from my test RAWs are ~42Mb instead of 85.

As a RAW shooter: ETTR shooting is more sensible for midtones (shadows are always benefits from ETTR)

DIGLLOYD: Highly recommended for the astute photographer: RawDigger.

As noted, the proper format is lossless-compressed, but possibly there is not enough CPU power in the Sony camera to do it. Maybe—Nikon and Canon do lossless compressed just fine, as does the Leica M240, and the M240 has a wimpy CPU.

The huge 85MB Sony A7R II files are absurdly large as the DNG format shows (lossless compression). I’m not necessarily recommending DNG, as it may lose some image metadata, and I loathe a format which modifies the file every time a tweak is made to the raw conversion data by ACR.

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