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Will we See Firmware Updates from Sony and Nikon for Pixel Shift and 'Focus shift shooting', respectively?

The Sony A7R III introduces a new pixel shift feature that should deliver true RGB pixels, effectively increasing its resolution by 25% (conservatively) to 50% (generally) by eliminating the demosaicing process—no more guessing at a pixel’s color by interpolation. This feature is new to Sony but not new; the Pentax K-1 and K-3 II both have had it for nearly two years (and about 4 years for the K3). It is a huge advance in lowering noise and increasing resolution, but cannot tolerate motion of any kind (which includes changes in lighting).

See also Sony Alpha A7R III: Pixel Shift Facts and Pentax K-1 Super Resolution Pixel Shift Mode in diglloyd Advanced DSLR.

The Nikon 850 introduces a Focus shift shooting feature ideal for focus stacking (AF lenses only). This feature is new to Nikon but not new; Olympus has offered it in the Olympus OM-D E-M1 II for nearly a year.

It’s software

Two years ago in Sony A7R II: Where is Pixel Shift?, I asked why Sony did not have pixel shift in the A7R II (and A7 and A7s). That question is even more valid today. Are we being sold a new camera whose most important new feature (IMO) is really just a straightforward software upgrade that could apply to prior models? Or does this feature require some new hardware control, such as more accurate sensor positioning or similar? It is a fair question that Sony ought to answer truthfully. Because I for one would rather save $3300 and have the feature in my A7R II, even if that means foregoing things like a higher-res EVF,.

In Nikon’s case, it seems to me that just about any recent model Nikon DSLR ought to be able to support Focus shift shooting via a firmware update—it’s just a few menu items and a simple repeat-until-done loop.


Will we get answers to these questions? My guess is it will be like pulling teeth.

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