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Sony A7R II

Sony A7R II RAW (ARW) Files: Format, 12 Bit Degradation

Lossy compression means that quality is lost (information is thrown away).
Lossless compression means that all information is preserved; compressing and decompressing the data result in exactly the same bits as prior to compression.

UPDATE: Sony released an uncompressed raw mode in October of 2015. It’s a bittersweet solution, because the files are always the same huge size. The right solution is lossless compressed files, like Nikon and Canon have had for years.

The Sony ARW raw format is a 11+7 bit lossy-compressed format as described in Sony A7R File Sizes, Lossy Compression. Sony’s approach with raw reflects a mindset of a game and TV maker, not a serious camera vendor. Sony could fix the whole mess by offering a lossless-compressed format.

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Diglloyd Guide to Mirrorless is by yearly subscription. Subscribe now for about 25 cents a day ($90/year).
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Diglloyd Guide to Mirrorless offers comprehensive integrated coverage of most APS-C and full frame mirrorless cameras and lenses.

Special emphasis is placed on Sony full-frame, including Sony lenses and the high performance Zeiss Batis and Zeiss Loxia lenses plus Rokinon/Samyang and others. Fujifilm X, Olympus and Panasonic M4/3, Sigma dp Merrill and dp/sd Quattro are also covered in depth. Years in the making, it offers a wealth of material for choosing and using a mirrorless camera.

  • Make better images by learning how to get the best results right away. For example, the best way to set up your Sony camera.
  • Save money by choosing the right lens for your needs the first time, particularly with the numerous lenses available for Sony.
  • Make better images, a sort of “cheat sheet” saving yourself months or years of ad-hoc learning—best practices and how-to and processing parameters are discussed and shown.
  • Jaw-dropping image quality found nowhere else utilizing Retina-grade images up to full camera resolution, plus large crops.
  • Real world examples with insights found nowhere else. Make sharper images just by understanding lens behavior you won’t read about elsewhere.
  • Aperture series from wide open through stopped down, showing the full range of lens performance and bokeh.
  • Optical quality analysis of field curvature, focus shift, sharpness, flare, distortion, and performance in the field.

Want a preview? Click on any page below to see an excerpt as well as extensive blog coverage, for example on Sony.

Sony raw file does not change size even with reduced precision

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