We shoot everything on manual. Astrophotography can be very rewarding when you see the end result of a great composition and exposure staring back at you through the LCD screen on your camera. Menu > Camera Settings 2 > AF System (Not available with native E-mount lenses) This is actually the most important new setting on Sony a7RII cameras. Posting to instagram). However, if the collection area is large, the incident “stream”/pixel is larger = less affected by variations. Yes, that’s the point. For nightscapes I would never shoot at a lower ISO than necessary with hopes of boosting exposure later. We met this little furball on our walk. I currently have an a7RII but have been considering the a7III, in part because I had read some things that seemed to indicate that it had better low light noise properties. In-Camera Image Stacking  I’ve read so many good things about the D750 for night photography, which your review corroborated, and seen so many great images taken with it, but I have all Canon-mount lenses, which wouldn’t be compatible, so probably don’t want to go there. I love it! Nikons don’t have this, not even the D810a, and not Sonys. Which camera in the set has the lowest noise? Because by definition, noise is the randomness in the collected signal… (Of course, bad electronics, high dark current, etc, could cause the final conversion and readout of the photons to electrons exhibit a lot of noise. Feb 14, 2018 at 03:24 AM: WestTexas Sky With LENR on you don’t have to do anything like taking separate shots with the lens cap on. Hi Alan, thanks for this detailed review. The photon “stream” already fluctuates by itself even if you have a perfect collector (which doesn’t exist, I don’t think). Further info on the algorithm and its effects (info is for A7RII/RIII, but should apply to A7III): I’ve used this new function and it works very well. I expected the new BSI-equipped Sony to better the Nikon by about a stop. We're a helpful community ... let's make some art together! An issue that, to me, has a more serious effect on star quality is the propensity of the Sony, and to some extent the Nikon, to render tiny stars as brightly colored points, unrealistically so. This would explain why in your first test the +4 EV image (iso 400) and in your second test the +3 and +4 EV images (iso 200, iso 400) appear iso variant. But no more! I have not tested an a7rIII. Instead, I saw a slight shadowing at the top and bottom edges but just at the corners. This is where the Sony’s Backside Illuminated sensor with presumably higher quantum efficiency in gathering photons might be providing the advantage. Also the A7iii can handle higher ISO. I can’t speak for other Sonys but in the a7III it is not so much an issue of “star eating” but “star rendering.” But Nikons have similar issues of oddly colored stars. An example is in a 4K video I shot on May 6, 2018 of an usual aurora known as “STEVE.”. Display Options The Alpha Universe: Sony's Official Page for all things Alpha, Phillip Reeve's Comprehensive FE Lens Guide, Lensrentals blog - tons of in-depth, trustworthy tests of Sony lenses, Gary Friedman's excellent e-books on Sony cameras, New to the A6000 or other APS-C E-mount? Almost any camera will behave well in this comparison. I may upgrade to A7SM2 and compare to A7M3. Maybe. What we are seeing with “green” stars (in both the Sony and in the Nikon) is an effect of the de-Bayering of those cameras’ raw frames that varies considerably depending on the Raw developer you use and, in the case of Raw Therapee, the de-mosaic algorithm selected. I don’t know if Nikon is still using Sony sensors but both brands seem to be making very good cameras. These are from DPReview’s noise comparison test images. I would invite you to further read my comments and images added in the Addendum. The S/N ratio is determined by the individual pixels — they don’t know how big a sensor they belong to and won’t behave differently in a cropped sensor vs a large sensor. Turning on LENR did eliminate most hot pixels in long exposures, but not all. Real-time video of auroras is not possible with anything like this quality with the Nikon (I’ve used it often), and absolutely not with the Canon. Well pro’s use tools and programs (apps) on a camera that get the end result they want/need without hauling valuable gear to a site to capture. Some time-lapse controllers are able to connect to a camera through its USB port and then adjust the ISO and aperture as well, for ramped “holy grail” sunset-to-Milky Way sequences. But the a7III should do the job for bright auroras, the ones with rapid motion worth recording with video, plus offer 24 megapixels for high-quality stills of all sky subjects. And both cameras performed much better than the ISO “variant” Canon in this test. “The 2008-vintage 5D MkII had a 5-frame buffer!” It is much appreciated even in 2019 December. NOTE: Click or Tap on most images to bring them up full-frame for inspection. Like the Nikon D750, the Sony’s screen tilts vertically up and down, great for use when on a telescope, or on any tripod when aimed up at the sky. Thank you Sony! I like the fact that the a7III has way better battery life, too. Having a max aperture of f/2.8 is a bit limiting when it comes to astrophotography, but you can compensate for this with a good high ISO camera like the Sony A7III. Ie. Canon really needs to improve their sensors to keep in the game. Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. The Sony would perform better in an ISO Invariancy “face-off” if its ISOs were kept above 640, to keep all the images within the Sony’s upper ISO range of its dual-gain sensor design, with two ranges (100 to 400, and 640 on up). Plus there are an increasing number of lenses from third parties offered with native Sony E-mounts. Most tests focus on its superb auto exposure and auto focus capabilities that rival much more costly cameras, including Sony’s own a7rIII and a9. We shoot everything on manual. You can take full advantage of wide-angle lenses, great for auroras. This Sony lens review intends to look for what can be classed at the best lens for Sony A7iii astrophotography. The most common way of doing this is with a DSLR or mirrorless camera and a telephoto lens that allows you to zoom in to capture the details of these bodies. Great article, I have to note one thing though. I’m not here to knock Sony, in fact I shoot with one, using an A7R for my astro work because of this issue. And not for filter modification. If it did then the massive foot-wide cameras used at observatories would have no noise at all! Dark Frames  Do the test and let me know. Not a very good lens for astro tbh. the 500 rule is pretty bad for today's cameras. Only Slot 1 will work with the fastest UHS II cards that are needed for recording the highest, Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window), Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window), Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window), Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window), Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window), Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window), The 2018 Edition of “Nightscapes and Time-Lapses”, http://docs.view.tl/#camera-specific-notes, https://alpinelaboratories.com/pages/radian-2-support-get-started_s, https://amazingsky.net/2017/08/09/testing-the-canon-6d-mark-ii-for-nightscapes/, https://amazingsky.net/2017/09/07/testing-the-canon-6d-mkii-for-deep-sky/, Testing the Nikon Z6 for Astrophotography – The Amazing Sky, Shooting Moonstrikes at Dinosaur Park – The Amazing Sky, Testing the Venus Optics 15mm Lens – The Amazing Sky, Monday Motivation: Alan Dyer / Amazing Sky - MilkyWayPhotographers | Milky Way Photography News and Community for Milky Way Photographers, Sony a7 III Has No “Star Eater” Issue - Mirrorless Times, Sony a7III Star Eater Explored | Sony Addict, Report: Sony a7 III Has No “Star Eater” Issue | Sony Rumors, Sony solved the star eating issue with the new A7III - sonyalpharumors sonyalpharumors, α7 III ILCE-7M3 最新情報まとめページ | とるなら~写真道楽道中記~, Sony’s ‘Star Eater’ Problem Has Been Defeated in the a7 III – Get Photo Tips, Sony’s ‘Star Eater’ Problem Has Been Defeated in the a7 III – Photography News World, https://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/61074932, https://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/4167521#forum-post-59686724, https://blog.kasson.com/a7riii/the-sony-a7riii-eats-stars/, https://blog.kasson.com/a7riii/sony-a7riii-star-spreading-raw-composites/, How to Photograph the Geminid Meteor Shower, Testing the Nikon Z6 for Astrophotography, Testing the Sony a7III for Astrophotography, Testing the Canon 6D Mark II for Deep-Sky, Testing the Canon 6D Mark II for Nightscapes, How to Shoot and Stitch Nightscape Panoramas, How to Photograph the Geminid Meteor Shower. The compact a7III body weighs a measured 750 grams, vs. 900 grams each for the Nikon D750 and Canon 6D MkII. I just got my Sony A7III with the 24-105mm G lens. The camera subtracts the single dark from the buffered lights. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. An example is the Laowa 15mm f/2 I used for some of the testing. I think it’s a great camera for both astrophoto stills and video. to me, your tests are indeed showing that, even if your are not in a bad case scenario with ~3pixels wide stars, the star eater is definitely still there with all highest spatial frequencies decreased between 3.2s and 4s. Try 24mm, f/4, 15 seconds, iso 1600. UPDATE: In April 2019 Sony issued a v3 Firmware update for the a7III which added an internal intervalometer. Now, let’s dive into some of the software settings and capabilities of the Sony A7III as quick as we can. But it would be interesting to test Raw vs JPG on the Sony, to check Sony’s own deBayering. You believe it will be the case, but did you know? A shorter SS for the wider the Aperture (more lens being used) but learning that even a 10mm lens is 17.86 seconds for Accurate and 35.60 for standard so bulb mode not really needed. The lower weight can be helpful for use on lightweight telescopes, on small motion control devices, and for simply keeping weight and bulk down when traveling. Intervalometer — NOW INCLUDED! This has the zoom or magnifier button. While these might add glows to long exposure images, if they could be designed not to do that (i.e. ( Log Out /  The resulting values and graph show the Sony actually measured worse for noise than the Nikon at each high ISO speed, 3200 to 12800, though with both performing much better than the Canon. Best Astrophotography Settings for A7iii (self.SonyAlpha). This is an issue of how software de-Bayers stars that occupy only one or a few pixels. To me, the star eater effect on the Sony a7III is a non-issue. The disadvantage is that full-time live view draws more power, with mirrorless cameras notorious for being battery hungry. The Sony showed some slight edge-of-frame shadowing from the mask in front of the sensor, as well as a weak purple amp glow. Custom Button 2 — Metering Mode. It is not clear if Sony’s compressed Raws are 12-bit vs. 14-bit for uncompressed files. it is to be expected that, on A7s3 with bigger pixels, the effect will still strongly show up and that sony is still turning a deaf ear to the astrophotographers. However, all will need the right camera control cable, available from suppliers like B&H. To reduce battery drain it is possible to turn off the EVF completely – I find I never use it at night – and to turn off the LCD display when shooting, though the latter is an option you have to activate to add to the Display button’s various modes. While i know how to turn on LENR, does this apply only to jpegs, or to RAW shooting as well? The Sony’s buttons are not illuminated. I did put all the high ISO images through the classic noise reduction program Noise Ninja to measure total Luminance and Chrominance noise, and included the Canon 6D MkII’s images. First of all congratulate you, a very good publication. Lenses developed natively for mirrorless models can be smaller and lighter. While a built-in intervalometer is not essential, I find I often do use the Canon and Nikon in-camera intervalometers for simple shoots. When using a slow shutter speed with ND filter for waterfalls on a Sony mirrorless camera, like the Sony A7riii or A7iii, don’t forget these settings: Use a tripod; ND filter attached to lens, between a 6 stop and a 10 stop filter. For use on telescopes, the simple adapters will be sufficient, and necessary as many telescope-to-camera adapters and field flatteners are optimized for the longer lens flange-to-sensor distance of a DSLR. But when I’m pushing details of the milky way and using shadows pushed to the equivalence of iso 12,800-25,6000 there’s more like 2 stops cleaner, at least this is what I found processing astrophotos between the 2 bodies. Standard functions such as ISO and Drive Mode are easy to get at on the thumb wheel, unlike the Nikon D750 where I am forever hunting for the ISO or Focus Zoom buttons, or the Canon 6D MkII which successfully hides the Focus Zoom and Playback buttons at night. Stars are not smoothed out in long exposures. However, while the Sony has a Bulb setting there is no Bulb Timer as there is with the Canon. That was a bit surprising. (what software subtracts such dark frames? Devices that trigger only the shutter should be fine. i.e. Again, the differences are in images vastly underexposed. But probably not. Summary: • It offers as low a noise level as you’ll find in a 24-megapixel full-frame camera, though its noise was not significantly lower than the competitive Sony a7III, nor even the older Nikon D750. It’s not strictly hardware nor just software. Just info for those who have never seen the apps. Full-frame and cropped-frame cameras with similar sized pixels have similar levels of noise. Forget the verbal arguments from authority — I invite you to do the experiment. I just read your evaluation of the Sony A7III in Sky & Telescope. So I can’t compare it to the a7r or a7s models. Best Astrophotography Settings for A7iii. Hence, all else being equal, a larger pixel will always result in less noise than a smaller one. Sony A7III Software. Cannon doesn’t seem to be even trying to catch up. The red and blue colors of those stars are wiped by the filter – just as it has been since firmware update 4.0 on the A7RII. This should help you! You can push it to maybe 20 seconds if you won't be looking at it in a large size (ie. I show only the Sony and Nikon compared here, shot at the common range of ISOs used for nightscape shooting, 800 to 12800. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=en4eeK33UoE Hi Alan, I don’t want to detract from an otherwise fantastic review, so feel free not to post this. By default, the a7R III is set to shoot in the sRGB color space, which is the most universally used & accepted color space for the … For example, the TimeLapse+ View (see http://www.timelapseplus.com) works great for automated holy grails, but the developer recommends that with most Sonys the minimum allowed interval between shots is longer (8 to 14 seconds) than with Canons and Nikons. Sony not performing as good as competitors? It is possible some of the artifacts I saw are due to ACR not handling the a7III’s .ARW files as well as it should. Why would that be? If you want an objective test, rather than comparing the Sony with Canon or Nikon images, you need to compare 3.2 with 4 second images, both shot on the Sony. Worse is that long deep-sky exposures at high ISOs also exhibited a faint purple glow at the left edge, perhaps from heat from nearby electronics, a so-called “amp glow.” Or I’ve read where this is from an internal infrared source near the sensor. I can’t attach a photo to this reply, so go here on DropBox. Certainly not as good as the Canon rendered with Camera Raw. But this special “Bright Monitoring” mode is as well hidden as Sony could make it. The images take up so much computer storage space! Noise will be higher in sensors with smaller individual pixels. I also don’t really think I need the 42MP resolution I have with the a7RII (I thought I did, which is one reason I bought it), even though I do mostly landscapes and nightscapes. However, I emphasize that the noise increase from using LENR with the Sony was visible only when severely boosting underexposed images in processing. The Sony test report is revised to explain this. If you have ever looked at the apps on Playmemories site (a selling point when I bought the A7S back in 2014 [no other camera offered and is ground breaking]). Indeed, the ease of manually focusing in Live View is a key function. The Sony showed poor deep-red sensitivity, though not unlike other cameras. In the menu options that appear you can now scroll to one called Bright Monitoring. I’m sorry, but I have to agree with John on this one: Your comparison of different exposure times *clearly* shows, that the filtering is still in effect and it wipes the smallest stars (up to 4 or 5 pixels area). An alternative would be an LCD screen that was touch sensitive. This movie tutorial covers the following camera settings General Recommendations Optimum Shooting Mode, Drive Mode Focus Mode and Aperture Range, Recommended File Format and File Type (Compressed or Uncompressed Raw) Optimum Focus Settings Focus Area and Lock-On AF options, Face Detect Focus Priority (choosing a specific face to lock on and track), AF track sensitivity … Seeing people head into the field with a passel of batteries just to get thru a night of shooting put me off! Limited Touch Screen Functions  Posted by 2 years ago. How evenly an image is illuminated is a common factor when testing lenses. The Sony will be partly incompatible with some time lapse controllers. However, like other brands’ internal intervalometers Sony’s is good only for exposures up to 30 seconds long. Again, here I show only the Sony and Nikon, the two “ISO invariant” cameras. I researched carefully and quickly decided that a mirrorless camera was a good travel camera and a better option than a DSLR for me. in-camera dark frame subtraction) off and on. The world usually does not behave as we expect and argue it should. The settings are suitable for both the A7RIII and A9 cameras and include the following settings: Recommended shooting Mode and Aperture File Format and File Type Drive Mode, Focus Mode and […] Effectiveness of Long Exposure Noise Reduction (LENR), Quality of Raw files, such as sharpness of stars, Brightness of Live View for framing and focusing. This is really pixel peeping at 400%. The Canon 5D MkIV is $1000 more than the Sony here in Canada and is 30 Mp not 24 like the others, so not comparable in price or spec. Basically it’s this — “Unfortunately, Sony users are out of luck, as none of the popular control programs (AstroPhotography Tool, ImagesPlus, MaxIm DL, Nebulosity, or PRISM) support Sony cameras.”. 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Are commenting using your WordPress.com account, more or less about how you think the sensor as a whole nothing! Usually only noticeable – when shooting deep-sky targets though telescopes more noise and discoloration in underexposed withstood... From suppliers like B & H s why using exactly same sensor, different make and cameras... The memory cards, please note: Click or Tap on most images to bring them up full-frame inspection. … people shoot dark frames dark frame the camera if only an offer to place on one of Year! And time-lapse nightscape shooting, though the ground blurred in the camera settings below had. H-Alpha-Emitting nebulas was poor mirrorless camera through its paces for the shutter should be noisy...