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New Sony A55 Has HDR like In-Camera Processing

Published: 11/10/2010
By: larry

PFRE reader Jukka Töyli of Tampere, Finland sent me some images from a pre-production Sony Alpha A55 that he is testing for Sony of Finland. This Sony model was announced in late August. The feature that Jukka's images demonstrates is a new implementation of in camera "HDR". The press release describes this feature as follows:

"Auto HDR shoots and combines three frames into a single high dynamic range (HDR) photo with rich shadow and highlight detail. Multi frame NR shoots and combines six frames into a single photo, enabling smooth low-light imaging at half the noise level. Hand-held Twilight shoots and combines six frames into a single photo, suppressing blur to enable clear night-scene imaging without a tripod or flash."

It's probably a stretch to call this HDR processing because apparently it's bracketing uses only 3 steps of 1/3 to 2/3 stops and the only control over this feature is three modes. What, no sliders! Although, the images do have a distinct HDR look to them. Even to the point of having slight halos around some lights.

The main point that Jukka wanted to show us about these photos that the A55 shoots is that he believes the A55 gives acceptable results for his real estate and hotel shooting yet greatly speeds up workflow because of the in-camera processing.  The images in the tour above are a mix of work done in Tampere, Finland and a shoot that he is currently doing in Puerto Banus and Benalmadena Harbour, Spain. Jukka says the results he's getting with the A55 are similar to the Exposure Fusion he normally does rather than HDR. Jukka describes his post processing on these images as minimal post processing in Lightroom: " more contrast, recovery and some of them fill light. I use also little noise reduction and sharpening but not so much. Really fast, just used 3-5 mins per photo." Jukka says what he really wants is a "Scott Hargis" mode for this camera but he's not going to hold his breath.

Thanks Jukka for the examples!

12 comments on “New Sony A55 Has HDR like In-Camera Processing”

  1. I wonder if Canon/Nikon will ever pair up with Enfuse or Photomatix to create a camera that has "in camera" adjustable HDR settings. Maybe when I rule the world.

  2. Did the camera do such a good job of balancing the indoor and outdoor lighting, or did LR/PS do it?

  3. Pics straight from camera are quite flat. So you have to do little bit work with LR but basically, in/out light cames quite allright out of camera. Pics number 3 and 4 have taken in quite hard light (little halo around window), number 5 using twilight. Both I have to use recovery and little bit fill light,biggest problem was to find right level for light. If you under expose these pictures in camera, jpeg is really hard to correct. But after little training it's really easy to snap and go camera.

  4. Its a bit like the early attempts at flying.
    They will get there but this quality is very average.Maybe some companies who dont care about quality may go for it, keep the good work up guys, still a long way to go.

  5. Carl, if you mean how HDR mode works, it's clear automat can't be so creative what you can do with software and good photography skills. But for example for real estate broker this is allready really nice and fast camera to work. Everybody dont need or have money buy best quality, so this could be new level to do real estate pics... I think this camera (or nex-5) is for fast shooting and for somekind of compromise pictures. I attach full size pictures here (http://tipart.kuvat.fi/kuvat/pfre/) so you can see real quality of pictures.

  6. Jukka, Certainly is a new level.Its awful.Sorry but its way off, they will get there,or maybe standards will drop to meet what people produce on these cameras.I would still like see a lot of improvement.Keep the post coming and thanks to Larry, it will get there but it does need lots more work.

    Better to teach the agents a few tricks and send it to a good post production team, save them a fortune.

  7. Carl, I understand your point. But I let my customer decide, what they wan't. If I can't sell 1st class pictures, I have 2nd class and they know what they buy. Sometimes it's good for you business try to develop it, find new and faster ways to do it and especially listen to your customers even it means compromise with picture level. If they wan't this level, I'm ready to take money away. Maybe we are working different level, normally property price is here 200-300.000 and brokers are not ready to put lot of money for marketing.

  8. For me Jukka its about the image.The beauty of a good image is what attracts people, the angle, the styling,the post production and how it prints.

    Just a point, would you buy a second hand old car , or would you work harder to buy a new Golf or Audi, etc, would you put a piece of glass in a ring for your partner and hand it to them over a Macdonalds and a paper cup full of coke.
    Its a start.

  9. I think that way I'm buing that Audi and you are looking nice pictures...:0)...Sorry, I don't think only picture quality, I wan't to do money about this.

  10. Hi Jukka. Thanks for sharing these. Can you tell me approximately how long the in-camera processing takes after each sequence of shots? Also, is the camera outputting jpg or tiff for the blended files? Thanks again.

  11. Josh, in-camera process takes about 20 sec so its ok. I'll use also eye-fi card so i can see pics immediately in my laptop. It gives me one HDR jpeg, i would like to see something else format but so far...i have to go like that. Danger is white balance, you have to find it right, otherwise picture looks like rainbow...:0) Also halo effect is there, so you have to carefully with lights.Bracketing gives only +/- 0,7 but HDR is made 3 pics range of 6 EV so it's much wider. I have dropped now my whole working time under 24 h, using only 1,5-2 hours for whole process,including shooting and editing. Best case was couple of days ago, broker calls me at 11, i was shooting at 12 and 14 he have pictures. Sometimes seems timeframe is more important than picture quality.

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