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11-10-2013, 03:35 AM   #1
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Pentax 645D vs Sony A7R RAW

In an effort to avoid spending tons of money, I continue to long for a landscape camera that could match or come close to the 645D in terms of IQ. And so with that in mind, I decided to see what I could wring out of the Sony A7R in spite of the fact that it uses the same sensor as the D800E and seem to score the exact same on the DxO scale.

That being said, what was interesting is that I was able to consistently pull up more detail using Raw Therapee in the red channel with the A7R RAW files than I could with the D800E ones. To which I'd add, I'm really not sure why that is at this point though I'm confident that we'll hear more on this as time goes on.

Anyways, without further ado, here are some of the files I was working on. Though I must caution, that I re-sized the A7R in my effort to help compare details between the two systems. And so I wanted to put out there that this was done purely for my own use rather than distorting results etc.


Click for full size image


Click for full size image

In closing, I won't bother posting a conclusion as I think the images speak for themselves. Though I will say that I am thoroughly impressed with what Sony has done with there first mirorless FF body on the market(congrats).

11-10-2013, 04:06 AM   #2
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[Pure speculation mod]

Imagine what the tech of the Sony sensor could do if it was produce in 645 format, this could be an absolute winner ^^

[Speculation mod off]
11-10-2013, 04:14 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by aurele Quote
[Pure speculation mod]

Imagine what the tech of the Sony sensor could do if it was produce in 645 format, this could be an absolute winner ^^

[Speculation mod off]
Oh how I wish!
Though my biggest wish would be that they could do it in a body under 4K.
Now that! would be a dream come true in terms of camera tech imo.
11-10-2013, 04:47 AM   #4
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If such a sensor did exist in 645D ( let's call it 645D mark II) the files would be huge , one would have to also consider handling and storage of such massive Raw files.

11-10-2013, 05:08 AM   #5
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I can still spot the 645D shot, there are still differences in the tone curve and colour rendering. Also the 645D sensor is still bigger than FX format, there is no getting around that physical difference.

The biggest differences between the two cameras are size and lens range.

There is also the proprietary raw file format of the sony camera Vs DNG.
11-10-2013, 05:52 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Digitalis Quote
I can still spot the 645D shot, there are still differences in the tone curve and colour rendering. Also the 645D sensor is still bigger than FX format, there is no getting around that physical difference.

The biggest differences between the two cameras are size and lens range.

There is also the proprietary raw file format of the sony camera Vs DNG.
I think the red channel says it all for the 645D. ie, the Bayer sensor drawbacks seem to dissipate on the MF sensor which is most apparent with red cloth/swatch resolution. To which I'd add, the FF sensor is nothing short of a disappointment in that area imo.
11-10-2013, 09:14 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by JohnBee Quote
I think the red channel says it all for the 645D. ie, the Bayer sensor drawbacks seem to dissipate on the MF sensor which is most apparent with red cloth/swatch resolution.
I would chalk that up to the CFA on the sensor as well as the 645D's CCD based technology - there is not hint that CMOS will ever replace CCDs at the high end of photography, DALSA are still making them for Phase One products and they are selling just fine.

11-10-2013, 10:44 PM   #8
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The first image has more contrast and more sharpness, which makes it difficult to compare resolution.
11-10-2013, 10:54 PM   #9
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I saw that DXO posted their scores for the A7r's sensor. Looks like it might be the same chip as in the D800. Very impressive for a mirrorless camera!

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11-11-2013, 01:31 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by civiletti Quote
The first image has more contrast and more sharpness, which makes it difficult to compare resolution.
You're correct. And the reason this happened is where I was able to add a touch of deconvolution to the A7R file, whereas the 645D one produced artifacts. And so I decided to leave it "as is" as a result of that. Otherwise, both files could have used a touch of sharpening so as to get every ounce of detail out of them.

QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
I saw that DXO posted their scores for the A7r's sensor. Looks like it might be the same chip as in the D800. Very impressive for a mirrorless camera!
It definitely looks that way. What's interesting however, is that I wasn't able to get the same level of red channel performance out of the A7R than with the D800E. Which tells me that Nikon likely has the upper hand on the sensor data end of things.
11-11-2013, 06:52 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by JohnBee Quote
Nikon likely has the upper hand on the sensor data end of things.
Which doesn't surprise me at all - with the Sony A900 Vs the Nikon D3X ,the D3X had better colour rendering as well as better noise handling than the Sony camera, and of all things you would bet that sony would be able to keep the lid on noise with their own sensor.
11-11-2013, 12:36 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Digitalis Quote
Which doesn't surprise me at all - with the Sony A900 Vs the Nikon D3X ,the D3X had better colour rendering as well as better noise handling than the Sony camera, and of all things you would bet that sony would be able to keep the lid on noise with their own sensor.
D3x actually did score much higher than A900 on dxomark, but D800 does not score higher than A7R. So Nikon isn't "squeezing" anything more from the sensor, at least not according to dxomark.
11-11-2013, 12:55 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by ElrondElensar Quote
D3x actually did score much higher than A900 on dxomark, but D800 does not score higher than A7R. So Nikon isn't "squeezing" anything more from the sensor, at least not according to dxomark.
Have you considered the DR spec?

To which I'd add, there's definitely something going on under the hood on the Nikon side of things. ie, the Image Resource sample studio shots consistently show that D800E out-resolving the A7R in the red channel swatch. And though I can't say for sure whether this is the result of something other than sensor performance, it remains accountable throughout the test shots.

Which raises an interesting question:
Does DxO Mark perform and any sort of color channel resolution measurements?

Having said that, this isn't the first time Nikon stands-out in red channel performance against it's competitors either. ie, the same can be seen when comparing the D7000 and 7100. To which I'd add I seem to recall reading that Nikon was recognized for optimizing red channel performance in the past as well. - dpreview?
11-11-2013, 02:31 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by JohnBee Quote
Have you considered the DR spec?
i'm sure that was an unintentional oversight.

QuoteOriginally posted by JohnBee Quote
To which I'd add, there's definitely something going on under the hood on the Nikon side of things. ie, the Image Resource sample studio shots consistently show that D800E out-resolving the A7R in the red channel swatch. And though I can't say for sure whether this is the result of something other than sensor performance, it remains accountable throughout the test shots.
That is actually rather easy to explain - Nikon seems to be using a CFA* with better colour separation than the ones used by sony. And Nikon designed the CFA in a way that reduces cross contamination of the gathered spectra (metamerism) - hence the clearer red channels.

*Colour Filter Array.
11-11-2013, 03:28 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Digitalis Quote
That is actually rather easy to explain - Nikon seems to be using a CFA* with better colour separation than the ones used by sony. And Nikon designed the CFA in a way that reduces cross contamination of the gathered spectra (metamerism) - hence the clearer red channels.*Colour Filter Array.
Makes perfect sense!
Thanks for sharing that.
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