A quick test of the a57 in use at 3200 ISO/ 3200K

I love shooting in the theater when the light is sweet and the plays are interesting.  I bought a Sony a57 just for shooting in low light.  When I shoot it at 3200 the files look great at normal sizes.  When I look at 100% I see some noise reduction smoothing at play.  I had the camera set to "standard" noise reduction and shot Jpeg last Tuesday, at a dress rehearsal of Dividing the Estate.

I was using the Sony 70-200mm 2.8 G lens and I liked what I got.  I might shoot raw the next time around just so I can try some other styles of noise reduction.  The new version of Lightroom (4.1) seems to have well thought out noise reduction.  I never seem to mind fine, monochromatic noise, it's only the splotchy color noise that I don't like.  I noticed that the ISO 1600 shots I'd done with the a77 camera on the same evening cleaned up well.  I shot them in raw.

I'm getting more and more comfortable with the EVF in the a57.  I know it will nail the exposures and I'm getting a handle on the qualitative differences between the contrast on screen and the contrast in real life.  While the EVF is not as good as the one in the a77 it's acceptable.  And the nice part of the compromise is that even the raw files from the a57 are easier to handle than those from the a77.  Post processing 1,000 images from three cameras shows you just how much more time nearly doubling the shooting file size takes on the backend.


  1. Kirk, I remember you mentioning that you took some photos with the A77 using 12MP resolution in jpeg and high ISO shortly after you acquired it. How do the A77 jpegs compare when using the 12MP resolution at 3200 vs. the A57?

    I've got the A77 and although I'd love to have a A57 as a backup due to its high ISO performance, it doesn't seem likely so I'm wondering if you think the A77 at 12MP is an acceptable substitute.

  2. Hi Craig, I keep playing around with the a77 and I think it's better to shoot in 24 megs (jpeg) and then downsample in post. Using one of the settings like smoother gradations in Photoshop to get to 12 megapixels. Then reduce the color noise.

  3. Thanks, Kirk. I'll be giving that a try soon.

  4. Kirk, I managed to play with an A57 at a local Best Buy for the first time this weekend. I must say I was impressed... enough to be tempted to pick one up. But I already have a Pentax K-5, which means I have access to that particular sensor. Still, that large EVF blew me away. Given your experience with the A77 (which I can't afford right now), is the same EVF in the A65 worth reaching a bit farther for?

    1. The finder in the a65 and a77 is better but the question is: by how much? The more I use the a57 the more the finder becomes transparent. It's not a deal killer.


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