Sony A7 II High ISO Noise Reduction

The Sony A7 II offers only three High ISO Noise Reduction settings: "Off", "Low" and "Normal" (default). The user manual doesn't say at what sensitivity High ISO Noise Reduction begins to be applied, so we've included crops from ISO 50 on up to find out.

See for yourself how the the default and lowest noise reduction settings compare to RAW files with no noise reduction or sharpening applied. Click on any of the crops below to see the corresponding full-sized image.

High ISO Noise Reduction Comparison
In-Camera JPEGs vs RAW
Simulated Daylight
Normal
Off
RAW (No NR)
I
S
O

5
0
Normal
Off
RAW (No NR)
I
S
O

1
0
0
Normal
Off
RAW (No NR)
I
S
O

2
0
0
Normal
Off
RAW (No NR)
I
S
O

4
0
0
Normal
Off
RAW (No NR)
I
S
O

8
0
0
Normal
Off
RAW (No NR)
I
S
O

1
6
0
0
Normal
Off
RAW (No NR)
I
S
O

3
2
0
0
Normal
Off
RAW (No NR)
I
S
O

6
4
0
0
Normal
Off
RAW (No NR)
I
S
O

1
2
8
0
0
Normal
Off
RAW (No NR)
I
S
O

2
5
6
0
0

As you can see, the Sony A7 II's High ISO Noise Reduction already has a noticeable effect at sensitivities as low as ISO 50, and the "Off" setting really isn't off (which is usually the case for all cameras).

With default noise reduction, you can see signs of the A7 IIs area-specific algorithm as it leaves high-frequency detail (and noise) around edges which can give them a somewhat rough, haloed look at higher ISOs, but the effect isn't quite as noticeable as its predecessor. Sony has also fixed the bug where the "Off" setting blurred our red-leaf swatch more than the default setting at ISO 800 through 6400, and the rendering of the that swatch is improved over the A7 at moderate to high ISOs with reduced smudging.

As we saw with the A7, moiré patterns in the red-leaf swatch are quite visible, indicating the A7 II is equipped with a weak optical low-pass filter.

Overall, there appears to be very slightly improved high ISO performance in raw data over the A7, and the A7 II's noise reduction has also improved but it's still overly aggressive at high ISOs.

 



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