Ask Sony: Questions about the latest models? Here’s how to get them answered!


posted Friday, June 19, 2015 at 11:16 PM EDT


Sony really took the photography world by storm when they unveiled the ultra-high res A7R II and a pair of speed-demons with the RX100 IV and RX10 II last week in New York. All three cameras pack a ton of ground-breaking, interesting new technology, from the new stacked 1-inch Exmor RS sensor with built-in DRAM in the two RX models to the first back-side-illuminated full-frame sensor with full-width 4K video in the A7R II.

We only got a whirlwind hands-on session with the cameras at the product launch event in New York City, though we did have a chance to take a breather and sit down with Kimio Maki, Senior General Manager, Digital Imaging Business Group, Sony Corporation, to discuss these new models more in-depth. There's still a lot more to learn about all the new technology packed inside these new cameras, especially with the RX100 IV and RX10 II and the new stacked-sensor tech they're based on.

We've been able to secure a direct line to Sony, so we're calling on you, esteemed IR readers, to submit your burning questions about Sony's latest and greatest cameras. What do you want to know? Use the comment section below, and we'll direct the questions to the deep techies at Sony for answers! To get you started, we've listed a few open questions from the discussion threads on our Press Event LiveBlog and sensor technology Q&A articles. Got some of your own? Now's the time to get them answered!

(This would be a particularly good time to ask about the RX100 IV and RX10 II and the groundbreaking new stacked-sensor technology they're based on. We already had a lot of questions in that area, so Sony said they'd be sure to connect us with someone able to talk about that aspect of their tech.)

So, Sony fans, Sony skeptics and everyone in between, put on your thinking caps and pull out your keyboards and let the questions fly!

Here are some of the prior questions.

RX100 IV/RX10 II related:

Reader Jason Ushkowski: Can you pull still images from the 4k footage on the RX10 and RX100IV, like we can on the Panasonic 4K Photo Mode? I see we can grab stills during recording but that is different as it is sometime easier to grab the decisive moment after. And it would be nice to know if we can expect any improvement to image quality from this new stacked sensor or if it is just a speed thing.

Also from Jason: Can you find out more about the difference between the 2 autofocus systems on the RX100 IV and RX10 II? The Sony press release says that both models get the upgraded Fast Intelligent AF, but the measurements of 0.09 seconds were taken using the RX10. Does the Direct Drive SSM make the RX10 II faster?

Reader David Robinson: Interested in both buffer depth and actual pixel size for the RX10 II. Or in other words how long of a burst can it handle and is the high ISO performance improved any.?

Also from Dave (paraphrased): Do the RX10 II/RX100 IV have AA filters or not?

Reader Mike: What's the high ISO noise improvement new 1" sensor (over the previous one)? one EV? (DaveE and reader MacReady think less than that, maybe more like 1/3, the rest of the improvement in JPEGs is processing - we'll see if they're right ;-)

Reader Dustin Uy: What's the lowest ISO on the rx100 mk 4 & A7R when in Picture Profile SLOG2?

Reader Peter Weir: It would be interesting to know whether the BSI sensor enabled a materially different architecture of the PDAF pixels, which now apparently make possible a quite efficient PDAF focusing. OTOH, if this efficient PDAF focusing is more the result of improved signal processing algorithms and a more intelligent evaluation of PDAF pixel data, then there might be a possibility that improved PDAF might be implemented via a firmware update on previous generation cameras like the A7 and A7 II, which also have on-sensor PDAF pixels...

DaveE from IR: Is the processor in the back of the sensor involved in PDAF at all? (Related to reader Peter Weir's question immediately above)

DaveE from IR: A broader question - what exactly does the back-of-sensor processor do? Is it programmable via firmware, or is it fixed-fucntion hardware?

DaveE from IR: How much DRAM is actually on the back of the sensor? Is it enough to buffer multiple frames, or only enough to provide for downsampling in video modes?

DaveE from IR: Would it be feasible to buffer multiple frames of extremely high-rate full-sensor readout with more DRAM on the back? 


Reader Bwana: I own the A7R, A7S and A7 II. The A7R and A7S both have fairly serious amp glow on the left and bottom of full frame images with ISO's higher than about 12,800. Has this been resolved at high ISO's on the A7R II? Maybe the new sensor resolves the problem??

A7R II - Can the sensor be "locked down" as in a cleaning mode, so it stops floating around to be able to clean it?


Feature/Function requests:

Reader Daniel Kit: Someone with connections please please please tell Sony to make the 'silent mode/regular mode' toggle available in the shortcuts menu / assignable to a custom key. Digging through the menus for this option is a real bother in the A7S... Also the EVF/screen toggle, or at least fix the proximity sensor that is currently way too eager to switch to evf,... screen turns off automatically when something is even 6cm away.

Many, many readersPLEASE give us an option for lossless compression of RAW files! On the A7R II, but also can it *please* be offered via firmware for existing models?

How about you? Any questions about the new models for the Sony tech-heads? Ask them below, we'll get the answers!