Sony A7R II and Sony A7S II are not for Astrophotography!

Sony camera is not for Astrophotography! Are we reading right line? You may ask and I will tell you almost right since the Petapixel revealed a very strange fact about Sony cameras, leaving every Sony photographer who loves shooting Galaxy, stars and all comes under Atrophotography shocked. Actually, in a recent review they apparently suggest that Why Sony Cameras are no longer recommended for Astrophotography?

Ian Norman, a full-time traveler, photographer and entrepreneur who used mainly the two Flagship Sony A7 series camera (Sony A7R II and Sony A7S II) for Astrophotography. However, both the two cameras were announced back in 2015, but since after its Firmware update released in 2016, August (3.30 on the a7RII and 2.10 on the a7SII) was supposed to include improvements for radio controlled lighting and overall camera stability and temperature control. Unfortunately, on the other side, the Firmware update affected the image quality when shooting long exposures, particularly astrophotos. Eventually, astro community photographers gave it a name “Star Eater”, a problem which is a form of software spatial filtering designed to reduce noise in photos, particularly hot pixels. Unfortunately, the basic filtering algorithm that Sony is using easily mistakes sharp pinpoint stars for noise, deleting them from the image or greatly reducing their brightness. Furthermore, the “Star Eater” issue affects RAW images (whether uncompressed or not) and cannot be disabled by any means.

Due to new noise reduction Algorithm running inside A7 series camera the details become flat and that is why the faded stars completely vanishes after the implementation of this algorithm by the camera. Hence, there should be a provision for Sony users that they can get clean JPEG and Raw images without implementation of any type of algorithm that affects the image quality of the cameras.

According to Ian, Bad spatial filtering isn’t new to Sony’s Alpha cameras. Even with the older firmware, all recent Sony alpha mirrorless cameras including the a6000, a6300, a6500, a7S, a7R, a7, a7II, a7SII and a7RII exhibit the “Star Eater” issue when using the Bulb exposure mode

So, it is with great disappointment that I will no longer recommend Sony cameras, particularly the a7RII and a7SII with the latest firmware, until we see a fix

Finally,  he says that the issue mainly occurred with the firmware update and they can fix the issue with Firmware update only.


1 comment to Sony A7R II and Sony A7S II are not for Astrophotography!

  • The star-eater “problem” may exist but probably doesn’t impact 90+% of astro-imagers. It has been talked about, discussed, argued, ad nauseam since at least Jan 2015 on the Cloudy Night forum.

    I use the A7S, A7R and A7R II for astrophotography and can honestly say I’ve never noticed the “problem”. But then again I’m not a pixel peeper…

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