BY REQUEST: Sony A7RII Shadow Recovery Sample.

BY REQUEST: Sony A7RII Shadow Recovery Sample

Many have asked to see how the new A7RII sensor handles shadow recovery. Below is a quick example. 1st one is out of camera how it was shot, and below that one is with shadow recovery. Notice how the details of the tree come out. Click on them for larger size, and if you are on a retina display, these are Retina Ready!




More later as I am leaving portland today and heading back to AZ! My A7RII review unit will be here next week so my full long form review will be started then.


  1. Steve: unanswered for me is this: HOW did you improve the shadow detail in that tree image you posted? IN the camera? Had you taken a HDR shot and one of the set has superior shadow detail and THAT is what you posted? Or is there a program in the new A7RII that generates an image already taken with more shadow detail? OR you used Photoshop or Lightroom or some other third party out of camera program to render detail in the shadows?
    Please explain!
    Love your enthusiasm, your quest for the best… and have bought many SONY cameras on your recommendation. Thanks.

    • Easy, shadow detail slider in Lightroom or PS will do the trick. Takes about 2 seconds. 😉 There is an HDR mode in camera and DR expansion but I had those off.

  2. The JPEGs are surprisingly good in terms of DR! RAW would be even better – and people are complaining about compressed RAW on cameras this good? Golly gosh.

    You know what’s interesting? We’re witnessing the beginning of a new era in photography – the end of noise at high ISOs. Of course, extreme ISOs are a different story. But virtually noiseless files at 3200 ISO? Even 6400? Amazing. I don’t mind noise (or grain) in any way, but if I have a noiseless image, am I going to add noise to it? No. This is genuine progress.

    • Why would you consider adding noise to an image? Grain and noise are not related… Film grain is separate from the image, digital noise is not.

      • A good question. This is what I really mean: suppose I take a photo with the A7s, and the ISO is set to 1600, and there is virtually no noise. Would I miss the noise? The answer is clear: no, I wouldn’t. 🙂

        If I took a photo with T-Max 100 and rated it at 1600, I’d get noticeable grain, but it wouldn’t be too bad. Would I mind? Nope. But if that emulsion gave you virtually no visible grain at 1600, I wouldn’t mind that, either.

  3. besides the higher iso and the video capabilities, what is the reason one would go for the a7rii vs the a7ii?

    in other words what is the place for the a7ii besides the fact that say you don’t have the money for the a7rii?

    that and let’s assume that you really don’t need the extra mp if you are not making huge prints?


    • The new BSI sensor works better with legacy lenses. So if you only need 24MP and have patience you could wait for A7III.

  4. Steve, can you see any rationale for owning both the A7s and A7rii…or does the A7rii come close enough to A7s low light capabilities / features? Thanks…

    • I will do a side by side next week as I am curious as well. Will shoot them in a low light club/band situation. I know the perfect spot that is very dark and it’s my torture test location for low light 😉 Stay tuned…but I think they are much closer than many think.

      • Particularly if you compare them on the same image scale, i.e.: 12 MPixel vs. 12 MPixel… I find even the A7R and A7S not that far apart when compared on the same scale.

        • Getting a bit confused here. I have an a7s and extremely pleased with it but why would you compare them side by side at 12mp? if the noise is similar on
          a7rII I would only buy it as a second camera because of the higher IQ with such high mp and would keep both for different uses, I certainly would not get it because the noise levels are similar in both cameras. Correct me if I am wrong.


          • Comparing both at 12Mpixel is like comparing an identical sized print. Once you compare at a common print size, or pixel dimension, do you actually get to compare apples to apples. A camera with a bit more per pixel noise, but triple the resolution, may actually come out on top once compared in this manner.

          • The process of downscaling actually improves the signal-to-noise ratio; thus, as noted by LJ, a high resolution camera with (slightly) worse ISO performance can outperform a cleaner low resolution camera. I’ve found this to be the case with the A7R and A7S.

            Of course, I normally only require about 12 MPixel images for what I do in astro/nightscape photography, so the A7R works wonders! I suspect the A7R II will be considerably better?

      • It doesn’t say if the second sample is from the jpg or not. The original is clearly labelled as from a jpg. I wouldn’t think you could get this kind of recovery from what looks like solid black from a jpg, so I’m assuming the recovery photo is from the raw file?

        • It’s certainly done from the RAW. The dark JPG has a much stronger jpeg-compression in the dark areas than the processed image shows.

      • I own the A7S, A7R & A7 II. With the dynamic range of Sony’s cameras I’m quite sure this was done from one of Steve’s JPG files. Besides he states he hasn’t done anything with RAW’s to this point in his evaluation of the A7R II.

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