Had a chat with a Sony rep

YellowJersey

EOS 90D
Jan 2, 2014
144
0
I popped into my local camera shop and saw two of the store employees giddily fawning over something. I casually strolled by to see what they were so excited about and saw that they were, in fact, playing with a pre-production A7r II. After approaching them to ask them what all the fuss was about, despite already knowing full well, they happily showed me the camera and let me have a little play with it myself. (the autofocus was pretty snappy, btw, and the ergonomics felt good). We got to talking and I mentioned that I was interested in buying the camera once it was released (not entirely true, as I probably won't be able to afford it when it comes out, but it's certainly on my list of potential replacements for my 5DmkIII when the time comes), but I said that it came with a caveat. They asked what the caveat was and my reply was simple: compressed raw files.

This is where things got interesting. They said the Sony rep was in the store and asked if I'd like to speak to him. This struck me as odd because I am a nobody photographer that no one has ever heard off nor did these guys even recognise me as I haven't been living in this city very long (alas, my beloved The Camera Store is so far away these days!) as I don't pop into this particular store very often.

So I was introduced to the Sony rep. I expressed my hesitation to buy the camera due to the lossy raw files, but made it clear that if/when true lossless raw files are available, I'd buy the camera in a heartbeat (again, stretching the truth a little). He confirmed what has been popping up a bit lately, that Sony is investigating lossless raw files and that they might be enabled via a firmware update. I thanked him for his time and he thanked me for my feedback.

Just an interesting little story I thought I'd share.
 

Mt Spokane Photography

I post too Much on Here!!
Mar 25, 2011
16,096
1,191
Its interesting that they can build a high tech sensor, but don't know how to use a lossless compression, and have to investigate for what has been 3 years or so already.
 

neuroanatomist

I post too Much on Here!!
Jul 21, 2010
24,645
2,159
Mt Spokane Photography said:
Its interesting that they can build a high tech sensor, but don't know how to use a lossless compression, and have to investigate for what has been 3 years or so already.
Yeah, but their method of lossy compression is innovative.
 

johnf3f

Canon 1Dx
Oct 25, 2012
931
19
Wales
Now if Sony update the firmware to allow loss-less RAW files and update the body so that it has an optical TTL viewfinder and decent AF then I will joint the queue for one - OOPS! They would have to fit a mirror for that!
Ah well back to my crappy old Canon brick!
 

Mt Spokane Photography

I post too Much on Here!!
Mar 25, 2011
16,096
1,191
I'm not badly worried about the EVF, being able to operate it with my large fingers, having a good grip, and the operating ergonomics are something I'd want to look at.

I was thinking I'd rent one to use for a upcoming event in the middle of August where a smaller camera would be good. Lens Rentals appears to let me reserve one. However, Adorama says shipping begins the end of August, so a opportunity for me is missed. B&H merely says expected in August.
 

3kramd5

EOS R6
Mar 2, 2012
3,084
405
johnf3f said:
Now if Sony update the firmware to allow loss-less RAW files and update the body so that it has an optical TTL viewfinder and decent AF then I will joint the queue for one - OOPS! They would have to fit a mirror for that!
Ah well back to my crappy old Canon brick!
When I use my A7R, I am generally shooting static scenes, and the lack of OVF doesn't impair me. I'll likely use the II similarly, but hey maybe the EVF will surprise me.
 

Don Haines

Beware of cats with laser eyes!
Jun 4, 2012
8,265
1,923
Canada
Can Sony create lossless RAW files? The answer is YES! The already do.... they just don't save them....

Step 1 - Read the sensor
Step 2 - Save the sensor data in memory
Step 3 (the way they do it now) - Run lossy compression algorithm on memory file
Step 4 - Save memory file on memory card...

All they have to do is forget to do step 3.... or to use any of the thousands of lossless compression algorithms instead of their lossy algorithm.
 

3kramd5

EOS R6
Mar 2, 2012
3,084
405
Don Haines said:
Can Sony create lossless RAW files? The answer is YES! The already do.... they just don't save them....

Step 1 - Read the sensor
Step 2 - Save the sensor data in memory
Step 3 (the way they do it now) - Run lossy compression algorithm on memory file
Step 4 - Save memory file on memory card...

All they have to do is forget to do step 3.... or to use any of the thousands of lossless compression algorithms instead of their lossy algorithm.
Having data in memory isn't the same as creating a file. I suspect they have some sort of ring buffer which dumps the constituent data to the processor to render and save (filed). That being said, of course they can do it unless there is some silly hardware based serial lossy compression in the signal chain, which is highly unlikely.
 

weixing

EOS RP
Jul 20, 2010
613
14
Hi,
IMHO, lossless RAW file should not be difficult to implement unless it's a hardware limitation... may be the camera hardware they use was unable to process large data fast enough or may be due to the battery capacity limitation or heat issue as the camera is too small to effectively dissipate heat, they had to use a lower power processor which simply unable to process large data fast enough.

Have a nice day.
 

Mr1Dx

EOS M6 Mark II
Feb 6, 2015
51
0
johnf3f said:
Now if Sony update the firmware to allow loss-less RAW files and update the body so that it has an optical TTL viewfinder and decent AF then I will joint the queue for one - OOPS! They would have to fit a mirror for that!
Ah well back to my crappy old Canon brick!
Shot nearly two thousand photos from my recent Safari trip(1Dx(2) with 70-200 and 600mm & A7r + FE 16-35), I do not see "loss-less RAW files" impact in final results.

http://www.canonrumors.com/forum/index.php?topic=26774.msg493729;boardseen#new
 

Mt Spokane Photography

I post too Much on Here!!
Mar 25, 2011
16,096
1,191
dolina said:
I think it may have to do with SD card's bandwidth. Just a theory though. ::)
If that were the case, why does it work with the Canon 5DS and its much larger files. The Card bandwidth only affects the time to download a file from the camera. Card speed has been a limiting factor for DSLR's since the first one. That's why the light remains on for a time when shooting at a high FPS. Files are still downloading from the buffer memory in the camera. If you fill the buffer, than the camera slows down its shooting to match the bandwidth of the card.
 

weixing

EOS RP
Jul 20, 2010
613
14
Mr1Dx said:
johnf3f said:
Now if Sony update the firmware to allow loss-less RAW files and update the body so that it has an optical TTL viewfinder and decent AF then I will joint the queue for one - OOPS! They would have to fit a mirror for that!
Ah well back to my crappy old Canon brick!
Shot nearly two thousand photos from my recent Safari trip(1Dx(2) with 70-200 and 600mm & A7r + FE 16-35), I do not see "loss-less RAW files" impact in final results.

http://www.canonrumors.com/forum/index.php?topic=26774.msg493729;boardseen#new
Hi,
Personally, l don't think lossless RAW is that importance, but some might think it's importance to them as they want to get the most out of everything... eg. those who intend to use it for serious Astrophotography which required true RAW. Same with DR, I personally think Canon DR is good enough for my use, but there are other who want as much DR as possible.

Have a nice day.
 

neuroanatomist

I post too Much on Here!!
Jul 21, 2010
24,645
2,159
Mr1Dx said:
Shot nearly two thousand photos from my recent Safari trip(1Dx(2) with 70-200 and 600mm & A7r + FE 16-35), I do not see "loss-less RAW files" impact in final results.
Well, when your sensor captures data that the camera throws away before saving the file, you don't really know what you're missing.
 

3kramd5

EOS R6
Mar 2, 2012
3,084
405
neuroanatomist said:
Mr1Dx said:
Shot nearly two thousand photos from my recent Safari trip(1Dx(2) with 70-200 and 600mm & A7r + FE 16-35), I do not see "loss-less RAW files" impact in final results.
Well, when your sensor captures data that the camera throws away before saving the file, you don't really know what you're missing.
In before: when your signal chain injects a bunch of noise before digitizing the data, you don't really know what you're missing :p
 

Tugela

EOS R
Feb 12, 2014
865
22
Don Haines said:
Can Sony create lossless RAW files? The answer is YES! The already do.... they just don't save them....

Step 1 - Read the sensor
Step 2 - Save the sensor data in memory
Step 3 (the way they do it now) - Run lossy compression algorithm on memory file
Step 4 - Save memory file on memory card...

All they have to do is forget to do step 3.... or to use any of the thousands of lossless compression algorithms instead of their lossy algorithm.
I doubt it is that simple. After step 2 there would be a step 2b, which would be processing the sensor data to create a raw mage. Compression is probably built into that for efficiency purposes, so enabling lossless raw might not be all that simple and require a complete rewrite of the code (or more, if it is done in hardware).
 

Tugela

EOS R
Feb 12, 2014
865
22
Mt Spokane Photography said:
dolina said:
I think it may have to do with SD card's bandwidth. Just a theory though. ::)
If that were the case, why does it work with the Canon 5DS and its much larger files. The Card bandwidth only affects the time to download a file from the camera. Card speed has been a limiting factor for DSLR's since the first one. That's why the light remains on for a time when shooting at a high FPS. Files are still downloading from the buffer memory in the camera. If you fill the buffer, than the camera slows down its shooting to match the bandwidth of the card.
Not necessarily. The sensor data in the buffer has to be processed prior to being saved, and that is likely the rate limiting step, not bandwidth, since it requires far more work than simple sending data through an interface. Once the buffer is filled, processing will be a bottleneck, with files being written to the card as each is processed. That would result in your write light flashing long after you have finished shooting.

People assume that the card bandwidth is the bottleneck because they see the light flashing, but the processor is more likely the real bottleneck.
 

K-amps

EOS 5D Mark IV
Aug 8, 2011
1,790
2
Indianapolis
neuroanatomist said:
Mt Spokane Photography said:
Its interesting that they can build a high tech sensor, but don't know how to use a lossless compression, and have to investigate for what has been 3 years or so already.
Yeah, but their method of lossy compression is innovative.
Don't know how old you are John, but remember ATRAC ?
 

Maximilian

The dark side - I've been there
Nov 7, 2013
2,980
1,013
Germany
K-amps said:
neuroanatomist said:
Mt Spokane Photography said:
Its interesting that they can build a high tech sensor, but don't know how to use a lossless compression, and have to investigate for what has been 3 years or so already.
Yeah, but their method of lossy compression is innovative.
Don't know how old you are John, but remember ATRAC ?
I can remember using MiniDiscs with ATRAC in good HiFi (won't call it HighEnd).
And it really sucked. A lot of room information loss, etc. compared to the original (CD) recording.
For mobile it was okay. But not for home HiFi. (At least for me)
 

neuroanatomist

I post too Much on Here!!
Jul 21, 2010
24,645
2,159
K-amps said:
Don't know how old you are John, but remember ATRAC ?
ATRAC? Ahhh...the MiniDisc, another lost format battle for Sony.

Don't know how old you are, but my original portable music format was not ATRAC, but 8-track. ;)