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Sony A7Rii compared with Sony A7R & Canon 5DSr

Dynamic Range Testing

Tim Parkin

Tim Parkin

Amateur Photographer who plays with big cameras and film when in between digital photographs.

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Testing brand new cameras sounds like such fun. Lots of gear to play with and we even went over to the Lake District, one of the most beautiful locations in the UK and had the company of Mark Littlejohn - last years winner of Take a View - for company. Now I won’t say it was unenjoyable but after an hour of swapping cameras, lenses, settings batteries on a rainy Latrigg hill above Keswick both of our enthusiasm levels had waned somewhat.

Never the less, on the drive back to Mark’s house and preparing for a bacon bap for breakfast, we were both interested to see just how well the different cameras had performed.

Which different cameras?

Well we’d been asked about a bunch of them over the last few months but the main interest was in the Canon 5DS(r) [tested in a previous issue] and the Sony A7Rii compared with the old A7R.

Lenses are also important, especially when you’re testing resolution, so we also borrowed the Sigma Art 24 and 50mm lenses. This particular test was using the Sigma Art 24mm lens on a view of a quarry on Moss Rigg in the Lake District.

Sitting at Mark’s kitchen counter and getting a preview of the results it was unsurprisingly clear that the more megapixels you get, the more detail you get in the picture and as this isn’t particularly surprising we thought we’d move onto something that is more of an unknown. How well does the new Sony A7Rii perform in terms of dynamic range. There are rumours that it performs slightly better than the Sony A7R which itself performs better than the Canon. Well, let’s take a look. Our test involved exposing a picture so that the brightest parts are exposed to the right and then underexposing a shot by 6 stops.

Normal exposure from the Sony A7Rii

Here's the scene we'll be working with taken at a normal exposure from the Sony A7Rii. Once calibrated (with a colorchecker) all the images at base exposure looked fairly similar


Comparison without any post processing

First of all we’ll show the comparison without any post processing beyond maximum exposure increase and shadow boost. We exposed such that the brightest area of non-sky was exposed to the right (using rawdigger to check) and then stopped down 6 stops and took our ‘under’ exposure.

Full size for each image







Servely Underexposed Example (6 stops) Pushed in Lightroom

The following is intended to demonstrate how far the camera can be pushed in terrible conditions. You won't see these conditions unless you accidentally expose wrongly or shooting into the sun with shadows in the foreground. If you want to see what the cameras can do exposed correctly, please take a look at our following post here.

So with that caveat aside, here’s the result - this is a crop from the tree line at the top right of the image.


We can obviously see a considerable difference here and so straight out of lightroom the A7Rii is nothing short of incredible. Let me remind you, this is +5 exposure and +100 shadow recovery!

Don't forget to click on the images to see them larger (or shift click on them to open them full size in a new tab).

NB: The images were scaled to slightly larger than full size in order to not advantage any particular image. i.e. If we scaled two images to the other one then the unscaled image may be seen to be 'clearer'. However as you see the image on the web page they are at about 50% zoom level. If you want to see things more 'accurately', download the raw files.

Comparison with balanced colours

Next we balanced the colours of the photos in photoshop for a more accurate comparison.


Click here for the full size image.

Read our next article: Sony A7Rii - More Comparisons and Discussion

and the final one in the series: Sony A7RII – Wrap Up

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