The Sony RAW Issue


The Sony Alpha RAW Issue from Joerg Niggli on Vimeo.


In some of my recent time lapse sequences from La Palma I have discovered a strange issue with RAW files from a Sony A7S and a Sony A7RII camera.

Update: July 2018
I still get the same problems when using native lenses on Sony Alpha bodies (problem confirmed for A7S, A7R2, A6300).
Three solutions to recommend so far:
  1. don't use Sony or Zeiss native lenses for Holy Grail time lapse shots.
  2. Or try not to pass the 1" to 1.3" second barrier, where the vignetting happens. For day to night sequences this is unfortunately nearly impossible to achieve.
  3. Avoid Sony and use Canon, Nikon or other brands. You might have some other issues with them though ;)

The color shift still happens randomly. I'm still not sure if the problem is from the camera or the raw converter (Adobe RAW).


Update May 2017
last year I have contacted Sony twice about the issue. I also sent them this video. They said, they look into it. I have never heard back from them since them.
Zeiss said, they've passed it on to Sony as well. They think it's not related to the lens.

Description of the error, baked into the RAW files:
From one shot to another there are sudden vignetting changes or magenta shifts in the shadows. The pictures were taken only a few seconds apart with the exact same settings (shutter, ISO, aperture, White Balance).
The vignetting change only happened in sequences shot with Sony Batis 85mm 1.8 and Sony-Zeiss 55mm 1.8 lenses.
The magenta shift also happens with manual lenses (e.g. Samyang 24mm 1.4).

I have checked the original files with different RAW converters (Lightroom, Capture One and DXO), but they all show the same problem.

I don't know the cause and I cannot reproduce it. I have other sequences without the problem.

I can only assume that both issues are linked to the internal processing of RAW files in the Sony cameras. It is known that Sony applies some corrections to the data (e.g. lens correction data) before the RAW file is written to the card.

Sony has not yet replied to my complaint filed a few weeks ago (Case ID 15043449).
I have contacted Zeiss Germany as well. They said, they will look into the issue and may discuss it with Sony people.

The fact that it happened with two different camera bodies and various lenses makes me very cautious to use Sony gear for critical time lapse projects for the moment.

If you have similar issues with your files let me know in the comments or send me a message.

© Copyright 2018 by Jörg Niggli