Sony's new rumoured a7000 may have 'digital overlap HDR'

The latest rumours about Sony’s next APS-C format high end camera say that it might feature ‘digital overlap HDR’ (DOL-HDR).

DOL-HDR is a technology that allows for a semi-HDR image to be taken using two frames from the sensor with less than 1/4000th of second between frames. This allows for two frame HDR images to be taken of moving subjects.

If you look into DOL-HDR on the Web you will find that what basically happens is that the camera takes the normal meter reading, and then takes a frame at about 1.5 stops over, and another frame as 1.5 stops under; then makes the DOL-HDR using those two frames.

Some smart phones (cell phones for my USA readers), such as Googles Pixel, already use DOL-HDR. However, this is on a much smaller sensor than APS-C. Larger sensors make it harder to implement DOL-HDR because of the time taken to clear the sensor and get it ready for the second frame.

Rumours are suggesting that the Sony DOL-HDR implementation has less the 1/6000th of a second between the two frames—which, given the sensor size—is pretty amazing. Given this, then if the actual exposure was 1/1000th the DOL-HDR sequence would happen in about 1/450th of a second.

I have not seen many examples of DOL-HDR but it is said to improve dynamic range by as much as two stops in the RAW image. Imagine the post-processing opportunities that an additional two stops of dynamic range would permit.

Following is about the only good example that I could find on the Web.

Click image to see larger

If the a7000 (assuming the camera is even called this) does include DOL-HDR, and it works as good as suggested, then that will make this new camera very interesting. Even to people who are currently shooting full frame. Especially if the a7000 does have Sony’s new 32MP big-bucket sensor.

Is Sony's rumoured new a7000 APS-C going to be THAT good?

Anyone who does a search of the Web for Sony’s likely upgrade to the highly popular a6500 APS-C camera will find that the replacement for the a6500 is most likely to be called the a7000—rather than the a6700.. You will also find a lot of articles about the rumoured a7000 being the ‘best APS-C camera ever made’.

There are a lot of writers close to the photography markets that are very confident that the a7000 will not have the same form factor as the a6500. That it will be more like the a7 series of Sony cameras, as depicted by the image below clipped from Digital Camera World.

Image links to article at Digital Camera World

Image links to article at Digital Camera World

Another of the more interesting rumours is that the a7000 will have 32 megapixels crammed onto the half-frame APS-C sensor.

This is interesting because there are many articles that can be found on expert photography pages that argue that the perfect resolution for an APS-C sensor is 24MP and that any higher resolution would result in a degradation of the image quality. This is based on the premise that the larger the size of the sensor site the better the image capture capabilities of the sensor. So, considering this premise, increasing the number of sensor sites on the same sized sensor—which, obviously, results in smaller sensor sites—in turn will impact RAW image quality.

This sensor site size problem is an issue that manufacturers of smart phones have to try and work around all the time. They work around it by adding more and more post processing to the images in an attempt to regain image quality lost on the sensor. This post-processing impacts the faithfulness of the captured image, but—by and large—smart phone users are not concerned by this. Especially as the final picture is then generally only viewed on sub-6” screen. It only becomes an issue if enlargement prints are subsequently required or heavy cropping is done.

However, it is a different story when talking about serious photographers. With serious photographers, if there is any post processing to be done then they want to be the ones doing it. All of it! Because of this Sony cannot be putting a sensor into the a7000 that does not deliver at least as good results as that of the a6500 at the RAW level. No intrusive in-camera post processing fix-up allowed.

Sony also have a great 26MP APS-C sensor. They might just avoid the whole sensor site issue created by using the 32MP sensor and put the 26MP sensor into the a7000. Issue avoided.

We may not have to wait too long. Most sites I can find are suggesting that Sony will announce the a7000 late in March.

VW T-ROC Golf coming to Australia in 2020

VW are going to bring the Golf SUV, badged as the T-ROC, to Australia in 2020.

TROCsuv1.jpg

This looks like an interesting unit. It has three engine versions. One of them is the popular (in the Golf GTI) 2.0 litre turbo which is, according to all reports that I have read, a zippy little unit.

As Subaru’s 2.0 litre non-turbo XV (called the Crosstrek in the USA) is such a tardy performer, maybe the VW T-ROC would be a good choice to replace my XT Forester with. The Forester just feels too big for me now I am on my own. And a 2020 release for the T-TOC probably fits in reasonably well with my retirement planning.

GolfTROC2.jpg

Checking around the Web I can see that VW does not have the same reliability rating as Subaru. This might be an issue for me. I do like to go for a reliable vehicle. Reliability is very important to me. Which is one reason I have never bought a BMW. They are not even in the Top 20 for reliability.

I guess now I will just have to wait until the T-ROC is released and see what the reviewers have to say.

TROCInside.jpg

Post from the past: Using the awesome 'em' dash

This is a re-post of another post from the past.

This rather long post was originally posted on the 26th August, 2009 and talks about the use of one of my favourite punctuation indicators—the ‘em’ dash (see, I just used one there).

oOo

I am not a strict grammar and syntax person but there are some regular syntactical errors that writers make over and over that do bother me. One of these involves the use, or, more accurately the non-use or incorrect use of the 'em dash'. So many writers use a hyphen or standard dash (en dash) where an em dash was supposed to be used.

The three most common types of dashes used are:

  • The hyphen (-) [Alt+45].

  • The en dash (–) [Alt+0150, or Ctrl+Num- in Microsoft Office].

  • The em dash (—) [Alt+0151, or Ctrl+Alt+Num- in Microsoft Office].

The basic Hyphen: The hyphen (-) is the shortest of these three dashes. It is technically exactly half the length of the ‘en’ dash in the font being used.

A hyphen is typically used to join words to make a single logical word or to separate syllables of a word, generally for the purposes of word wrapping.

There is no padding space used before or after a hyphen.

On a standard PC keyboard the hyphen is the un-shifted character between the zero (0) and the equals sign (=). On a Windows computer it can also be generated by holding down the Alt key and entering the number 45 on the numeric keypad (written as Alt+45).

Examples of the first use: two-thirds, sub-section, pre-cursor, out-of-body, cul-de-sac, no-holds-barred, corporate-wide, face-to-face, and bail-out.

Second use: With modern day word processing, and with fully justified text (justified left and right margins) falling out of favour, words are rarely hyphenated for wrapping with the exception of newspapers and novels; however examples would be: forbid-ding, Chey-enne, per-haps, feath-ers, and appre-ciate. [Examples taken from John Jakes' novel "Heaven and Hell"]

The Economist Style Guide gives a useful run-down on the correct use of the hyphen.

En dash: The en dash (–) is slightly longer than a hyphen. In a properly constructed font the en dash should be the exact length of the letter ‘n’. Hence the name ‘en’ dash.

The en dash is generally used to indicate a range or to convey the meaning of 'through to'.

Unlike the hyphen and the em dash, an en dash should always be preceded and followed by padding spaces.

For users of Microsoft Office tools (e.g. Word, Excel, etc.,) an en dash can be entered by holding down the Ctrl and Alt keys together and then pressing the numeric keypad hyphen key (above the plus key). On a Windows computer it can also be entered by holding down the Alt key and entering 0150 on the numeric keypad (Alt+0150).

Examples: 100 – 500, 1980 – 2009, and Perth – Bunbury.

Em dash: The em dash (—) is the longest of the three. It should be twice the length of the en dash, which should also be the length of the letter ‘m’ in the font—hence the name ‘em’ dash.

The em dash is probably the most used by writers on the Web, or it would be if they knew this was the dash they intended to use.

Em dashes have three functions. Firstly, an em dash pair can be used to inject a complementary or explanatory thought into a sentence. Secondly, a trailing em dash at the end of a sentence indicates an unfinished statement or thought. Finally, an unpaired em dash can be used to add some final thought or clarifying comment at the end of a sentence.

Almost all style guides indicate that em dashes should be used without padding spaces and this is how I have always used them; however, when I went looking for examples I found that some publishers do use padding spaces around em dashes. I would note however that the local West Australian Newspaper here in Perth uses them correctly, as does the national paper The Australian.

Examples of the first use: (1) 'This fundamental process issue—how to get bureaucracy out of the way—is one that our Human Resources staff are driving.' (2) '… to work closely with people—now partners instead of employees—doing the work'.

Examples of the second use: (1) 'What kind of physician are you—'; (2) 'Look at you! You have let yourself go until you are as soft and as short of wind as an old priest—'. (3) 'It was his Holiness, the abbot of the temple of Osiris—'. [Examples taken from Wilbur Smith's novel "The River God"]

An example of the third use: 'The pieces came together as the result of a strong relationship between the two companies—and between modern technology and manufacturing processes'.

At the copy-editing course I did we were told that the word ‘and’ should never precede an em dash. If you found yourself putting an ‘and’ at the start of a paired em dash then you should probably be using a comma and not an em dash.

[Examples for first and third use are from the book "Business @ the Speed of Thought" by Bill Gates]

Special note on using MS Word: If you use Microsoft Word you can also have an em dash automatically entered by using two hyphens (- -) then as soon as you enter a space (which will happen after the word following the two hyphens), MS Word will automatically replace the two hyphens with an em dash—because it knows an em dash is required there.

Okay . . . this post has gone well over the 500 words (it is 748 up to here) but it was a hard one to trim down.

oOo

As I said, I like to use the em dash and find it useful. But some writers don’t believe in the em dash and will not use it.

Will the markets finally hit 6,800 by the end of 2019?

For anyone who listens to—or kind of watches, in the background—either 95Money or ABC24 regularly, then you would have picked up that the financial forecasters are very confident that the Australian ASX200 share market index will finally get back to its pre-GFC level of 6,800 (11 years ago) by the close of this year.

As someone who is on the cusp of ‘retiring’ I very much hope they are right.

As you can see from the chart above, the ASX200 has managed to climb up to 6,167 today (22nd Feb, 2019).

As regular readers would be aware, all of the other ‘western’ markets made it back to their pre-GFC levels five or six years ago and are now well above those levels. But, for whatever reason, the Australian market is struggling badly to claw its way back to its pre-GFC levels.

However, as much I so want the market to get back to pre-GFC levels so my retail superannuation fund increases a bit , I am not getting too excited. This is because the experts have been predicting the Australian market would get back to 6,800 for at least three years now.

Also, there seems to be a lot of financial troubles that would work against our market getting back to 6,800. One of our major trading countries, China, seems to be wagging their ‘naughty naughty’ finger at us—especially in relation to coal and iron ore imports, but also for tourism and student numbers from China. As well, government and personal debt is at levels never seen before. Levels that are three times previous peaks. On top of this, the housing/property market has hit bad times with some forecasters expecting prices in Sydney and Melbourne to drop by a further 20 percent during 2019 and other cities to fall by a further 6 to 10 percent.

Even so, I really would like the market to somehow magically get back to 6,800.

Come on guys. I want to retire.