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jkauzy

Sony A9 Question: Is this banding normal?

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Hey guys! My name is Josh. I'm new to the forums so I hope I'm doing this right. Haha. The reason for this post is because I've experienced some major banding and discoloration on my Sony a9 that I pre-ordered before its launch under 2 years ago. When I started noticing these issues after getting into a lot of low-light projects (maybe 8 months into the purchase), I was told from Sony support to download the available firmware updates to see if they fix the problems - which update after update, never did address these issues but often exemplified them. In addition, I was told to take certain steps of precautions when shooting to minimize the banding, like using the mechanical shutter and keeping the ss under 1/650, which have seemed to only help on rare occasions (while also suppressing the A9's capabilities to shoot at high speeds). This is my description of the problem:

"I'm experiencing banding which has sometimes even worsened with firmware updates. Whenever I'm in areas with any artificial lighting, my camera trips out with either banding or discoloration. This banding takes many different forms:

#1) Singular thick yellow line (approximately 1/3 size of the image): When photos are taken in quick succession, the yellow line "scrolls" across the multiple images (demonstrated in Banding_Engagement). 

#2) Singular thick black line: same scenario as the previous, but is seen when the camera is equipped with a flash because a linear black shadow is cast in every image (usually 1/3 size of the shot - I deleted the photos thinking something was wrong with the flash, so this demonstration is not pictured). 

#3) Heavy Discoloration: a lot of times I'll experience a heavy yellow tint, or even a dark orange tint. (demonstrated in Banding_Sports and Banding_Wedding).

#4) Small lines across images: often experienced in very low-light/artificial lighting environments like concerts (demonstrated in Banding_Concert and Banding_Plane)."


So after experiencing these problems for quite a while, I finally sent it in to one of Sony's recommended repair facilities, expecting to find out I had some sort of sensor issue. I received feedback from this repair facility saying everything was operational, and the banding/discoloration issues I had are normal for the Sony A9. The official statement I received is as follows:

"After inspecting your Sony ILCE-9, serial number *removed from text*, we determine the camera checks within specification. All functions check ok at this time. We only recommend to have the sensor clean, but it's totally optional. Other than minor cosmetic scratch near card door, the camera is in really good condition. Banding marks showing on some of the images are normal. It is caused by lighting and actual camera refresh rate difference."  

With all this said, and being that this issue is considered "normal", is this still a $4500 camera? There are a lot of things I love about Sony cameras and lenses, as I have guided two other photographers to adopt Sony products as well. But man, I can't take on jobs with confidence that this camera will perform. Then again, maybe I'm doing something wrong or could be doing something better. Does anyone have any thoughts/tips for me to minimize the issue? 

For other Sony a9 users, is this normal/fair to expect? Do you have any recommendations for what I should do? If I were to sell it and look into the AR7III, do you think I would still have these issues, especially if I'm shooting a lot of low-light stuff (like concerts)?

I'm just in this spot where I don't know what to do next. Thanks in advance for your help guys - really appreciate it!

Banding_Engagement-8.jpg

Banding_Engagement-7.jpg

Banding_Engagement-6.jpg

Banding_Engagement-5.jpg

Banding_Engagement-4.jpg

Banding_Engagement-3.jpg

Banding_Engagement-2.jpg

Banding_Concert.jpg

Banding_Concert-2.jpg

Banding_Engagement-9.jpg

Banding_Engagement-10.jpg

Banding_Engagement-11.jpg

Banding_Engagement.jpg

Banding_Plane-06168.jpg

Banding_Plane-06171.jpg

Banding_Sports-2.jpg

Banding_Sports.jpg

Banding_Wedding-2.jpg

Banding_Wedding-3.jpg

Banding_Wedding.jpg

Edited by jkauzy

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1 hour ago, jkauzy said:

Actually a quote from Sony:  It is caused by lighting and actual camera refresh rate difference.

I consider this to be the proper answer, and not some lame excuse by Sony. Also their advice, to avoid short exposure times, goes into the right direction. This would help to "average" out any effects of LED flicker.

With the spreading of more and more LED-type lighting, this problem can be expected to become more frequent, and not only the a9 will be affected.

Reason being, that LED type light sources emit light in a pulsating fashion at a frequency unknown to the camera body, while the sensor readout also occurs at a frequency, which the  LED has no knowledge of. These frequencies are likely to be different, and shooting at artificial light becomes prone to some kind of interference, superpositition, cancelling or whatever you might call this.

Even though the human eye generally cannot realize the flickering nature of LED lighting, the sensor of a Sony alpha sure can. The faster the sensor, the better it is at capturing distinct phases (i.e.: darkness, color variations) of this flicker. You just can't beat physics.

 

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1 hour ago, Chrissie said:

I consider this to be the proper answer, and not some lame excuse by Sony. Also their advice, to avoid short exposure times, goes into the right direction. This would help to "average" out any effects of LED flicker.

With the spreading of more and more LED-type lighting, this problem can be expected to become more frequent, and not only the a9 will be affected.

Reason being, that LED type light sources emit light in a pulsating fashion at a frequency unknown to the camera body, while the sensor readout also occurs at a frequency, which the  LED has no knowledge of. These frequencies are likely to be different, and shooting at artificial light becomes prone to some kind of interference, superpositition, cancelling or whatever you might call this.

Even though the human eye generally cannot realize the flickering nature of LED lighting, the sensor of a Sony alpha sure can. The faster the sensor, the better it is at capturing distinct phases (i.e.: darkness, color variations) of this flicker. You just can't beat physics.

 

Chrissie, do you think turning on Anti Flicker Shooting might help mitigate the issue?

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11 hours ago, Bokehbobo said:

Chrissie, do you think turning on Anti Flicker Shooting might help mitigate the issue?

That's odd: I couldn't find this function for the a9 (running on v 5.0) but did find it for the a7r3. To me it sounds like it has been specifically designed for the very artificial lighting situations that we're talking about. I'd definitely give it a try if I had it on my camera too. (Note my tag line...).

Note also, that Sony recommends taking tests shots beforehand. Shooting under artificial lighting conditions seems to be tricky business:

Quote

We recommend that you take test shots beforehand.

 

Edited by Chrissie

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I had not had the A 9 long, before the LCD packed up and you could only use the viewfinder.

Jessops UK sent it for repair , within a week of getting it back, the same thing started again. Jessops then replaced theA 9 Body.

I have not experienced your issues, but I only take photos.

Daylight & night high iso, along with the odd flash foto !

Are you using video and continuous LCD lighting ?

That is an area that I know nothing about , sorry.

Ok you sent it back to Sony, I have to admit, they could have given you a better explanation than that, when you considder the cost of the A 9.

Hope you find a solucion.

Just a thought tho, The Sony A 7  S     

Series are specially for low light.

Check the reviews ,   ken rockwell etc.

Swopping the A 9 for the A 7 III or  R III would probably be a worse option

Cheers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Wally The Confused

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