Before the rush

Before the rush
by evan-pak

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I've been wanting to bite on the new Sony a7 mirrorless full-frame camera, but reviews are surfacing poor JPEG quality compared to other FF cameras. While I often shoot RAW, JPEGs are critical if you want to use the WIFI to send images to your phone for uploading or proofing.


Would it be possible for Sony to significantly increase JPEG quality (sharpening, WB,posterization, etc.) with a firmware upgrade, or are there other variables that can only be addressed with a new version (processor, meters, etc.)?

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What do you mean by "JPEG performance"? – TFuto Jan 24 '14 at 14:35
JPEG performance would be sharpness, noise reduction, posterization, etc. – AndyML Jan 24 '14 at 15:30
You'd need to clarify your question, if it's a case of quality then the ASICs (hardware optimisation burned into the processor chips) could be instructed to use better quality settings via a firmware update. If the implementation of those is slow or in some way poor or flawed then it would require a hardware change, although that could be introduced into the same production line without changing the model. – James Snell Jan 24 '14 at 15:30
Good point. I changed the wording from performance to quality. – AndyML Jan 24 '14 at 15:37
Related but less specific: Can firmware improve a camera? – mattdm Jan 24 '14 at 16:17
up vote 1 down vote accepted

I'm not sure exactly what you mean by "JPEG performance", but generally digital cameras use specialized hardware to perform calculations and generate JPEG outputs. Unfortunately this also means that there is far less playroom for firmware updates to modify this than for example a desktop computer.

All in all I would not count on a significant makeover of the JPEG generation in the camera.

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Even though it is possible, there's still no guarantee the manufacturer will ever actually release such a firmware update. – Michael Clark Jan 24 '14 at 21:07

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