Sony resolves the “Star Eater” issue in the new a7rIII?

Nov 18, 2017

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

Sony resolves the “Star Eater” issue in the new a7rIII?

Nov 18, 2017

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

Join the Discussion

Share on:

If you are an astrophotographer, then you may be familiar with the so-called “Star Eater” problem of Sony a7R II. The noise reduction algorithm of the camera mistakes sharp pinpoint stars for noise, so it deletes them from photos or reduces their brightness. But after open letters and complaints from astrophotographers – Sony seems to have fixed the issue in the new a7R III.

Photographer Drew Geraci shared the good news with the community. He posted the comparison images of stars, shot with the full production model of the a7RIII. The first photos were taken at 3.2″ and 10” at ISO 12,800 with the Sony 16-35mm GM lens.

Later on, at the request of some users, Drew tested the camera in Bulb mode, at 2,5 and 5 seconds. You can download these RAW photos from this link and compare them (the password is “star”).

Although Drew’s test shots show the improvement over the previous model, Mark Shelley provided a deeper analysis of the 10s image. He points out this photo may not be reliable for the test. A crop shows that there’s some trailing of the stars, so the “Star Eater” doesn’t recognize them as noise. Still, the images in Bulb mode look good, both at 2,5 and 5 seconds.

So far, the new Sony a7R III has been mainly praised for its 10fps continuous shooting and great AF capabilities. But after these test images, it seems they’ve resolved a major problem astrophotographers had with this camera. So, it may be a deal-breaker for them when it comes to upgrading. We need a few more tests to make sure, but for now, the test shots show that Sony a7R III won’t “eat the stars.”

[via Sony Alpha Rumors, Drew Geraci]

Filed Under:

Tagged With:

Find this interesting? Share it with your friends!

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

Join the Discussion

DIYP Comment Policy
Be nice, be on-topic, no personal information or flames.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

11 responses to “Sony resolves the “Star Eater” issue in the new a7rIII?”

  1. Tj Ó Seamállaigh Avatar
    Tj Ó Seamállaigh

    I’m not an avid astrophotographer but to my knowledge, one of the advises I commonly read when doing astrophotography is to turn OFF the noise reduction completely as it have some critical disadvantages. It’s better to take a dark frame, to my knowledge, and use it to reduce the noise in processing (well, with maybe some noise-reduction plugins if that helps).

    1. Ben Olry Avatar
      Ben Olry

      That is the issue with star eater algorithm. It cannot be turned off. If there was a simple menu switch nobody would be complaining.

      1. Tj Ó Seamállaigh Avatar
        Tj Ó Seamállaigh

        oh! is that the case then!? Weird. I thought such an option would (and should) be available on all advanced DSLRs; logically.

        1. Petar Maksimovic Avatar
          Petar Maksimovic

          Well A7RIII is not a dslr :D

        2. Ben Olry Avatar
          Ben Olry

          There is a difference between raw baking and Long Exposure Noise reduction with dark frames(which is optional in Sony cameras). Most Brands do raw baking to a certain degree and Nikon had similar Problems with one of it’s D8xx, if I remember correctly. Some brands do a lot of raw baking and some do less. Sony is just the company that seems to do it most deliberately. I do all my astrophotography with the A7RII and I haven’t really run into this problem. You need to have very good optics so that the stars are able to be small enough, you need to have very good seeing as the airy disc would otherwise blow up the star size and it would again not be affected by the raw baking and your focal length must be pretty wide so you don’t have starstreaking at an exposure time >= 4 seconds. So there are more ways not to run into this issue than there are to encounter it. Imho this issue is blown out of proportion.

          1. Tj Ó Seamállaigh Avatar
            Tj Ó Seamállaigh

            Side question: Seems you do astrophotography directly with the camera without a telescope. Have you experienced with various filters? (IR, H-Alpha?)

          2. Ben Olry Avatar
            Ben Olry

            I have an h-alpha filter for the Sony a7rII but it is a cumbersome business as transmission in unmodded camers is between 25-35% due to the ir/uv filter and only the red channel is usable. So I get like 0.3*0.25 the amount of signal, that I would be using if I shot without the filter. I mainly use it to get some clean data (with much less light pollution) to enhance my rgb images. So on nights were the moon is up or I am unable to leave home I can collect data for the red channel. I also had an 2″ broadband high contrast filter (huetech Idas P2) that fitted the drop in filter slot of the my super tele photo 300/2.8 Canon EF (the first Version from the nineties). But it had some strange radial effects as the filter was not built for such a fast lens and the incident angles in such fast optics were not close to perpendicular. So I returned it.

          3. Tj Ó Seamállaigh Avatar
            Tj Ó Seamállaigh

            Pretty interesting. I do have a modified Canon 7D. Check if you like to mod one of your cameras if you have more than one at lifepixel.com. It’s worth it. So far, I’m doing artistic work. I got H-alpha but, as usual, I learn after buying, and the trans chart is quite similar to my B+W 092 infrared filter, except with more Red. It says do not try shooting the sun with it (and it is called the Night Sky filter), but I’m planning to do it any time now. I did shoot the sun already with my 403 UV-pass filter and 092 IR filter but of course I would have to reduce the intensity of light here with multiples of NDs or super ND, and recently i got solar filter. I wanna see if H-alpha would do anything interesting with the sun spectrum. Collecting the data for the Red channel seems an interesting endeavor – I’ll keep that in mind as it might have an artistic use as well!

          4. Ben Olry Avatar
            Ben Olry

            regarding solar:

            You really need to mind your own safety first when you do solar photography. A proper sun filter, be it nd, h-alpha or calcium is strongly advised. Do not work with in body filters when shooting solar under all circumstances because the sun’s light is already focused by then in the optical train and can burn through pretty much everything in seconds.

            regarding ha-rgb:

            Here is a comparison of rgb, ha and ha-rgb of the veil nebula

            https://www.reddit.com/r/astrophotography/comments/72c1ce/the_veil_nebula_comparison_rgbhaha_enhanced_rgb/

            This is a pretty standard technique in astrophotography. I can recommend reading up on astrophotography on this sub very warmly. Local astronomy clubs are also a great resource to learn and broaden your understanding of the whole process. Clear skies :)

          5. Tj Ó Seamállaigh Avatar
            Tj Ó Seamállaigh

            Oh yes, I did shoot the sun before and learned it the hard way that the filter must be in front of the lens. I fried my Kodak infrared gel filter (picture) once but my camera was saved by some grace. Unfortunately, not much clubs here (no clubs at all). People here do not have the time to share hobbies; they have plenty of times fighting even when it comes to photography. That’s why I work alone and learn alone. Thanks for the link it will be valuable.
            I’m not an avid astrophotographer by the way, but I do like to try my luck from time to time. Clears my mind.
            I wish now though if i do have proper filters for my mirror lens but well… guess I have to try my luck as it is.
            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/aa4b8a9e298da90571c3abed3f5b400ee5a45d2fe313d1e1c97ae812ec0ecc8f.jpg