The Sony a7R II owners awoke to a nice present from Sony. The long awaited, uncompressed RAW firmware update was dropped for owners this morning and as any self-respecting camera reviewer, I quickly downloaded the update and ran out for some test shots.
This is not an exhaustive review by any means, but just some of my initial thoughts and observations after installing the update and taking a few shots with the new uncompressed RAW option turned on.
Quick Notes for a7R II Owners
Just a quick note, apparently there is a small bug in the firmware update where if you have APS-C mode turned to Auto, the camera will default to ON after the firmware update. So you will have to go into your menu and turn it back to Auto or Off if you want to get full resolution files.
Initial Impressions & Observations
Before I jump into the file comparisons and all that, I wanted to discuss the install process for the firmware. It is simple enough, you just go to Sony’s website, download the firmware update file and connect your camera to your computer. You then follow some basic on-screen instructions and the rest of the update process is fairly automatic. In all, it took me about 10 minutes (download to completion) to get the firmware updated.
Hide Your Hard Drives, File Size Comparision
Next, the obvious question is regarding the file size difference. I took four image samples this morning, two with the default compressed RAW files and two with the new uncompressed RAW files. In both cases, the compressed files were around 42MB per file, while the new uncompressed files were around 83MB per file. So if you decide to use the uncompressed option, you can expect to have your file sizes essentially doubled.
You can see web sized thumbnails below. Chances are, you probably can’t see a difference between the two at this size; I couldn’t. So for those of you pixel peepers, or those interested, you can download a file with the actual full RAW files here (File Dropper | We Transfer).
So, you have seen the test images, you know the file size difference, now it’s time for my thoughts. Will I be using the uncompressed raw format for the majority of my image going forward?
I never had a problem with the compressed raw files personally, but for the same reason why I always shoot RAW over Jpeg, I think I will be using the new uncompressed RAW over the compressed version. Just on the chance that the newer files have slightly more latitude in processing, and less chance of any artifacts.
But now I am curious what you think, do you see any difference in the RAW file samples? a7R II owners, will you be using the new uncompressed RAW files going forward or will you stick with the compressed files? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think!