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Gear & Apps

Sony’s New Digital Filter App | Split Your Sensor/Scene Into 3 Areas & Control Exposure, WB, and More

By Kishore Sawh on March 14th 2017

Sony has just released a new App for their cameras (not to be confused with a smartphone app) that’s likely to be getting a lot of attention and deservedly so. The app is called Digital Filter and essentially lets you to divide the screen/sensor into 2 or 3 areas and allow you to optimize exposure and white balance for each section. What that translates to, is being able to capture a scene with a wide variance in dynamic range so the image looks as it does through your eyes – no more struggling with bright backgrounds and dark foregrounds. It accomplishes the affect you would normally have tried to achieve using various ND and color filters, or through various post post-processing methods, but all in-camera. It looks brilliant.

How many time have you looked out at a vista, any scene where one area is much brighter than the other and you just knew you’d not be able to capture how magnificent it really is with a single frame? That was rhetorical because it’s too many to count. It’s the frequency of scenarios like this why we have things like graduated filters in real and in post, and why we develop HDR phone apps, and do image bracketing and stacking and so on, but this just seems better.

[REWIND: An iPhone Shot This Cover | Save Your Tears Because Those Who Matter Don’t Care]

With the new app you are able to angle the filters, set the exposure and white balance for up to 3 filters in one image, adjust the feathering of the filter, and then make your own presets if you like and the ones provided aren’t all you need. Once you’ve done that and you’re all set, you click the shutter, and each section is capture on its own and the camera blends it all together for you.

The Digital Filter app is available for the following cameras:

Sony A7, A7R, A7II, A7RII, A7S, A7SII
Sony a6000, a6300, a6500
Sony RX100 M3, RX100 M4, RX100 M5
Sony RX10 M2, RX10 M3

The Digital Filter app is different in use, functionality, and image quality than the Sky HDR app, and it costs $30. Whilst there will be and has been some outcry that price is what it is, it probably warrants considering that a single graduated filter of any value would cost this or more, and you’d need filter threads and so on. This actually appears to be a great deal, and if you already have Sky HDR, you can get this Digital Filter app at a discount price of $19.99.

Check it out in action below, and find it here.

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A photographer and writer based in Miami, he can often be found at dog parks, and airports in London and Toronto. He is also a tremendous fan of flossing and the happiest guy around when the company’s good.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Oba Wall

    By the time I did all the settings, on first use, the sun has set, the moon is up and my coffee frozen :) 

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  2. Ben Perrin

    This is nice to have. I’d still prefer to manually blend images for the ultimate control but it’s great that these apps are available and giving people a greater variety of options.

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  3. adam sanford

    Anyone who has ever lugged around 4×6 (or larger) ND grads should instantly see the value in this idea.

    But the devil’s in the details.  Does it get all the information at the same time?  Does it use the same exposure settings and mangle the file with crude exposure adjustments after?  Do you keep the original RAW files if you net something legendary and want a 2nd bite at how it looks in post?

    I’m intrigued, but also skeptical.

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    • Pancho Villa

      Sky HDR and Digital Filter allow you to divide a scene into multiple areas, successively shoot images with different exposures and white balances optimized for each area, and create and save one image from them. You can save all of the original images (*), and also record both the created image and original images in the JPEG and RAW formats. At least that is from the FAQ so sounds promising!

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    • adam sanford

      Yay on keeping originals.  That’s a must.

      Boo on multi-shot required.  Might as well just merge to HDR in post per usual, then.  Multiple shots don’t manage wind, moving foliage, rolling waves, etc. so it looks like the ND grads are sticking around for those scenarios.

      Intrigued on multiple WB in the same shot.  That implies you’ve got ND grads / Reverse ND grads *with a color tone to them*.  Seems a bit ornate, and if you have common textures/foliage in more than one ‘layer’ it will probably look ‘off’, but I must admit I’ve never tried this.  Interesting.

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    • Ken Marcou

      [Ken Marcou has deleted this comment]

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