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SONY DRO in Movie Mode - Drawbacks? How it is done?
  • Hey Guys.

    This forum seems to be full of technical minded people, I'll post my query here.

    I am interested in the DRO mode which applies processing to both still images and during video mode within Sony Alpha/ Nex cameras. From tests it seems to lower the contrast of the captured data meaning sky is less beached out and darker areas are more exposed. The result is a flatter profile (even flatter than setting your picture profile to flat -3-3-3).

    The camera has 6 DRO modes from 'off' to 'level 1' through to 'level 5'. meaning you can adjust the amount of processing / exposure swing the camera applies to the captured footage.

    Does anyone actually know how this process is working? Is the camera changing the ISO of different parts of the sensor in order to lower sensitivity in the brighter areas of the frame, and raising the iso to get better exposure in the darker areas? In still photography mode the resultant image when looked at in playback mode is brighter than it looked when you actually take the image, but the change is clearly visible in realtime while recording which would suggest to me that there is not a post processing type process going on during movie recording mode. - what you see on the monitor during recording is the same as what you see when you play it back.

    Could it be that it is the camera ramping or lowering ISO depending on the brightness of the details in the frame or is it more likely to be similar to the processing a picture profile would be imparting on the picture?

    I want to get some theories so I can start to look at ways to make best use of this process. EOSHD sstate that DRO adds a lot of noise/colour artifacts to the picture in movie mode, but could this be that if the camera were set to iso 800, the DRO might be ramping things right up to 3200iso in the darker areas? If i set the camera to iso100, it will mean the DRO wont ramp to as high ISO (assuming the DRO is playing with ISO.

    Some clips about the process:-

    I think this feature is yet to be properly understood and up until recently i thought it were just a feature available in still mode. If it is applying at sensor ISO level this could be something Sony havn't thought to advertise as a benefit to using their consumer grade products like NEX5n within indi film making.


  • 12 Replies sorted by
  • I'm rendering out a sample video of DRO in action.. Will update when it is online

  • sample of DRO. you can download the 88mbs mov file if you wish

  • I just did some post work on the footage

    DRO is a winner at low ISO. I never thought i'd get any more DR from the nex5n than on portrait -3-3-3, but i was wrong.

  • i dont think is that grate. Nothing underexposure and gamma shit cant make

  • it's not a huge difference, but lets assume it is making this adjustment at ISO level and i were to shoot a scene that was beautifully exposed on the ground level and the sky would be overexposed. with this maybe 1 stop improvement your gamma shift goes a lot further does it not?

  • This is very interesting. I'll do some tests with my Alpha 57. I'll post the results. Sorry for my english ... (GoogleTranslate)

  • Ah nice. I was surprised how few people responded to this topic. If my suspicions are correct, and it is a realtime selective ISO dependent on brightness/contrast of the subject this is huge. I tested in snowy conditions earlier and will post samples.

  • a further test. 88mbs h264 can be downloaded if required.

  • @Freddy

    Cheers for doing this test. Because you have quite a forgiving sky and foreground, with the sun behind you have everything nicely balanced. It seems that DRO in this instance is actually boosting exposure slightly and also increasing contrast rather than lowering contrast as can be seen in my test above. Please can you try a similar test using similar settings but next time have the sun more in front of you so less of the foreground is well exposed. It would be nice to see how DRO acts in that instance too.

  • That's it. There are many "tingling" in low light with the DRO Lv5. I think the DRO use one when there is a large difference in exposure in the same plane. Strongly XAVC (4:2:2 - 10 bits and 100Mbs) for Sony Alpha & NEX ... ;-)

  • Indeed. From responses and what I have seen it seems DRO is best left turned off, and use adjustment in post. I sent a message to sony to ask about DRO and they said they don't give information about the type of processing or if it is an ISO change. I think graduated ND filters are the key for now.

    If only xavc were used on the consumer cameras and on fs range. that would be amazing

  •  I was surprised how few people responded to this topic

    I've made the same experience here, as soon as the GHx isn't main subject of the topic it seems that not many people will be interested in it.

    Speaking in general, in terms of quality it seems to be simply always better to disable in-camera effects and do it in the PP. The little CPUs of the consumer cameras just have their obvious limits. In my own experience I've got best IQ for the PP disabling all in-camera "intelligent" modes, set sharpening on the lowest value, NR and contrast not on the very lowest but on second lowest value (despite many people here set all to minimum, I achieved better results this way) and setting of saturation level depends entirely on the lens you use, you should know it better than anybody else.