söndag 10 november 2013

Sony HDR-AS30V image quality

With the 3.0 software upgrade the image quality issues of the SONY HDR-AS30V in 120deg mode were greatly improved, for both with and without anti-shake! The image quality in 120deg mode is now almost as good as for the 170deg mode.

For software version 1.0/2.0:
In a previous post I wrote about the new SONY HDR-AS30V, Action Cam. In that post, which I have updated a couple of times, I mention that the image quality of the 120 degree wide angle setting of the Sony HDR-AS30V Action Cam is horrendous but the 170 degree wide angle setting is rather nice. This got me interested, why is the video in 120 so bad and the 170 not?

During my investigations I have also uncovered that:
  1. the time-lapse function is also affected by this, probably because it follows the video settings. This made it easier to test the issue since I didn't need to extract images from compressed mp4 files.
  2. the still images are always in 170, irregardless of what the "angle" setting of the camera is.
As can be seen in the sample images below the 120 degree wide angle setting is indeed much worse than the 170 degree wide angle setting. When I first started to investigate this I thought that it was the image stabilization that messed up but after seeing this I think it's simple. The 120 degree setting is simply a digital zoom of the 170 degree setting. I draw that conclusion from the fact that if the image in 170 is converted to 1080p, then cropped to become 120 and then up-scaled to 1080p, it's pretty much the same result as shooting with the 120 degree setting.

I don't really know how Sony have implemented the 120 degree setting but I believe it could be better. What I can see (but I know very little about image processing) the image sensor seems to have a lot to offer even for the 120 degree area. Perhaps they have made a mistake or perhaps they have a good reason for the current image quality. I just think it's sad that the 120 degree setting is as bad as it is and hope that Sony can fix it with a new firmware release.

If you have any idéas about this please leave a comment!

Sample images
Click on images for full size.

Normal still image, always 170 degrees:

100% zoom

Normal still image, always 170.
170 degree time-lapse / video image:
100% zoom.

170 degree image.
120 degree time-lapse / video image:
100% zoom.

120 degree image.

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