I have to admit: I don’t use pixel shift a lot. Actually, I almost never use it. I shoot landscapes and with the slightest movement pixel shift doesn’t work well, so there are very few occasions when I actually use it. And when I can, I usually forget to shoot it. This is also because the Sony A7RIII pixel shift was not that interesting for me. Yes, there was a bit more detail in the files but it was not crazy significant.
However, with the new pixel shift of the A7RIV I can actually increase the resolution of the files to 241 Megapixel with the 16 shot pixel shift. Now it gets interesting! In this article I test the 16 shot pixel shift and show you the amount of detail of the image.
For this test I used the Amsterdam Rijksmuseum Library which was completely still. I put the camera on an edge that was available (no tripod) with zero movement. For this test I shot the image in 16-shot pixel shift (241 Megapixel), 4-shot pixel shift (same as the ‘old’ pixel shift with a 61MP file on the A7RIV, but with increased detail) and a normal shot of 61MP. The interval was set to ‘shortest’.
Tests were done with the 16-35GM at 16mm with an aperture of f/8 at ISO 100.
I focused on a bunch of books in the middle.
After shooting, I opened the software in Sony’s Imaging Edge software. I first opened them in the viewer, selected the images and created the Pixel Shift Images. This is a fairly easy process of just selecting the 16 images, right click and press ‘Create and Adjust Px. Shift Multi Shoot. Composite Image.’ I applied the same technique for combining the 4-shot Pixel shift image.
This image then opens in the ‘Editor’ and from there I simply exported it to a 16 bit TIF without doing any edits, not even applying the lens profile. For file size purposes I then explored these to full size JPG images for you to view. You can check the files HERE.
Now let’s take a look at the files:
When we zoom in at 300% on the original and the 4x pixel shift (both 61MP) we see the following:
4x Pixel Shift
As expected, the pixel shift file with the same resolution has more detail. Now let’s take a look at the 240mp image, same area:
And again as expected, even more detail on this one. Let's take an even closer look:
Here the difference is clearly noticeable. The 241 megapixel file has, as expected, a lot more detail.
As mentioned above, you can check out the files for yourself via this link:
PLEASE NOTE: Do not use these files for commercial use. You're free to repost this article but you have to mention my name Albert Dros and website www.albertdros.com as the source. Only use these files in combination with this article.
When we take a look at the full 241 Megapixel file, the complete left/right edge of the frames looks a little bit soft. My guess is that this is because of my focus in the centre in combination with the aperture of f/8. Focus becomes more sensitive when dealing with huge resolution files.
The 16 shot pixel shift functions works great if you want a crazy amount of detail. Use cases would be architectural photography and still life. I’m not sure if I will use it a lot in the field. To be honest: probably not. But I definitely would like to experiment with this more. The amount of extra detail and resolution you get from the 16 shot pixel shift is too significant to ignore and deserves a try to implement it in my workflow.
Any questions or comments, feel free to comment below.