The low pass filters have long been used on DSLR cameras. As photography professionals may be aware of, the primary purpose of using a low pass filter is avoiding the Moire effect. However, recent launches from prominent camera manufacturers like Nikon have been found to have no low pass filters. If you are a Sony fan and looking forward to a Sony camera with no low pass filter, we will help you find the best options currently available.
What is Low Pass Filter?
The Low pass filter is also known as Anti Aliasing filter or AA filter in the photography circles. The filter is known technically as OPLF or Optical Low Pass Filter. It is placed over the sensor and helps you control the aliasing.
What exactly is aliasing? The artifacts or the Moire effects that you observe when shooting fine grid of pixels. This should be evident when you are photo shooting a person wearing fabric that has fine textured clothe. This would happen because each pixel on your sensor would see only red, blue or green colors. Rest of the colors are interpolated with the data from the neighboring pixels. This phenomenon of demosaicing introduces what is known as Moir effect.
The AA filter or low pass filter as it is generally known as typically consists of three layers. The top layer displaces the image slightly horizontally, the second layer filters out the unneeded infrared radiation and the bottom layer displaces the image slightly vertically. Thus the high frequencies in the picture are blurred, and the Moire effect is reduced. However, the use of AA filter also has an adverse impact as well – it reduces the sharpness of your image.
Why are Low Pass Filters are Done Away With?
Well, the low pass filters are quite helpful in reducing the Moire effect, but your images tend to blur. This would reduce the sharpness of your pictures to a considerable extent. Professional photographers consider the lack of sharpness a substantial issue.
If you are a landscape photographer, you would be unimpressed with the high degree of loss in sharpness. The landscapes come with irregular patterns; there are lesser chances of aliasing or Moire effect affecting them. That would necessarily make the filter fewer cameras the best option for the landscape photographers. They would help bring out the better landscape details and a more elegant definition of the objects.
Moreover, higher pixel density would mean you would experience low or no Moire effects or artifacts. Today’s DSLR cameras come with a higher megapixels count and thus would not ideally be affected by the Moire effect.
Are There any Sony cameras without Anti Aliasing filter?
Well, the trend of opting for no anti-aliasing filter started with Nikon’s D800E. Realizing the success of the camera and the benefits offered by the lack of AA filters, Nikon came up with a portfolio of cameras without the low pass filters.
Following suit, even other camera manufacturers followed the trend and launched cameras with higher pixel density and no low pass filter. Sony is not an exception either. It can be considered to be a late entrant in the no anti-aliasing arena with its A7 mirrorless range of cameras. The first Sony camera to offer no low pass filter is the Sony A7R II. The manufacturer followed it up with the latest launch of the company – the Sony RX1R.
1. Sony A7R II
The Sony A7R II is probably the world’s first full-frame back-illuminated camera with CMOS sensor. The camera comes with the 35 mm Exmor sensor and a sensor resolution of 42.4 MP.
Some of the features worthy of mentioning would include
- An excellent image quality
- Faster burst shooting speeds
- A high-quality 4K shooting mode
- High-end customization options
- Proven quality of 42.4 MP sensor
- Dual card slot functionality to improve storage requirements
- 10 fps image capturing capability
- Lack of built-in flash
- No choice for XQD card slot
2. Sony RX1R
Interestingly Sony has launched two versions of the new full frame camera – the RX1 comes with the low pass filter, while the Sony Rx1R comes with no low pass filter. Sony does not want to disappoint either of its customer bases.
Some of the excellent features packed in include
- A complete resolution without the anti-aliasing filter
- Incredible image quality from the compact camera.
- A wider sensitivity range of ISO 100 to 25600. This ensures the best low light performance
- The ergonomic design to make handling your camera a great experience.
- Options for 14-bit RAW format shooting.
- Shooting options in silent mode
- Sharper and detailed images
- Fastest ever autofocus functionality
- Amazing picture quality.
- Low pass filter would cause Moire effect
- The fixed length may limit shooting flexibility
- Expensive compared to similar options from other manufacturers.
The Concluding Thoughts
Well, those were a few options available among the Sony cameras with the lack of anti-aliasing functionality. Sony is one of the latest entrants in the realm enthusiast focussed cameras without the low pass filters or anti-aliasing filters and possibly testing the waters with these two launches.
However, we would expect the future generations of Sony cameras to come with no anti-aliasing feature. If they do not entirely ditch the AA filter, we may see dual launches, at least on some major products, as has already been witnessed with the Sony RX1 and RX1R.
Have you used any of those two Sony products without the low pass filter option? In case you have checked out either of them, do share your opinions with us. Also, share your views on the positive or negative effects of ditching the low pass filter or the anti-aliasing filter.