A simple demonstration of the Super Steady Shot (SSS) feature of the Sony Alpha 100...

Preface

The Sony Alpha 100 DSLR has inherited a feature called Super Steady Shot from its predecessors the Konica-Minolta 7D and 5D called Anti Shake there. All these cams use in body CCD-Shift to compensate body movements during picture exposure.

To get a feeling whether it really works as expected I made some tests with my A100.

 

Scenario 1

For the first test scenario I used my Minolta AF 1.7/50mm prime lens at f5.6 nearly the sweet spot aperture for this lens (IMHO f6.3 is the sweet spot for overall best sharpness of my example). Due to the APS-C 1.5 crop factor this lens is a very nice portait lens on the A100. I often shoot portaits under low light conditions with this lens and therefore I wanted to know whether SSS is usefull for me at 1/30s exposure time.

  Picture selection:
    Full Frame, Sony Alpha 100, AF 1.7/50mm, f5.6 1/30s, SSS on
 
  100% crop, Sony Alpha 100, AF 1.7/50mm, f5.6 1/30s, SSS on
 
  100% crop, Sony Alpha 100, AF 1.7/50mm, f5.6 1/30s, SSS off
 
  Duration selection:
  seconds




 

 

Scenario 2

For the second test scenario I used my "beercan" a Minolta AF 4/70-210mm zoom at aperture f5.6.
...more to come soon - test finished, publication not :-( 

Scenario 3

I wanted to know whether the usage of SSS degrades image quality in any way if I shoot from a Tripod or if fast shutter speeds like for example 1/800 or above are used. I took many dozen shots but not a single one with SSS on shows any visible degration compared to shots with SSS off. This makes selection simple: leave SSS on for all hand held shooting!

Only on a heavy tripod you can safely turn SSS off because it is not needed, but it even there doesn't really matter concerning picture sharpness if you leave SSS on!

Conclusion

The SSS feature of my Alpha 100 worked very well for me and really improves image quality for hand held shots dramatically. No doubt it works much better than I even expected. Really doubt me, I didn't get a single shot out of ten with 1/120s that gave me the sharpness of the shot taken at 1/30s with Super Steady Shot switched on.

So I am sure you get at least two to three f-stops for hand held shooting! With a little bit luck (or some trials to be sure) you can even hold 1/10s free hand with the SSS and the 50mm lens! Some reported and I too had the luck of holding some shots in a church with 1/2 of a second exposure time, but you cannot be sure there.

Things get even more useful for Tele lenses. I never thougt that it makes sense to shoot a 300mm (35mm equivalent) lens freehand, but with SSS its really possible!

SSS IMHO is a real advantage for Sony Alpha users compared to the competition because it stabilizes every mounted lens!

Hans-Joachim Weber

(c) June 2007

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