Sony Acknowledges, Fixes “Black Sun” Problem; Blackmagic, Leica and Others Can Relate

by Hugh Brownstone2 Comments

As we posted about the Leica SL’s log problem and as other people have experienced with Blackmagic’s own black sun and fine pattern noise problems, a bug as fundamental as “black sun” on the brand new Sony a7s II is no fun for anyone who has actually bought or rented one of these cameras. But the days of “no wine before it’s time” are disappearing as competitive pressures in an era of multi-year, rapid release betas (just think Google’s Gmail) are reshaping our sense of how things work.

The good news is that Sony has issued a fix via firmware upgrade within days of finding the problem.

There’s not much to add here, other than to note that problems after launch like this are becoming more common, perhaps driven by our expectations of – and the imaging industry’s increasing reliance upon – software.

For me, the lesson is akin to that learned by many doctors who refuse to prescribe any medication that doesn’t have a generic counterpart. When I first learned about this I was much younger and dismissed doctors like that as out of touch. Now I see them differently, as men and women with enough experience to know how much they – and the pharma manufacturers they were supposed to rely on — didn’t know. These doctors realized that the only way to protect their patients from side effects or unintended consequences was to allow the market to do what that the pharma companies couldn’t or wouldn’t: acquire a much larger pool of hard data over time to prove efficacy and/or danger.

As for black sun, FPN, problematic log gamma and such – sure, they’re a pain: but they aren’t life and death.

Still, the market will punish anyone who doesn’t sort this kind of stuff out quickly.

The fact that Sony got a patch out so quickly is great news, and in this day and age — in my book — actually burnishes Sony‘s reputation for responsiveness. Kudos!

Sony Alpha A7s II Roundup

See our roundup of the Sony A7s II here – it includes all the latest news and videos

Sony A7S mkii SUN SPOT ISSUE/Pic profile comparison

Sony fixing the Sony a7S II Black Sun Bug

Via cinema5D:

The Sony a7S II is the latest and greatest in Sony’s mirrorless video camera lineup. But since its release last month several users have been reporting a bug where overexposed areas are displayed as black instead of white pixels, also referred to as the “Sony a7S II black sun” bug.

Sony have now issued a statement to the press saying they acknowledge the problem and they are working on a firmware fix:

“We have confirmed this phenomenon and are now analyzing it to develop a firmware solution to solve it.”

Read full article at cinema5D “Sony fixing the Sony a7S II Black Sun Bug”

(cover photo credit: snap from the video)


  1. The quick cycle of software releases and fixes may become even more common as more WiFi-enabled cameras are in the market and manufacturers move to using that as a means to install updates or patches. Phone apps get updated frequently and easily because it can be done over the air. It’s great that I can update my camera firmware myself, but it’s still a multi-step process involving a computer and an SD card.

    By the way, clever Orson Welles reference you slipped in there, but it has a misspelling. The best rule I know for “its” vs. “it’s” is that if you can’t replace “it’s” with “it is” then the spelling you want is “its.” We sell no wine before its time.

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