One of the useful features baked into Sony's latest flagship mirrorless full-frame camera—the Sony a7R III—is the Pixel Shift Multi Shot mode in which the camera captures four consecutive images, shifting the sensor one pixel for each.
This allows the camera to sample each point in the scene with each of its four color filters (R, G, B, G2). Those images are then combined in post to produce files with improved 'crispness', color resolution, noise and dynamic range. It's essentially meant to overcome the limitations of the Bayer color filter array.
The process looks something like this:
We discussed Pixel Shift in detail here, but if you read our full Sony a7R III review then you know that one of our main complaints about this feature is Sony's limited support for Pixel Shift files. Basically, you're stuck using Sony Imaging Edge to process the files—a rather limited (and slow) Raw converter that's probably not on anybody's "favorite photo software" list.
Well. . . you were stuck. Enter LibRaw, LLC's SonyPixelShift2DNG beta.
As the name implies, this piece of software combines the four ARW files captured by your Sony a7R III in Pixel Shift mode and spits out a DNG on the other side, allowing you to process the result in the Raw editor of your choice. What's more, it'll automatically detect the 4-image Pixel Shift sets, ignoring any non-Pixel Shift files (as long as you select 'Analyze + Convert All'), generating single DNGs for each set. It'll even name the DNG sensibly, indicating the original ARW files it was generated from.
Finally, Any Pixel Shift 'quartets' (Sony ARQ files) you've already created with Sony Imaging Edge can also be converted to DNG.
The software is still in Beta, but we gave it a test drive and found it fast, easy and nearly effortless. We threw an entire directory of Pixel Shift and non-Pixel Shift files at it and it worked flawlessly. This essentially eliminates any worries we had about compatibility or convenience when it comes to capturing and editing Sony a7R III Pixel Shift files. As far as we're concerned, until and unless Sony releases something similar itself (and we wouldn't hold our breath) this is a must have for Sony a7R III users who use the Pixel Shift function.
To learn more about the software or download it for yourself—there are versions for both Mac or Windows—head over to the FastRawViewer website. Don't wait too long to try it though, the free beta version at that link expires on May 1st, 2018.
And check out LibRaw's other excellent software while you're at it: FastRawViewer allows you to quickly evaluate, sort and do more with your Raw files, and we use the RawDigger app to perform technical analyses of Raw files on a daily basis.. dpreview.com