RAY:I find the potential of a metering advantage with the in-camera crop to be heavily outweighed by the quality of the raw files relative to the Sony jpegs. A slight miss in metering is usually more than close enough given the incredible DR of this sensor. But the couple of times I've tried Clear Image Zoom I just didn't find the quality of the file nearly as good as a cropped raw, which can still be very very good at well below 10mp if you're not planning huge prints...
Yes, but they're doing some sort of interpolation and filling in the extra pixels, so its not REAL resolution, its sort of filled in resolution. When I tried it and looked at it in any sort of detail, it just looked really funky to me (for lack of a more technical term). When I crop a raw file, I'm fine working with lower resolution. Particularly for portraits (which is where I'm mostly likely to use this anyway), where extreme detail can be a problem and most people end up softening results anyway.RAY:
I thought a lot about your above statement about a PP crop in RAW being better than a Clear Image Zoom in Jpeg.
First most of the time a RAW will convert to JPEG eventually.
My experience is that using the Clear Image Zoom results in far better image quality of the zoomed image, compared to the RAW file cropped in PP to approx. the same size.
I took the following shots in Clear Image Zoom and list their resolutions: