Canon PowerShot G16 Ken McMahon, October 2013

Canon G16 vs Sony RX100 II Noise JPEG

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  Canon PowerShot G16 results
1 Canon G16 Quality JPEG
2 Canon G16 Quality RAW
3 Canon G16 Noise JPEG
4 Canon G16 Noise RAW
5 Canon G16 Sample images

To compare noise levels under real-life conditions, I shot this scene with the Canon PowerShot G16 and the Sony Cyber-shot RX100 II, within a few moments of each other using their best quality JPEG settings at each of their ISO sensitivity settings; RAW results will follow on the next page.

Both of these cameras have the same 28mm wide angle setting on their zoom lenses, but the Sony RX100 II's 3:2 proportions provide it with not only a wider field of view but also a slightly taller one. To provide an equivalent vertical field of view I zoomed the Canon G16 in fractionally.

Both cameras were set to Aperture priority mode and all camera settings were left on the defaults.

The image above was taken with the Canon PowerShot G16. From my outdoor test I'd discovered that the both the G16 and the RX100 II produced their best results with the aperture set to f4, so both were set to f4 in Aperture priority mode. At its base sensitivity of 80 ISO, the G16 metered an exposure of 1/6 at f4, and at its base sensitivity of 160 ISO the Sony RX100 II metered 1/8 at f4. The G16 JPEG file measured 3.93MB and, as usual, the crops are taken from the areas marked by the red rectangle.

At its base 80 ISO sensitivity setting the Canon G16 produces good results which though not noise free are reasonably clean and hold plenty of fine detail. The text is reasonably clear, but there's visible texture in the wall and the left hand edge of the memorial panel looks a little grainy. At 100 ISO there's a very slight increase in noise, but nothing worth worrying about. The G16 increments ISO in 1/3EV steps, so there are 125 and 160 ISO settings and increments between the other 1EV ISO settings, but I haven't included them here. (100, 125 and 160 ISO are included for the RX100 II because they are the extended and base ISO settings; more about that in a moment).

At 200 and 400 ISO, there are further fairly small linear increments in the noise, but though the text and other fine detail is suffering a little a this point, the overall quality is just about good enough for full sized reproduction, and certainly better than you'd get from a typical 1/2.3 inch compact sensor.

At 800 ISO there's a fairly dramatic drop off in the quality though, with more noise visible and the processing clearly struggling to keep it in check and producing some smearing as a result. The 1600 and 3200 ISO crops are characterised by an increassing fuzziness and beyond that it really is a bit of a noise-fest.

You don't have to look too hard to see that the Sony RX100 II has a clear advantage when it comes to noise performance. The first thing to note, though, is that the RX100 II's base ISO sensitivity is 160 ISO and that's the crop you should be comparing with the 80 ISO crop from the G16. The 100 and 125 ISO settings are an extension to the 'normal' range. Having said that, the RX100 II's 160 ISO crop looks cleaner than the G16's 80 ISO crop with less texture in the wall and the monument.

The gap has already widened by 200 ISO and with each step up the sensitivity scale the RX100 II looks better and better by comparison with the G16. By 3200 ISO even the RX100 II crop is looking quite splodgy, but the text is still just about readable and it doesn't have anything like the levels of noise in the Canon G16 crop. The evidence is pretty indisputable, the RX100 II's 1 inch 20.2 Megapixel chip outperforms the Canon G16's 1/1.7 inch 12.1 Megapixel sensor throughout the ISO sensitivity range.

I've also included a crop from the G16 in Handheld NightScene mode which shoots a quick burst and creates a low noise composite at Auto ISO, in this instance the G6 chose 800 ISO and, while there's less noise in the composite shot than in the 800 ISO single-shot crop, there's a lot less detail too. By comparison I've included at shot taken at Auto ISO in the Sony RX100 II's Multi Frame Noise reduction mode. The RX100 II has opted for 640 ISO, but it's a fair comparison in which the RX100 II comes out on top. It's also worth noting that, unlike the G16's Handheld NightScene mode, you can manually set the ISO for MFNR on the RX100 II.

To find out how much of a role processing plays in keeping noise at bay in these crops take a look at my Canon PowerShot G16 RAW noise results page to see just how much noise is present behind the scenes. Or head over to my Canon PowerShot G16 sample images to see some more real-life shots in a variety of conditions.

Canon PowerShot G16
Sony Cyber-shot RX100 II
f4 80 ISO
Not available
f4 100 ISO
f4 100 ISO
f4 125 ISO Not included
f4 125 ISO
f4 160 ISO Not included
f4 160 ISO
f4 200 ISO
f4 200 ISO
f4 400 ISO
f4 400 ISO
f4 800 ISO
f4 800 ISO
f4 1600 ISO
f4 1600 ISO
f4 3200 ISO
f4 3200 ISO
f4 6400 ISO
f4 6400 ISO
f4 12800 ISO
12800 ISO
Handheld NightScene f1.8 800 ISO
Multi-frame Noise Reduction f4 640 ISO

Canon PowerShot G16 results : Quality / RAW quality / Noise / RAW Noise

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