Canon PowerShot G1 X Gordon Laing, March 2012
 
 

Canon PowerShot G1 X vs EOS T3i / 600D Noise

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  Canon G1 X results
1 Canon G1 X vs G12 vs T3i / 600D Quality
2 Canon G1 X vs GX1 Quality
3 Canon G1 X RAW vs JPEG
4 Canon G1 X vs G12 Noise
5 Canon G1 X vs T3i / 600D Noise
6 Canon G1 X Sample images

To compare noise levels under real-life conditions I shot this scene with the Canon PowerShot G1 X and the EOS T3i / 600D within a few moments of each other using their best quality JPEG settings at each of their ISO sensitivity settings.

The exposures on both cameras were matched. The lenses on both cameras were adjusted to deliver the same vertical field of view. The ISO sensitivity was set manually, apart from in the final row of crops where the G1 X was set to Handheld Night Scene. Note in the crops below, both cameras were using their default Standard Noise Reduction settings.

The image above was taken with the Canon PowerShot G1 X with the lens set to 24mm (45mm equivalent) and the aperture set to f4 in Aperture Priority mode. At its base sensitivity of 100 ISO, the G1 X metered an exposure of 0.8 seconds for this composition. I matched this exposure on the T3i / 600D by applying +0.3EV compensation. So the exposures you see below are identical and any brightness differences imply variations in actual sensitivity.

On this page you're also comparing cameras with different aspect ratios: the G1 X employs a squarish aspect ratio of 4:3, while the EOS T3i / 600D with its APS-C sensor delivers slightly wider 3:2 shaped images. Where aspect ratios differ, I always match the vertical field of view in comparisons, which obviously penalises models with wider ratios. As such on this page, I'm only effectively comparing a 4:3 crop from the middle of the T3i / 600D image and ignoring thin strips on either side. This means the T3i / 600D is effectively operating like a 16 Megapixel camera in this test, although this is still higher than the 14.3 Megapixels of the G1 X. As such, the crops taken at 1:1 show a larger area for the G1 X.

Both cameras start at a base sensitivity of 100 ISO where they deliver clean, detailed images. Look really close though and you may notice a very faint smattering of noise textures on the G1 X - nothing to be worried about, but something that's absent on the T3i / 600D. But before you draw any conclusions, have a look at the comparative image processing: the G1 X appears slightly punchier with a little higher contrast and sharpening, and this in turn will make any noise artefacts a little easier to see. I also think the noise reduction is a tad higher on the T3i / 600D here.

At 200 ISO it's pretty much the same story, with the faintest noise on the slightly punchier-looking G1 X sample compared to the noise-free but fractionally softer T3i / 600D image. Likewise at 400 and 800 ISO.

But at 1600 ISO something changes: the G1 X maintains a faint but fine pattern of noise, but the T3i / 600D becomes a little blotchier; it's still extremely close, but I'd say the G1 X image looks less processed and preferable to my eyes.

Then at 3200 ISO the T3i / 600D begins to suffer to a greater extent than the G1 X, delivering a visibly inferior result; indeed the G1 X at 3200 ISO looks very respectable and usable. The G1 X isn't at all bad either at 6400 ISO, at which point the T3i / 600D has become considerably blotchier. And while the G1 X at its maximum 12800 ISO isn't looking great, it's considerably better than the T3i / 600D.

So pixel-peepers may notice very minor differences in noise up to 1600 ISO, but to all intents and purposes I'd call them a draw up to this point, especially if you tweak the noise reduction settings. The revelation comes at 1600 ISO and above though where the G1 X delivers visibly superior results to the T3i / 600D. This shouldn't come as too much of a surprise as while the pixel pitch is similar the G1 X has the benefit of having a newer sensor, making the most of the latest technologies and image processing.

Bottom line? The G1 X will essentially match the quality from an 18 Megapixel Canon DSLR (including the 60D and 7D) up to 1600 ISO, then actually take the lead. So if you love the quality from your Canon DSLR and simply want it in a smaller package, the G1 X will give it to you; plus the G1 X enjoys the additional benefit of a composite Handheld Night Scene mode which can further reduce noise at high sensitivities. A fantastic result for the new PowerShot.

But don't just take my word for it - head onto my Canon G1 X sample images to download a selection of original images at the full resolution to evaluate yourself! If however you're already convinced, check out my Canon G1 X verdict!


Canon PowerShot G1 X (JPEG using in-camera defaults)
 
Canon EOS T3i / 600D (JPEG using in-camera defaults)
100 ISO
100 ISO
     
200 ISO
200 ISO
     
400 ISO
400 ISO
     
800 ISO
800 ISO
     
1600 ISO
1600 ISO
     
3200 ISO
3200 ISO
     
6400 ISO
6400 ISO
     
12800 ISO
12800 ISO
     
Handheld Night Scene mode at 3200 ISO
No additional low light modes available


Canon G1 X results : Quality vs G12 vs T3i / 600D / Quality vs GX1 / RAW vs JPEG / Noise vs G12
/ Noise vs T3i / 600D


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