Fujifilm X100S Ken McMahon, May 2013

Fujifilm X100S vs Nikon COOLPIX A Noise RAW

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  Fujifilm X100S results
1 Fujifilm X100S Quality JPEG
2 Fujifilm X100S Quality RAW
3 Fujifilm X100S Noise JPEG
4 Fujifilm X100S Noise RAW
5 Fujifilm X100S Sample images

To compare RAW noise levels under real-life conditions, I shot this scene with the Fujifilm X100S and the Nikon COOLPIX A, within a few moments of each other using their RAW modes and at each of their ISO sensitivity settings.

Because the cameras have different fixed focal length lenses, I changed positions between shots, moving closer to the subject with the 28mm equivalent COOLPIX A to achieve the same framing and similar sized detail to the 35mm equivalent X100S.

For this test the X100S was set to Aperture priority mode; all camera settings were left on the defaults.

The image above was taken with the Fujifilm X100S. From earlier outdoor testing I'd discovered that the lenses on both cameras produced optimal results at f5.6 so both were set to f5.6 in Aperture priority mode. The X100S has a sensitivity range of 200-6400 ISO which is expandable for JPEG shooting down to 100 ISO at the bottom of the range and up to 25600 ISO at the top. So the Base ISO setting and the important crop for comparison purposes in the table below is the 200 ISO one. At this setting the X100S metered an exposure of 0.6 seconds. The COOLPIX A at its base 100 ISO setting metered 1 second.

I processed both sets of files in Adobe Camera RAW 7.4 using identical settings: Sharpening at 70 / 0.5 / 36 / 10, Luminance and Colour Noise Reduction both set to zero, and the Process to 2012 with the Adobe Standard profile.These settings were chosen to reveal the differences in sensor quality and isolate them from in-camera processing. The high degree of sharpening with a small radius enhances the finest details without causing undesirable artefacts, while the zero noise reduction unveils what's really going on behind the scenes - as such the visible noise levels at higher ISOs will be much greater than you're used to seeing in many of my comparisons, but again it's an approach that's designed to show the actual detail that's being recorded before you start work on processing and cleaning it up if desired.

These RAW noise results backup what we saw with the JPEGs on the previous page. At the lower ISO sensitivities there's not much between the Fujifilm X100S and the Nikon COOLPIX A. Both sensors produce crisp, clean images with very little if any visible evidence of noise. If you look closely, you can see a marginal difference at 400 ISO with a slight degree of texture appearing in the the COOLPIX A crop, a margin which has grown significantly by 1600 ISO and continues to do so right the way up to the X100S maximum unextended 6400 ISO limit.

The low noise signature of the X100S's X-Trans sensor really is remarkable, particularly the very low levels of colour noise. I had to go back and double-check my Camera RAW settings to make sure I'd set colour noise reduction to zero when I first saw these results.

While the COOLPIX A is able to shoot RAW up to it's maximum 25600 ISO setting, you'd need to put in a lot of work to get useable results from them. It's also worth bearing in mind that the f2.0 lens on the X100 is a stop brighter than the f2.8 lens on the COOLPIX A, so in the same lighting conditions and at the same shutter speed you could shoot at 6400 ISO on the X100S where you'd need 12800 on the COOLPIX A. I should however note that like on the outdoor comparisons, the X100S RAW files don't handle the very high sharpening I use for tests, especially with ACR 7.4. So for the best-looking results, you'd tone down the sharpening.

Now head over to my Fujifilm X100S sample images to see some more real-life shots in a variety of conditions, or head straight for my Verdict.

Fujifilm X100S
100 ISO Not available
f5.6 100 ISO
f5.6 200 ISO
f5.6 200 ISO
f5.6 400 ISO
f5.6 400 ISO
f5.6 800 ISO
f5.6 800 ISO
f5.6 1600 ISO
f5.6 1600 ISO
f5.6 3200 ISO
f5.6 3200 ISO
f5.6 6400 ISO
f5.6 6400 ISO
12800 ISO Not available
f5.6 12800 ISO
25600 ISO Not available
f5.6 25600 ISO

Fujifilm X100S results : Quality / RAW quality / Noise / RAW Noise

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