Fujifilm X100S Ken McMahon, May 2013
 
 

Fujifilm X100S vs Nikon COOLPIX A Noise JPEG

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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 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 best quality JPEG settings at each of their ISO sensitivity settings; you can see my RAW results on the next page.

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.

The 100 ISO crop from the Fujifilm X-E1 looks ever so slightly less textured than the 200 ISO crop, so, for subjects where the absolute minimum of noise is required, or you want to use the slowest possible shutter speed it's worth using. Just remember you can't shoot RAW at this extended ISO sensitivity setting and you'll experience slightly lower contrast and reduced dynamic range.

Having said that the 200 ISO crop is pristine, there's not a noisy pixel to be seen. Detail is clear and crisp and areas of flat colour have no noticeable texture. The same is true of the 400 ISO crop and, while there's the beginnings of texture starting to appear on the background wall and in the text panel, the incremental change is much smaller than you'd expect.

1600 ISO is usually the upper limit for quality, at least at full-size viewing, that most discerning shooters would accept, the X100S 1600 ISO crop looks a little more textured and softer than the earlier ones, but there's clearly plenty more headroom before noise becomes a concern and, even at 3200 ISO the image quality and detail retention is remarkably good. At 6400 ISO the noise is finally becoming intrusive, but even at 12800 ISO, where the noise is gaining the upper hand, the text is stil clearly readable. On most cameras 25600 ISO is merely there for the numbers, but the X100S actually produces a useable image at this upper limit. You won't get a RAW file at this extended setting (or the lower 12800 ISO) and it isn't pretty, but you'll see more of your subject than the noise, which isn't often the case at 25600 ISO.

Compared with the COOLPIX A, at the lower ISO settings, the X100S looks a little sharper, but in noise terms there's little to choose between them with the COOLPIX A's 100 ISO crop a close match for the X100S's 200 ISO. At 400 ISO it's still a pretty close call, but at 800 ISO it looks to me like there's noticeably more noise in the COOLPIX A crop. At 1600 ISO there's clearly more texture in the wall, the text panel looks softer and the edge detail is beginning to crumble on the COOLPIX A crop where the X100S is still holding strong.

By the 3200 ISO mark, I'd say the X100S has a clear one stop advantage over the COOPIX A, and from there on up the margin gets bigger. So in noise terms it's a clear win for the X100S with significantly better performance than the Nikon COOLPIX A in the mid to high ISO sensitivity range.

To find out how much of a role processing plays in keeping noise at bay in these crops take a look at my Fujifilm X100S RAW results page to see just how much noise is present behind the scenes. Or head over to my Fujifilm X100S sample images to see some more real-life shots in a variety of conditions.


Fujifilm X100S
 
Nikon COOLPIX A
f5.6 100 ISO
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
     
f5.6 12800 ISO
f5.6 12800 ISO
     
f5.6 25600 ISO
f5.6 25600 ISO
 

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


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