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Fujifilm X20 Ken McMahon, October 2013
 
 

Fujifilm X20 vs Sony RX100 II vs Nikon COOLPIX A quality RAW

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To compare real-life RAW performance I shot this scene with the Fujifilm X20, the Sony RX100 II, and the Nikon COOLPIX A within a few moments of each other using their RAW modes.

The Fujifilm X20 and Sony RX100 II were set to their maximum 28mm equivalent wide angle field of view to match the 28mm equivalent fixed lens on the Nikon COOLPIX A.

All three cameras were set to Aperture Priority exposure mode with the senstivity set manually to the base ISO sensitivity setting.

  Fujifilm X20 results
1 Fujifilm X20 Quality JPEG
2 Fujifilm X20 Quality RAW
3 Fujifilm X20 Noise JPEG
4 Fujifilm X20 Noise RAW
5 Fujifilm X20 Sample images

The image above was taken with the Fujifilm X20. The X20 was mounted on a tripod and image stabilisation was turned off. Aperture priority mode was selected with the aperture set to f4, which produces the best result from the fixed lens. With the sensitivity set to 100 ISO the camera metered an exposure of 1/2000. At its base 160 ISO sensitivity setting the Sony RX100 II also selected 1/2000 at f4. The fixed 28mm lens on the Nikon COOLPIX A produces its best quality results at f5.6; at that aperture and at its base 100 ISO sensitivity the COOLPIX A selected an exposure of 1/1000.

The cameras were left on their default settings for this test. As usual, the crops are taken from the areas marked by the red rectangles .

I processed the files in Adobe Camera RAW 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.

Before we look at the crops, it's worthwhile just noting what we're comparing here in terms of resolution and sensor size. At 20.2 Megapixels, the Sony RX100 II has the highest resolution sensor of the three models compared here, but its 1 inch sensor isn't physically the biggest, that title goes to the Nikon COOLPIX A which has an APS-C sensor the same size as found in most consumer DSLRs. The COOLPIX A's sensor is lower resolution than the Sony, though, at 16.2 Megapixels. So the Sony RX100 II has more pixels packed into a smaller space than the COOLPIX A. Finally, the Fujifilm X20's 2/3 inch sensor is the smallest of the three and also, at 12 Megapixels, the lowest resoIution. The other thing to bear in mind is that the X20 sensor uses Fujifilm's X-Trans design which has a radically different architecture to the Bayer-type sensors used in the RX100 II and COOLPIX A.

The first thing that's clear from these crops is that there is more detail being recorded by the Fujifilm X20's sensor than we saw in the JPEG crops. The question is whether it can be teased out without introducing other artifacts. These highly sharpened crops display a non-uniform granular structure (it's most obvious in the fourth crop) that isn't noise but looks a little like reticulation in film processing. This might be a consequence of the X-Trans sensor's unorthodox architecture, whatever the reason, the X20's RAW files will need careful handling to tease out the extra detail without introducing other problens.

On the comparison front, I'd say these results confirm what we saw with the JPEGs though. Quality and detail resolution is in line with sensor size with the COOLPIX A on top, followed by the Sony RX100 II and the Fujifilm X20 a close third.

Now see how these models compare at higher sensitivities in my Fujifilm X20 Noise results.

 

Fujifilm X20 RAW
 
Sony RX100 Ii RAW
 
Nikon COOLPIX A RAW
f4, 100 ISO
f4, 160 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f4, 100 ISO
f4, 160 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f4, 100 ISO
f4, 160 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f4, 100 ISO
f4, 160 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO


Fujifilm X20
results : Quality / RAW quality / Noise / RAW Noise


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