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Olympus STYLUS 1 Gordon Laing, February 2014
 
 

Sony RX10 vs Olympus STYLUS 1 vs Panasonic Lumix FZ200 Noise JPEG

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  Olympus STYLUS 1 results
1 Olympus STYLUS 1 Quality at wide angle
2 Olympus STYLUS 1 Quality at 50mm
3 Olympus STYLUS 1 Quality at 100mm
4 Olympus STYLUS 1 Quality at 200mm
5 Olympus STYLUS 1 Quality at 300mm
6 Panasonic FZ200 Quality at 600mm
7 Olympus STYLUS 1 noise
8 Olympus STYLUS 1 RAW noise

To compare noise levels under real-life conditions, I shot this scene with the Sony Cyber-shot RX10, Olympus OMD STYLUS 1 and Panasonic Lumix FZ200 within a few moments of each other using their best quality JPEG settings at each of their ISO sensitivity settings; RAW noise results are on the next page.

I matched the vertical field of view on each camera and set them at an aperture previously determined to deliver the sharpest results.



In my first noise comparison I'll take a look at the JPEGs from each camera using their default settings, while on the next page I'll compare their RAW results using the same processing settings. As always I matched the vertical field of view and have reproduced crops at 1:1 for comparison below. The STYLUS 1 and FZ200 crops show the same area as both share the same 12 Megapixel resolution, while the RX10 crops show a smaller area due to its higher 20 megapixel resolution.

All three cameras were set to f4 here and used the same shutter speeds, so the crops are directly comparable. Sometimes it's important to factor in differences in maximum apertures too if they allow one camera to use lower ISOs than another, but with all three sharing maximum apertures of f2.8, each ISO value below is directly comparable.

Below you're looking at crops from three cameras with different sized sensors: 1in type for the RX10, 1/1.7in type for the STYLUS 1 and 1/2.3in type for the FZ200. These descriptions don't really explain their relative sizes, but you can see how they literally measure-up in the diagram below, where it's clear the RX10's sensor has roughly 2.7 times the surface area of the STYLUS 1's sensor and roughly four times the surface area of the FZ200's sensor. You'd therefore assume in this test that the RX10 will have the least noise, followed by the STYLUS 1, leaving the FZ200 in last place, but there are some (small) surprises.

 
Sensor sizes compared, Olympus STYLUS 1 indicated in red
Sensor sizes
 

Starting with the largest sensor camera, the Sony RX10 unsurprisingly delivers the cleanest results of the three, enjoying a visible advantage at every sensitivity. While the RX10's quality falls a lot in the jump from 400 to 800 ISO, it remains superior to its rivals, and at 1600 and 3200 ISO it's noisy but remains useful whereas the STYLUS 1 and FZ200 look pretty horrible at that point. Remember you can also downsample the Sony's images to the same 12 Megapixels as the STYLUS 1 and FZ200, and enjoy an even better result. I would however say the RX10 at 6400 ISO is a step too far, and at 12800 ISO it's a mess.

Moving onto the STYLUS 1, it enjoys a nice clean result at 100 ISO, but exhibits a big leap in visible noise at 200 ISO, and quality that reduces noticeably with every increase in sensitivity. The interesting thing is the Lumix FZ200 actually looks a little better at 200 and 400 ISO, despite a smaller sensor, although as you'll discover on my RAW page, this is more down to JPEG processing than actual superior sensor performance. At 800 ISO the STYLUS 1 enjoys a lead over the FZ200 of around a stop, which increases as the sensitivity is increased. The Olympus may not look great at 1600 ISO and 3200 ISO, but it's significantly preferable to the FZ200.

So as expected the RX10 enjoys the best results across the entire sensitivity range, even before you consider downsampling its images to the same resolution as the other two. Meanwhile the FZ200 enjoys a small lead over the STYLUS 1 between 100 and 400 ISO thanks to cunning JPEG processing and careful noise reduction, but the STYLUS 1's slightly larger sensor allows it to deliver decisively lower noise and more detail at 800 ISO and above.

So what's going on behind the scenes? Find out in my RAW noise results where I've processed them all using the same settings. Or perhaps you'd like to check out my sample images or skip straight to my verdict on all three cameras!


Sony Cyber-shot RX10 JPEG
 
Olympus STYLUS 1 JPEG
 
Panasonic Lumix FZ200 JPEG

125 ISO

100 ISO
100 ISO
200 ISO
200 ISO
200 ISO
400 ISO
400 ISO
400 ISO
800 ISO
800 ISO
800 ISO
1600 ISO
1600 ISO
1600 ISO
3200 ISO
3200 ISO
3200 ISO
6400 ISO
6400 ISO
6400 ISO
12800 ISO
12800 ISO
12800 ISOO not available


Olympus STYLUS 1 results : Quality / At 50mm / At 100mm / At 200mm / At 300mm / At 600mm / Noise / RAW Noise


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