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Sony Cyber-shot DSC-N2 Gordon Laing, November 2006

Outdoor / Resolution / Noise / Noise 2 / Corner sharpness / Fringe & macro / Geometry / Vignetting

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Sony Cybershot N2 noise level comparison


To measure and compare the Sony Cyber-shot N2's noise levels we photographed the standard Gretag Macbeth ColorChecker with it and a number of rival models at each of their ISO settings.

The crops are taken from the original images and presented here at 100%. To compare typical noise in skies and dark shadows the crops were taken from patches 3 and 24 respectively.

The Sony N2 delivers clean results at 100 and 200 ISO with noise beginning to appear at 400 ISO, but only becoming obvious at 800 ISO. At 1600 ISO there's quite a messy result here.

From the samples below, it's clear the Sony N2 employs a different strategy to noise and noise reduction than its closest rival here, the Canon A640. Where the A640 avoids heavy noise reduction to preserve detail, but at the cost of visible speckling, the N2 appears to apply greater noise reduction for smoother results.

Each approach has its pros and cons, and the problem with high noise reduction is often a loss of ultimate detail and strange smearing artefacts. The flat colours of the Gretag chart here mask any problems concerning lost detail, but it's clear to see there's some undesirable coloured artefacts in the Sony crops below, especially at its highest 1600 ISO sensitivity. As always though, it's crucial to also compare high ISO performance on real-life outdoor subjects which we'll cover on the next page.

Note: we have compared 100% crops from each camera here measuring 136x136 pixels. Since the Sony N2 and Canon A640 employ higher resolution sensors, these crops represent a smaller area of their total image size than the Fujifilm F30 and Panasonic TZ1. As such, any artefacts seen on the Sony N2 and Canon A640 crops would appear smaller than those on the other crops if the original images were printed exactly the same size.

Sony Cybershot N2
Canon PowerShot A640
Fujifilm FinePix F30
Panasonic Lumix TZ1
Sony N2 - 80 ISO unavailable
Canon A640 noise at 80 ISO
Fujifilm F30 - 80 ISO unavailable
Panasonic TZ1 noise at 80 ISO
80 ISO unavailable
80 ISO
80 ISO unavailable
80 ISO
Sony N2 noise at 100 ISO
Canon A640 noise at 100 ISO
Fujifilm F30 noise at 100 ISO
Panasonic TZ1 noise at 100 ISO
100 ISO
100 ISO
100 ISO
100 ISO
Sony N2 noise at 200 ISO
Canon A640 noise at 200 ISO
Fujifilm F30 noise at 200 ISO
Panasonic TZ1 noise at 200 ISO
200 ISO
200 ISO
200 ISO
200 ISO
Sony N2 noise at 400 ISO
Canon A640 noise at 400 ISO
Fujifilm F30 noise at 400 ISO
Panasonic TZ1 noise at 400 ISO
400 ISO
400 ISO
400 ISO,
400 ISO
Sony N2 noise at 800 ISO
Canon A640 noise at 800 ISO
Fujifilm F30 noise at 800 ISO
Panasonic TZ1 noise at 800 ISO
800 ISO
800 ISO
800 ISO
800 ISO
Sony N2 noise at 1600 ISO
Canon A640 - 1600 ISO unavailable
Fujifilm F30 noise at 1600 ISO
Panasonic TZ1 noise at 1600 ISO
1600 ISO
1600 ISO unavailable
1600 ISO
1600 ISO
(High Sensitivity mode)
Sony N2 - 3200 ISO unavailable
Canon A640 - 3200 ISO unavailable
Fujifilm F30 noise at 3200 ISO
Panasonic TZ1 - 3200 ISO unavailable
3200 ISO unavailable
3200 ISO unavailable
3200 ISO
3200 ISO unavailable

Sony Cybershot N2 results continued...

Outdoor / Resolution / Noise / Noise 2 / Corner sharpness / Fringe & macro / Geometry / Vignetting
All words, images, videos and layout, copyright 2005-2016 Gordon Laing. May not be used without permission.

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