Sony Alpha A5100 Gordon Laing, December 2014
 
 

Fujifilm X30 vs Lumix LX100 vs Sony A5100 JPEG quality

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To compare real-life performance at wide angle, I shot this scene with the Fujifilm X30, Panasonic Lumix LX100 and Sony Alpha A5100, the latter fitted with its 16-50mm kit zoom, all within a few moments of each other using their base sensitivities and best quality JPEG settings. I tried every aperture setting and selected the sharpest result for the crops below.

I composed diagonally to evaluate details in the corners of the frame. I additionally tested at 50mm and 75mm, and you can find the results lower on this page. I also shot everything in RAW and will publish a RAW comparison soon.

  Sony Alpha A5100 results
1 Sony Alpha A5100 quality
2 Sony Alpha A5100 noise
3 Sony Alpha A5100 sample images


I tested all three cameras at each of their apertures and found the X30, LX100 and A5100 (with its kit zoom) performed at their best at f2.8, f4 and f5.6 respectively, which is what I'd expect for their respective sensor sizes - so that's what I set them to in Aperture Priority. I then shot this scene at their lowest respective sensitivities and used each camera's default image processing to see how their JPEGs compare under best-case scenarios. The crops as always are taken from the areas marked by the red rectangles in the thumbnail above right and presented here at 100%. The LX100 and A5100 kit zoom both shared the same 24mm coverage, while the X30 captured a slightly tighter field of view at 28mm; I've still included the X30 here though to illustrate the relative sharpness at similar parts of the frame when zoomed-out. Lower on this page you'll see how they compare at matching focal lengths.

The crops below demonstrate the importance of optics in image quality. The Fujifilm X30 and Lumix LX100 share the same 12 Megapixel effective resolution, and as you'd expect their degree of detail is similar. Pixel-peepers may reckon the details are a fraction crisper on the Fuji, but it's a very close run thing. This is an interesting result, as while both cameras share the same resolution, the X30's sensor is roughly four times smaller than the LX100's. The Lumix may enjoy an advantage at higher ISOs, but at their base sensitivities, the X30 could in fact match or even slightly out-perform it.

Moving onto the Sony A5100, it sports the biggest sensor of the three by far, an APSC model packed with 24 Megapixels, so double the total resolution too. In terms of numbers it should thrash the X30 and LX100, but as my crops illustrate, it's only a marginal win for the Sony. The kit zoom is designed for price and size over quality and lets down the potential of the 24 Megapixel APSC sensor behind it, so while the image is bigger, there's only a little more real-life detail resolved here. If the A5100 were fitted with a sharper lens, it would sail away with a decisive win here, but this in turn would make the overall package bigger, heavier and more expensive.

So in this first test it's a minor win for the Sony A5100 when fitted with its kit zoom, with the X30 and LX100 coming not far behind in a roughly joint-second place. Scroll down to see how they all compare at 50mm and 75mm, or head over to my Sony A5100 noise results, have a look at my Sony A5100 sample images or skip to my verdict!

 

Fujifilm X30 JPEG
 
Panasonic Lumix LX100 JPEG
 
Sony Alpha A5100 / 16-50mm JPEG
f2.8, 100 ISO
f4, 200 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f2.8, 100 ISO
f4, 200 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f2.8, 100 ISO
f4, 200 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
         
f2.8, 100 ISO
f4, 200 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
         
f2.8, 100 ISO
f4, 200 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO



Fujifilm X30 vs Panasonic Lumix LX100 vs Sony Alpha A5100 / 16-50mm quality at 50mm

 
 
In this second section I've compared the three cameras with their lenses zoomed to deliver an equivalent field of view of 50mm. Note I initially presented results from the LX100 here at f4 as that was the aperture with the crispest details. But the corners suffered from softness, so I've updated my results with the f8 versions which may be slightly softer overall, but have crisper corners.

I'd say the Fujifilm X30 and Lumix LX100 are fairly well-matched here in terms of detail. Meanwhile the Sony A5100's kit zoom obviously feels more comfortable mid-way through its range, delivering slightly finer detail than either the X30 or LX100, although as seen at 24mm, it's not a huge difference.

Scroll down to see how they all compare at 75mm, or head over to my Sony A5100 noise results, have a look at my Sony A5100 sample images or skip to my verdict!

Fujifilm X30 JPEG
 
Panasonic Lumix LX100 JPEG
 
Sony Alpha A5100 / 16-50mm JPEG
f2.8, 100 ISO
f8, 200 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f2.8, 100 ISO
f8, 200 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f2.8, 100 ISO
f8, 200 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
         
f2.8, 100 ISO
f8, 200 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
         
f2.8, 100 ISO
f8, 200 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO





Fujifilm X30 vs Panasonic Lumix LX100 vs Sony Alpha A5100 / 16-50mm quality at 75mm

 
 
Next I zoomed all three cameras to 75mm - representing the maximum for the LX100 and A5100 kit zoom - and again set their apertures to their optimal values to balance sharpness across the frame. I initially presented my LX100 results at f4 where the sharpness was greatest in the middle, but the corners were quite soft. Closing to f8 improved the corners, but at the cost of ultimate crispness in the middle. It's a balance you'll need to decide for yourself, but I've decided to update this section with my results for the LX100 at f8.

The Fujifilm X30 performs really well here, delivering crips and consistent detail across the entire frame. It certainly beats the other two in the corners where the Lumix LX100 and A5100 kit zoom become quite soft. In the middle, the A5100's kit zoom performs quite well and allows the sensor to out-resolve the other two cameras, as it should, but again it's not a consistent performance across the frame. Meanwhile the LX100 does quite well in my second crop, but otherwise is beaten slightly by the X30, especially in the corners.

So an interesting result for anyone who assumed the bigger sensors of the LX100 and especially the A5100 would automatically win a contest on real-life detail. The smaller sensor of the Fujifilm X30 keeps-up very nicely across the frame and across multiple focal lengths, delivering in my opinion the best result of the three in daylight at their lowest sensitivities.

Of course the benefit of a bigger sensor comes at higher ISOs, so head over to my Sony A5100 noise results to see how the Alpha compares against the LX100 and this time the Sony RX100 III. Alternatively, have a look at my Sony A5100 sample images or skip to my verdict!

Fujifilm X30 JPEG
 
Panasonic Lumix LX100 JPEG
 
Sony Alpha A5100 / 16-50mm JPEG
f2.8, 100 ISO
f8, 200 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f2.8, 100 ISO
f8, 200 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f2.8, 100 ISO
f8, 200 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
         
f2.8, 100 ISO
f8, 200 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
         
f2.8, 100 ISO
f8, 200 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO



Sony Alpha A5100 results : Quality / Noise


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