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Sony Alpha A6000 Gordon Laing, April 2014
 
 

Sony Alpha A6000 vs Olympus OMD EM5 Noise RAW

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  Sony Alpha A6000 results
1 Sony A6000 Quality JPEG
2 Sony A6000 Quality RAW
3 Sony A6000 Noise JPEG
4 Sony A6000 Noise RAW
5 Sony A6000 Sample images

To compare RAW noise levels under real-life conditions, I shot this scene with the Sony Alpha A6000 and Olympus OMD EM5 within a few moments of each other at each of their ISO sensitivities.

The A6000 was fitted with the 16-50mm f3.5-5.6 kit zoom and the EM5 fitted with the 12-50mm f3.5-6.3 kit zoom, both set to f5.6 in Aperture Priority mode and adjusted to deliver the same field of view.

Note: I wanted to compare the A6000 against the newer EM10, but Olympus couldn't supply one in time. I intend to update these pages when I get hold of the EM10, and also include some results with prime lenses. In the meantime I've found the image quality across all Micro Four Thirds bodies to date has been quite similar, so I'm happy for the EM5 to represent them here.


In my comparison below you can see how the Sony A6000 compares against the Olympus OMD EM5 when both cameras are set to RAW and their images processed with Adobe Camera RAW using identical settings: Sharpening at 50 / 0.5 / 36 / 10, Luminance and Colour Noise Reduction both set to zero, the White Balance set to 4750K, and the Process to 2012 with the Adobe Standard profile; ACR loaded lens profiles for both images and I enabled their correction along with CA correction. 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.

The exposures used by each camera were identical here, so their results are absolutely comparable. As with my earlier RAW comparison made under daylight conditions, it’s clear that both cameras have noise in their image data right from the get-go. Turn off noise reduction, as I have here, and you’ll see it as a faint sprinkling even at the lowest sensitivities.

The A6000 may have a bigger sensor than the EM5, but judging from the crops below, it suffers from as much, or even slightly more noise when images from both are viewed at 1:1. Of course the A6000’s noise artefacts would appear slightly smaller on a print reproduced at the same size, but I certainly wouldn’t say that one enjoys a decisive lead over the other here. If anything the A6000 is fractionally better at 25600 ISO than the EM5, but throughout the rest of the range I’d give the EM5 a slight edge, especially at 800 ISO and below.

Now to be fair, no-one would turn off NR for normal use, but doing so for testing purposes does illustrate how much noise is present in the signal, and how much you’ll need to remove later. And from my results below I’d say there’s little if anything between the 24MP A6000 and 16MP MFT bodies in noise levels.

Now check out my Sony A6000 sample images for more real-life results across its sensitivity range, or to my verdict.


Sony Alpha A6000 RAW
Using Sony 16-50mm at 27mm f5.6
 
Olympus OMD EM5 RAW
Using ZD 12-50mm at 20mm f5.6
f5.6 100 ISO
100 ISO not tested
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


Sony Alpha A6000 results : Quality / RAW quality / Noise / RAW Noise


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