Sony Alpha A6000 Gordon Laing, April 2014

Sony Alpha A6000 vs Olympus OMD EM5 quality 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 real-life RAW performance I shot this scene with the Sony Alpha A6000 and Olympus OMD EM5 within a few moments of each other; A6000 noise results follow on the next page.

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 5500K / +10 tint, 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.

From the crops below I’d say processing the RAW files has resulted in little if any advantage over the in-camera JPEGs on the previous page. The degree of real-life detail is essentially the same and again the biggest influencers on quality across the frame are the respective kit zooms. Pixel peepers may notice there's more moire in the fine vents on the third row of crops from both cameras, and that the spoke struts on the wheel in the fifth row from the Sony are less jagged than the JPEGs.

What is most obvious though with noise reduction turned off is the presence of noise speckles on both sets of crops. It’s more apparent on the Olympus crops, but also clear to see on the A6000. When you compare these crops to those of the out-of-camera JPEGs on the previous page, you can easily see how both models have applied noise reduction to smooth-out the speckles. It also illustrates how well the manufacturers understand the weaknesses of their cameras and maximize the quality of the output on JPEGs; don’t write them off. Of course there are many different processing techniques not to mention many RAW processors out there, so your mileage may vary.

Next check out my Sony A6000 noise results, followed by my Sony A6000 RAW noise analysis, or skip to my Sony A6000 sample images or my verdict.

Sony Alpha A6000 RAW
Using Sony 16-50mm at 24mm f5.6
Olympus OMD EM5 RAW
Using ZD 12-50mm at 18mm f5.6
f5.6, 100 ISO
f5.6, 200 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f5.6, 200 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f5.6, 200 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f5.6, 200 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f5.6, 200 ISO

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

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