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Sony Cyber-shot RX100 Ken McMahon, October 2012
 
 

Sony RX100 vs Panasonic LX7 vs Canon G1 X RAW Quality

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To compare real-life quality in RAW I shot this scene with the Sony Cyber-shot RX100, Panasonic Lumix LX7 and the Canon PowerShot G1 X within a few moments of each other using their RAW modes.

The zoom settings on the cameras were adjusted to provide an aproximately equal vertical field of view. The Cyber-shot RX100 and PowerShot G1 X were set to their maximum 28mm equivalent focal length. The Lumix LX7 was zoomed in slightly to 28mm equivalent.

All three cameras were set to Aperture priority exposure mode.
The ISO sensitivity was manually set to 80 ISO on the Cyber-shot RX100 and Lumix LX7 and 100 ISO on the PowerShot G1 X.

  Sony CyberShot RX100 results
1 Sony RX100 Quality
2 Sony RX100 RAW Quality
3 Sony RX100 Noise
4 Sony RX100 RAW Noise
5 Sony RX100 Sample images

The image above was taken with the Sony Cyber-shot RX100. The camera was set to Aperture priority mode with the aperture set to f5.6 and the sensitivity to 80 ISO. The Cyber-shot RX100 metered an exposure of 1/400 at f5.6. I selected f5.6 as it delivered the most detailed result for the RX100 under these conditions. The sharpest result for the PowerShot G1 X was also at f5.6 and it metered the same exposure at 100 ISO. For the Panasonic Lumix LX7 the best result was obtained at f4 with the same exposure, in this case 1/800th at f4.

I processed all three files in Adobe Camera RAW using identical settings: Sharpening at 70 / 0.5 / 36 / 10, Luminance and Colour Noise Reduction both set to zero, and the Process to 2012 with the Adobe Standard profile. These settings were chosen to reveal the differences in sensor quality and isolate them from in-camera processing. 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.

You might find it useful to open another browser tab with my Sony RX100 JPEG quality results for comparison. Generally, I'd say that the Canon PowerShot G1 X benefits most from this RAW processing approach with a high level of crisp and clear detail. That's also true of the Sony RX100 crops and those from the Lumix LX7, but in both those cases the absence of noise reduction has also resulted in an overall graininess.

If you ignore the noise, there's a surprising similarity between these crops. All three show an excellent level of detail right across the frame. The only exception to this is the third crop from close to the frame edge where the Sony RX100 details become noticeably softer with a hint of colour fringing. So one thing this establishes is that the RX100's lens isn't as good at the edges at these wider apertures and at the wide angle setting as the Lumix LX7 or PowerShot G1 X

Noise apart, you'd be forgiven for assuming these were resampled crops from the same sensor. But what they confirm more than anything is that there's no arguing with the physics. The G1 X with its near-APS-C sized sensor is less prone to noise at the base ISO setting. The RX100 and LX7 are very close in this respect, the RX100 losing its bigger sensor advantage due to its much higher resolution. We can only speculate what the results would have looked like had Sony opted for a lower Megapixel count on the RX100. That of course would run contrary to the direction it continues to take throughout its range: Sony doesn't currently sell a camera with a resolution lower than 14.1 Megapixels.

Now let's see how they compare at higher sensitivities in my Sony RX100 noise results.

 

 

Sony Cyber-shot RX100
(RAW using Adobe Camera RAW)
 
Panasonic Lumix LX7
(RAW using Adobe Camera RAW)
 
Canon PowerShot G1 X
(RAW using Adobe Camera RAW)
f5.6, 80 ISO
f4, 80 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f5.6, 80 ISO
f4, 80 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f5.6, 80 ISO
f4, 80 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f5.6, 80 ISO
f4, 80 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO


Sony Cyber-shot RX100 results : Quality / RAW vs JPEG / Noise
/ RAW Noise


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