Sony Cyber-shot WX350 Ken McMahon, June 2014

Sony WX350 vs PowerShot SX600 HS Noise JPEG

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  Sony Cyber-shot WX350 results
1 Sony WX350 Quality
2 Sony WX350 Noise
3 Sony WX350 Sample images

To compare noise levels under real-life conditions, I shot this scene with the Sony Cyber-shot WX350 and the Canon PowerShot SX600 HS within a few moments of each other using their best quality JPEG settings at each of their ISO sensitivity settings.

Both cameras were set to their maximum wide angle 25mm equivalent focal length. Neither of these compacts has manual exposure so both were set to Program Auto mode with the ISO sensitivity set manually.

For this test the cameras were mounted on a tripod. Image stabilisation can't be disabled on the WX350, so was left on the default intelligent Active setting, but was disabled on the Powershot SX600 HS.

The image above was taken with the Sony Cyber-shot WX350. The WX350 was set to Program Auto exposure mode and with the ISO set to 80 chose an exposure of 1/2s at f3.3. At its base 100 ISO sensitivity setting the PowerShot SX600 HS chose an exposure of 0.6s at f3.8. As usual, the crops are taken from the area marked in red above.

The first 80 ISO crop from the Sony WX350 looks impressively clean and detailed. It's not completely noise-free and you can see slight texturing across the crop area but it's most noticeable in the shadow to the left of the hymn board and in the white label at the top. The 100 ISO crop is a tiny bit noisier, so 80 ISO is the one to use for best quality in good light.

At 200 and 400 ISO there are small but significant increases in the noise levels. If you're making big prints you'd notice, but at reduced magnification on screen you'd have a job telling the difference. And while at 800 ISO things get decidedly clumpier, there's still a good level of detail and the edges are holding up well.

At 1600 ISO there's another big jump in the noise levels and this time the detail takes a hit and the edges begin to crumble. At 3200 ISO the text on the label is becoming illegible, but larger detail is holding up and this ISO setting produces results that are fairly passable at smaller sizes. Overall I'd say this is an excellent result for a compact sensor with useable results all the way to the top 3200 ISO setting.

Compared with the PowerShot SX600 HS, there's really not a great deal in it as far a noise performance goes. Again, just to remind you that the 16 Megapixel sensor in the PowerShot SX600 HS produces crops with a larger area and slightly smaller detail than the 18.2 Megapixel sensor in the Sony WX350. The SX600 HS lacks WX350's 80 ISO setting, but its 100 ISO crop compares very favourably with both the 80 and 100 ISO crops from the WX350. In fact cast an eye down the table below and at each of the ISO settings up to the maximum 3200 ISO, it's hard to discern a difference in noise levels in the respective crops from either model.

The WX350 has a raft of composite modes that produce lower noise results at high ISO settings. The most useful of these is Multi Frame Noise Reduction which allows you to set the ISO manually from 100 to 12800. I've included a crop from the WX350 in MFNR mode at 3200 ISO in the table below.

There's also the WX350's Handheld Twilight mode which sets the ISO automatically. The equivalent on the PowerShot SX600 HS is Handheld NightScene which also sets the sensitivity automatically. For this test Hand-held Twilight on the WX350 chose 800 ISO while Handheld NightScen on the SX600 HS chose 1600 ISO. So while you can't make a direct comparison from the table below, you can at least compare them with the single-shot version at the same ISO setting.

Now head over to my Sony WX350 sample images to see some more real-life shots in a variety of conditions, or head straight for my verdict.

Sony WX350 JPEG
PowerShot SX600 HS JPEG
80 ISO
80 ISO Not available
100 ISO
100 ISO
200 ISO
200 ISO
400 ISO
400 ISO
800 ISO
800 ISO
1600 ISO
1600 ISO
3200 ISO
3200 ISO
Hand held Twilight 800 ISO
Hand held NightScene 1600 ISO
Not available

Sony Cyber-shot WX350 results : Quality / Noise

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