Olympus STYLUS 1 - Quality

Quality

Sony RX10 vs Olympus STYLUS 1 vs Panasonic Lumix FZ200 quality at 28mm

To compare real-life performance at wide angle, I shot this scene with the Sony Cyber-shot RX10, Olympus STYLUS 1 and Panasonic Lumix FZ200 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.

For comparison here I attempted to match the vertical coverage as closely as possible on all three models. As luck would have it, 24mm on the RX10 delivered pretty much the same vertical coverage as the STYLUS 1 at 28mm (the extra coverage of the Sony is in its slightly wider frame). Meanwhile the FZ200 was zoomed-in one notch from its widest setting to match the vertical height of the others.

For my results at other focal lengths, noise and RAW comparisons, see the results index above right.

Olympus STYLUS 1 results
1Olympus STYLUS 1 Quality at wide angle
2Olympus STYLUS 1 Quality at 50mm
3Olympus STYLUS 1 Quality at 100mm
4Olympus STYLUS 1 Quality at 200mm
5Olympus STYLUS 1 Quality at 300mm
6Panasonic FZ200 Quality at 600mm
7Olympus STYLUS 1 noise
8Olympus STYLUS 1 RAW noise

On this first results page I’ll compare all three cameras at, or near to, their widest focal lengths. As mentioned above, I’ve aimed to match the vertical height of each image, which involved nudging the Lumix FZ200 in by a notch. As for the RX10, it may deliver a slightly wider field of view than the STYLUS 1, but due to differences in their aspect ratios, their vertical heights are already fairly well matched when both are zoomed-out to their widest settings. So to clarify below you’re looking at the RX10 and STYLUS 1 at their widest focal lengths and the FZ200 zoomed-in a tad to match. The crops, as always, are taken from the areas indicated by the red rectangles and reproduced below at 100%. The STYLUS 1 and FZ200 crops show the same area as both share the same 12 Megapixel resolution, while the RX10 crops show a smaller area due to its higher 20 megapixel resolution.

I tested all three cameras at every aperture setting and at their widest focal lengths, found all delivered their crispest results at f4. Note at f2.8 the results sometimes delivered higher contrast and a slightly crisper centre, but f4 was the best all-round, especially at the edges.

And it’s the edges where this first battle is fought. Of the three cameras, the STYLUS 1 is suffering the most at its edges, with visibly softer results than either the Lumix FZ200 or Sony RX10. Move away from the edges and the STYLUS 1 improves a lot, although the Lumix FZ200 manages to match it at this wide focal length. Meanwhile the higher resolution of the Sony RX10, coupled with a lens that’s sharp to the edges at wide angle wins this first test.

It’s all very well comparing cameras at their widest focal lengths, but what happens as they zoom-in? To find out, I additionally tested the three cameras at 50, 100 and 200mm, followed by comparing the STYLUS 1 and FZ200 at 300mm and finally checking out how the FZ200 looks at 600mm. Find out how they compare in my 50mm comparison, 100mm comparison, 200mm comparison, 300mm comparison and 600mm comparison. Alternatively you can compare their performance at higher sensitivities in my noise results or check out what’s happening behind the scenes in my RAW noise results. Or perhaps you’d like to check out my sample images or skip straight to my verdict on all three cameras!

 

Sony Cyber-shot RX10
Olympus STYLUS 1
Panasonic Lumix FZ200
f4, 125 ISO
f4, 100 ISO
f4, 100 ISO
f4, 125 ISO
f4, 100 ISO
f4, 100 ISO
f4, 125 ISO
f4, 100 ISO
f4, 100 ISO
f4, 125 ISO
f4, 100 ISO
f4, 100 ISO
f4, 125 ISO
f4, 100 ISO
f4, 100 ISO

 

Olympus STYLUS 1 results : Quality / At 50mm / At 100mm / At 200mm / At 300mm / At 600mm / Noise / RAW Noise

Sony RX10 vs Olympus STYLUS 1 vs Panasonic Lumix FZ200 quality at 50mm

To compare real-life performance at an effective focal length of 50mm, I shot this scene with the Sony Cyber-shot RX10, Olympus STYLUS 1 and Panasonic Lumix FZ200 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.

For comparison here I attempted to match the vertical coverage as closely as possible on all three models. Each was delivering an effective focal length of around 50mm on this page.

For my results at other focal lengths, noise and RAW comparisons, see the results index above right.

Olympus STYLUS 1 results
1Olympus STYLUS 1 Quality at wide angle
2Olympus STYLUS 1 Quality at 50mm
3Olympus STYLUS 1 Quality at 100mm
4Olympus STYLUS 1 Quality at 200mm
5Olympus STYLUS 1 Quality at 300mm
6Panasonic FZ200 Quality at 600mm
7Olympus STYLUS 1 noise
8Olympus STYLUS 1 RAW noise

On my second results page I’ll compare all three cameras at an equivalent focal length of 50mm, and as before I’ve attempted to match their vertical coverage by fine-tuning their zooms. The crops, as always, are taken from the areas indicated by the red rectangles and reproduced below at 100%. The STYLUS 1 and FZ200 crops show the same area as both share the same 12 Megapixel resolution, while the RX10 crops show a smaller area due to its higher 20 megapixel resolution.

I tested all three cameras at every aperture setting and at an equivalent of 50mm I found the RX10 and FZ200 were crispest wide-open at f2.8, while the STYLUS 1 performed best closed a stop to f4, delivering a slightly more contrasty result that was also better corrected at the edges.

With all three zoomed-into 50mm, their optical sharpness becomes closer than at wide angle. The STYLUS 1 improves a lot at the edges compared to the last page, although I’d still say the FZ200 enjoys a minor edge in sharpess, albeit nothing to base a buying decision on. Interestingly in the first row, the STYLUS 1 enjoys a small advantage over the FZ200, better resolving the tonal detail which separates the lines on the blue window and entrance blinds. But again it’s the Sony RX10 which delivers the best result here with crisp details up to the edges and a higher degree of real life detail thanks to its higher resolution.

What happens as they zoom-in further? To find out, I additionally tested the three cameras at 100 and 200mm, followed by comparing the STYLUS 1 and FZ200 at 300mm and finally checking out how the FZ200 looks at 600mm. Find out how they compare in my 100mm comparison, 200mm comparison, 300mm comparison and 600mm comparison. Alternatively you can compare their performance at higher sensitivities in my noise results or check out what’s happening behind the scenes in my RAW noise results. Or perhaps you’d like to check out my sample images or skip straight to my verdict on all three cameras!

 

Sony Cyber-shot RX10
Olympus STYLUS 1
Panasonic Lumix FZ200
f2.8, 125 ISO
f4, 100 ISO
f2.8, 100 ISO
f2.8, 125 ISO
f4, 100 ISO
f2.8, 100 ISO
f2.8, 125 ISO
f4, 100 ISO
f2.8, 100 ISO
f2.8, 125 ISO
f4, 100 ISO
f2.8, 100 ISO
f2.8, 125 ISO
f4, 100 ISO
f2.8, 100 ISO

 

Olympus STYLUS 1 results : Quality / At 50mm / At 100mm / At 200mm / At 300mm / At 600mm / Noise / RAW Noise

Sony RX10 vs Olympus STYLUS 1 vs Panasonic Lumix FZ200 quality at 100mm

To compare real-life performance at an effective focal length of 100mm, I shot this scene with the Sony Cyber-shot RX10, Olympus STYLUS 1 and Panasonic Lumix FZ200 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.

For comparison here I attempted to match the vertical coverage as closely as possible on all three models. Each was delivering an effective focal length of around 100mm on this page.

For my results at other focal lengths, noise and RAW comparisons, see the results index above right.

Olympus STYLUS 1 results
1Olympus STYLUS 1 Quality at wide angle
2Olympus STYLUS 1 Quality at 50mm
3Olympus STYLUS 1 Quality at 100mm
4Olympus STYLUS 1 Quality at 200mm
5Olympus STYLUS 1 Quality at 300mm
6Panasonic FZ200 Quality at 600mm
7Olympus STYLUS 1 noise
8Olympus STYLUS 1 RAW noise

On my third results page I’ll compare all three cameras at an equivalent focal length of 100mm, and as before I’ve attempted to match their vertical coverage by fine-tuning their zooms. The crops, as always, are taken from the areas indicated by the red rectangles and reproduced below at 100%. The STYLUS 1 and FZ200 crops show the same area as both share the same 12 Megapixel resolution, while the RX10 crops show a smaller area due to its higher 20 megapixel resolution.

I tested all three cameras at every aperture setting and at an equivalent of 100mm I found the STYLUS 1 and FZ200 were crispest at f4, while the RX10 performed best closed a stop further to f5.6.

Here I’d say all three start off resolving similar amounts of detail, although as you examine the later crops, the RX10 again enjoys a visible edge over its lower resolution rivals. Meanwhile the STYLUS 1 and FZ200 are looking very similar, although for my money the latter is slightly crisper on the optics, while the former is slightly cleaner on the noise. Ultimately not much to choose between the pair though.

What happens as they zoom-in further? To find out, I additionally tested the three cameras at 200mm, followed by comparing the STYLUS 1 and FZ200 at 300mm and finally checking out how the FZ200 looks at 600mm. Find out how they compare in my 200mm comparison, 300mm comparison and 600mm comparison. Alternatively you can compare their performance at higher sensitivities in my noise results or check out what’s happening behind the scenes in my RAW noise results. Or perhaps you’d like to check out my sample images or skip straight to my verdict on all three cameras!

 

Sony Cyber-shot RX10
Olympus STYLUS 1
Panasonic Lumix FZ200
f5.6, 125 ISO
f4, 100 ISO
f4, 100 ISO
f5.6, 125 ISO
f4, 100 ISO
f4, 100 ISO
f5.6, 125 ISO
f4, 100 ISO
f4, 100 ISO
f5.6, 125 ISO
f4, 100 ISO
f4, 100 ISO
f5.6, 125 ISO
f4, 100 ISO
f4, 100 ISO

 

Olympus STYLUS 1 results : Quality / At 50mm / At 100mm / At 200mm / At 300mm / At 600mm / Noise / RAW Noise

Sony RX10 vs Olympus STYLUS 1 vs Panasonic Lumix FZ200 quality at 200mm

To compare real-life performance at an effective focal length of 200mm, I shot this scene with the Sony Cyber-shot RX10, Olympus STYLUS 1 and Panasonic Lumix FZ200 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.

For comparison here I attempted to match the vertical coverage as closely as possible on all three models. Each was delivering an effective focal length of around 200mm on this page.

For my results at other focal lengths, noise and RAW comparisons, see the results index above right.

Olympus STYLUS 1 results
1Olympus STYLUS 1 Quality at wide angle
2Olympus STYLUS 1 Quality at 50mm
3Olympus STYLUS 1 Quality at 100mm
4Olympus STYLUS 1 Quality at 200mm
5Olympus STYLUS 1 Quality at 300mm
6Panasonic FZ200 Quality at 600mm
7Olympus STYLUS 1 noise
8Olympus STYLUS 1 RAW noise

On my third results page I’ll compare all three cameras at an equivalent focal length of 200mm, and as before I’ve attempted to match their vertical coverage by fine-tuning their zooms. The crops, as always, are taken from the areas indicated by the red rectangles and reproduced below at 100%. The STYLUS 1 and FZ200 crops show the same area as both share the same 12 Megapixel resolution, while the RX10 crops show a smaller area due to its higher 20 megapixel resolution.

I tested all three cameras at every aperture setting and at an equivalent of 200mm I found the RX10 and STYLUS 1 were crispest at f4, while the FZ200 performed best closed a stop further to f5.6.

While this focal length represents the extreme end for the RX10, I’d say the analysis is pretty much the same as at 100mm. As such the STYLUS 1 and FZ200 share similar amounts of real-life detail, with the latter enjoying slightly crisper and more contrasty optics, but the former enjoying slightly lower noise. Meanwhile the RX10 continues to deliver the best results of all three, genuinely resolving finer detail thanks to a combination of a higher resolution sensor and superior optics. Since 200mm is the longest the RX10 will zoom, the next comparison page is between the STYLUS 1 and FZ200, with both set to 300mm.

What happens at 300mm and longer? Find out in my 300mm comparison and 600mm comparison. Alternatively you can compare their performance at higher sensitivities in my noise results or check out what’s happening behind the scenes in my RAW noise results. Or perhaps you’d like to check out my sample images or skip straight to my verdict on all three cameras!

 

Sony Cyber-shot RX10
Olympus STYLUS 1
Panasonic Lumix FZ200
f4, 125 ISO
f4, 100 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f4, 125 ISO
f4, 100 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f4, 125 ISO
f4, 100 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f4, 125 ISO
f4, 100 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f4, 125 ISO
f4, 100 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO

 

Olympus STYLUS 1 results : Quality / At 50mm / At 100mm / At 200mm / At 300mm / At 600mm / Noise / RAW Noise

Olympus STYLUS 1 vs Panasonic Lumix FZ200 quality at 300mm

To compare real-life performance at an effective focal length of 300mm, I shot this scene with the Olympus STYLUS 1 and Panasonic Lumix FZ200 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.

For comparison here I attempted to match the vertical coverage as closely as possible on both models. Each was delivering an effective focal length of around 300mm on this page. The Sony RX10 is not included here as it does not offer a 300mm focal length. You can however come close to the results below with the RX10 by simply taking a 12 Megapixel crop from its 20 Megapixel frame.

For my results at other focal lengths, noise and RAW comparisons, see the results index above right.

Olympus STYLUS 1 results
1Olympus STYLUS 1 Quality at wide angle
2Olympus STYLUS 1 Quality at 50mm
3Olympus STYLUS 1 Quality at 100mm
4Olympus STYLUS 1 Quality at 200mm
5Olympus STYLUS 1 Quality at 300mm
6Panasonic FZ200 Quality at 600mm
7Olympus STYLUS 1 noise
8Olympus STYLUS 1 RAW noise

On my fourth results page I’ll compare both cameras at an equivalent focal length of 300mm, and as before I’ve attempted to match their vertical coverage by fine-tuning their zooms. The crops, as always, are taken from the areas indicated by the red rectangles and reproduced below at 100%. The STYLUS 1 and FZ200 crops show the same area as both share the same 12 Megapixel resolution, while the RX10 is not present here as its maximum focal length is 200mm.

I tested both cameras at every aperture setting and at an equivalent of 300mm I found the STYLUS 1 was crispest at f4, while the FZ200 performed best closed a stop further to f5.6.

Once again it’s a repeat of what we saw on the earlier pages: the FZ200 looks crisper, but the STYLUS 1 looks less noisy. It’s worth noting that noise speckles can actually give the appearance of a sharper image, so don’t discount the STYLUS 1 as being softer due to lesser optics here. Ultimately both are delivering very similar degrees of real-life detail, although the STYLUS 1 is definitely a little cleaner.

Another thing worth mentioning is the RX10. Its lens may stop at 200mm equivalent, but its higher resolution means if you were to take a 12 Megapixel crop from this focal length, you’d actually end up with an image that covers almost the same area as the STYLUS 1 here. The Olympus manages to get a little tighter, so ultimately wins that battle, but the Sony comes very close so don’t discount it if you want to shoot at 300mm.

300mm is the longest focal length of the STYLUS 1, so it too bows out at this point. But being a thorough reviewer I don’t want to just say the FZ200 continues on to zoom twice as close. I want to see if it’s any good at 600mm. Find out in my 600mm comparison. Alternatively you can compare their performance at higher sensitivities in my noise results or check out what’s happening behind the scenes in my RAW noise results. Or perhaps you’d like to check out my sample images or skip straight to my verdict on all three cameras!

 

Olympus STYLUS 1
Panasonic Lumix FZ200
f4, 100 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f4, 100 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f4, 100 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f4, 100 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f4, 100 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO

 

Olympus STYLUS 1 results : Quality / At 50mm / At 100mm / At 200mm / At 300mm / At 600mm / Noise / RAW Noise

Panasonic Lumix FZ200 quality at 600mm

To compare real-life performance at an effective focal length of 600mm, I shot this scene with the Panasonic Lumix FZ200 using its base sensitivity and best quality JPEG settings. I tried every aperture setting and selected the sharpest result for the crops below.

The Lumix FZ200 results are presented here in isolation as neither the Olympus STYLUS 1 nor Sony RX10 can zoom this long. I’ve included them here just to illustrate the kind of quality you can achieve at the maximum zoom and whether it’s usable in practice.

For my results at other focal lengths, noise and RAW comparisons, see the results index above right.

Olympus STYLUS 1 results
1Olympus STYLUS 1 Quality at wide angle
2Olympus STYLUS 1 Quality at 50mm
3Olympus STYLUS 1 Quality at 100mm
4Olympus STYLUS 1 Quality at 200mm
5Olympus STYLUS 1 Quality at 300mm
6Panasonic FZ200 Quality at 600mm
7Olympus STYLUS 1 noise
8Olympus STYLUS 1 RAW noise

On my sixth results page I’ve tested the Panasonic Lumix FZ200 in isolation at its longest focal length of 600mm, as neither the Sony RX10 nor Olympus STYLUS 1 can zoom anywhere near as close.

The crops below look very respectable in terms of optical performance, with the FZ200 delivering crisp results – indeed this has been evident across the entire focal range, which is impressive given the 24x stretch and the relatively low price of the camera.

But with the good comes the unfortunate: the FZ200, like all cameras with 1/2.3in sensors exhibits visible noise when viewed 1:1 even at the lowest sensitivity. There’s a strong sprinkling of noise across this image, and while it’s also present at shorter focal lengths, it’s more obvious here thanks to the larger expanses of flat coloured areas. If your subject remains complex and detailed even at 600mm, then you may not notice it as much, but in this particular composition, the weakness of the FZ200 is revealed. Only you can decide if it’s a problem or not, but noise like this can be smoothed fairly effectively in post processing, especially if you feed it a RAW file, and again the FZ200’s optics at least mean there’s plenty of detail to start with.

Now it’s time to compare the performance of the Sony RX10, Olympus STYLUS 1 and Lumix FZ200 at higher sensitivities in my noise results or check out what’s happening behind the scenes in my RAW noise results. Or perhaps you’d like to check out my sample images or skip straight to my verdict on all three cameras!

 

Panasonic Lumix FZ200
100 ISO, f3.9
100 ISO, f3.9
100 ISO, f3.9
100 ISO, f3.9
100 ISO, f3.9

 

Olympus STYLUS 1 results : Quality / At 50mm / At 100mm / At 200mm / At 300mm / At 600mm / Noise / RAW Noise

Sony RX10 vs Olympus STYLUS 1 vs Panasonic Lumix FZ200 Noise JPEG

Olympus STYLUS 1 results
1Olympus STYLUS 1 Quality at wide angle
2Olympus STYLUS 1 Quality at 50mm
3Olympus STYLUS 1 Quality at 100mm
4Olympus STYLUS 1 Quality at 200mm
5Olympus STYLUS 1 Quality at 300mm
6Panasonic FZ200 Quality at 600mm
7Olympus STYLUS 1 noise
8Olympus STYLUS 1 RAW noise

To compare noise levels under real-life conditions, I shot this scene with the Sony Cyber-shot RX10, Olympus OMD STYLUS 1 and Panasonic Lumix FZ200 within a few moments of each other using their best quality JPEG settings at each of their ISO sensitivity settings; RAW noise results are on the next page.

I matched the vertical field of view on each camera and set them at an aperture previously determined to deliver the sharpest results.

In my first noise comparison I’ll take a look at the JPEGs from each camera using their default settings, while on the next page I’ll compare their RAW results using the same processing settings. As always I matched the vertical field of view and have reproduced crops at 1:1 for comparison below. The STYLUS 1 and FZ200 crops show the same area as both share the same 12 Megapixel resolution, while the RX10 crops show a smaller area due to its higher 20 megapixel resolution.

All three cameras were set to f4 here and used the same shutter speeds, so the crops are directly comparable. Sometimes it’s important to factor in differences in maximum apertures too if they allow one camera to use lower ISOs than another, but with all three sharing maximum apertures of f2.8, each ISO value below is directly comparable.

Below you’re looking at crops from three cameras with different sized sensors: 1in type for the RX10, 1/1.7in type for the STYLUS 1 and 1/2.3in type for the FZ200. These descriptions don’t really explain their relative sizes, but you can see how they literally measure-up in the diagram below, where it’s clear the RX10’s sensor has roughly 2.7 times the surface area of the STYLUS 1’s sensor and roughly four times the surface area of the FZ200’s sensor. You’d therefore assume in this test that the RX10 will have the least noise, followed by the STYLUS 1, leaving the FZ200 in last place, but there are some (small) surprises.

Sensor sizes compared, Olympus STYLUS 1 indicated in red
Sensor sizes

Starting with the largest sensor camera, the Sony RX10 unsurprisingly delivers the cleanest results of the three, enjoying a visible advantage at every sensitivity. While the RX10’s quality falls a lot in the jump from 400 to 800 ISO, it remains superior to its rivals, and at 1600 and 3200 ISO it’s noisy but remains useful whereas the STYLUS 1 and FZ200 look pretty horrible at that point. Remember you can also downsample the Sony’s images to the same 12 Megapixels as the STYLUS 1 and FZ200, and enjoy an even better result. I would however say the RX10 at 6400 ISO is a step too far, and at 12800 ISO it’s a mess.

Moving onto the STYLUS 1, it enjoys a nice clean result at 100 ISO, but exhibits a big leap in visible noise at 200 ISO, and quality that reduces noticeably with every increase in sensitivity. The interesting thing is the Lumix FZ200 actually looks a little better at 200 and 400 ISO, despite a smaller sensor, although as you’ll discover on my RAW page, this is more down to JPEG processing than actual superior sensor performance. At 800 ISO the STYLUS 1 enjoys a lead over the FZ200 of around a stop, which increases as the sensitivity is increased. The Olympus may not look great at 1600 ISO and 3200 ISO, but it’s significantly preferable to the FZ200.

So as expected the RX10 enjoys the best results across the entire sensitivity range, even before you consider downsampling its images to the same resolution as the other two. Meanwhile the FZ200 enjoys a small lead over the STYLUS 1 between 100 and 400 ISO thanks to cunning JPEG processing and careful noise reduction, but the STYLUS 1’s slightly larger sensor allows it to deliver decisively lower noise and more detail at 800 ISO and above.

So what’s going on behind the scenes? Find out in my RAW noise results where I’ve processed them all using the same settings. Or perhaps you’d like to check out my sample images or skip straight to my verdict on all three cameras!

 

Sony Cyber-shot RX10 JPEG
Olympus STYLUS 1 JPEG
Panasonic Lumix FZ200 JPEG

125 ISO

100 ISO
100 ISO
200 ISO
200 ISO
200 ISO
400 ISO
400 ISO
400 ISO
800 ISO
800 ISO
800 ISO
1600 ISO
1600 ISO
1600 ISO
3200 ISO
3200 ISO
3200 ISO
6400 ISO
6400 ISO
6400 ISO
12800 ISO
12800 ISO
12800 ISOO not available

Olympus STYLUS 1 results : Quality / At 50mm / At 100mm / At 200mm / At 300mm / At 600mm / Noise / RAW Noise

Sony RX10 vs Olympus STYLUS 1 vs Panasonic Lumix FZ200 Noise RAW

Olympus STYLUS 1 results
1Olympus STYLUS 1 Quality at wide angle
2Olympus STYLUS 1 Quality at 50mm
3Olympus STYLUS 1 Quality at 100mm
4Olympus STYLUS 1 Quality at 200mm
5Olympus STYLUS 1 Quality at 300mm
6Panasonic FZ200 Quality at 600mm
7Olympus STYLUS 1 noise
8Olympus STYLUS 1 RAW noise

To compare RAW noise levels under real-life conditions, I shot this scene with the Sony Cyber-shot RX10, Olympus OMD STYLUS 1 and Panasonic Lumix FZ200 within a few moments of each other using their RAW modes at each of their ISO sensitivity settings.

I matched the vertical field of view on each camera and set them at an aperture previously determined to deliver the sharpest results.

All RAW files were processed using Adobe Camera RAW using the same settings for white balance, sharpening (50 / 0.5 / 36 / 10), and noise reduction (all disabled).

In my second noise comparison I’ll take a look at the RAW output from each camera processed using Adobe Camera RAW, using the same settings: sharpness of 50 / 0.5 / 36 / 10 and all noise reduction turned off. You wouldn’t normally sharpen images this much nor apply zero noise reduction, but it’s a useful technique for seeing exactly what’s going on behind the scenes. As always I matched the vertical field of view and have reproduced crops at 1:1 for comparison below. The STYLUS 1 and FZ200 crops show the same area as both share the same 12 Megapixel resolution, while the RX10 crops show a smaller area due to its higher 20 megapixel resolution.

All three cameras were set to f4 here and used the same shutter speeds, so the crops are directly comparable. Sometimes it’s important to factor in differences in maximum apertures too if they allow one camera to use lower ISOs than another, but with all three sharing maximum apertures of f2.8, each ISO value below is directly comparable.

Below you’re looking at crops from three cameras with different sized sensors: 1in type for the RX10, 1/1.7in type for the STYLUS 1 and 1/2.3in type for the FZ200. These descriptions don’t really explain their relative sizes, but you can see how they literally measure-up in the diagram below, where it’s clear the RX10’s sensor has roughly 2.7 times the surface area of the STYLUS 1’s sensor and roughly four times the surface area of the FZ200’s sensor. You’d therefore assume in this test that the RX10 will have the least noise, followed by the STYLUS 1, leaving the FZ200 in last place.

Sensor sizes compared, Olympus STYLUS 1 indicated in red
Sensor sizes

The first row shows what we’d expect: the cleanest result from the RX10, a slightly noisier one from the STYLUS 1 and a noisier one still from the FZ200. Likewise at 200 ISO, although I’d still say all three are recording a decent amount of detail. The higher resolution RX10 is resolving most detail, but the STYLUS 1 and FZ200 are roughly similar.

At 400 ISO and up, the order continues but the gaps widen. At this point you’d have to apply more noise reduction to the FZ200, resulting in potentially softer images than the STYLUS 1. Meanwhile the RX10 remains comfortably cleaner than either of them as expected.

At 1600 ISO there’s visible chroma noise on all three, but again it’s the smaller sensors of the STYLUS 1 and especially the FZ200 which are suffering most. At 3200 ISO it’s arguably game-over for the FZ200, at least when viewed 1:1, but the STYLUS 1 is just clinging on a little longer. The RX10 at 3200 ISO is noisy, but usable. At 6400 ISO, all three have lost a lot of detail from noise, and I’d say it’s too late for the STYLUS 1 now, although again the RX10 bravely hangs onto more detail.

Looking at the RAW noise levels, I’d say the STYLUS 1 enjoys around a one stop advantage over the FZ200 from 400 ISO upwards. I’d say the gap is wider between the RX10 and STYLUS 1, definitely more than one stop and approaching two stops at times. This is pretty much what you’d expect. The STYLUS 1 only has a slightly larger sensor than the FZ200 and this is reflected in its noise levels which are only a little better. Meanwhile the RX10 has a comfortably larger sensor than the STYLUS 1, so its noise performance is more decisive. And again this is before taking downsampling into consideration which would give the RX10 over two stops advantage over the STYLUS 1.

Bottom line? If you shoot at 100 or 200 ISO, all three deliver respectable results. If you regularly shoot up to 1600 ISO, the STYLUS 1 will give you slightly cleaner results than the FZ200, but not by a massive amount. If you shoot at this level and want noticeably cleaner results then you’ll need to spend the extra on the RX10 and carry its heavier weight. You kinda saw that coming, didn’t you?

Well done for making it this far! Now check out my sample images or skip straight to my verdict on all three cameras!

 

Sony Cyber-shot RX10 RAW
Olympus STYLUS 1 RAW
Panasonic Lumix FZ200 RAW

125 ISO

100 ISO
100 ISO
200 ISO
200 ISO
200 ISO
400 ISO
400 ISO
400 ISO
800 ISO
800 ISO
800 ISO
1600 ISO
1600 ISO
1600 ISO
3200 ISO
3200 ISO
3200 ISO
6400 ISO
6400 ISO
6400 ISO
12800 ISO
12800 ISO
12800 ISOO not available

Olympus STYLUS 1 results : Quality / At 50mm / At 100mm / At 200mm / At 300mm / At 600mm / Noise / RAW Noise

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