RX100 ISO performance vs NEX & Entry level DSLR

Started Dec 17, 2012 | Discussions thread
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2eyesee
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RX100 ISO performance vs NEX & Entry level DSLR
Dec 17, 2012

I have a Sony NEX-F3 with kit lens and have been considering replacing it with a Sony RX100 due to its pocketability, but I'm just trying to gauge what I'd sacrifice in image quality in doing this.

I see some claims that it is equal to or better than some entry level DSLR's, which seem surprising to me considering the sensor is 1/3 the size of APS-C.

Then I study the results on http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/sony-cybershot-dsc-rx100/14  comparing it to my NEX-F3 and I'd have to conclude that the NEX-F3 has a good 2 stop advantage, which is probably what I'd expect. I find it difficult to judge accurately as the RX100 produces a softer, smoother image whereas the NEX-F3 images are grainier but also have more detail. I'm looking at higher ISO images to see this - i.e. comparing ISO400 or 800 on the RX100 to ISO1600 or 3200 on the NEX-F3.

If I'm only using the kit lens on my NEX-F3 the RX100 has a 2 stop advantage at its widest end which negates the 2 stop ISO advantage of the NEX-F3, so I guess you could call the cameras about equal here. But I do see that the RX100's lens stops down very quickly - from f/1.8 at 28mm to f/2.8 at 34mm. At this focal length my NEX-F3 is f/4.0 - only 1 stop behind - and from here the gap closes to around 0.5 stops at full tele end.

So with its 2 stop ISO advantage my conclusion is that the cameras are about equal wide but from around 34mm even the NEX-F3 with kit lens has a 1 stop or more advantage.

Is my analysis reasonable?

I've just been somewhat surprised at the claims that the RX100 has quality as good as APS-C sensors 3x its size. There's no doubt its a great camera, but surely it can't defy the laws of physics?

Maybe the explanation when people are making these claims is for low ISO images. As ISO gets higher (1600+) the benefits of a bigger sensor become apparent.

Anyway, I'd just like to quantify what loss in image quality I will experience going from NEX-F3 with kit lens to RX100, so I'd appreciate comments in particular from those who have made a similar transition.

Sony Alpha NEX-F3 Sony RX100
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