Sony RX10. Pixel size and noise are holding me back from buying

Started 5 months ago | Discussions thread
Michael Fritzen
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Re: Sony RX10. Pixel size and noise are holding me back from buying
In reply to MoreGooderPhotos, 5 months ago

MoreGooderPhotos wrote:

For nearly $1300, it's hard for me to simply purchase the RX10 without being 95% satisfied. I like most everything about the RX10 except for the noise in raw images. It's got horrendous noise without the in-camera noise reduction.

Well, I'm shooting mainly with an A99 and I bought in decembre the RX10 as new 2nd camera because of the very interesting overall package it offers. There are of course some compromises but for me noise in higher ISO may be there to some amount - but far from horrendous. Actually up to ISO3200, shooting RAW and taking care of getting well exposed images I consider the results pretty impressive and quite usable - especially for this sensor size

I've seen some amazing shots taken with the RX10, but it has more to do with the artistry and subject matter. As I said in a previous thread, the composition and subject are more important than how good neighboring pixels look, but the more I think about it the more I realize that Sony's attempt to out-pixel the Nikon 1 sensors was a mistake.

For my part I don't see any attempt of Sony to imitate another maker's model. Actually the RX10 entered into a niche, joining very good stills device, video and lens with an as large as possible sensor given all the constraints.

Cramming 20mpx into a small sensor is not ideal. The only advantage to such a high pixel density is the ability to crop smaller. However, when you do crop smaller the noise is going to be more visible, which defeats the purpose of the higher density. This means you then need to apply noise reduction to the cropped portion, so there goes the fine details and the reason for cropping to begin with.

Discussiong the pixel density is an almost moot point from my POV. A supposed substancial increase in pixel size / low light performance probably would have needed a pixel count guesstimated at around 6-8MP. Well here I prefer the 20MP and if necessary I can either downsize or crop. I don't understand why cropping would render noise bigger. It remais absolutely the same. Cropping cuts only not needed outer image parts. And downsizing a highISO image from 20MP to a smaller output pixelcount actually can improve the perceived noise. BTW by this downsampling and the most recent sensor tecnology in many cases it would be hard to detect the differences of an imaginary lower MP-better highISO sensor and an image downsampled from 20MP to the same low MP count.

Of course the RX10 isn't THE low light / high ISO daemon - and it was never planned or considered as such. As mentioned above though it's more of a jack-of-all-trades. Who's fine with that hardly feels the RX10 lacking badly in one of the departments.

Sony's in-camera noise reduction does do a good job, but what if I want to bring in more details lurking in the shadows by PP'ing raw? That means I'm either going to have to save all shots as JPG + Raw so that I have a choice between spending my valuable time PP's or living with the possibility of detail loss due to in-camera noise reduction.

No new JPG vs. RAW discussion. But who's working routinely with RAW for sure doesn't spend more time PPing than JPG. It's a myth that RAW processing takes much time. It's much more about knowing one's tools and knowing about the workflow. Of course the in-camera JPG engine does it faster

I don't know.... Someone convince me. I just can't see spending that much money on something to produce web-size images or picture books over say a Fuji XT1. Yeah I know, 200mm, Zeiss, etc. But IQ needs to be there and I'm struggling with it for the price their asking. Sure, the lens alone is great, but had they put a lower density sensor in it they would have large photo sites collecting more light at a lower ISO with better overall image quality without the hocus-pocus noise reduction/detail killer.

For websized images most smartphones may be all you need. It we speak about what? 1,800px on the long side? 2,500px? For all this mostly all specialized "photo cameras" MAY be considered overkill. However the cicumstances when such images are to be taken may already allow for telling them apart. There's a lot of room between simplest P&S and Nikon's or Canon's top DSLRs. YOU customer define what are your needs, how much money you want to spend.

For what the RX10 offers I wouldn't it consider cheap. But it's priced cleverly just at an upper limit for the package what it represents. Reasonable.

So here I sit, wondering if I should hit my credit card for $1300 for something that could have been the bridge camera to beat them all, if it weren't for a sensor spec dictated by the marketing department.

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Sometimes I feel like 2/3'rds Rice Krispies. Past "Snap" and "Crackle" but just shy of "Pop".

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Cheers,
Michael Fritzen

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