Compared to...

Studio scene comparison (higher sensitivity)

As well as shooting our studio test scene at each camera's lowest sensitivity we also shot it at ISO 800 and 1600. As you can see the DSC-R1's aggressive noise reduction is most noticeable at ISO 800 where some detail is lost although the overall effect is a relatively clean image, at ISO 1600 noise is more obvious especially in the dark area of the label, that said it does look better than the E-500. The overall winner though for higher sensitivities remains the Canon EOS 350D which delivers good detail and low noise at ISO 800 and 1600.

ISO 800

Sony DSC-R1 Canon EOS 350D
 
Olympus E-500  

ISO 1600

Sony DSC-R1 Canon EOS 350D
 
Olympus E-500