S6500fd vs HS50EXR
The S6500`s Processing at LOW ISOs is actually better than the F30/F31/F11 so long as you set the sharpness to SOFT and do it yourself - then it would exceed the F series classics in image quality - this is the trick to the JPG engine ...........
Sadly to save sales of the "new" higher model S9600 they used the NR algorithms from the budget A series at ISOs above 200 in the 6500 (one of which even shared the F30 sensor, the A600 ), the 9600 got more NR too but if the 6500 had the F30 algos, the 9600 would have looked foolish at high ISOs ..... as you say, it can be recovered in RAW. the biggest crippling of the 6500 was the lack of a command dial in a camera user interface which was designed to have one
I would rate the IQ at base ISO In JPG on a par with the HS50 for resolution and in RAW higher as there`s less noise ro deal with ...... the lens is better quality than the HS50s and the images have more depth (they look more like XS1 or S100FS images) - where the S6500 falls down is DR, it`s usable but you have to be careful about clipping
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