Another Olympus E-M1 and SONY a7 walkabout test, high ISO

Started Jan 29, 2014 | Discussions thread
blue_skies Forum Pro • Posts: 11,122
Re: Thanks for the truth!

Anders W wrote:

blue_skies wrote:

Lab D wrote:

blue_skies wrote:

Lab D wrote:

blue_skies wrote:

Lab D wrote:

skyglider wrote:

blue_skies wrote:

skyglider wrote:

blue_skies wrote:

How so: in equivalence terms, the Oly 12-40/f2.8 becomes 24-80/f5.6 versus the Sony 24-70/f4.0?

Hi Henry,

I understand how the Oly 12-40mm is equivalent to 24-80mm in 35mm terms because of the 2x crop factor of the micro 4/3 sensor. But AFAIK, the aperture remains the same.

IOW, if an Oly 12mm lens could be used on a full frame (35mm) sensor, only the center 1/4 of the sensor area would be illuminated which is equivalent to 1/2 the horizontal and vertical pixels. Thus the crop factor of 2x. But the aperture remains the same so the same amount of light is hitting that portion of the sensor by the F2.8 aperture. So the aperture does "not" become equivalent to a F5.6 aperture.

Is my understanding incorrect?


Hi Sky, no your understanding is correct.

In terms of ISO, aperture and shutter speed, the exposure is the SAME on the small and the larger sensor.

If you are after (fast) shutter speed, you only care about the lens speed, and your thinking is correct.

But in terms of noise, the larger sensor allows to operate at a much higher ISO level and produce the same amount of noise: in m43/FF this is a 4x ratio, or 2 stops. This means that eg. m43 at ISO 1,000 is as noise as FF at ISO 4,000.

So, if you want to produce comparable images, you would shoot the FF image with two stops slower aperture and at two stops higher ISO. This is equivalent exposure.

Ironically, the same metric applies to DOF - you roughly see about the same DOF in both images as well.

Thus, shooting the Oly at 12mm f/2.8, ISO 1,000 as 1/60th is equivalent to shooting the Sony at f/5.6, ISO 4,000 and 1/60th. Aside from the resolution, the two images will appear similar.

If you use the same exposure on both, you are comparing the FF at ISO 1,000 versus the Oly at ISO 1,000. The FF image will have a lot less noise, ie. be much cleaner, but the DOF will also be reduced. The images are not equivalent at that point.

On FF you can trade noise for DOF, assuming you have a fast lens. There is a 2 stop delta to play with.

In the example, using the Sony lens at f/4.0 implies that the ISO goes to 2,000. This is one stop below the equivalent values of f/5.6 and ISO 4,000, so, with more shallow DOF, you will have a less noisy image on the FF.

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Hi Henry,

I think I understand your point now. I wondered how many stops difference there was between a micro 4/3 sensor verses a full frame sensor. Now I know it's a 4x ratio or 2 stops difference.

That only applies for Depth of field. If you check the results from DxO tests, the difference is much less. A good example is dynamic range where the E-M1 is only about 1/2 stop different than the A7 for most of the ISO settings DxO tested.

Remember if you need F/2.8, 1/60th sec shutter speed, and ISO800 on the E-M1, you will need the SAME settings on an A7, a Nikon 1 and a Sony RX100. It would even be the same on your smartphone!

Again, exposure = exposure and equivalence = equivalence.

And you know in this case equivalance does not tell us the facts. Admit it, there is NOT a 2 stop difference for noise or dynamic range at almsot all the ISOs DxO tested.

Just admit the truth for once.

Henry showing the difference between sensors

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You are right with the DxO link. The difference is really negligible. There is not a 2 stop difference almost all of time here.


Please go take ISO 6400 pictures with your EM1 then

You conveniently deleted that I stated that it is immaterial whether it is 2x, or 1.65x, or 1.5x stops.

Where did you state that? And of course it isn't immaterial. If it's less than two stops (as it certainly is), MFT has an advantage with regard to signal-noise performance for equivalent images (same DoF, same shutter speed, different exposure, different ISOs).

"If DxO points out that it is 1.65x stops or 1.5x stops, it does NOT CHANGE the general thoughts"

Sure, MFT has a 'technical advantage' but the image is worse - my eyes don't deceive me - download Daniel's newly uploaded full-image side-by-side and see for yourself.

@ ISO 3200 - M1 at left, A7 at right

@ ISO 100 - M1 at left, A7 at right

It is immaterial, imho, as I would not use a smaller sensor camera at higher ISO. Why not? Because the image quality degrades too much. I would rather use longer exposure and lower ISO, if possible.

When you are in a position to freely increase the length of the exposure (because the scene is static), you are also free to bracket exposure and merge/align multiple images. This makes sensor performance a moot point.

When you are not in a position to do so, MFT has the advantage with regard to signal-noise performance for equivalent images.

See the image above, sure, it can be improved upon, but as Daniel said "the way a user would do it". Clearly the images are not similar in IQ, neither at ISO 100 nor at ISO 3200.

And we have had this discussion so many times already. Why the nitpicking?

Because you are not admitting the truth.

What truth? I thank Daniel for uploading the images - they speak for themselves.

Technical slides do not tell this story, and in the analysis we get lost in sensor efficiency, not image IQ.

Lower the ISO, and both cameras are great. They both have their pros and cons.

They both have their pros and cons, but it is important to be factually correct about what those pros and cons are.

See my comments here:

Pros and cons are subject to an individual bias.

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