G1X Mark II vs. Sony RX100 RAW File Comparison

Started Apr 8, 2014 | Discussions thread
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Ketan G Regular Member • Posts: 321
G1X Mark II vs. Sony RX100 RAW File Comparison

Photoshop CC just released an update for ACR which provides preliminary support for the Canon G1X Mark II. I have one on pre-order and also own a Sony RX100 ("Mark I"). I have been generally happy with the Sony, whose sensor has greater dynamic range than even my 5D Mark III, but it's weakness is definitely its lens, which gets soft outside the center and usually requires stopping down to f/5.6 or f/6.3 at most focal lengths in order to have a fairly uniform frame. In doing so, the ISO often has to be raised, negating some of the advantages of its "fast" lens.

I took the ISO 100 and ISO 1600 samples from Imaging Resource and did the following (in this order):

  • Opened the files in the latest version of ACR
  • Zeroed noise reduction
  • Bumped the exposure, brought back highlights, boosted shadows, bumped clarity (+5) and vibrance equally for each file
  • Opened the files in Photoshop CC, ran Topaz DeNoise 5 equally as needed for each file
  • Used the Pro Contrast filter in Nik equally for each file
  • Sharpened using Nik Sharpener 3.0 equally for each file
  • Up-resolved the G1X Mark II file to the same height as the RX100 file as the latter has a resolution advantage which should not be negated, as in real world use
  • Cropped and Saved for Web at 100% quality, 100% crops are provided

I did this rather than just using defaults as I never leave RAW files alone. For some this test is imperfect, but it reflects how I will use them. The same files can be downloaded from IR if someone wants to do a different test.

For ISO 100, I took a crop from both the center and the threads which are in the top right 25% of the frame (not the extreme corner):

I then took the top middle of the frame for each at ISO 1600:

My observations at ISO 100:

  • The RX100 has an incredible sensor at low sensitivity, its files look more like those from a large-sensor camera in terms of their smoothness and "unprocessed" appearance. The RX100's shadow noise was definitely lower prior to the noise reduction and the highlight roll-off is smoother (not shown in these crops).
  • The RX100 out-resolves the G1X Mark II in the center of the frame.
  • The G1X Mark II begins to out-resolve the RX100 as you move 1/3 out from the center of the frame. Take a look at the thread crop and you can see the G1X Mark II getting more detail just a few spools to the right.
  • The G1X Mark II has higher default contrast in ACR, giving a punchier look, if a bit more processed.

My observations at ISO 1600:

  • The G1X Mark II shows slightly lower noise (look at the black bottle covers) and a contrast advantage versus the RX100, whose contrast fades a bit as the ISO rises. This bodes well for low light shooting. My experience is that the RX100 files can fall apart at higher ISOs and in dark conditions, whereas the G1X Mark II's contrast and noise against the black parts of this image give the impression it will do a better job.
  • The G1X Mark II's lens is brighter at the long end than that of the RX100 and its stabilization is likely better, so you will probably be able to use a lower ISO with the G1X Mark II.
  • The RX100 does a better job with the red fabric as well as the silver bottle cap areas. It still gives a smoother look which is quite nice. The splotches of green noise are difficult to correct, however.
  • Though not shown in these crops, the G1X Mark II's lead towards the edges of the frame is increased due to a combination of a sharper lens and slightly lower noise.
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