Studio Comparison

Our latest test scene is designed to simulate both daylight and low-light shooting. Pressing the 'lighting' buttons at the top of the widget allows you to switch between the two. The daylight scene is shot with manually set white balance, but the camera is left in its Auto setting for the low-light tests to show how the camera's JPEGs look under artificial light. Any 'keep warm tone' options are left at their default setting.

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The low light scene Raws are processed to demonstrate the capability of cameras in low-light shooting situations. Noise reduction is minimized and the white balance is neutralized to reveal blue channel noise. The black level is lifted to prevent noise being hidden by clipping. A standardized amount of sharpening is applied in Photoshop.

Note: this page features our new interactive studio scene. Click here for instuctions on the widget.

Here we're comparing the E-M10 to the Fujifilm X-M1, which bears a highly capable APS-C X-Trans chip. We'd expect it to out-resolve the Four Thirds E-M10, and it does, and the E-M10 appears to try and bridge the gap by applying slightly heavier sharpening to its JPEGs. The story is the same moving up to ISO 800 as well as comparing at the same ISO to another APS-C competitor, the D5300.

The differences between the Micro Four Thirds E-M10 and its bigger-sensor competitors starts to become more obvious around ISO 1600 when artifacts become more apparent, seen here in the cheekbones and eyebrows. The D5300's JPEG also gives a nicer reproduction of skin tone in this example, though its Raw image suggests there's enough information captured to do more with the E-M10's file in post-processing. At 6400 and to the upper ISO limit, the E-M10 just can't keep up with its APS-C competitors, and shows perhaps slightly more noise in its Raw files as compared to a Micro Four Thirds competitor.

In low light at low ISO the E-M10 and Panasonic GM1 look even in terms of detail, with the former displaying a warmer default auto white balance under tungsten lighting. The higher-res D5300 does better in terms of resolution as the E-M10 shows some colorful moire.

At higher ISOs the E-M10 struggles in lower light as it attempts to smooth out noise and sharpen remaining detail. It holds its own quite well against the Canon 700D/T5i at ISO 3200, but the X-M1 does a bit better at ISO 6400 though at web-sharing size the two look about even. At its highest sensitivity the E-M10's JPEGs look comparable to the Canon T5i, displaying less color noise than the DSLR, but color rendition suffers as dark blues and purples appear murky.