Compared to... FujiFilm F50 fd

The T300 offers ISO 1600 and 3200 modes, which is not surprising as high ISO modes have become a headline feature on compacts. Even though most of them aren't any good. Here we compare the T300 to the FujiFilm F50 fd, which is best performing high ISO compact we've encountered that is still available (meaning having to overlook the better-performing but out-of-production FujiFilm F31 fd).

The Fuji has 12 million effective pixels but they are contained on a larger sensor, so each pixel is slightly larger, so each receive slightly more light during any exposure, so it should have a slightly stronger signal to generate its images from.

Studio scene comparison (T300 @ ISO 1600, F50fd @ ISO 1600)  

  • Sony T300: Program mode, ISO 1600, Default Image Parameters,
    Fluorescent 1 white balance, +0.70 EV compensation
  • FujiFilm F50 fd: Program mode, ISO 1600, Default Image Parameters,
    Manual white balance, +0.70 EV compensation
  • Lighting: Daylight simulation, >98% CRI
Sony T300
FujiFilm F50
ISO 1600, 1/1000 sec, F5.6
ISO 1600, 1/900 sec, F5
3,577 KB JPEG
4,988 KB JPEG

In a not exactly front-page-holding turn of events, the high sensitivity performance of a tiny sensor crammed with all the pixels Sony could find proves to be pretty awful. The amount of detail retained by the Sony is vastly inferior to the results from the larger-pixelled Fuji. Both images are marred by noise and the destructive effect of noise reduction but the Fuji at least leaves text legible.

As well as having larger pixels, the Fuji also has the decency to stop at ISO 1600. The Sony blunders on to ISO 3200, at which point the results are pitiful. Until there is a major change in the technology, it is unreasonable to divide small sensors into ever small portions (to boost the magic, camera-selling megapixel count), at the same time as expecting them to perform better in low light - the two demands are in direct conflict.