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NEX-5N has the best image quality of all Sony cameras?

Discussion in 'Sony Alpha E-Mount Cameras' started by Hannu Siika-aho, Sep 12, 2011.

  1. Hannu Siika-aho

    Hannu Siika-aho New to TalkEmount

    Sep 12, 2011
    There are many full size samples taken by NEX-7 available on the Internet. You can find the torrent link here:

    sonyalpharumors | Blog | Exclusive: Download plenty of fullsize NEX-7 RAW and JPEG pictures!!!

    Having downloaded them and checked them out it looks that the high-ISO image quality of NEX-7 is not on par with NEX-5N.
    Also many samples of A77 show that NEX-5N is the king of Sony cameras when it comes to low light performance!

    See the ISO1600 sample below of NEX-7 and compare it with NEX-5N ISO6400 sample here:

    Digital Cameras, Sony Alpha NEX-5N Digital Camera Test Image

    Way to go, NEX-5N!

    Attached Files:

  2. DGM

    DGM New to TalkEmount

    Sep 5, 2011
    That might be over-stating things just a bit.

    Subject to final testing of released product, it appears that the 5n might have the best per-pixel quality. Whether the Nex7 can make up for that with the extra bump in resolution remains to be seen.

    What is still not clear is what the final resolution will be. Those latest samples were taken with the translucent mirror adapter and an alpha lens. It has already been clearly shown that the translucent mirror does have an impact on resolution, almost the equivalent of adding an AA filter.

    When I used Rawtherapee on the Imaging Resource raw files from the A77 and compared it to the raw files from the 5n, the A77 files needed some clever sharpening and de-blur, but they clearly out-resolved the 5n.

    We need to put some qualifiers on this: In that test, there were some elements in the scene that were just at the edge of the 5n resolution. Whenever you compare two cameras of different pixel density, if you are careful, you can construct a test that puts one camera just at the limit, and show the other camera with dramatic proof of better resolution. We just need to watch out for that kind of skewed data.

    All that being said, it appears that the 5n will have at least one stop of ISO advantage, and it may have some dynamic range advantage as well. Time will tell.

    At the moment, I prefer the tonality I see from the 5n, however, once you get past the darned translucent mirror, there is a nice refined feel to the 24 mp sensor. We will just have to wait and see.

    Best regards,
  3. macjim

    macjim TalkEmount Regular

    Aug 10, 2011
    It could also be that the NEX-7 images are from prototype and/or preproduction cameras which are not necessarily set to the final image quality. It's best to wait and see what the released version of the camera has to show, but the other difference is these two cameras (NEX-7 & NEX-5n) have very different sensors even though the physical chip sizes are the same - remember - the 5n has 16.1mp against 24mp's do the images will be different. What you will not know is whether these images are heavily compressed too.

    Cheers, Macjim.
  4. Hannu Siika-aho

    Hannu Siika-aho New to TalkEmount

    Sep 12, 2011
    Thanks for the details. The translucent mirror adapter explains a lot of the poorer-than-expected image quality. The other day I read about this technology.

    Since NEX-7 has no translucent mirror I had high hopes for a top image quality. It will be very interesting to see what the new 24 MP sensor can capture without that darned filter (translucent mirror).

    Yes, megapixels help so much in resolving details and in utilizing the (possible unused) sharpness of the lens used. Anyhow, increase of megapixels cannot reduce the noise or noise reduction artifacts. I downsized the test images of Canon 5D Mk II on the same imagingresource.com site to match the ones by NEX-5N. They definitely have greater amount of details but the noise remains the same—in this case higher than in the test shots of NEX-5N and the images just looked "dirtier" than the NEX-5N ones.

    Sony's latest generation of sensors are excellent plus the jpeg processing seems to be very advanced so we can expect a lot from NEX-7.

  5. serhan

    serhan TalkEmount All-Pro

    Aug 27, 2011
    The higher MP will give more details though it might be more noisy so it depends on your preference of IQ. For printing I don't think noise matters unless you do big size printing.

    There are 2 interesting comparisons that I saw:

    LL's A65 first review and comparison with A900 full frame:
    Sony A65 First Impressions.


    A77 vs others (including nex-5n) noise analysis in dpreview post:
    A77 Noise Analysis [Page 1]: Sony SLR Talk Forum: Digital Photography Review
  6. Hannu Siika-aho

    Hannu Siika-aho New to TalkEmount

    Sep 12, 2011
    NEX-5N seems to rule...

    There are several test shots taken with NEX-7 and Carl Zeiss 24mm f/1.8 lens here:

    Sony Alpha NEX-7 Compact System Camera Samples - Hands-On Preview

    As I "feared" in the opening post of this thread, the IQ is not as good I expected (after seeing the test photos of NEX-5N.) :(  Sony might have got over-ambitious in trying to pack 24 million pixels in a APS-C sized sensor.

    Here, e.g., ISO3200 shot shows soo much noise and artifacts of NR. The sharpness isn't great either. Hopefully this is just because of the pre-production stage of the camera:

    Attached Files:

  7. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Aug 6, 2011
    I don't know how the JPEGs will look, but I processed some of the RAW files you linked to, and they look perfectly fine. Here's an ISO 3200 photo which I processed from RAW using the latest beta of Raw Photo Processor (Mac only). I'm showing the resized version along with a 100% crop inset:

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    Keep in mind that this is the kit lens, a beta version of RPP that doesn't fully support the camera, that the guy who took these samples was rushed and many show handshake blur, missed focus, etc.

    I think the NEX-7 will probably not quite match the 5N at the highest ISO values, but it will definitely out-res the 5N and have very decent performance (at least for RAW shooters) at high ISO.

    Here's the RAW file I used: DSC08761.ARW - File Shared from Box.net - Free Online File Storage
  8. Hannu Siika-aho

    Hannu Siika-aho New to TalkEmount

    Sep 12, 2011

    Thanks for the input. Your sample is from the link in my opening post. You might want to check the later link in my post that you quoted. Imagingresource.com had used a very good Carl Zeiss 24mm prime lens with NEX-7. There are several jpegs from ISO 100 to ISO 16000.

    Yes, I have tried Raw Photo Processor 64 on my Mac with A77 raw shots but I realized that the I couldn't get results that I would had been happy with. Hopefully Adobe comes soon out with a new beta of ACR. I'm sure we'll get a lot more out of the raw files then.

    Btw, here is the 100% crop part of the test shot you posted. I used Neat Image to remove noise and tried not to be too agressive in NR and sharpening. I saved the file in max. quality jpeg from Photoshop Elements 9.


    Attached Files:

  9. Armanius

    Armanius TalkEmount Regular

    Aug 8, 2011
    Houston Texas USA
    I just spent way too much time in the Imaging Resource's comparometer looking at the mannequin photo at ISO 6400 jpgs of the NEX5N vs. just about every camera in the IR database, including the 5DMk2, D3x, D7000, K5, EP3, A77, NEX5, X100, NEX3C, GH2, T3i, 7D, A580, etc ...

    I must say ... in terms of noise and detail (and balancing the two), the NEX5N looks better than most of the other cameras. The big sensor D3x and D700 were right up there, with the D3x having a little bit more chroma noise but also more detail. Surprisingly, the X100 was right up there too along with the A580, and actually looking slightly better than the 5DMk2. 5DMk2 rendered a bit more detail than the NEX5N, but also had a good deal more luminance noise. In any event ...

    ... not sure how reliable comparing JPGs are. But if they are reliable, I'm getting more and more impressed with the NEX5N. Maybe the NEX5N has a really good JPG processing engine? I certainly didn't care too much for the one on my NEX3.
  10. serhan

    serhan TalkEmount All-Pro

    Aug 27, 2011
    Similarly I checked the raw ISO 3200 samples from dpreview with nex-5/c3, m43, 5D II, T600, etc. What I saw was the additional detail with the addition of MP though it might add some more noise. 5N/X100 might be the best optimized crop sensor for higher ISO's, but I found 18MP Canon carried more details. So unless you are shooting low light all the time, the increase from 14MP to 16MP will not add too much in lower ISO's vs 14MP to 24MP will give you more details. I like the 5N touch screen, but nex-7 has the bigger body and the viewfinder/flash options to make it ergonomically better esp with bigger lenses.

    Also still the 3-4yrs old full frame sensor beats the crop cameras, so it will be interesting to see the new generation of full frame sensors next year if they will improve it more.

  11. Hannu Siika-aho

    Hannu Siika-aho New to TalkEmount

    Sep 12, 2011

    Latest LL's preview of NEX-7 they say:

    "Let's get the high ISO issue on the table. As we saw in my Sony A65 First Impressions report, this new APS-C sized 24MP sensor seems to be about a stop more noisy at high ISOs than the full-frame 24MP sensor on the A900. Some additional testing shows it to also be about one stop noisier than the 16MP sensor on the new NEX-5n

    Certainly when fast primes are used it's hard to imagine too many low light situations where this sensor (in the NEX-7, A65 or A77) will be found problematic. But for the photographer seeking low light extremes, it may be that a camera with a low pixel count, such as the NEX-5n would be preferable, especially if large prints and strong cropping aren't going to be needed."

    The article is here:

    Sony NEX-7 First Impressions

    I just hope Sony would make few sharp and smaller pancakes (like Samsung NX ones) for the NEX series...

    Cheers! :) 
  12. Djarum

    Djarum TalkEmount Rookie

    Sep 1, 2011
    Huntsville, AL
    Seems like the 16mp is the sweet spot for Sony right now. I wonder though, if the higher Resolution pictures are downsampled to the 16mp size if there would be a noise difference?
  13. Hannu Siika-aho

    Hannu Siika-aho New to TalkEmount

    Sep 12, 2011
    This question arises sometimes. With downsizing you'll gain in details but it doesn't really help in noise reduction. I confirmed this by comparing NEX-5N and downsized Canon 5D Mk II test shots at imagingresource.com.
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