Sony NEX-5N and NEX-C3 - Same Sensor or Different?

Amin Sabet

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Joined
Aug 6, 2011
Messages
1,906
Apparently Sony is claiming that the 16MP sensors in the new NEX-5N and NEX-C3 cameras are two distinct sensors. Of note, the NEX-5N has an ISO range of 100 - 25,600 and Auto ISO up to 3200, while the NEX-C3 has an ISO range of 200 - 12,800 and Auto ISO up to 1600.

I set out to test this issue further by processing some of the Imaging-Resource RAW files using Raw Photo Processor (Mac only, latest beta version) and found that the NEX-C3 and NEX-5N files are very similar but not the same. They are nearly identical at most ISO values but differ a bit at the highest ISOs. Here are some representative 100% crops at ISO 6,400 and 12,800:

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As you can see, there is a tiny bit more noise in the NEX-C3 files at very high ISO values. There may be a tiny bit more detail there as well, and I wonder if the only difference is some subtle on-chip smoothing in the NEX-5N files. Regardless, the differences seen here are too minor to be of any practical consequence to me.
 

Ross

TalkEmount Regular
Joined
Aug 22, 2011
Messages
40
At ISO 12800, NEX-5N is much cleaner or less noise.
 

macjim

TalkEmount Regular
Joined
Aug 10, 2011
Messages
158
I'd guess it's the same sensor but to differentiate the cheaper c3 from the dearer 5n, Sony restricted what the c3's sensor could do. It would be nice for the user, but nuts for Sony, to have made each camera have the same resolving power as there would be little to persuade buyers to go for the 5n if that was the case, remember both cameras are using the same lenses too. You'll find all camera manufacturers do the same to encourage buyers to go for the better cameras. that's how they make the money! ;-)


Cheers, Macjim.
 

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