Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Very low-light test of iPhone6+ vs DSC-QX100

Here is a test against the Sony DSC-QX100 in very low light.  It is DARK,  Like movie theater near the exit sign dark (that's as close as we will get to units).  I include this photo from the link above so you know it is a weird animal and not a conventional camera.  I like it, but I don't know if it is getting a lot of traction or not.
Sony DSC-QX100 (from drpreview.com)
The sensors and such are quite different:
  • iPhone 6, 1/3" CMOS (? any camera nerds know more?) sensor
  • QX100,  1.0" Exmor R BSI CMOS sensor
So we should expect a 10X bigger sensor (and one good at low light according to the review above) to crush in this test.  It does, so the iPhone 6 camera does not have the fairy dust component I was starting to suspect.   Here they are:
Sony QX100
iPhone 6+
 In fact, I'd say the iPhone 6+ picture is subjectively more realistic.  But lets scale it up in photoshop and see how much information is there.
iPhone6+ scaled in photoshop
 Conclusion: in some situations you just need a big low-light sensor!

Sergey Schetinin suggested in the comments there might be good info in the exif files (stripped in the images above) and I just grabbed the free version of exif wizard (really nice little program!  I will get the pro one).  Here are some screen dumps (interesting both 1/4s):


Sergey Schetinin said...

What's the exposure on the Sony shot? Looks absurdly bright compared to the iPhone one.

Peter Shirley said...

It's just its autoexposure (same for the iPhone) so I don't know. I'll do some manual tests and find out. One question is how much of this is just tone mapping. Empirical question!

Sergey Schetinin said...

Perhaps it's in the EXIF of the original file? (I checked the one included in the post and it's stripped there).