My currently favorite two cameras battling each other in the high ISO department: the Nikon Df, king of high ISO with it’s full-frame D4 sensor, pitched against a widely unknown gem of a camera, the Sony RX10 with fixed Zeiss optics. How the two cameras perform in the real world will follow. This short hands-on comparison here is to suggest that even the Sony’s smaller 1-inch sensor can deliver respectable results. If you’re not into really low light photography and serious big prints you might not even be able to tell the two cameras apart…
On the Nikon side you have the 4928 x 3280 pixels (16MP) with maximum regular high ISO of 12,800, on Sony’s side we got 5472 x 3648 pixels (20.2MP) with the same maximum ISO threshold (even though the Df’s H4 setting peaks at a whopping 204,800 ISO…). Sure thing the Sony gets mushier, but too mushy? Still very usable me thinks.
The two cameras are completely different beasts, yet don’t think the Sony’s a cheapo pitched against real pro gear just because it has a fixed Zeiss 24-200mm Vario-Sonnar T* lens. That lens offers a constant F2.8 aperture. And while I still have to get used to the dials and mechanisms of the retro Df, the Sony is a most intuitive breeze to use.
Not that I prefer either the Df or RX10. The Df certainly forces me to think more, gone are all the automatisms we got used to over these past few years. Both are of premium well built quality. If you’re not a hardcore prime glass shooter and want something compact and flexible, give the RX10 a try. If the very experience of composing, manual settings and “pure,” slow photography is your thing, then it’s hard to beat the Nikon.
Both sample series are straight-out-of camera, unprocessed JPEGs (except for resizing). No noise reduction applied, due to the constant aperture F7.1 used the Nikon’s larger sensor renders a slightly shallower depth of field. Click on the crops for larger resolution. With the Df I used the Nikkor 28mm F1.8G, the Sony’s is set at its widest 24mm.
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