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Sony N1 Review: (Part 5 of 6)

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A detailed real-world review of the Sony N1 compact digital camera.

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ISO Performance Test

Confused what the ISO really means for photos? Click here for an in-depth explanation.

The ISO section of any review will undoubtedly be the one most people are interested in. Ironically this is the section of very little importance. While it's true that high ISO noise can be detrimental to a photo, I've never encountered a situation where the noisy photos have been completely unworkable.

Click here to view 100% crops of the test results. So, without further ado, here we go.

- ISO 64: At base ISO there's no noise whatsoever. The photos have very rich colour and tonality.

- ISO 100: The same can be said for ISO 100. There's no noise to speak of.

- ISO 200: A bit of colour noise mixed with some moderate luminance noise. It's not too bad though and easily usable. There's a hint of noise reduction on the finest detail.

- ISO 400: Usable, but not great. There's some strong noise reduction and colour mottling, combined with a loss of detail.

- ISO 800: Needs some noise reduction software. The output is soft and fine detail is completely removed. There artifacts everywhere. No idea why there's a greenish tint.

I guess I'd use ISO 800 in a pinch. But most of the time I'd like to stay at ISO 200 and below for the best quality. At ISO 400 and up we begin to see a rapid decline.

This isn't a bad performance for a small 1/1.8" sensor but it simply pales in comparison to any decent digital SLR.

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