Sony NEX-F3 vs Samsung NX1000 vs Nikon J2 - Image Quality


Image Quality

Colour and white balance

The F3's Auto White Balance is a little warm in natural light, and JPEG colours are overall the most saturated. The Samsung NX1000 produces pleasingly saturated colours in its Raw files, although JPEGs of the same files are flat and uninspiring when captured on default settings. Admittedly, colours can be adjusted in camera to taste, and as the images above show, this neutrality isn't always a bad thing. The J2 appears to strike a happy balance between its rivals, with just the occasional tendency to give neutral areas a cold green tinge under certain circumstances.

 

 

 Nikon J2, Samsung NX1000, Sony NEX-F3

 

Exposure

While the Sony NEX-F3 is slightly more prone to underexposure, and the Samsung NX1000 to overexposure, the J2 is perhaps the most consistent in producing balanced and pleasing images, with no bias of any kind. Indeed, the dense shadowy results in some of the NEX-F3's images can be as appropriate as the slightly brighter results from the NX1000 in others.

 

 Nikon J2, Samsung NX1000, Sony NEX-F3

 

Resolution


The Nikon J2 resolves the least detail out of the three cameras, and as sensitivity is increased it struggles to maintain resolution, as image noise and noise reduction take hold. The sensor inside the NX1000 delivers plenty of detail, while the F3 comes closely behind.

 

Image noise

Sadly, the one area where the J2 can't keep up is with image noise, which should come as little surprise on account of its smaller pixels. Even at lower sensitivities and in well-lit conditions, the camera produces noise where the others don't. The lower resolution of its sensor next to the others also has an impact on the detail in an image; of course, this isn't generally an issue if keeping to
moderate print and web-viewing sizes, but the fact remains that there's significantly more detail in images from the other two cameras. It's also unsurprising to see the Sony F3 control blooming the best, considering its pixel-to-sensor-area ratio. 

 

Nikon J2, Samsung NX1000, Sony NEX-F3



Raw and JPEG

The NX1000's Raw files - while detailed - are fairly soft, although the JPEGs are given a considerable boost in sharpness. The Nikon J2's Raw and JPEG files are far more consistent by comparison, being moderately sharp in the former and just a touch sharper in the latter, with the Sony F3 images showing precisely the same thing. The J2's JPEGs are most affected by chromatic aberration in the edges of the frame. Of course, this changes as different lenses are used, although most people will no doubt be using the camera with the supplied kit lens.

Kit lens performance

The F3's 18-55mm lens sees good sharpness in the centre of the frame let down by disappointingly soft edges and corners which only improves at f/8 and smaller. Samsung's 20-50mm lens not only controls sharpness well across the frame, but also does well to control distortion at its wide end. The other two lenses show pronounced barrel distortion at their widest focal lengths.