Nikon 1 J2 vs Olympus OM-D E-M5 Low ISO Comparison (ISO 200-800)
Here is a comparison of both cameras at ISO 200 (Left: Nikon 1 J2, Right: Olympus OM-D E-M5):
At base ISO 200, the Olympus OM-D E-M5 looks cleaner and sharper than the J2, because the image was downsampled from 16 MP to 10 MP to match the print size. Notice that there is a slight difference in ISO between the two sensors – the Nikon 1 J2 image looks a little brighter in comparison (all were shot with the same settings). After I tested all cameras, I came to the conclusion that the Olympus is the one that is little darker in comparison, by about 1/3-2/3 of a stop…
At ISO 400, the Nikon 1 J2 gets more noisy, while the OM-D continues to look great with no visible noise.
As we increase ISO to 800, the noise difference is now even more apparent, especially in the shadows.
Nikon 1 J2 vs Olympus OM-D E-M5 High ISO Comparison (ISO 1600-6400)
The same trend continues at ISO 1600 – the J2 is still noisier in comparison.
The Olympus OM-D E-M5 loses image quality quickly at very high ISO values and you can see it from the above image crops at ISO 3200. While the J2 never catches up, its performance gets closer at higher ISOs.
The same goes for ISO 6400.
The Olympus OM-D E-M5 can be boosted all the way to ISO 25600, but I won’t be bothering with those crops, since there is nothing to compare against.
Nikon 1 J2 vs Olympus OM-D E-M5 Summary
As you can see from the above crops, the Nikon 1 J2 looks worse than the Olympus OM-D E-M5 at all ISO values. It starts out noisier at low ISO values and the difference is pretty clear between ISO 200 and 800. However, since the image quality of the OM-D E-M5 quickly drops at high ISO values, the difference between the two cameras gets smaller at ISO 3200 and above. Sensor size and resolution matter, and this comparison is the proof of that. Looking at these results, if Nikon made its mirrorless system with a sensor size similar to the Micro 4/3, it would have looked better at all ISO levels (Nikon’s in-camera noise reduction algorithms are excellent). At about half the size of the Micro 4/3 sensor, Nikon is clearly at a loss here…
Nikon 1 J2 vs Sony NEX-5R Low ISO Comparison (ISO 100-800)
Again, sensor size and resolution win big time here – the J2 looks noisy in comparison to the NEX-5R even at base ISO of 100.
No need to repeat the same words – the NEX-5R looks very clean and practically noise-free at ISO 200 and 400.
At ISO 800, there is a little bit of grain on the NEX-5R, but it still looks very good in comparison to the J2.
Nikon 1 J2 vs Sony NEX-5r High ISO Comparison (ISO 1600-6400)
Again, the much larger and higher resolution sensor of the Sony NEX-5R does make a difference here – it performs very well at high ISOs, even at ISO 6400 when downsampled.
Nikon 1 J2 vs Sony NEX-5R Summary
As I have numerously talked about before, the only proper way to look at sensor performance is by down-sampling. While the J2 looks great at pixel level, it certainly disappoints when its competition is down-sampled to the same resolution. The Sony NEX-5R looks exceptionally good when its images are at 10 MP – those extra 6 MP help reduce noise and bring out the sharpness of the image. At the same time, don’t forget that the sensor of the NEX-5R is also over 3 times larger than the one on Nikon 1 J2. A larger size sensor also means larger lenses – and that’s Sony’s biggest weakness. It has a very compact camera body, but much bigger camera lenses (with the exception of the 16mm pancake lens). On the other hand, a large sensor also means two things: shallower depth of field and better dynamic range – two major factors that work in NEX-5R’s favor. Sony has a few other advantages, such as excellent grip / handle, swivel / touchscreen LCD, in-camera editing, HDR, panorama and 3D modes.
As for other Sony NEX cameras, I won’t be providing comparisons to the NEX-6 and NEX-7 in this review, because they belong to a different league.
Nikon 1 J2 vs Canon EOS M (ISO 100-800)
The new Canon EOS M mirrorless camera has the same APS-C size sensor from the Canon EOS 650D DSLR. Physically, the sensor on the EOS M is twice larger than CX and hence has the same benefit as other cameras when down-sampling images.
As expected, even base ISO on the EOS M looks cleaner in comparison.
The same goes with ISO 200 and 400 – the EOS M is cleaner.
At ISO 800 the Canon EOS M adds a little bit of noise, which looks much cleaner than the noise on the J2.
Nikon 1 J2 vs Canon EOS M High ISO Comparison (ISO 1600-6400)
No surprises here again – the EOS M looks much better in comparison.
Nikon 1 J2 vs Canon EOS M Summary
Having the smallest sensor, the Nikon 1 system is clearly at a loss when comparing the low light performance with other cameras. The Canon EOS M is no exception here – with its much larger APS-C sensor, the Canon EOS M packs many more pixels – 18 MP vs 10 MP. This has its obvious impact when the EOS M image is down-sampled to 10 MP. It looks cleaner, sharper and retains colors better at very high ISO levels, as evidenced from the crops above.
Please keep in mind that the above is a simple comparison of low light performance of both cameras. The Canon EOS M will be discussed in detail in a separate EOS M review.
Again, the above comparison is provided only as a reference, since we are comparing a small-sensor mirrorless camera to a high-end DSLR.
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