Sony NEX-6 plus 16-50mm v. LX5 at 50mm equiv.

This is my third post about the Sony NEX-6 and the new pancake 16-50 kit lens.  In the previous post I started comparing it with my beloved Panasonic LX5.  Albeit, the two are strange bedfellows as the LX5 is a small sensor 10mp camera and the NEX has that nice 16mp APS-C sensor. But in many ways the NEX plus pancake zoom is just a bigger version of the LX5.  Perhaps 60% heavier and 60% bigger, but with a very similar zoom range.

In the prior post I compared the two at 24mm equivalent.  Sony seems better in the center and at the edges.  But to be honest, when viewed as big as  possible on my 24" HD monitor (1920 x 1080) or my large HD TV, I really can't tell the difference when viewed at normal viewing distances.  Either way, both images need to be downsized to about 2mp to be viewed on a monitor or HD TV (1920 x 1080 equates to about 2 million pixels or 2mp).  My guess is that even a 10" x 15" print would not show the difference if viewed about 24" away. All that being said, all the picture I took were done in good light with the Panasonic ISO at its lowest 80 and the Sony at its lowest 100.  All bets are off when the light goes down.

Today's images

The images below were taken hand held at 50mm equivalent. At this setting, the  LX5 is at its best at F4. The 16-50 at 50mm-equiv is at its best at F8 and at its worst wide open at F5. I used the lowest ISO: 80 for the LX5 and 100 for the Sony. I shot RAW, used Aperture Priority and Auto White Balance. What you'll see below is that even at its worst (F5), the Sony is sharper than the LX5 at its best (F4).

Post Processing

I imported the RAW files from both cameras into Adobe Lightroom 4 (LR4). I used the default Adobe color profiles. Unlike my experience with the Sony RAW file at 24mm-equiv, I did not correct for any distortion as I didn't really notice any.  To match the incamera JPEG, I moved the LR4 distortion slider modestly, to +5.

I then added sharpness and clarity to both images. The Sony took more sharpening than the Panasonic without looking crunchy, so the Sony got a bit more sharpening. I also using the CA tool to get rid of the purple or green fringing in high contrast areas like tree branches.

Finally, I downsized the Sony to the size of the Pany and created JPEGs at the 100% quality setting. That meant a pixel width of 3776.  The JPEGs were brought back into LR4, and I used the X-Y comparison tool in the LR4 Library module to view the images side-by-side at 100%.  These are screenshots.

For 50mm equivalent field of view, my conclusion is that even at its worst (wide open at F5), the Sony beats the LX5 at its best setting (F4).

The comparative image.  Sorry they don't line up too well.
These were handheld.
The Sony is on Left.  Click on image to view BIG.

Upper left corner: Sony sharper
Click on image to view BIG

Upper right corner: Sony sharper

Lower left corner: Sony sharper

Lower right corner: Sony sharper


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