Sony NEX-6 plus 16-50mm v. LX5 at 70 mm equiv.

This is my fourth post about the Sony NEX-6 and the new pancake 16-50 kit lens. In the previous posts I compared it with my beloved Panasonic LX5 at 24mm-e and 50mm-e. So far, and as I had hoped and expected, the 16-50 kit lens on the NEX-6 provides sharper images with less noise than the LX5, at the focal lengths tested. 

This conclusion comes from pixel peeping, usually at 100%.  But at normal viewing distances I don't think the difference really makes a difference.  Just for fun I expect to print a few of these comparative images to see if there is a difference in small or medium sized prints, again when viewed at normal distances.  Of course, as the print size increases past, say, 10" x 15", I would expect the Sony to be noticeably sharper.

Also, with lower light levels, I suspect the Sony with its much larger sensor will begin to put the LX5 to shame, in spite of the LX5's faster lens.

In the prior posts I compared the two at 24mm and 50mm equivalent. 

Today's images

The images below were taken hand held at 70mm equivalent. At this setting, the LX5 is at its best at F4. The 16-50 at 50mm-equiv seems equally good wide open at F5.6 or at F8. For the comparison, I chose to use the F5.6 sample.  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 the Sony is sharper than the LX5.

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-e and 50mm-e, I did not correct for any distortion at 70mm-e, as I didn't notice any.

I 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 fringing in high contrast areas of the LX5. I saw no CA in the Sony image.

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 of those comparisons.

The comparative image. The Sony is on Left.
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Center tiles.  Sony (left ) is sharper.
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Upper left.  Sony (left) is sharper.
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Upper right.  Sony (left) is sharper.
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 Lower left. Sony (left) is sharper.
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Lower right. Sony (left) is sharper.
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Conclusion:  At 24mm-e, 50mm-e and 70mm-e, the Sony provides sharper images which are also clean of noise.  Even at base ISO, the LX5 shows noise, which you may or may not find bothersome.

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