clicking here. The dark area of the beers were in the deepest shadows and were brightened up in post-processing. Doing this is essentially the same as having shot that area at a higher ISO to begin with, and consequently causes much more exaggerated noise to occur there.
For the purposes of this demonstration I did not use any noise reduction in post-processing. Had I done so, I could have reduced the noise to acceptable levels in photos shot at ISO 3200 and below. Above that level, artfacting occurs that is difficult to correct without loss of detail.
|The area in the dark part of the beers show excessive noise when opened up in post-processing. The High Res version of this file can be downloaded by clicking here.|
|The ISO test was done from ISO 400-12,800 of the scene above. Download the hi res samples by clicking on the links below.|
RX-100 II - ISO 400
RX-100 II - ISO 800
RX-100 II - ISO 1600
RX-100 II - ISO 3200
RX-100 II - ISO 6400
RX-100 II - ISO 12,800
If we compare the ISO levels of the RX100 II to those of a high end full frame camera, it isn't going to look so good. After all, cramming 20.7mp onto a 1" sensor has to have some repercussions in noise levels. But, if we take it for what it is, a small, portable camera, convenient enough to always have with us to grab shots we would otherwise miss, it does an admirable job. And a bit of extra post-processing to deal with noise is a small price to pay for getting what would otherwise be a missed opportunity.
Using the RX100 II up to an ISO level of 1600 should not present any real noise problems that are not easily fixable in post-processing. At ISO 3200 and above some artifacting creeps in that makes the images more problematic, but not impossible, to deal with. Ultimately, the shooting circumstances will determine just how bad the final noise will be. It could become very difficult to correct in dimly lit, contrasty scenes with ISO levels of 3200 and beyond. As a result of my own tests, I will try to keep the maximum ISO level of the RX100 II topping out at 1600 whenever possible. This will be helped by using the f/1.8 aperture the camera has at its widest zoom range.