We’re shooting out in Pasadena. Our goal is to get a direct comparison, so we’ve got native lenses and our settings are the same on each camera to see how each system inherently stacks up. We’re using Vanguard tripods to make it easy to shoot and go, since we could be kicked out at any minute.
First, picture quality. We’re shooting at 100 ISO 2.8, letting the shutter drag. Our white balance is at 6,000 Kelvin. Although it’s sunny we’re standing in a shaded alley so our primary source of light is the blue sky. So 6,000 Kelvin will warm up our images.
The Canon has some stepping when punched way in compared to the Nikon and Sony. The RAW gamma processor makes the Nikon and Sony brighter than the Canon. The Canon has the least contrast, Nikon the most, and Sony the nicest. The Nikon and Sony both have a nice, sharp image.
For auto focus we pulled the image out of focus and then let the camera find it. The Sony (a maze of menus) did does not want to be out of focus. The camera controls the focus of the lens at all time. You have to press the shutter button to create a focus lock. The Canon was pretty consistent. Nikon hits it right on. Sony’s control of the focus made it so we didn’t really need the test. In terms of sharpness, Nikon hit it out of the park vs the Canon with one exception, out of the five shots the auto focus missed completely on one.
We also tried an auto focus test where our model walked towards us. It’s an al servo mode on the Nikon and Canon. Sony has a face detection method which was nice. They all worked great, but the Sony seemed to be better in this area.
Image for image they all focus pretty well.
At this level most cameras are very similar. We shot in one third increments. The Canon had great range. Nikon was much more contrasty. It was about 2/3 stops brighter than the Canon. The Sony had great open shadows. More detail in the highlights and shadows.
Low Light ISO
We wanted to see how far we could push our ISO in low light. We went inside and shot against a dark background. We shot at 1.8, which was our slowest lens. Our white balance was 4400, and our shutter speed was adjusted along with our ISO. The Canon stayed clean until about ISO 800, but it wasn’t bad at all. At 3200 we started to see it in the midtones. At 12800 it was grainy. ISO 25600 looked really like film grain. Nikon was clean until 3200 in the low midtones. At 6400 it became very pronounced and seems a bit noisier than the Canon. The Sony noise was more blocky. It really started to show at 6400 but was cleaner than in the Canon or Nikon. The contrast also increased vs in the Nikon or Canon. At 25600 we saw fixed pattern noise.
So what do you think? Let us know in the comments or over on our Facebook community page. Thanks for watching and remember, keep those cameras rollin’ and keep on clickin’.