Noise and JPEG processing

The combination of the full-frame sensor, great lens, and solid JPEG processing delivers extremely clean photos up through ISO 800, very good at ISO 1600, and reasonably good at ISO 3200. I wouldn't recommend shooting ISO 6400 or above in JPEG.
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Photo by: Lori Grunin/CNET / Caption by:

High ISO sensitivity noise and JPEG processing

ISO 6400 is usable under certain circumstances, but I don't recommend ISO 12800 and up for JPEG unless you'll be displaying the photos at reduced sizes or are willing to accept the tradeoffs.
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Photo by: Lori Grunin/CNET / Caption by:

ISO 50 JPEG, bokeh

The lens produces lovely round bokeh, and the combination of the lens and sensor results in beautiful transitions between sharp and defocused areas.

(1/80, f5, ISO 50, AWB, spot metering)
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Photo by: Lori Grunin/CNET / Caption by:

Highlight recovery



(1/400, f2.8, ISO 100, AWB, spot metering)
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Photo by: Lori Grunin/CNET / Caption by:

ISO 100 JPEG

The images from this camera are pristine: extremely well resolved with beautiful transitions to defocused areas.

(1/1000, f4, ISO 100, AWB, multi metering)
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Photo by: Lori Grunin/CNET / Caption by:

ISO 400 JPEG

No softness, as you'd expect from a camera in this class.

(1/60, f2, ISO 400, AWB, spot metering, -0.3 EV)
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Photo by: Lori Grunin/CNET / Caption by:

ISO 800 JPEG

For this sensitivity, it's nicely sharp with no artifacts in the sky.

(1/60, f3.5, ISO 800, AWB, spot metering, -0.3EV)
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Photo by: Lori Grunin/CNET / Caption by:

ISO 1600 JPEG

The camera produces extremely good JPEGs up to ISO 1600; at that sensitivity, I couldn't spot artifacts in my 13x19 print.

(1/30, f4, ISO 160, AWB, spot metering, -0.3EV)
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Photo by: Lori Grunin/CNET / Caption by:

ISO 3200 JPEG

While I could get lots more detail in the images by processing the raw at ISO 3200, that's partly due to the much higher contrast of the JPEGs thanks to the default settings.

(1/800, f2, ISO 3200, AWB, spot metering)
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Photo by: Lori Grunin/CNET / Caption by:

ISO 3200 JPEG

JPEG versions of ISO 3200 images produce nice dark skies without artifacts (bottom), mostly because the standard settings push the contrast so that the shadows clip. In the raw, more tonally accurate version, you can see the noise in the sky.

(1/800, f2, ISO 3200, AWB, spot metering)
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Photo by: Lori Grunin/CNET / Caption by:

ISO 6400 raw vs. JPEG

ISO 3200 is the first sensitivity setting where I could get some extra sharpness out of the raw versions of images over the JPEG photos.

(1/100, f4, ISO 6400, AWB, spot metering)
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Photo by: Lori Grunin/CNET / Caption by:

ISO 12800

Depending upon image content, shots at ISO 12800 are still usable, especially if you process the raw files.

(1/80, f2, ISO 12800, AWB, multi metering)
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Color

The RX1 produces extremely pleasing colors, but for accuracy you need to change the settings. The automatic white balance is better than on most cameras, however.
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Creative Style color

As with most of Sony's cameras, the default Standard Creative Style pushes the saturation and contrast until the hues shift. Neutral does a more accurate job, without losing any sharpness.
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Photo by: Lori Grunin/CNET / Caption by:

Vivid Creative Style

I accidentally switched the camera into the Vivid Creative Style while testing and thought I might as well provide an example; here's what the colors and contrast looks like.
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Photo by: Lori Grunin/CNET / Caption by:
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