We shoot a specially designed chart in carefully controlled conditions and the resulting images are analysed using DXO Analyzer software to generate the data to produce the graphs below.
A high signal to noise ratio (SNR) indicates a cleaner and better quality image.
For more more details on how to interpret our test data, check out our full explanation of our noise and dynamic range tests.
JPEG signal to noise ratio
These results show that the Sony RX1's JPEG files have a similar signal to noise ratio to those from the Sony Alpha a99, Canon EOS 5D Mark III and Nikon D800 at the lowest sensitivities, but that after ISO 200 its results drop off sharply, so that it is the weakest performer by far.
Raw signal to noise ratio
The signal to noise ratios of the TIFF images (after conversion from raw) from the Sony RX1 are stronger than those from the JPEG images, indicating that there's some heavy JPEG processing at work. The RX1 sits below the Sony Alpha a99 and Canon EOS 5D Mark III at most sensitivities, only beating the a99 at ISO 6400 and 12800 by a fraction. It starts off with a stronger ratio than the Nikon D800 at ISO 50, then is weaker at ISO 100, alternating like that at each setting until ISO 1600, after which point it holds its lead for the rest of the settings.
JPEG dynamic range
JPEG results for dynamic range show that the Sony RX1 is weaker than the other cameras, starting off below the Sony Alpha a99 and Nikon D800 but slightly above the Canon EOS 5D Mark III at ISO 50, before falling into last place at ISO 100 and above. The gap is only slight in the low to mid-range, but plummets sharply at ISO 3200 and above.
Raw dynamic range
This chart indicates that TIFF images (after conversion from raw) from the Sony RX1 show similar dynamic range to the Nikon D800, producing very similar scores in the low-to mid-range. The RX1's raw images show less dynamic range than the Sony Alpha a99 in the mid-range sensitivities, but it beats the a99 at ISO 50, 100, 6400 and 12800. The RX1 again has a stronger dynamic range than the Canon EOS 5D Mark III at lower and higher settings, just dropping below the Canon at ISO 800 and 1600. The RX1, a99 and Canon all score a similar result at ISO 3200.