Sony ILCE-QX1 Review

September 24, 2014 | Amy Davies | |

Image Quality

All of the images in this review were shot at the 20.1 million pixel RAW + JPEG setting, which gives an average file size for JPEG files of around 5Mb, and for raw files around 20Mb.

Straight from the Sony ILCE-QX1, JPEG images display a good level of saturation, while the large sensor handles detail extremely well.

Automatic white balance is good in the majority of conditions, with a tendency towards warm colours under some artificial lights. The multi-segment (all-purpose) metering also copes well to produce accurate exposures - it would be nice to be able to change this though when photographing something with high contrast.

Low light performance is very good, with images appearing pretty noise free at the lower end of the sensitivity run (ISO 100-800), while even those shot at ISO 3200 give a great overall impression of detail.

Chromatic aberration doesn’t seem to be a problem and the supplied 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens is a great all-round performer producing detailed shots in a range of conditions. You can of course choose to use other lenses if you have them. There’s no dedicated macro mode here, but you could purchase a macro lens to use with the system if you want to photograph a lot of close-ups.

The built-in flash produces natural results, with no red-eye noticeable. With shutter priority an option here, you can set an exposure length of up to 30 seconds - there’s no bulb mode though, so this is a good camera to use with your phone if you want to capture some interesting night scenes - you will need to invest in a tripod though, or find something sturdy to rest the Sony ILCE-QX1 on.

Noise

There are 9 ISO settings available on the Sony ILCE-QX1. Here are some 100% crops which show the noise levels for each ISO setting for both JPEG and Raw formats.

JPEG Raw

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

iso100.jpg iso100raw.jpg
   

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

iso200.jpg iso200raw.jpg
   

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

iso400.jpg iso400raw.jpg
   

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

iso800.jpg iso800raw.jpg
   

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

iso1600.jpg iso1600raw.jpg
   

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

iso3200.jpg iso3200raw.jpg
   

ISO 6400 (100% Crop)

ISO 6400 (100% Crop)

iso6400.jpg iso6400raw.jpg
   

ISO 12800 (100% Crop)

ISO 12800 (100% Crop)

iso12800.jpg iso12800raw.jpg
   

ISO 16000 (100% Crop)

ISO 16000 (100% Crop)

iso16000.jpg iso16000raw.jpg

Focal Range

The 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens offers a fairly versatile focal range, as illustrated by these examples:

16mm

50mm

focal_range1.jpg focal_range2.jpg

Sharpening

Here are two 100% crops which have been Saved as Web - Quality 50 in Photoshop. The right-hand image has had some sharpening applied in Photoshop. The out-of-the camera images are just a little soft and ideally benefit from some further sharpening in a program like Adobe Photoshop. Alternatively you can change the in-camera sharpening level.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)

sharpen1.jpg sharpen1a.jpg
   
sharpen2.jpg sharpen2a.jpg

File Quality

The Sony ILCE-QX1 has 3 different image quality settings available, with Fine being the highest quality option. Here are some 100% crops which show the quality of the various options, with the file size shown in brackets.

Fine (3.53Mb) (100% Crop) Standard (2.26Mb) (100% Crop)
quality_fine.jpg quality_standard.jpg
   
RAW (19.6Mb) (100% Crop)  
quality_raw.jpg  

Chromatic Aberrations

The Sony ILCE-QX1 handled chromatic aberrations very well during the review, with a little purple fringing present around the edges of objects in high-contrast situations, as shown in the example below.

Chromatic Aberrations 1 (100% Crop)

chromatic1.jpg

Flash

The flash settings on the Sony ILCE-QX1 are Auto, Forced Flash, Slow Syncro, No Flash, with a Red-eye Reduction option in the Main menu. These shots of a white coloured wall were taken at a distance of 1.5m.

Suppressed Flash - Wide Angle (16mm)

Forced Flash - Wide Angle (16mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64
   

Suppressed Flash - Telephoto (50mm)

Forced Flash - Telephoto (50mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

And here is a portrait shot. As you can see, there isn't any amount of red-eye.

Forced Flash

Forced Flash (100% Crop)
flash_on.jpg flash_on1.jpg

Night

The Sony ILCE-QX1's maximum shutter speed is 30 seconds, which is excellent news if you're seriously interested in night photography. The shot below was taken using a shutter speed of 30 seconds at ISO 100.

Night

Night (100% Crop)

night1.jpg night1a.jpg