During our tests of the Olympus OM-D E-M5, we found that the manufacturer’s new 16Mpix LiveMOS 4:3 sensor had largely caught up in every category, starting with a dynamic range that allows it to rejoin the field of APS-C compact hybrids in terms of image quality (though with the Sony NEX still ahead).
With a DxOMark overall score of 78, the NEX-5R’s APS-C sensor stays above the Olympus sensor results, but Sony’s lead has been somewhat diminished with respect to the micro 4:3 — only a half-stop better for color depth (23.7 vs 22.8 bits), 2/3EV better for dynamic range (13.1EV vs 12.3EV), and equivalent low-light sensitivity.
The differences between the low-light ISO, color depth, and dynamic range scores are principally due to the Sony’s newly-available 100 ISO minimum sensitivity, whereas the Olympus’s minimum is 200 ISO.
Pitted against the aging 4:3 sensor design of the Panasonic compact hybrids, the Sony NEX-5R sensor scores points.
The color depth of the NEX-5R sensor is 1.5EV higher, for slightly finer gradations. Its dynamic range is also more generous, with a gain of 1.5EV (13.1EV for the NEX-5R versus 11.6EV for the DMC-G5), or one and a half stops larger.
Finally, for low-light sensitivity, with 618 ISO for the Panasonic sensor versus 910 ISO for the Sony EXMOR sensor, the NEX-5R wins by half a stop.