One of the obvious changes to the G7 X Mark II’s image processing is with sharpening. For the G7 X Mark II, the large radius sharpening has been increased, which does enhance certain types of detail, but ultimately emphasizes lower frequency detail over high frequency detail. A significant downside of large radius sharpening is more pronounced sharpening halos compared to the G7 X, which can look particularly egregious next to the more refined sharpening the RX100 IV demonstrates (pay attention to the edges of the color patches).
Noise reduction has also changed. When we took the G7 X Mark II to Sasquatch! music festival, we noticed noise reduction at base ISO was fairly strong. Compared to the G7 X, we can see the stronger algorithm in action, especially when compared to the amount of detail visible in Raw mode. The excessive noise reduction combined with the large radius sharpening we mentioned earlier mean that fine detail isn’t as well preserved in the JPEG as it could be.
The benefit of both the sharpening and NR parts of the new engine is better detail retention at higher ISOs, with an ISO 1600 shot from the G7 X Mark II shot showing as much detail as an ISO 800 shot from the G7 X. At the highest ISOs, 6400 and 12800, the image engine oddly remains unchanged.
Raw high ISO performance in low light remains largely the same as the G7 X, which is right where we expect image quality to be from the Sony sensor used across many 1-inch type cameras.
These improvements come with many other changes for the G7 X Mark II, which will be covered in our full review. Stay tuned!