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Canon PowerShot A3000 IS / A3100 IS Ken McMahon, February 2010

Canon PowerShot A3100 IS results: Real-life resolution / High ISO Noise


Canon PowerShot A3100 vs PowerShot A490 / A495 vs Nikon COOLPIX L22 Real-life resolution


 
 
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To compare real-life performance we shot this scene with the Canon PowerShot A3100 IS, Canon PowerShot A490 / A495 and the Nikon COOLPIX L22, within a few moments of each other using their best quality JPEG settings.

The lenses on each camera were set to approximate the same field of view and each was set to Program or Auto mode with manual ISO override except in the case of the Nikon COOLPIX L22 which has no manual ISO setting.

The above image was taken with the Canon PowerShot A3100 IS set to 80 ISO. The lens was set to 6.2mm (35mm equivalent) and the evaluative metering selected an exposure of 1/320 of a second at f8. The original 4000x3000 pixel image had a file size of 3.3MB.

Overall, the results for the Canon PowerShot A3100 IS are not bad, but they're not as good as we've seen from other Canon compacts in this price range. Let's see how they stack up. The first crop of the chapel on a distant hill, taken about a third of the way in from the top and left of the frame shows reasonably good detail, you can just about make out the crosses on the chapel roof, while the doors and windows are reasonably well resolved as are the rocky outcrops in the foreground.

The next crop taken from near the right edge of the frame is less impressive. The lighthouse on the distant island is so indistinguishable it has all but disappeared. Furthermore, the detail in the houses in the foreground is soft and a little smeared. There could be a number of reasons for this. Given the small aperture setting chosen by the A3100, diffraction is a possible explanation, as there's certainly sufficient depth-of-field for everythin here to be in focus.

Moving on, the two crops taken from a more central part of the frame and showing detail nearer the camera, are much more acceptable, showing good detail and edge definition and none of the problems experienced at the frame edge.

The PowerShot A490 / A495 crops make an interesting comparison with those of its more expensive stablemate. To get straight to the point, they're all better. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the lighthouse crop, but the other crops also show a marked improvement in edge definition and detail resolution over the PowerShot A3100 IS.

The Nikon COOLPIX L22 results demonstrate that the least expensive of the three cameras on test involves a compromise in terms of image quality as well as features. The COOLPIX result are far from poor though: the image quality is good across the frame and there are no big issues. But by comparison with the Canon compacts (with the exception of the A3100 IS lighthouse crop) the detail in all of the Nikon COOLPIX L22 crops looks coarser and less crisp.

Now head over to our Canon PowerShot A3100 IS Noise results to see how it compares in terms of high sensitivities.



Canon PowerShot A3100 IS / A3000
 
Canon PowerShot A490 / A495
 
Nikon COOLPIX L22
f8, 80 ISO
f4.5, 80 ISO
f5.5, 80 ISO
f8, 80 ISO
f4.5, 80 ISO
f5.5, 80 ISO
f8, 80 ISO
f4.5, 80 ISO
f5.5, 80 ISO
f8, 80 ISO
f4.5, 80 ISO
f5.5, 80 ISO


Canon PowerShot A3100 IS results: Real-life resolution / High ISO Noise


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