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Canon PowerShot A3300 IS / A3200 IS Ken McMahon, April 2011

Canon PowerShot A3300 IS results : Real-life resolution / High ISO Noise


Canon PowerShot A3300 IS vs Powershot A3200 IS vs Panasonic Lumix FS18 / FH5 High ISO Noise

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To compare noise levels under real-life conditions we shot this scene with the Canon PowerShot A3300 IS, the Canon PowerShot A3200 IS, and the Panasonic Lumix FS18 / FH5 within a few moments of each other using their best quality JPEG settings at each of their ISO sensitivity settings.

All three cameras were set to Program exposure mode, the lenses were set to approximate the same field of view and ISO was manually set.


The above shot was taken with the the Canon PowerShot A3300 IS in Program mode with the lens at its widest angle setting of 5mm (28mm equivalent). The ISO sensitivity was set to 80 ISO and the exposure was 0.4 of a second at f2.8. The crops are taken from the area marked with the red square and presented below at 100%.

For a 16 Megapixel compact sensor, the crops from the PowerShot A3300 IS show a good level of detail with minimal noise in the lower ISO ranges. Let's start with the 80 ISO crop. While it's often difficult to spot any evidence of noise on Canon compacts at the base ISO sensitivity here there is some evidence of noisy pixels and the detail isn't quite as sharp and well defined as it might be. If you look at the wooden panelling there's an unmistakable graininess though, to be fair, you'd only be likely to notice this on close examination at 100 percent, in other words, you wouldn't notice it unless you were looking for it.

It's also generally the case with Canon compacts that's there's not much to choose between 80 and 100 ISO, but the A3300's 100 ISO crop shows a marked increase in noise over the 80 ISO setting. So, while you gain little in terms of sensitivity, you lose out significantly in terms of noise quality as soon as you start to raise the ISO setting. Similarly, when moving up from 200 to 400 ISO there's another significant loss in quality with the noise now becoming visible even to the casual observer. At 800 ISO even coarser detail is beginning to suffer - notice how the edge of the stone column is breaking up quite badly.

The maximum full resolution sensitivity setting on the PowerShot A3300 IS is 1600 ISO and looking at the crop you can see why. At 1600 ISO the noise is so prevalent and detail loss so bad you can barely make out the organ pipes in the top right corner of the crop. So the story these crops tell is that at the base ISO setting the PowerShot A3300 produces good results with little noise, but that as soon as the ISO sensitivity is raised beyond that base level, noise becomes a very real issue.

Interestingly, in a straight comparison with the 14.1 Megapixel PowerShot A3200 IS, the A3300 IS does quite well. Like it's higher resolution stablemate, the PowerShot A3200 IS produces excellent results at the base ISO sensitivity of 80, but there is a visible quality degradation with noise becoming more apparent every step of the way up to 1600 ISO. There's very little in it at 100 and 200 ISO, but we'd venture that the A3300 actually has a slight edge at these settings. From 400 ISO and beyond though, the A3200 IS does better with less noise and better detail than the A3300 IS.

The Panasonic Lumix FS18 / FH5 comes out of this comparison with the two Canon Compacts very well indeed. Compared with Canon, Panasonic compacts typically produce slightly softer image detail with more aggressive noise reduction and, while there's a degree of subjectivity involved, in this instance we think this approach produces preferable results at the lower ISO settings. At the 400 and 800 ISO settings the Lumix FS18 / FH5 crops are looking a little soft and smeary and at 1600 ISO there's really not much to choose between the three. In High Sensitivity scene mode the Panasonic FS18 / FH5 produces a 3.1 Megapixel 3200 ISO image which, as you can see from the crop, is quite poorly detailed, but in certain situations possibly better than nothing. The PowerShot A3300's Low Light Scene mode takes a 4 Megapixel image at an automatically selected ISO setting between 1600 and 6400 ISO. We haven't included a Low light scene mode crop as the A3300 IS automatically selected 1600 ISO and couldn't be persuaded to go higher.

Now head over to our Canon PowerShot A3300 IS gallery to see some more real-life shots in a variety of conditions.


Canon PowerShot A3300 IS
 
Canon PowerShot A3200 IS
 
Panasonic Lumix FS18
80 ISO
80 ISO
80 ISO Not available
100 ISO
100 ISO
100 ISO
200 ISO
200 ISO
200 ISO
400 ISO
400 ISO
400 ISO
800 ISO
800 ISO
800 ISO
1600 ISO
1600 ISO
1600 ISO
3200 ISO Not available while testing
3200 ISO Not available while testing
3200 ISO (High Sens scene mode)


Canon PowerShot A3300 IS results : Real-life resolution / High ISO Noise



All words, images, videos and layout, copyright 2005-2014 Gordon Laing. May not be used without permission.

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