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Canon PowerShot A490 / A495 Ken McMahon, April 2010

Canon PowerShot A490 / A495 results: Real-life resolution / High ISO Noise

Canon PowerShot A490 / A495 vs PowerShot A31000 vs Nikon COOLPIX L22 Real-life resolution

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To compare real-life performance we shot this scene with the Canon PowerShot A490 / A495, the Canon PowerShot A3000 IS / A3100 IS 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. In any event, the L22 automatically selected an ISO sensitivity of 80 - the same as we set on the two Canons.

The above image was taken with the Canon PowerShot A490 / A495 set to 80 ISO. The lens was set to 6.6mm (37mm equivalent) and the evaluative metering selected an exposure of 1/800 of a second at f4.5. The original 3648 x 2736 pixel image had a file size of 2.9MB.

The overall quality of images from the Canon A490 / A495 including our real-life resolution test shot was very good. This test image is well exposed, the metering has done a good job with a high contrast subject and there's good detail throughout the tonal range from the highlights in the clouds and white walls of the buildings to the shadow details in the foreground.

Moving on to the full-size crops, it's really very difficult to find fault. This lens and sensor combination delivers very good results in all areas of the frame. Edge detail is well resolved - note the crosses on the chapel roof, the lighthouse and foreground houses in the second crop, the detail in the chimney cowling and the roof behind it in the third crop and the balcony area in the final crop taken from a central part of the frame. They are all very clear, very sharp and very punchy.

With detail that sharp the next thing we looked for was evidence of over-processing. But the detail in these images is the result of good quality image data sensibly handled by the processor. There are no edge halos or other evidence of overly aggressive sharpening. If we were going to make a criticism it would be that there was some evidence of chromatic aberration causing colour fringing at the extreme edges of the frame. For a camera in this price range, these are very impressive results.

Viewed next to the results from the Canon PowerShot A3000 IS / A3100 IS the PowerShot A490 / A495 comes off very well indeed. The A3000 IS / A3100 IS results overall look softer than those from the A490 / A495 and there's that second crop from the edge area where the A3000 IS / A3100 IS has coped particularly badly with the distant lighthouse. The softness of the A3000 IS / A3100 IS crops must, at least in part, be due to the higher density of photosites in the same sized 1/2.3 inch CCD sensor, which just goes to show that more isn't always better.

The A490 / A495 also compares very favourable with the cheaper Nikon COOLPIX L22. The COOLPIX produces a more contrasty, highly colour saturated image, but it can't match the crispness and fine detail resolution of the PowerShot A490 / A495. The crops from the Nikon compact also look to be suffering from over-processing, or possibly JPEG compression. Take a look at the top edge of the low wall that surrounds the chapel in the top crop. and you'll see a white halo that in fact runs right the way along the horizon.

But you don't even need to look all that closely to see that the PowerShot A490 / A495 is a clear winner in terms of image quality, producing clearer sharper images with more detail then either the more expensive PowerShot A3000 IS / A3100 IS, or the cheaper Nikon COOLPIX L22.

Now head over to our Canon PowerShot A490 / A495 Noise results to see how it compares in terms of high sensitivities.

Canon PowerShot A490 / A495
Canon PowerShot A3000 IS/ A3100 IS
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 A490 / A495 results: Real-life resolution / High ISO Noise

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