Canon PowerShot D20 Ken McMahon, October 2012

Canon D20 vs Panasonic TS20 / FT20 quality

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To compare real-life performance when zoomed-out, I shot this scene with the the Canon PowerShot D20 and the Panasonic Lumix TS20 / FT20 within a few moments of each other using their best quality JPEG settings.

The lenses on both cameras were set to an equivalent field of view and both were set to Program auto exposure mode.

The ISO sensitivity was set manually on both cameras to the base sensitivity setting of 100 ISO.

  Canon PowerShot D20 results
1 Canon D20 Quality
2 Canon D20 Noise
3 Canon D20 Sample images

The image above was taken with the Canon PowerShot D20. The lens was set to the maximum 28mm wide angle position and the Panasonic Lumix TS20 / FT20 with which I've compared it here was zoomed in slightly to give an equivalent field of view. In Program auto mode the camera metered an exposure of 1/640 at f3.9. The original JPEG image size was 3.08MB. The crops are taken from the areas marked with red rectangles and presented here at 100%. Image stabilisation was disabled for these tripod-based tests.

Overall, the Canon PowerShot D20 has produced a very good result here. On this particular day the conditions were bright with some cloud about and the PowerShot D20 has metered the exposure accurately with a histogram that stops just short of the highlight end of the range. There's a small gap at the left end of the histogram and the shot looks a little flat, but that's easily fixed in an image editor.

Moving on to the crops, the level of detail overall is surprisingly good for a camera that's designed for use in the water. The first crop shows a reasonable level of detail in the chapel, but the grassy hill in the foreground is a little indistinct. On the second crop the lighthouse is a distinct white column and you can just about make out the separate white blob of the lamphouse on top. There's some texture in the distant cliffs and sea and sky in this crop and the foreground detail looks a little soft, but despite that the window frames are clear and the white edges reasonably sharp.

Detail in the third crop from the frame edge is considerably softer than in the centre and there's some colour fringing on the drainpipe and vertical window frame. The PowerShot D20's lens clearly doesn't perform consistently across the frame and this is backed up by the fourth crop - close to the centre of the frame edges look a lot sharper and fine detail is much better resolved.

Overall, this is an excellent result and the PowerShot D20 results are certainly in the same league as those from similarly priced compacts. If you needed reassuring that a waterproof compact can perform as well as a conventional one, this is it.

Compared with the Panasonic Lumix TS20 / FT20, The Powershot D20 crops show a larger area with smaller detail because of the difference in sensor reolution. The Lumix TS20 / FT20's 16.1 Megapixel sensor produces images that are 4608 x 3456 compared with 4000 x 3000 pixel images from the PowerShot D20. The other difference is that the Lumix TS20 / FT20 crops look more aggressively processed. The Lumix TS20 / FT20 crops are more contrasty with sharper edges, but they're noisier too. If there is more actual image detail in there I'd say it's fairly marginal. The Lumix TS20 / FT20's lens is more consistent though, and it doesn't suffer from chromatic aberration to the same degree as the D20, or if it does, it's been dealt with in the processing.

To see how these models compare at higher sensitivities check out my Canon D20 noise results.


Canon PowerShot D20
Panasonic Lumix TS20 / FT20
f3.9, 100 ISO
f4.2, 100 ISO
f3.9, 100 ISO
f4.2, 100 ISO
f3.9, 100 ISO
f4.2, 100 ISO
f3.9, 100 ISO
f4.2, 100 ISO

Canon PowerShot D20 results : Quality / Noise

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