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Canon ELPH 300 HS / IXUS 220 HS Ken McMahon, Dec 2011
 
 

Canon ELPH 300 HS / IXUS 220 HS vs ELPH 310 HS / IXUS 230 HS vs ELPH 100 HS / IXUS 115 HS Noise

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  Canon ELPH 300 HS / IXUS 220 HS
1 ELPH 300 HS / IXUS 220 HS Quality
2 ELPH 300 HS / IXUS 220 HS Noise
3 ELPH 300 HS / IXUS 220 HS Sample images

To compare noise levels under real-life conditions we shot this scene with the Canon ELPH 300 HS / IXUS 220 HS, the ELPH 310 HS / IXUS 230 HS and the ELPH 100 HS / IXUS 115 HS within a few moments of each other at each of their ISO sensitivity settings.

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

The above shot was taken with the the Canon ELPH 300 HS / IXUS 220 HS in Program auto mode. The lens was zoomed in slightly to 5mm (28mm equivalent) to provide a similar field of view to the the two other models, the sensitivity was set to 100 ISO and the exposure was one second at f2.8. The crops are taken from the area marked with the red square and presented below at 100%.

The first crop from the ELPH 300 HS / IXUS 220 HS, taken at 100 ISO isn't noise free, but is nonetheless a perfectly respectable result. There's good detail in both the column on the left and the wood panelling on the right. There is an overall graininess which you see most clearly in the wood panelling, but it's not unpleasant in quality and preferable to the smoothness that would almost certainly result from trying to process it out.

At 200 ISO the grain takes on a slightly bitty texture, but you can see almost as much detail in this crop as the previous one. The quality drop from 100 to 200 ISO is fairly marginal and certainly worth the extra stop of exposure it provides. Moving to 400 ISO its a similar story - a slight increase in the noise and another slight loss of detail as a result. The same thing happens at 800 ISO and although the cumulative result is a crop with considerably more noise than at 100 ISO, I'd feel comfortable about using any of these sensitivity settings for photos that were going to be viewed on screen. If I was making full sized prints I might be a bit more circumspect but, even then, the noise at 800 ISO, while abundant, isn't particularly offensive. From 1600 ISO on, as you'd expect, the noise gains the upper hand, obscuring ever coarser detail, but it's good to have a 3200 ISO option for those shots that you've absolutlely got to have, regardless of the quality.

Not surprisingly, given that they share the same sensor, the crops from the ELPH 310 HS / IXUS 230 HS and the ELPH 100 HS / IXUS 115 HS bear more than a passing resemblance to those from the ELPH 300 HS / IXUS 220 HS. They're not identical, but in the context of quality - how much noise is present at each ISO sensitivity setting and how much image detail suffers as a result - there's little if anything to choose between them.

All three models offer Handheld Night Scene mode which takes a sequence of shots in low light and produces a single composite image. The ISO is set automatically in this scene mode so it's difficult to make comparisons, but the results are a definite improvement on what you'd get from a single high ISO shot under the same conditions. The ELPH 310 HS / IXUS 230 HS Handheld Night Scene crop actually looks a little sharper, but this is most likely due to better focusing rather than sensor performance. One of the drawbacks of Handheld Night Scene is that you can only use the default nine area auto focus.

One other thing that's worth pointing out is that with a slightly wider maximum aperture of f2.7 the The ELPH 300 HS / IXUS 220 HS is able to select a lower ISO setting in Handheld Night Scene mode. Here its opted for 1250 ISO compared with 1600 ISO on the ELPH 310 HS / IXUS 230 HS. Regardless of exposure mode, in low light situations the f2.7 maximum aperture of the ELPH 300 HS / IXUS 220 HS will give you a bit of an advantage.

All three models also offer a 3 Megapixel low light mode. As you can see from the crops, as well as higher resolution it provides much better detail with significantly less noise, and a Best Image Selection mode which shoots five shots and chooses the best one.

Now head over to our Canon ELPH 300 HS / IXUS 220 HS sample images to see some more real-life shots in a variety of conditions.


ELPH 300 HS / IXUS 220 HS
 
ELPH 310 HS / IXUS 230 HS
 
ELPH 100 HS / IXUS 115 HS
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
3200 ISO
3200 ISO
Hand-held Night Scene 1250 ISO
Hand-held Night Scene 1600 ISO
Hand-held Night Scene 800 ISO
Low Light 2000 ISO
Low Light 2000 ISO
Low Light 2000 ISO
Best Image Selection 2000 ISO
Best Image Selection 2000 ISO
Best Image Selection 2000 ISO

Canon ELPH 300 HS / IXUS 220 HS results : Real-life resolution / High ISO Noise



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