Canon PowerShot S100 Gordon Laing, November 2011
 
 

Canon PowerShot S100 Noise Reduction


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  Canon S100 results
1 Canon S100 Resolution
2 Canon S100 RAW vs JPEG
3 Canon S100 Noise vs S95
4 Canon S100 Noise vs V1 vs G3
5 Canon S100 Noise Reduction
6 Canon S100 Handheld Night Scene
7 Canon S100 Sample images

The Canon PowerShot S100 offers three different noise reduction settings for in-camera JPEGs: Low, Standard (the default) and High. This is in contrast to the earlier S95 which didn't offer noise reduction options for in-camera JPEGs. Note this setting on the S100 is only available when shooting JPEGs; switch the camera to RAW or RAW+JPEG and the option is disabled.

To compare the different noise reduction settings I shot my standard low-light scene with each, across the entire sensitivity range from 80 to 6400 ISO. As before the aperture was set to f4 in Aperture Priority mode.


Canon doesn't disclose at which point the 'High ISO NR' kicks-in, but pixel-peepers might spot evidence of it in the highest setting pretty much from the start. The crops at 80 and 100 ISO look very similar at vifrts glance, but there's a very mild texture on the Low and Standard NR crops that's absent on the High setting.

This becomes more obvious at 200 ISO, especially on the Low versus High NR crops, although again the difference remains fairly subtle. By 400 ISO though, the difference is becoming clearer, with mild speckles on the Low NR crop, faint speckles on the Standard and none at all on the High NR crop. The effect is even more apparent at 800 ISO where the speckles become clearer on the Low and Standard NR crops, but again are absent on the High NR crop.

Noise reduction normally works by smearing out these speckles, often at the cost of fine detail, but judging from the crops below the S100's Standard and High NR modes are doing a pretty good job at keeping the noise under control without compromising detail.

It's only at 1600 and especially 3200 ISO where the High NR setting has begun to visible deteriorate the fine detail. With these sensitivities, you may prefer to reduce the NR to Low and apply noise reduction after the event. At the top sensitivity of 6400 ISO, you might enjoy a superior result with the same technique, but the image data is already severally compromised at that point.

Those who like tweaking JPEG engines will definitely appreciate the ability to adjust the noise reduction on the S100, but if you're reducing it in order to apply third party NR in software later, it would make more sense to simply shoot in RAW and do it then. In that case, the presence of NR settings on the S100 aren't really an advantage over the S95. But again, it's nice to have them there.

That's not the end of the story for the Canon S100's low light performance though. Like most recent Canon models it also offers a composite Handheld Night Scene mode which stacks multiple shots in an attempt to reduce noise. Find out how it measures-up in my S100 Handheld Night Scene results. Alternatively skip to my S100 sample images or straight to the S100 verdict.

Canon PowerShot S100
Low Noise Reduction
 
Canon PowerShot S100
Standard Noise Reduction
 
Canon PowerShot S100
High Noise Reduction
80 ISO
80 ISO
80 ISO
         
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
         
6400 ISO
6400 ISO
6400 ISO


Canon S100 results : Quality / RAW vs JPEG / Noise vs S95
/ Noise vs V1 / Noise Reduction / Handheld Night Scene



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