Canon PowerShot S110 Ken McMahon, February 2013

Canon PowerShot S110 vs Panasonic Lumix LX7 RAW quality

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To compare real-life RAW performance when zoomed out I shot this scene with the Canon PowerShot S110 and the Panasonic Lumix LX7, within a few moments of each other using their RAW modes.

Both cameras were mounted on a tripod and image stabilisation was disabled. The lenses were set to their maximum wide angle focal lengths, equivalent to 24mm for both cameras.

Both cameras were set to Aperture Priority mode and tone enhancement features were left on the default settings.

  Canon PowerShot S110 results
1 Canon S110 Quality JPEG
2 Canon S110 Quality RAW
3 Canon S110 Noise JPEG
4 Canon S110 Noise RAW
5 Canon S110 Sample images

The image above was taken with the PowerShot S110 set to Aperture priority mode with the aperture set to f4 and the sensitivity manually set to 80 ISO. The S110 metered an exposure of 1/400. Also in Aperture priority mode and set to f4 with the sensitivity set to 80 ISO, the Lumix LX7 metered the same exposure.

I processed both files in Adobe Camera RAW using identical settings: Sharpening at 70 / 0.5 / 36 / 10, Luminance and Colour Noise Reduction both set to zero, and the Process to 2012 with the Adobe Standard profile. To further reduce any distracting visual differences between the crops I also set custom white balance to 5500K and tint to 0. These settings were chosen to reveal the differences in sensor quality and isolate them from in-camera processing. The high degree of sharpening with a small radius enhances the finest details without causing undesirable artefacts, while the zero noise reduction unveils what's really going on behind the scenes.

It's clear from these RAW files that the PowerShot S110 is resolving a lot more detail than you're seeing from the in-camera JPEGs. With the heightened level of sharpening and the absence of noise reduction you can make out a lot more of the fine detail from the stonework in the chapel of the first crop to the brickwork and roof tiling in the last one. The question is, can you find a RAW workflow that will allow you to access that detail with a more natural level of sharpening? I think the answer is almost certainly. These results are confirmation that enthusiasts are right to want the ability to access camera RAW data from advanced compacts like the S110. The in-camera JPEG processing provides a good 'one size fits all' approach, but, as these crops show, there's more to be got from the S110's sensor if you're prepared to tease it out.

The comparison with the RAW files from the Lumix LX7, processed in the same way is also revealing. There's hardly any difference in the level of detail between these two sets of crops, further confirming that the slight softness of the PowerShot S110 JPEGs compared with those from the Lumix LX7 is mainly due to different processing approaches.

Now see how these models compare at higher sensitivities in my Canon PowerShot S110 Noise results.


Canon PowerShot S110 RAW
Panasonic Lumix LX7 RAW
f4, 80 ISO
f4, 80 ISO
f4, 80 ISO
f4, 80 ISO
f4, 80 ISO
f4, 80 ISO
f4, 80 ISO
f4, 80 ISO

Canon PowerShot S110
results : Quality / RAW quality / Noise / RAW Noise

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