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Canon PowerShot S5 IS Gordon Laing, February 2008

Canon PowerShot S5 IS results : Outdoor resolution / Studio resolution / Real life Noise


Canon PowerShot S5 IS versus Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18 outdoor scene


 
 
To compare real-life performance we shot the same scene with the Canon PowerShot S5 IS and Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18 within a few moments of each other using their Auto modes, best quality JPEG and lowest ISO settings. The lenses on each camera were adjusted to deliver the same field of view.

The image left was taken with the Canon PowerShot S5 IS at 6mm f4 and with a sensitivity of 80 ISO; the original JPEG measured 4.03 MB. The crops are taken from the upper left, center, lower right and lower left portions of the originals and presented here at 100%.

The first crop, taken from the extreme left side of the image near the top, shows an early advantage for the Panasonic FZ18, but the following three cropped areas are more in favour of the Canon. At first glance, the details look much sharper than the FZ18, almost as if a veil had been pulled over the Panasonic.

However take a second look and see if the Canon is actually resolving any more actual detail than the Panasonic. The PowerShot S5 IS image is certainly sharper and has more contrast, but there isn't actually much difference in terms of resolved fine detail. Looking closely at the flat areas of colour from both cameras also reveals a different strategy in image processing and noise reduction: the Canon crops reveal a faint texture, while the Panasonic crops are very smooth.

Even at their lowest sensitivities, there's evidence of noise on both cameras, with Canon leaving the fine texture visible, while Panasonic is already smearing it out with noise reduction. Which you prefer is personal, but at the lowest sensitivities, we'd say the Canon's in-camera JPEG below is preferable. The effects of each approach are even more apparent in our real life noise results page, but for now, let's see how both cameras compare in terms of studio resolution.

 

Canon PowerShot S5 IS
 
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18
f4, 80 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f4, 80 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f4, 80 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f4, 80 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO


Canon PowerShot S5 IS results continued...

Outdoor resolution / Studio resolution / Real life Noise

 

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