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Canon IXUS 300 HS / PowerShot SD4000 IS Gordon Laing, September 2010
 

Canon IXUS 300 HS / PowerShot SD4000 IS results : Real-life resolution / High ISO Noise


Canon IXUS 300 HS / SD4000 IS vs IXUS 210 / SD3500 IS Real-life resolution (default Program settings)

To compare real-life performance we shot the same scene with the Canon IXUS 300 HS / PowerShot SD4000 IS and IXUS 210 / PowerShot SD3500 IS within a few moments of each other using their best quality JPEG settings and lowest sensitivities.

The lenses were adjusted to deliver as close a field-of-view as possible. Each camera was set to Program mode without intervention to see how they performed with default settings.


The image above was taken with the Canon IXUS 300 HS / PowerShot SD4000 IS at 125 ISO with an exposure of 1/800 and the lens set to 6mm f4; the original file measured 2.86MB. As stated above, we allowed each camera to automatically select its own exposure in Program mode, in order to compare how they performed under default settings. Coincidentally both selected f4 allowing a direct comparison, although we later repeated the test with the IXUS 300 HS / PowerShot SD4000 IS in Aperture Priority and found the sample at f2.8 enjoyed fractionally higher contrast and sharpness.

The IXUS 300 HS / SD4000 IS employs a 10 Megapixel CMOS sensor, while the IXUS 210 / SD3500 IS packs in a 14 Megapixel CCD. The lower resolution of the IXUS 300 HS / SD4000 IS is responsible for the larger area in the crops below, but what impact does it have on resolved real-life detail?

Comparing the crops in the second and fourth rows (which feature lots of fine building detail), the IXUS 300 HS / SD4000 IS visibly falls short of what's captured by the higher resolution IXUS 210 / SD3500 IS. You'll need to pixel-peep on-screen at 100%, but you'll certainly notice finer details on the sample taken with the 14 Megapixel model. When printed though, the difference becomes much more subtle.

More obviously though, the first and third rows of crops taken towards the edges of the frame reveal greater softness on the IXUS 300 HS / SD4000 IS image compared to the IXUS 210 / SD3500 IS. Again it'll be fairly subtle when printed, but pixel-peepers viewing on-screen at 100% will spot the difference.

So as you'd expect given its lower resolution sensor, the IXUS 300 HS / SD4000 IS falls short of the detail resolved by the 14 Megapixel IXUS 210 / SD3500 IS – at least when both cameras are set to their lowest sensitivities. But start increasing the sensitivity and the lower pixel density of the IXUS 300 HS / SD4000 IS should in theory enjoy the edge. Let's find out if that's the case in practice in our IXUS 300 HS / SD4000 IS High ISO Noise results, or if you've seen enough, head straight to our Verdict.


Canon IXUS 300 HS / PowerShot SD4000 IS
 
Canon IXUS 210 / PowerShot SD3500 IS
f4, 125 ISO
f4, 80 ISO
     
f4, 125 ISO
f4, 80 ISO
     
f4, 125 ISO
f4, 80 ISO
     
f4, 125 ISO
f4, 80 ISO


Canon IXUS 300 HS / PowerShot SD4000 IS results : Real-life resolution / High ISO Noise



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