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Canon Digital IXUS 980 IS / PowerShot SD990 IS Digital ELPH Gordon Laing, August 2009

Canon IXUS 980 IS / SD990 IS results : Real-life resolution / High ISO Noise

Canon IXUS 980 IS / SD990 IS vs Fujifilm F60fd High ISO Noise

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Canon IXUS 980 IS / Canon SD990 IS
To compare noise levels under real-life conditions we shot this scene with the Canon IXUS 980 IS / SD990 IS and Fujifilm F60fd within a few moments of each other using each of their ISO settings.

The lenses on each camera were adjusted to deliver the same field of view, as much as their coarse zoom steps would allow.

The image above was taken with the Canon IXUS 980 IS / SD990 IS at a sensitivity of 80 ISO, with the lens set to 7.7mm (36mm equivalent); the exposure was 1/4 sec at f2.8 and the original Large Fine JPEG file measured 2.81MB. The crops are taken from an area right of centre marked by the red rectangle, and presented here at 100%. The Fujifilm FinePix F60fd crops show a slightly larger area because of its slightly lower effective resolution than the Canon on test here.

The Canon IXUS 980 IS / SD990 IS kicks-off the sequence at 80 ISO with a fairly clean result, although pixel-peepers will notice some visible noise textures in the shadow areas. The Fujifilm FinePix F60fd joins-in at 100 ISO and while its image contains fewer pixels, the degree of real-life detail recorded is similar; indeed the F60fd’s output is slightly punchier and will be preferred by many. Both cameras are exhibiting similar amounts of noise here.

At 200 ISO, both cameras suffer from increased noise levels, although again are roughly neck-in-neck. Again the slightly crisper image processing and lens of the Fuji is preferred here.

With the sensitivity increased to 400 ISO, both cameras take a noticeable turn for the worse, although the Canon is suffering more here with softer edges and reduced detail – there’s certainly no resolution advantage to 14.7 megapixels from this point.

At 800 ISO, both cameras suffer from a big drop in quality, and while the F60fd’s noise artefacts at this point are quite electronic-looking, it remains preferable to the Canon at this point. The same applies at 1600 ISO where both images have turned to mush, although the Fuji retains more detail. You really wouldn’t want to use either camera at this sensitivity if you could avoid it though. From this point, both cameras offer higher sensitivities, but at greatly reduced resolution and equally reduced quality.

What this page once again proves is higher resolutions don’t necessarily translate into better image quality, especially as the sensitivity increases. It is however interesting to compare the IXUS 980 IS / SD990 IS against other Canon models. The PowerShot G10 features the same sensor, and delivers crisper results at low sensitivities thanks to a superior lens, and perhaps tweaked image processing. The noise levels are however similar on both cameras as you’d expect.

Another interesting comparison is against the IXUS 100 IS / SD780 IS, which applies considerably higher noise reduction across its range to deliver images with far less visible noise speckles, although much greater smearing as a result.

Now head over to our Canon IXUS 980 IS / SD990 IS Gallery to see some more real-life shots in a variety of conditions.

Canon IXUS 980 IS / PowerShot SD990 IS
Fujifilm FinePix F60fd
80 ISO
80 ISO not available
100 ISO
100 ISO
200 ISO
200 ISO
400 ISO
400 ISO
800 ISO
800 ISO
1600 ISO
1600 ISO
3200 ISO (2 Megapixels)
3200 ISO (6 Megapixels)
6400 ISO not available
6400 ISO (3 Megapixels)

Canon IXUS 980 IS / SD990 IS results : Real-life resolution / High ISO Noise

All words, images, videos and layout, copyright 2005-2017 Gordon Laing. May not be used without permission.

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