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Canon Digital IXUS 95 IS / PowerShot SD1200 IS Ken McMahon, November 2009

Canon PowerShot SX120 IS results : Real-life resolution / High ISO Noise


Canon PowerShot SX120 IS Vs Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H20 real-life detail

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To compare real-life performance we shot this scene with the Canon PowerShot SX120 IS and Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H20, within a few moments of each other using their best quality JPEG settings, lowest ISO sensitivities and default processing options.

The lenses on each camera were set to approximate the same field of view and each was set to Program or Auto mode with Manual ISO override.


The above image was taken with the Canon PowerShot SX120 IS set to 80 ISO. The lens was set to 6mm and the metering selected an exposure of 1/1250 at f4.5. The original 3648x2736 pixel image measured 3MB. The four crops are taken from the areas marked with the red rectangles and presented below at 100%.

The overall image quality of shots from the PowerShot SX120 IS is good. The image here is correctly exposed, colour balance is pleasing and the tonal range shows decent detail from the deep shadows to the highlights.

Overall contrast is good, but these crops lack the crisp edge detail we've come to expect from images produced by Canon's DIGIC 4 processor. Moreover, the crops display green and purple fringing to a greater or lesser degree - evidence of chromatic aberration in the SX120 IS's lens.

Take a close look at the second crop with the lighthouse and you can see slight red and green fringing around the white parts of the foreground buildings. And in the third crop the corner of the white building above and behind the foreground roof is edged with a green vertical fringe. As chromatic aberration goes, this is fairly minor, but it's likely to be more pronounced with backlit subjects and fine detail.

Compared with the results from the Sony Cyber-shot DSC H20, the PowerShot SX120 IS shows less fine detail, softer edges and lower contrast. The last of these is not necessarily a bad thing. Take a look at the shadows in the second and third crops and you'll notice the Canon is capturing more detail there - remember, on the default settings both the PowerShot SX120 IS and Cyber-shot DSC-H20 have their respective dynamic range enhancement activated. But generally speaking, the Sony crops are punchier and have the edge in terms of overall image quality.

On other thing worth noting here is that in Program mode the PowerShot has opted for an aperture of f4.5, whereas the Cyber-shot has set a much smaller aperture of f8. Smaller apertures on compacts can result in reduced image quality due to diffraction. We also tested the Cyber-shot H20 in Manual mode with an aperture of f3.5 to make a closer comparison and the results produced were an improvement on those displayed here.

Now head over to our Canon PowerShot SX120 IS Noise results to see how it compares in terms of high sensitivities.



Canon PowerShot SX120 IS
 
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H20
f4.5, 80 ISO
f8, 80 ISO
f4.5, 80 ISO
f8, 80 ISO
f4.5, 80 ISO
f8, 80 ISO
f4.5, 80 ISO
f8, 80 ISO


Canon PowerShot SX120 IS results : Real-life resolution / High ISO Noise



 

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