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Canon PowerShot SX130 IS Ken McMahon, September 2010

Canon PowerShot SX130 IS results: Real-life resolution / High ISO Noise

Canon PowerShot SX130 IS High ISO Noise

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To judge noise levels under real-life conditions we shot this scene with the Canon PowerShot SX130 IS. The lens was set to its widest focal length setting of 5mm (28mm equivalent) and the camera mounted on a tripod.

The flash was disabled (in this case simply by leaving it in the down position), while image stabilisation and the i-Contrast dynamic range enhancement were both turned off.

The above shot was taken with the the Canon PowerShot SX130 IS in Program mode with the lens at a wide angle setting of 5mm (28mm). The ISO sensitivity was set to 80 and the exposure was one second at f3.4. The crops are taken from the area marked with the red square and presented below at 100%.

Starting with the first crop, taken at 80 ISO, there's little, if anything, to fault here. Don't assume that because the ISO setting is low on a compact, there won't be any evidence of noise; even at the lowest sensitivity settings, with exposures of a second and more, there's plenty of potential for noise to creep in, but not here. Another common problem when shooting with a low ISO setting in low light is under-exposure but, as in our outdoor test, the PowerShot SX130 IS has got it spot on.

If there is a difference between the 80 and 100 ISO crop, you'd have to look very hard to find it, and it's not until you get to 200 ISO that there are clearly visible differences, though at this stage they're pretty marginal. You can see a slight softening of detail in the stone column, in the wood panelled doors and around the padlock. At 400 ISO there's a more marked deterioration. Canon is usually very good at getting the balance between noise and its suppression (which creates other problems) right, but in this instance we wonder whether a little bit of graininess wouldn't have been preferable to the blanket of softness in which this 400 ISO crop has been enveloped.

From there it's softness all the way. The PowerShot SX130 IS high ISO results generally look a lot softer then previous Canon compacts we've tested. At 800 ISO and above, the softness isn't so objectionable as at the 400 ISO sensitivity, which you're more likely to turn to in 'every day' situations. At high ISO settings of 800 and above, it becomes more a question of personal preference than objective analysis, but our preference is for the less aggressive noise reduction algorithms that are prepared to live with a little bit of noise for the sake of retaining more image detail. Once again you may wish to compare these images with those from the Panasonic Lumix TZ8 / ZS5 and Sony Cyber-shot H55.

Now head over to our Canon PowerShot SX130 IS gallery to see some more real-life shots in a variety of conditions.

Canon PowerShot SX130 IS High ISO Noise, 100% crops
80 ISO
100 ISO
200 ISO
400 ISO
800 ISO
1600 ISO
2500 ISO Low Light scene mode (1600 x 1200)

Canon PowerShot SX130 IS results: Real-life resolution / High ISO Noise

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