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Canon PowerShot SX30 IS Ken McMahon, October 2010

Canon PowerShot SX30 IS results : Real-life resolution / Sharpness mid-range / Sharpness telephoto / High ISO Noise

Canon PowerShot SX30 IS vs Panasonic Lumix FZ45 / FZ40 vs Lumix FZ100 Real-life resolution (telephoto)

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To compare real-life performance with the lenses zoomed all the way in, we shot this scene with the Canon PowerShot SX30 IS, Panasonic Lumix FZ45 / FZ40, and the Panasonic Lumix FZ100 within a few moments of each other using their best quality JPEG settings.

The lenses on each camera were set to the maximum telephoto end of their zoom range. For the Canon Powershot SX30 IS this is an equivalent of 840mm and for the Lumix FZ45 / FZ30 and Lumix FZ100 it's 600mm.

All three cameras were set to Program mode at the lowest available ISO sensitivity - 80 ISO on the PowerShot SX30 IS and the Lumix FZ45 / FZ40 and 100 ISO on the Lumix FZ100.

The above image was taken with the PowerShot SX30 IS in Program mode. The lens was set to 150.5 mm (840mm equivalent) and the metering selected an exposure of 1/800th of a second at f5.8 with an ISO setting of 80. The original 4320 × 3240 pixel image had a file size of 3.27MB.

If you've already seen the wide-angle and mid-range test results for the PowerShot SX30 IS you'll know that its biggest problem at the wide-angle zoom setting is fringing caused by chromatic aberration, but this more or less disappears at the mid-range focal lengths. The bad, though perhaps not entirely unexpected, news is that it makes an unwelcome return at the extreme telephoto end of the range. As before, it get worse at the edges of the frame but is clearly in evidence just about everywhere. In the crops below you can see it most clearly in all but the first one.

With that one exception the quality of the crops from the PowerShot SX30IS at the 840mm telephoto end of the zoom range is very good indeed, paticularly in the central region of the frame. As you can see in the first crop the lens has resolved the fine detail extremely well and you can make out the screws on door handle quite clearly. Towards the edges detail is less clearly defined but, all things considered, and if you can live or deal with the chromatic aberration, this is a more than acceptable performance from a lens with an extraordinary range.

If you were to judge on the first crop alone you might be tempted to think the Lumix FZ45 / FZ40 beats the PowerShot SX30 IS hands down for quality at the telephoto end of the range. But scan down the other crops and you'll discover that the granularity evident in the wide-angle and mid-range shots is here to an even greater degree. While they're free of the PowerShot SX30 IS's worst fault, fringing, these crops look like they've been the victim of over-zealous in-camera processing.

The Lumix FZ100 results at this end of the zoom range largely bear out what we've seen elsewhere. The Lumix FZ100 image quality isn't poor, far from it, but by comparison with the PowerShot SX30 IS the test image is soft and much of the fine detail is lost. This is most clearly evident in the last of the four crops below.

If you haven't done so already, be sure to take a look at our wide-angle resolution and mid range resolution test pages before seeing how they compare at higher sensitivities in our High ISO Noise results.

Canon PowerShot SX30 IS
Panasonic Lumix FZ45 / FZ40
Panasonic Lumix FZ100
150.5mm (840mm) f5.8, 80 ISO
108mm (600mm) f5.2, 80 ISO
108mm (600mm) f5.2, 100 ISO
150.5mm (840mm) f5.8, 80 ISO
108mm (600mm) f5.2, 80 ISO
108mm (600mm) f5.2, 100 ISO
150.5mm (840mm) f5.8, 80 ISO
108mm (600mm) f5.2, 80 ISO
108mm (600mm) f5.2, 100 ISO

Canon PowerShot SX30 IS results : Real-life resolution / Sharpness mid-range / Sharpness telephoto / High ISO Noise

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