Canon PowerShot SX500 IS Ken McMahon, Sept 2012

Canon SX500 IS vs Nikon L810 quality

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To compare real-life performance when zoomed-out, I shot this scene with the the Canon PowerShot SX500 IS and Nikon COOLPIX L810 within a few moments of each other using their best quality JPEG settings.

The lenses on both cameras were set to an equivalent field of view and both were set to Program auto exposure mode.

The ISO sensitivity was set manually on each camera - to the base ISO sensitivity settings of 100 ISO on the PowerShot SX500 IS and 80 ISO on the COOLPIX L810.

  Canon PowerShot SX500 IS results
1 Canon SX500 IS Quality
3 Canon SX500 IS Noise
5 Canon SX500 IS Sample images

The image above was taken with the Canon PowerShot SX500 IS. The lens was set to the maximum 24mm wide angle position and the Nikon COOLPIX L800 with which I've compared it here was zoomed in slightly to give an equivalent field of view. In Program auto mode the camera metered an exposure of 1/1000 at f5. The original Superfine JPEG image size was 7.66MB. The crops are taken from the areas marked with red rectangles and presented here at 100%. Image stabilisation was disabled for these tripod-based tests.

On the whole the Canon PowerShot SX500 IS has produced a good result from this high contrast sunny scene. The evaluative metering has produced an accurate exposure with good detail in the shadows and just a tiny bit of clipping of the brightest highlights. The white balance is good and the colours are saturated and natural-looking.

The crops all look a little bit noisy. In areas of low detail like the sea and sky there's a stippling effect - it's most visible in the second crop in the three bands of blue that form the sea, cliffs and sky. In areas of fine detail, like the middle ground in the second crop, the noise is obscuring the detail to a degree.

Then there's the chromatic aberration problem. This test scene doesn't usually bring out the worst in lenses where chromatic aberration is concerned, usually if there is a problem it's confined to the edge of the frame shown in the third crop. There's no mistaking the severe colour fringing here, but more worryingly, there's evidence of the same problem, albeit to a lesser degree in every single one of these crops, even the one from close to the centre of the frame.

To sum up then, the quality performance of the PowerShot SX500 IS is let down a little by noise at the base ISO sensitivity and chromatic abberation at the wide angle angle lens setting. To put that in context, these problems aren't likely to trouble you unless you're viewing or printing images at 100 percent. Also, the lens performance improves considerably towards the centre of the frame where the colour fringing is minimal edges are sharp and fine detail is well resolved.

To see how these models compare at higher sensitivities check out the Canon SX500 noise results.


Canon PowerShot SX500 IS
Nikon COOLPIX L810
f5, 100 ISO
f3.1, 80 ISO
f5, 100 ISO
f3.1, 80 ISO
f5, 100 ISO
f3.1, 80 ISO
f5, 100 ISO
f3.1, 80 ISO

Canon PowerShot SX500 IS results : Quality / Noise

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