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Nikon 1 V1 Gordon Laing, December 2011
 
 

Canon PowerShot S100 vs PowerShot S95 vs Nikon 1 V1 image quality

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To compare real-life quality between the Nikon V1 and cameras with smaller sensors, I shot this scene with the Nikon V1, Canon PowerShot S100 and S95 within a few moments of each other using their best quality JPEG settings and default options.

The lenses on each camera were adjusted to deliver the same field of view and all three cameras were set to aperture values previously tested to deliver the optimum results: f4 on the two PowerShots and f5.6 on the V1.

The sensitivity was manually set to the lowest available setting on each camera: 80 ISO on both PowerShots and 100 ISO on the V1.

  Nikon V1 results
1 Nikon V1 vs NEX-5N vs E-P3 Quality
2 Nikon V1 vs S100 vs S95 Quality
3 Nikon V1 RAW vs JPEG
4 Nikon V1 vs S100 vs G3 Noise
5 Nikon V1 vs NEX-5N vs GX1 Noise
6 Nikon V1 Sample images

Note the lenses were adjusted to deliver the same vertical field of view. Since the Nikon 1 V1 records slightly wider 3:2 aspect ratio images, we're effectively only using a 4:3 crop from the middle and ignoring thin strips on either side. As such when matching the vertical field of view with a camera sporting a 4:3 aspect ratio, we're only using approximately 9 of the 10 total Megapixels on the Nikon frame. As such the Nikon 1 V1 has the lowest resolution of the three cameras tested here, which means its crops below show a slightly larger area when cropped to the same size and viewed at 1:1. Next comes the older PowerShot S95 with 10 Megapixels, followed by the latest S100 with 12 Megapixels.

The most obvious difference between the three cameras here is the processing style of the Canon S100. The S100's crops appear relatively soft and laid-back compared to the punchier output from the S95 when both are using their default JPEG settings. This is similar to other comparisons we've seen when a camera switches from a CCD to a CMOS sensor. Now the S100 can be made to deliver very similar results to the S95 if you simply boost the contrast and sharpening, either in-camera, or better still on RAW files, but for now it's worth noting the S100's images will appear slightly softer than those from the S95 without modification.

As for real-life detail, it's essentially a draw between the three cameras here at their lowest sensitivities. Pixel-peepers might convince themselves there's fractionally more fine detail on the 12 Megapixel S100 compared to the 9 Megapixels of the V1 we're comparing here, but really there's nothing decisive. Indeed the V1 crops, while also lacking some of the punchiness of the S95, have a slightly crisper and more satisfying look to them than the S100, especially on the final row.

So I'd call this one a draw overall, which means if you're shooting at the lowest sensitivities, there's no real advantage to the Nikon V1 in terms of image quality compared to a high-end compact like the Canon S95 / S100. The V1's larger sensor does however enjoy a benefit at higher sensitivities as you'll see in my Nikon V1 noise results page, but before that you may be interested in checking out the RAW performance in my Nikon V1 RAW vs JPEG results. Alternatively if you'd like to download some photos to check out for yourself, head over to my Nikon V1 sample images page, or if you've seen enough proceed directly to my Nikon V1 verdict!

 


Canon PowerShot S100
 
Canon PowerShot S95
 
Nikon 1 V1
f4, 80 ISO
f4, 80 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f4, 80 ISO
f4, 80 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f4, 80 ISO
f4, 80 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f4, 80 ISO
f4, 80 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO


Nikon V1 results : Quality vs 5N vs E-P3 / Quality vs S100 / RAW / Noise vs S100 / Noise vs 5N vs GX1




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