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Nikon COOLPIX L22 Ken McMahon, April 2010
 

Nikon COOLPIX L22 results

Nikon COOLPIX L22 vs Canon PowerShot A490 / A495 vs PowerShot A3100 IS Real-life resolution

 
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To compare real-life performance we shot this scene with the Nikon COOLPIX L22, Canon PowerShot A490 / A495, and the Canon PowerShot A3000 IS/ A3100 IS, within a few moments of each other using their best quality JPEG settings.

The lenses on each camera were set to approximate the same field of view. The two Canon compacts were set to Program mode with the ISO sensitivity manually set to 80. The COOLPIX doesn't allow manual ISO setting, but in Auto mode selected 80 ISO, matching the sensitivity used on the two Canon compacts.

 

The above image was taken with the Nikon COOLPIX L22 in Auto mode. The lens was set to 6.7mm (37mm equivalent) and the metering selected an exposure of 1/500 at f5.5 with an ISO setting of 80. The original 4000x3000 pixel image had a file size of 5MB.

The overall quality of the image crops from the Nikon COOPIX L22 isn't at all bad considering the price. This scene is a difficult one from an exposure point of view because it has such a high dynamic range. It can be difficult for compacts to capture detail in both the foreground shadows and the highlights of the white buildings and the clouds. Getting the exposure even a little wrong can result in badly blown highlights or filled in shadows. All three cameras managed to nail the exposure on this occasion.

The COOLPIX L22 crops are more highly saturated than those from either of the Canon compacts and they're quite contrasty too, but they also look natural, and tonally they show as much detail as the PowerShots. In terms of image detail though, the COOLPIX doesn't share the fine resolution of either the PowerShot A3000 IS / A3100 IS or the A490 / A495. The one exception is the lighthouse crop where the L22 clearly shows the white rectangle of the lighthouse atop its small island, something the PowerShot A3000 IS / A3100 IS can't manage.

In all the other crops though, the COOLPIX detail looks soft and clumpy. Compare the near-horizontal arm of the TV aerial in the third crop or the chapel in the top one. On the top crop you'll also notice a white halo along the top of the wall surrounding the chapel. That extends all the way along the horizon in this image and could be the result of either over-zealous sharpening or JPEG compression.

It's apparent, after only short while comparing these crops, that in order of image quality, the Canon PowerShot A490 / A495 comes first, closely followed by the PowerShot A3000 IS / A3100 IS, with the COOLPIX L22 in a very definite third place. But don't forget, the COOLPIX L22 is the least expensive of these three compacts by a wide margin. If you're on a tight budget it would be a mistake to write off the L22 on the basis of image quality alone. Unless you're making full-size prints or showing your photos on a big screen, these factors are not as significant as close examination of the full-size crops might suggest.



Nikon COOLPIX L22
 
Canon PowerShot A490 / A495
 
Canon PowerShot A3000 IS/ A3100 IS

f5.5, 80 ISO

f4.5, 80 ISO
f8, 80 ISO
f5.5, 80 ISO
f4.5, 80 ISO
f8, 80 ISO
f5.5, 80 ISO
f4.5, 80 ISO
f8, 80 ISO
f5.5, 80 ISO
f4.5, 80 ISO
f8, 80 ISO

 

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