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Nikon COOLPIX L820 Ken McMahon, October 2013
 
 

Nikon COOLPIX L820 vs Canon SX510 HS Noise

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  Nikon COOLPIX L820 results
1 Nikon COOLPIX L820 Quality
2 Nikon COOLPIX L820 Noise
3 Nikon COOLPIX L820 images

To compare noise levels under real-life conditions, I shot this scene with the Nikon COOLPIX L820 and the Canon PowerShot SX510 HS, within a few moments of each other using their best quality JPEG settings at each of their ISO sensitivity settings.

Though both models have a 30x optical zoom, the COOLPIX L810's lens starts at a slightly wider 22.5mm wide-angle equivalent, so I zoomed it in a tad to match the 24mm maximum wide angle on the PowerShot SX510 HS.

For this test both cameras were set to Program auto and all camera settings were left on the defaults.



The above shot was taken with the Nikon COOLPIX L820. Thee COOLPIX L820's lens was zoomed in slightly to provide an equivalent field of view to the Canon PowerShot SX510 HS at its 24mm maximum wide angle setting. In auto mode at its base 125 ISO sensitivity setting the COOLPIX L820 metered an exposure of 1/15 at f3.1. The PowerShot SX510 HS chose an exposure of 1/8s at f3.4 at its base 80 ISO sensitivity setting. Image stabilisation was disabled for this tripod-mounted test.

Like the outdoor test crops, the Nikon COOLPIX L820 crops at the lower end of the sensitivity range are characterised by low noise levels but also an absence of fine detail. There's very little texture in the background wall of the base 125 ISO crop, but the text isn't as detailed and readable as it is in the 80 ISO crop from the PowerShot SX510 HS. There is some noise texture in the 200 ISO crop, but it's being kept well under control by noise processing which looks like it might also be behind the lack of finer detail in the COOLPIX L820's images. This is probably a good point at which to mention the usual caveat that, while these shortcomings are obvious when pixel-peeping 100 percent crops, you're unlikely to notice at smaller sizes.

At 400 ISO the test in the memorial panel is beginning to suffer quite badly, is smeared in places and is beyond legibility. And by 1600 ISO we're already well into 'for emergency use only' territory. And, while it's always good to have a 3200 ISO option for grabbing shots that would otherwise never see the light of day, just don't expect much in terms of quality, even viewed at smaller sizes.

Ignoring the warm white balance of the COOLPIX L820 crops, the PowerShot SX510 HS crops actually look noisier. I've put the base 125 ISO crop from the COOLPIX L820 alongside the 100 ISO crop from the PowerShot SX50 HS but you should be comparing it with the latter's base 80 ISO crop. Even so, there's less texture in the wall in the Nikon crop and if you compare the 200 ISO crops, here too the flat areas of colour in the COOLPIX L820 crop are less textured. But, as I mentioned earlier, there's less fine detail in the L820 crops too and they look softer. What we're seeing here is more aggressive noise processing on the COOPIX L820. If you compare the 800 ISO crops, there's a lot less noise and none of the bittiness in the COOLPIX L820 crop, but the detail is clumped and you can't make out anywhere as much detail in the text panel as in the PowerShot SX510 HS crop.

On balance, I'd say the PowerShot SX510 HS, with more noise, but more detail too, is a better result. That certainly proved to be the case in the outdoor test and I think it also applies higher up the senstitvity range.

Now head over to my Nikon COOLPIX L820 sample images to see some more real-life shots in a variety of conditions, or head straight for my verdict.


Nikon COOLPIX L820
 
Canon PowerShot SX510 HS
80 ISO Not Available
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125 ISO
100 ISO
200 ISO
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400 ISO
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1600 ISO
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3200 ISO
3200 ISO
 

Nikon COOLPIX L820 results : Quality / Noise


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