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Nikon COOLPIX S3000 Ken McMahon, May 2010

Nikon COOLPIX S3000 results: Real-life resolution / High ISO Noise


Nikon COOLPIX S3000 vs Canon IXUS 105 / PowerShot SD1300 IS vs Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W310

 
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To compare real-life performance we shot this scene with the Nikon COOLPIX S3000, Canon IXUS 105 / SD1300 IS and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W310, 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 COOLPIX S3000 was set to Auto mode and the Canon and Sony cameras were set to Program mode. All three cameras were set to manual ISO and the lowest available sensitivity - 80 ISO on the Nikon and Canon, and 100 ISO on the Sony.

 

The above image was taken with the Nikon COOLPIX S3000 in Auto mode. The lens was set to 4.9mm (27mm equivalent) and the metering selected an exposure of 1/1250th of a second at f3.2 with an ISO setting of 80. The original 4000x3000 pixel image had a file size of 5.29MB.

Overall the pictures from the Nikon COOLPIX S3000 were excellent. Our outdoor test shot was perfectly exposed, had good contrast and well-saturated natural-looking colours.

Taking a look at the crops there are no obvious flaws. The lens resolves fine detail pretty well and there's little evidence of over-processing of the JPEG files. Within the confines of what you'd expect to see from a 12 Megapixel sensor of this size in a compact in the S3000's price bracket, this is about as good as it gets.

If we were looking hard for something to be critical about, we could point to the purple fringing caused by chromatic aberration at the extreme edges of the frame and the slight overall softness of the images.

Compared with the Canon IXUS 105 / SD1300 IS, the significantly less expensive COOLPIX S3000 is surprisingly good. It matches the Canon in terms of image detail and what's more its resolving power is more consistent across the frame. Take a look at the second crop with the lighthouse and we think you'll agree that the COOLPIX S3000 does a better job of rendering the detail in the rooftops and window frames of the houses in the foreground. The only crop where the IXUS outperforms the COOLPIX S3000 is the last one from the centre of the frame, where the COOLPIX S3000 has lost some of the finer detail.

The Cyber-shot DSC-W310 also produced a pleasing overall result, but in our view it doesn't match either the COOLPIX S3000 or the IXUS 105 / SD1300 IS for sharpness and resolution. Detail in the crops is softer, the foreground in the lighthouse shot in particular looks smeared, and there's a bittiness to the image that looks like evidence of in-camera processing. Now let's check out how they compare at higher sensitivities in our High ISO Noise results.



Nikon COOLPIX S3000
 
Canon IXUS 105 / SD1300 IS
 
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W310
f3.2, 80 ISO
f8, 80 ISO
f4.3, 100 ISO
f3.2, 80 ISO
f8, 80 ISO
f4.3, 100 ISO
f3.2, 80 ISO
f8, 80 ISO
f4.3, 100 ISO
f3.2, 80 ISO
f8, 80 ISO
f4.3, 100 ISO


Nikon COOLPIX S3000 results: Real-life resolution / High ISO Noise


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