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Nikon COOLPIX S8000 Ken McMahon, July 2010

Nikon COOLPIX S8000 results: Real-life resolution / High ISO Noise


Nikon COOLPIX S8000 vs Sony Cyber-shot DCS-H55 vs Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ8 / ZS5 IS High ISO Noise

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To compare noise levels under real-life conditions we shot this scene with the Nikon COOLPIX S8000, Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H55 and Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ8 / ZS5.

The lenses on all three cameras were set to approximate the same field of view and ISO was manually set.


The above shot was taken with the the Nikon COOLPIX S8000 in Auto mode with the lens at a wide angle setting of 5.4mm (30mm). The exposure was 0.8 of a second at f3.5. The crops are taken from the area marked with the red square and presented below at 100%.

As with the outdoor test, these crops from the Nikon COOLPIX S8000 are sonething of a disappointment right from the off. While there are no noisy pixels to be seen in the 100 ISO crop, there's nothing like the kind of detail we'd expect to see at this low sensitivity. What detail can be seen in the stone column on the left of the crop is clumpy and the boundary between the column and the background which should be crisp and well-defined is anything but. The detail in the wood panelling below the organ pipes is better, you can see the panel joins and there's no noise visible, but it's still looking quite soft.

At 200 ISO we're seeing the same problems, only more so. The stone column and its edge have become clumpier and there's visible noise in the wood panelling. The S8000's performance at the lower ISO settings is such a let down that at 400 and 800 ISO things don't actually appear to be that much worse. As you'd expect, at 1600 ISO the image is beginning to break up quite badly and, while it's good to see manufacturers include 3200 ISO settings at full resolution, this really is a last resort which you'll want to keep for those must have shots where quality really isn't an issue.

Compared with both the Cyber-shot DSC-H55 and Lumix DMC-TZ8 / ZS5, the COOLPIX is in a very definite third place. At the lower ISO sensitivity settings up to 400 ISO, the Lumix DMC-TZ8 / ZS5 crops are smoother, less grainy and more processed-looking than those of the Cyber-shot H55, but results from both cameras are superior to those from the COOLPIX S8000. From 800 ISO upwards they all suffer in one way or another. It's interesting to note that the 3 Megapixel High Sensitivity scene mode on the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ8 / ZS5 has produced a far better result than any of the manaul ISO settings above 400 ISO, if you can live with the smaller image size, this is a really useful low-light feature to have at your disposal. Now head over to our COOLPIX S8000 gallery to see some more real-life shots in a variety of conditions.


Nikon COOLPIX S8000
 
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H55
 
Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ8 / ZS5
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Nikon COOLPIX S8000 results: Real-life resolution / High ISO Noise



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