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Pentax W60 Gordon Laing, December 2008

Pentax Optio W60 results : Outdoor resolution / High ISO Noise

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Pentax Optio W60

Olympus 1050SW

Pentax W60 vs Olympus 1050SW vs Canon 870IS / SD 880IS High ISO Noise

To compare noise levels under real-life conditions we shot this scene with the Pentax W60, Olympus 1050SW and Canon IXUS 870IS / SD 880IS within a few moments of each other using each of their ISO settings.

The lenses on each camera were adjusted to deliver the same field of view. Where coarse increments prevented an exact match using the zoom alone, the camera's position was moved slightly back or forth to compensate.

The image above was taken with the Pentax Optio W60 at a sensitivity of 50 ISO, with the lens at 8mm f4.2 and an automatic exposure of 1/4 of a second; the original *** 10M JPEG file measured 3.11MB. The crops are taken from an area just to the right of the centre and presented at 100%.

First things first: the Pentax crops below are suffering from a lack of contrast compared to the other models on test here, resulting in a softer, muddy effect. We noticed this on some other W60 images, containing strongly lit elements in otherwise dim conditions, such as the bright backlit windows here on the right. There may also be stray light or fingerprint issues with the protective lens covering. Either way, this is our standard low light environment, and all cameras are tested under the same conditions. As such, while the W60 is clearly suffering here in some respect, the fact is the other cameras coped better with the composition and lighting.

Moving onto the crops, at its lowest sensitivity of 50 ISO, the Optio W60 is certainly recording some fine details, but there’s visible textures from noise in the background on flat areas of colour. These remain present on the 100 ISO crop, but are no worse. You’ll also notice noise artefacts on items like the flower pot which have been cleaned up by noise reduction on the other two cameras, albeit with a lack of crispness on the part of the Olympus. As you’ll also see on our Gallery page, Pentax is adopting a more hands-off approach to noise reduction, which may result in more visible speckles, but at least attempts to retain fine detail.

At 200 ISO, all three cameras are showing a loss in detail, and at 400 ISO the noise levels are becoming quite obvious, especially on the W60. It’s interesting to see the noise reduction of the Canon in action, and while there’s definitely some smearing, there’s still a decent degree of fine detail.

At 800 ISO there’s a dramatic turn for the worse from all three models, with each showing different strategies for handling the noise. This really is as far as you’d want to use any of them, and even then at reduced sizes only.

At 1600 ISO all three are delivering images that are only really usable for web thumbnails. The W60 then bravely goes on to offer 3200 and even 6400 ISO at a reduced resolution of 5 Megapixels, but the result ain’t pretty. Now head over to our Pentax W60 Gallery to see some more real-life shots in a variety of conditions.

Pentax Optio W60
Olympus µ 1050SW / Stylus 1050SW
Canon IXUS 870IS / SD 880IS
50 ISO
80 ISO
80 ISO
100 ISO
100 ISO
100 ISO
200 ISO
200 ISO
200 ISO
400 ISO
400 ISO
400 ISO
800 ISO
800 ISO
800 ISO
1600 ISO
1600 ISO
1600 ISO
  This sensitivity not available  
3200 ISO
3200 ISO not available
3200 ISO (at 2 Megapixels)
  This sensitivity not available   This sensitivity not available
6400 ISO
6400 ISO not available
6400 ISO not available

Pentax Optio W60 results : Outdoor resolution / High ISO Noise

All words, images, videos and layout, copyright 2005-2017 Gordon Laing. May not be used without permission.

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