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Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W220 Ken McMahon, November 2009

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W220 results: Real-life resolution / High ISO Noise

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W220 vs Canon IXUS 95 IS / SD1200 IS

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To compare noise levels under real-life conditions we shot this scene with the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W220 and the Canon Digital IXUS 95 IS / SD1200 IS within a few moments of each other using each of their ISO settings.

The lenses were set to approximate the same field of view.

The above shot was taken with the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W220 in Program mode with the lens at its maximum wide angle setting of 5.35mm. The exposure was half a second at f2.8. The crops are taken from the area marked with the red square and presented below at 100%.

Let's start with the 100 ISO crop. This shows some evidence of colour noise in the pillar, and slight loss of detail which suggests the noise reduction algorithm has been hard at work to suppress the worst of the noise. It's not bad, but generally we wouldn't expect to see evidence either of visible noise or its suppression in a 100 ISO shot - perhaps long exposure noise reduction had kicked-in with the half-second exposure.

At 200 ISO the noise reduction processing steps up a gear. This crop is much softer and shows a lot less detail than the previous one. The same thing happens again at 400 ISO and to about the same degree. It's difficult to say what these shots would have looked like without such aggressive noise reduction, but while noise is never good, loss of detail to this degree at such low sensitivities is really no better. At 800 ISO the noise reduction hasn't eased off, but it's fighting a losing battle and, as well as the loss of detail, the image now begins to break up. From here on up, it's a case of 'use only in an emergency'.

Compared with the Canon Digital IXUS 95 IS / SD1200 IS, the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W220 generates higher levels of noise throughout the ISO range. At the lower levels - 100 and 200 ISO - the Cyber-shot DSC-W220's noise reduction is heavy-handed and evidence of its work is almost as intrusive as the noise itself. The IXUS 95 IS / SD1200 IS crops show much less evidence of noise, with its 80 and 100 ISO shots looking relatively unprocessed and, though the 200 ISO crop is softer, it doesn't look cooked to the same degree as the Cyber-shot DSC-W220.

At 400 ISO and beyond, neither camera produces flawless images, but the Canon Digital IXUS 95 IS / SD1200 IS images show less noise and less evidence of processing to reduce it.

Now head over to our Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W220 gallery to see some more real-life shots in a variety of conditions.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W220
Canon IXUS 95 IS / SD1200 IS
80 ISO not available
80 ISO
100 ISO
100 ISO
200 ISO
200 ISO
400 ISO
400 ISO
800 ISO
800 ISO
1600 ISO
1600 ISO
3200 ISO
3200 ISO

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W220 results: Real-life resolution / High ISO Noise

All words, images, videos and layout, copyright 2005-2015 Gordon Laing. May not be used without permission.

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