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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 real-life detail

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To compare real-life performance we shot this scene with the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W220 and Canon Digital IXUS 95 IS / SD1200 IS, within a few moments of each other using their best quality JPEG settings, lowest ISO sensitivities and default processing options.

The lenses on each camera were set to approximate the same field of view and each was set to program or auto mode with manual ISO override.


The above image was taken with the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W220 set to 100 ISO. The lens was set to 6.4mm and the metering selected an exposure of 1/160 of a second at f8. The original 4000 x 3000 pixel image measured 4.1MB. The four crops are taken from the areas marked with the red squares and presented below at 100%.

The first thing to say about the crops from the Cyber-shot DSC-W220 is that, even at the lowest ISO setting, digital noise is very apparent. In this outdoor shot the noise is even more visible than in our Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W220 Noise results.

One reason for the difference could be that the camera applies more aggressive noise reduction to longer exposures - our high ISO noise exposure at the same sensitivity was half a second. Whatever the reason there's no question that the Cyber-shot DSC-W220's images show a higher degree of noise than you'd expect to see in images shot at this ISO setting under bright conditions. This is the price you pay for packing more photosites onto the same sized sensor. The question you have to ask yourself is this: is the two megapixel advantage the Cyber-shot DSC-W220 enjoys over the Digital IXUS 95 IS / SD1200 IS worth the penalty you pay in terms of image quality?

While noise affects the image evenly across the entire frame there's another quality issue that's more apparent at the edges, where image detail is less clearly defined. In the second crop with the lighthouse, the houses in the foreground look like they're experiencing a minor earthquake. With the lens wide open this loss of detail might be attributed to lens aberrations, but given the selected aperture of f8 it's just as likely to be caused by diffraction. In Program Auto mode the Cyber-shot DSC-W220 wasn't averse to selecting aperture settings as small as f14, so either way it doesn't look good.

Our last criticism of the Cyber-shot DSC-W220's image quality identifies another lens deficiency, chromatic aberration, which causes colour fringing. You can see this in the lighthouse crop and it was even more severe in other areas of the image.

It's not all bad though, The Cyber-shot DSC-W220 produces well-exposed, nicely saturated photos with natural colours and good tonal reproduction in the shadows and highlights. Viewed at less than full size, these shots look perfectly fine. But if you're hoping the 12 Megapixel resolution will allow you to make stunning A3 prints from your photos you may be a little disappointed at what's revealed up close.

Compared with the Canon Digital IXUS 95 IS / SD1200 IS the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W220 comes a definite second in terms of image quality. The biggest and most obvious problem is the noise. Moving on, it would be fair to say that the Canon Digital IXUS 95 IS / SD1200 IS suffers from some of the same problems as the Cyber-shot DSC-W220, specifically, poor edge definition and colour fringing, just not to nearly the same degree.

Now head over to our Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W220 Noise results to see how it compares in terms of high sensitivities.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W220
Canon IXUS 95 IS / SD1200 IS
f8, 80 ISO
f4.5, 80 ISO
f8, 80 ISO
f4.5, 80 ISO
f8, 80 ISO
f4.5, 80 ISO
f8, 80 ISO
f4.5, 80 ISO

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W220 results: Real-life 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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