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Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W510 Ken McMahon, May 2011
 

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W510 results : Real-life resolution / High ISO Noise


Sony Cyber-shot W510 vs Nikon COOLPIX L24 vs Canon PowerShot A1200 High ISO Noise

 
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To compare noise levels under real-life conditions we shot this scene with the Sony Cyber-shot W510, the Nikon COOLPIX L24 and the Canon PowerShot A1200 within a few moments of each other using their best quality JPEG settings at each of their ISO sensitivity settings.

 


The Cyber-shot W510 and Canon PowerShot A1200 were set to Program mode and the COOLPIX L24 was set to Auto mode. The lenses were set to approximate the same field of view and ISO was manually set on theCyber-shot W510 and PowerShot A1200. ISO sensitivity can't be set manually on the Nikon COOLPIX L24, but a series of shots taken in auto mode yielded results at ISO settings of 80 and 400 which we've shown here for comparison purposes.

The above shot was taken with the the Sony Cyber-shot W510 in Program mode. The lens was zoomed to a focal length of 6.7mm (37mm equivalent) to provide a similar field of view to the PowerShot A1200 and COOLPIX L24. The sensitivity was set to 80 ISO and the exposure was 1/3rd of a second at f3.2. The crops are taken from the area marked with the red square and presented below at 100%.

At 80 ISO the results from the Sony Cyber-shot W510 show no evidence of noise but, like the outdoor test the detail in this crop looks quite soft. Though there's only a slight deterioration in image quality on the 100 ISO crop, that too is soft. At these sensitivity settings you'd expect to see all of the the fine detail in the stone column and the edge of the column should be a well-defined clean line rather than the slightly furry edge you can see in these two crops.

At 200 ISO the noise is starting to become apparent and is further obscuring image detail. As well as the disintegrating column edge there's a clumpiness beginning to appear in the wood panelling. As you'd expect at 400 ISO things take another downward step with the noise now everywhere. the 800 to 3200 ISO settings are ones you'd only want to use for special shots.

The Cybershot W510's 12 Megapixel sensor produces fairly noise free images at the base ISO setting, but it seems that a lot of processing is going on to produce these results. As soon as the ISO starts to rise, there's no headroom and the noise reduction processing struggles to deliver good detail.

Though the colour balance has gone awry the COOLPIX L24 80 ISO crop shows more image detail than the one from the Cyber-shot W510. At 400 ISO the white balance has recovered, but the noise and processing artifacts have combined to produce a poor result that could easily be mistaken for a higher ISO crop. It looks a little harsher and more processed than the Cyber-shot W510 400 ISO crop, which we'd say is the better result at this sensitivity setting.

The Canon PowerShot A1200 doesn't suffer from the Cyber-shot W510's softness and does a much better job of retaining fine detail up to 200 ISO. Compare the detail in the stone column, the wood panelling and the column edge, it's crisper and cleaner in the PowerShot A12000 crops. From 400 ISO on up, there's less of a difference. The PowerShot A1200 crops still deliver slightly more detail, but there's more noise as well. On balance though, we think the Powershot A1200 outperforms the Cyber-shot W510 across the sensitivity range.

Now head over to our Sony Cyber-shot W510 gallery to see some more real-life shots in a variety of conditions.


Sony Cyber-shot W510
 
Nikon COOLPIX L24
 
Canon PowerShot A1200
80 ISO
80 ISO
80 ISO
100 ISO
100 ISO Not available at time of testing
100 ISO
200 ISO
200 ISO Not available at time of testing
200 ISO
400 ISO
400 ISO
400 ISO
800 ISO
800 ISO Not available at time of testing
800 ISO
1600 ISO
1600 ISO Not available at time of testing
1600 ISO
3200 ISO
3200 ISO Not available
1600 ISO Low light (2M)


Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W510 results : Real-life resolution / High ISO Noise



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