Canon SX410 IS vs Canon SX530 HS vs Nikon L840 quality results
To compare real-life performance, I shot this scene with the Canon PowerShot SX410 IS, the Canon PowerShot SX530 HS and the Nikon COOLPIX L840 within a few moments of each other, using their best quality JPEG settings and at their base sensitivity settings. For this test the cameras were mounted on a tripod and image stabilisation was disabled. The cameras were zoomed in to provide the same field of view, the ISO sensitivity was manually set to the lowest available setting and Program Auto mode was selected for the exposure.
At its base 100 ISO setting the PowerShot SX410 IS selected an exposure of 1/800 at f4. The PowerShot SX530 HS chose 1/640 at f4 and the COOLPIX L840 chose 1/100 at f3 at its base 125 ISO sensitivity setting.
Just a reminder that here we’re comparing a 20 Megapixel CCD sensor in the PowerShot SX140 IS with 16 Megapixel CMOS sensors in the PowerShot SX530 HS and COOLPIX L840. The reaon I mention that at the outset is that you’ll see straight away if you cast your eye down the column of crops from the PowerShot SX410 IS there’s quite a lot of noise visible. It’s not unusual to see noise in crops from compacts at low sensitivity settings, but the degree of noise in the SX410 IS crops is quite intrusive and is adversely affecting the amount of detail you can see.
The first crop looks particularly noisy and there’s also a bit of purple fringing- a result of chromatic aberration. The noise limits the sensor’s ability to resolve the finer detail like the wndow frames, roof tiles and stonework in the second and third crops and the lighthouse in the fourth one.
This isn’t too much of a concern if you’re viewing images on screen at smaller sizes, but it you want to make big prints, one of the main reasons you’d buy a camera with a high resolution sensor, you’ll very likely be disappointed with the results.
By comparison, the crops from the PowerShot SX530 HS alongside are much less noisy. With ‘only’ 16 million photosites on its sensor the SX530 HS produces much cleaner looking crops at 100 ISO with correspondingly more detail. The same goes for the 16 Megapixel COOLPIX L840, though I think the SX530 may have a slight quality edge. The other thing that works in favour of the SX540 HS and L840 is that they employ CMOS sensors designed for low noise output. Given their markedly better performace outdoors at their base ISO sensitivity settings it’ll be interesting to see what happens in low light when it becomes necessary to increase the sensitivity.
Before that you can scroll down to see how these models compare at the middle of their zoom ranges and when fully zoomed in.
Canon PowerShot SX410 IS vs Canon PowerShot SX530 HS vs Nikon COOLPIX L840 quality at 300mm equivalent
The image above was taken with the Canon PowerShot SX410 IS zoomed in to around 300mm equivalent. As before the camera was mounted on a tripod with the stabilisation turned off and the exposure was set automatically. The crops are taken from the areas marked in red.
You can still see the noise in the SX410 IS crops at this focal length, but interestingly its effect isn’t quite as pronounced as at the wider focal length setting, perhaps because there’s less fine image detail in these crops. Despite the shortcomings of the SX410 IS’s 20 Megapixel CCD sensor, the lens performs very will and in the first crop from close to the left edge of the frame it produces a sharper result than either the PowerShot SX530 HS or the Nikon COOLPIX L840. There’s also no evidence of the colour fringing that was present at the wide angle setting. There’s still more detail visible in the PowerShot SX530 HS crops, but I’d say, at this focal length at least, there’s very little between the SX410 IS and the COOLPIX L840.
Canon PowerShot SX410 IS vs Canon PowerShot SX530 HS vs Nikon COOLPIX L840 quality at 855mm equivalent
For this final test, I zoomed all three cameras in to around 855mm equivalent to match the maximum focal length of the Nikon COOLPIXL840. This is just a tad short of the 960mm maximum zoom range of the SX410 IS (100mm may sound like a lot, but is actually a small difference in terms of field of view at this focal length). The PowerShot SX530 HS on the other hand has a significantly longer maximum focal length of 1200mm equivalent. Once consequence of this that’s worth noting is that while the PowerShot SX410 IS and COOLPIX L840 maximum aperture’s are f6.3 and f6.5 respectively, the PowerShot SX530 HS can manage nearly a half stop brighter at f5.6.
The story here is much the same as at the other end of the zoom range, the PowerShot SX410 IS crops are slightly marred by excessive noise which is obscuring the image detail. There’s also the return of the colour fringing which is most obvious in the final crop from close to the right edge of the frame but is also visible in the third crop.
To find out how they compare at higher sensitivities head for my Canon SX410 HS noise results, skip to my Canon SX410 IS sample images, or head straight to my verdict.
Canon SX410 IS vs Canon SX530 HS vs Nikon L840 noise results
To compare noise levels under real-life conditions, I shot this scene with the Canon PowerShot SX410 IS, the Canon PowerShot SX530 HS and the Nikon COOLPIX L840 within a few moments of each other at each of their ISO settings. All three cameras were set to their best quality JPEG modes and mounted on a tripod and stabilisation was disabled.
The cameras were zoomed in to provide the same field of view, the ISO sensitivity was manually set to the lowest available setting and Auto mode was selected for the exposure.
With the sensitivity manually set to 100 ISO the PowerShot SX410 IS set an exposure of 0.4s at f3.5. The SX530 HS chose an exposure of 0.4s at f3.4 and at 125 ISO the COOLPIX L830 selected 1/5 at f3. The crops below are selected from the area marked in red above.
Once again, a reminder that the PowerShot SX410 IS’s 20 Megapixel sensor produces a smaller crop area with larger detail then the 16 Megapixel sensors of the PowerShot SX530 HS and COOLPIX L840. As with the outdoor test results, the 100 ISO crops from the PowerShot SX410 IS looks quite noisy. There’s a rough textured look to the white label at the top of the hymn board and the numbers look a little lumpy too. Remember though, unless you go looking for it, you’re not likely to notice this noise at smaller sizes.
Going up the sensitivity range the noise gets worse, as you’d expect, but the increments are linear and the noise supression does a good job of reducing the worst of the graininess. That said, the increase in noise at each step up the sensitiviy scale is larger than it is on the 16 Megapixel models.
The noisier base level and the larger noise increments – mean that the PowerShot SX410 IS crops are all noisier throughout the range than those from the SX530 HS and COOLPIX L840. But while the gap is relatively small at the lower end of the range by 400 ISO I’d say there’s a one stop difference – in other words the 400 ISO crop from the SX410 IS looks simialr to the 800 ISO crop from the SX530 HS.
The 1600 ISO crop from the SX410 HS looks pretty ugly at 100 percent, but at smaller sizes is perfectly passable. Full credit to Canon though for not pushing credibility beyond reasonable limits with higher ISO sensitivity settings. While 3200 ISO is probably just about worth having on the SX530 HS and COOLPIX L840, on the SX410 IS it would be more noise than actual image detail – probably something like the 6400 ISO setting on the L840 – a step too far.