Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W310 - Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W310 vs Nikon COOLPIX S3000 vs Canon IXUS 105 / SD1300 IS High ISO Noise

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W310 vs Nikon COOLPIX S3000 vs Canon IXUS 105 / SD1300 IS High ISO Noise


Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W310 results: Real-life resolution / High ISO Noise


Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W310 results: Real-life resolution / High ISO Noise

 
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To compare noise levels under real-life conditions we shot this scene with the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W310, Nikon COOLPIX S3000, and Canon IXUS 105 / SD1300 IS.

The lenses on all three cameras were set to approximate the same field of view and ISO was manually set.

The above shot was taken with the the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W310 in Program mode with the lens at a wide angle setting of 5mm (28mm). The exposure was 1/3 of a second at f3. The crops are taken from the area marked with the red square and presented below at 100%.

The most obvious problem with these crops from the Sony Cybershot W310 is the white balance. The W310’s white balance was set to auto and the interior of the church lit by daylight, but the W310 has opted for a white balance setting which would be more appropriate for artificial lighting and the result is a strong blue colour cast. The W310’s auto white balance had a tendency to err marginally on the blue side, particularly on indoor shots without flash, but nowhere did it get it as badly wrong as this. Under the circumstances we’d recommend you set the W310’s white balance to daylight or cloudy when shooting indoors using natural lighting.

So what about the high ISO noise performance of the W310? Even ignoring the white balance issue it’s not great news. At 100 ISO the Cyber-shot W310 does a passably good job with little visible noise and good detail in the shadows. But at 200 ISO there’s already evidence of deterioration. Take a look at the right edge of the stone column and the wood panelling in the bottom of the frame and compare it with the 100 ISO crop. As you’d expect, this gets progressively worse as you go up the sensitivity scale to 400 ISO and beyond. The worrying thing is not this progressive worsening which, of course, is typical with increasing ISO sensitivity, but the fact that it’s so apparent at the lower ISO settings.

Compared with the Nikon COOLPIX S3000 the Sony Cyber-shot W310 holds its ground pretty well, though we’d say that the COOLPIX has the edge up to 100 ISO. For one thing its better exposure shows a lot more detail in the shadows, but it also shows more detail in the stone column and wood panelling. Beyond that the crops from both cameras exhibit visible noise and supression artifacts.

Finally there’s the Canon IXUS 105 / SD1300 IS which delivers quite a dramatic improvement over the results from either of the other two cameras. Though the 200 ISO crop is slightly softer than the preceding two, at the lower ISO settings the IXUS 105 / SD1300 IS is a clear winner with clean crops showing little if any evidence of noise or processing. It’s not unitl you get to 800 ISO on the Canon that the noise gets the upper hand – providing a range of ISO sensitivities that you can use confidently.

Now head over to our Sony Cyber-shot W310 gallery to see some more real-life shots in a variety of conditions.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W3100
 
Nikon COOLPIX S3000
 
Canon IXUS 105 / SD1300 IS
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