G10 vs. G11 at low ISO

Started Oct 20, 2009 | Discussions thread
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Robert Deutsch
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G10 vs. G11 at low ISO
Oct 20, 2009

There seems to be a consensus that the G11 beats the G10 at high ISO/low light, and, based on my experience with these cameras (about a year with the G10, three days with the G11) I'd have to agree.

But what about at low ISO? The G10 is superb at ISO 80 in good light, probably the best among compact digicams. Is there, as some suggested, a tradeoff involved with the new sensor in the G11, so that it's better at high ISO but inferior at low ISO? If so, that bears consideration. Being used to the G10's excellent low ISO perfomance, I would not be happy to give that up.

I decided to do some testing. I won't give you all the details--and, please, don't decide to buy or not buy the G11 based just on what you read in this posting--but it basically involved taking a photo of our back yard with the G10 and the G11 (RAW, same aperture and shutter speed) within a few minutes of each other, processed the image files in DPP (no adjustments, default settings except Luminance NR at zero), transferred the converted jpeg image to CS3, where I took a crop of each photo at 100%. To create a level playing field (I know, whatever you do here is controversial), I reduced the size of the G10 image to match the G11. If I were doing this as other than a test, I'd have lowered the brightness of the crop a bit, and might have used some sharpening with Focalblade, but I wanted to leave each image relatively un-processed.

Here are the results: first the G11 crop, then the G10-resized crop, followed by the G10 non-resized crop (for those who distrust resizing), and at the bottom a resized version of the full image, to give you a sense of what part of the image is represented by the crops.

I leave you to form your own conclusions. Personaly, I don't think the G11 suffers at all in this comparison. In fact, if I had to choose between the G11 and the G10 images (resized or not), I'd go for the G11. With some tweaking in PP, it may well be possible to improve the G10 image so that it matches the G11, and I still hold the G10 in high regard. It's just that I'm not convinced that it's better than the G11 at low ISO--and the G11 beats the G10 at high ISO.


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