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Compared to... Canon PowerShot S5 IS

Below you will find a studio comparison between the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H7 and the Canon PowerShot S5 IS at ISO 1600. The DSC-H7 also has a (largely useless) ISO 3200 mode. Click here to see the full studio shot at ISO 3200.

  • Sony DSC-H7: Aperture Priority mode, ISO 1600, Default Image Parameters,
    Manual white balance, +0.70 EV compensation
  • Canon PowerShot S5 IS : Aperture Priority mode, ISO 1600, Default Image Parameters, Manual white balance, +0.67 EV compensation
     
  • Lighting: Daylight simulation, >98% CRI
Sony DSC-H7
Canon S5 IS
ISO 1600, 1/1250 sec, F5.0
ISO 1600, 1/800 sec, F5.0
2,567 KB JPEG
4,264 KB JPEG

At ISO 1600 both cameras are producing output that is frankly shocking, and cannot be considered suitable for any serious photographic work. Although by no means the worst ISO 1600 output we've ever seen (and marginally better than the Canon), it's pretty bad; the combination of noise and blurry noise reduction is an inevitable consequence of squeezing this many pixels onto such a tiny sensor.

Any regular reader will now be well aware that small sensor cameras (especially those with this many megapixels) struggle at anything much over their lowest ISO setting, and super zoom cameras have some of the smallest sensors of all. This means that high ISO modes on these cameras are always going to represent something of a compromise. As these examples show, that compromise is often pretty hard to swallow.

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