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Compared to the Olympus C-4040Z

The G2 finds itself among very few other four megapixel digital cameras. We were lucky enough (for the timing of this review) to have Olympus's four megapixel C-4040Z in-house (queued for review). Because the G2 can operate at ISO 50 we conducted the comparison test at both ISO 50 and ISO 100, in two sections below.

Scene comparison, G2 @ ISO 50

Cameras were reset to factory defaults. Aperture priority was used on both cameras to use an aperture of F4.5 (or as close as possible). White balance was set to Manual Preset. Lighting - 2 x 800W studio lights with dichroic daylight filters bounced off a white ceiling reflector.

Canon PowerShot G2 Olympus C-4040Z
ISO 50, 1/3 sec, F4.5 ISO 100, 1/6 sec, F4.5
Canon PowerShot G2 Olympus C-4040Z
Canon PowerShot G2 Olympus C-4040Z

Immediately the G2 appears to have a sharpness advantage over the C-4040Z, detail is better defined and overall resolution does appear to be better. Both cameras exposed the scene identically, and both had very similar histograms indicating that they both do fairly similar things as far as contrast is concerned. Notably the G2 managed to maintain highlights without the sharp cut-off seen on the C-4040Z image, this is an indication of the G2's higher dynamic range.

Colour was also very similar, I'd probably give the edge (just) to the G2 for its slightly better defined yellows and reds, which on my calibrated monitor looked closer to the original scene, though there wasn't that much between these two cameras, the C-4040Z seems to take a more cautious approach to colour.

In a couple of the G2's crops you can see evidence of sharpening artifacts as well as the strange diagonal artifacts we've already talked about, probably most visible in the crop of the Martini bottle label.

Scene comparison, G2 @ ISO 100

Cameras were reset to factory defaults. Aperture priority was used on both cameras to use an aperture of F4.5 (or as close as possible). White balance was set to Manual Preset. Lighting - 2 x 800W studio lights with dichroic daylight filters bounced off a white ceiling reflector.

Canon PowerShot G2 Olympus C-4040Z
ISO 100, 1/8 sec, F4.5 ISO 100, 1/6 sec, F4.5
Canon PowerShot G2 Olympus C-4040Z
Canon PowerShot G2 Olympus C-4040Z

Interesting that although both cameras were set at ISO 100 the G2 shot a third of a stop (0.3 EV) faster but ended up with the same histogram. This is an indication that either the G2's ISO 100 is slightly faster than ISO 100 or that the C-4040Z's ISO 100 is closer to ISO 80 (more likely).

Again, similar observations about colour, resolution and sharpness. However, this time the G2 loses out to the C-4040Z on noise, in shadow / dark gray areas of the image noise is quite visible. Whether it's being enhanced by the G2's sharpening algorithm or whether the C-4040Z is managing to keep noise down artificially is unclear. But the result is the same, the C-4040Z maintains a cleaner image at ISO 100.

Comparing this scene (not directly as they were shot at different times) with the one shot with the DSC-S85 in that cameras review there is some visible noise and it doesn't appear to be very much less than the G2, rather that the G2 is 'making it more visible'.

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Clumsyfingers

G2 was my first digital, which produced thousands of excellent pictures.
I wanted an SLR again so bought a Rebel T1i in 2010.
Later wanted a smaller camera, tried out a Canon SD1200 but poor usability and very poor image quality. I bought a Nikon S6200 which takes very good pictures, but suffers the ills of a small, cheap camera.
June 2014 I didn't want to pack my SLR to Europe, so after researching I chose a Powershot G16 over a Fuji X20 and Panasonic ZS40. VERY pleased with the G16!
Now to Dec 2014. Bought a Canon EF 24-105 L IS USM for my Rebel. Looks impressive, but after a day taking pictures and comparing results, the G16 is so good, in fact, for outdoors, side by side image quality in many cases is as good or better than the Rebel! Maybe my Rebel is getting tired?
IMO, unless photography is your living, the only benefit of a SLR is the picture taking experience (which is significant) and to show off your fancy camera and lenses. Otherwise, a high end compact is sufficient.

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