Canon Powershot S10 Review
Sharpening / Constrast Settings
Sharpening settings allow you to control the internal sharpening algorithm, you can choose between 0 (normal sharpening.. some) "-" (minus) less sharpening and "+" (plus) more sharpening, the differences between these three modes is shown in the comparison below: (The fourth image is the standard sharpening image sharpened further using Photoshop's Unsharpen Mask).
Sharpened using Photoshop "Unsharpen Mask" @ 83%, 1.0 Radius, 2 Threshold.
Enabling continuous mode on the S10 allows you to take a sequence of images by simply holding the shutter release button down. A quick preview of each frame is displayed while you shoot so you can (almost) frame each shot. The S10 allows you to shoot until the internal buffer is full (emptying and updating the small "dots" display in the bottom right corner of the LCD).
By using continuous mode I calculated the internal buffer of the S10 to be about 4MBytes or 32MBits (about 34 images at 800 x 600, Normal compression).
Shooting 800 x 600, NORMAL compression: With the LCD OFF (REVIEW mode OFF) the camera shoots quicker at about 2.0 frames per second. With the LCD ON (REVIEW mode ON) continuous mode shot about 1.6 frames per second.
Stitch assist mode
Stitch assist mode of the S10 is especially good as it not only understands stitch shooting (panoramas) but displays previously shot images in a patchwork to allow you to align the next shot perfectly. I got good results using the S10 combined with Enroute's QuickStitch (NOT the supplied panorama software: PowerStitch which was pretty poor.. see Software section).
JPEG Compression settings
The S10 has three compression settings, Super-Fine, Fine and Normal. Super-Fine is a welcome addition to the normal range of settings and I would hope to see more digicam manufacturers following Canon's lead. The S10 doesn't feature an uncompressed mode, however Super-Fine mode is very low compression and very high quality JPEG, producing 1.4MB images which are immediately available for use (no importation or TWAIN drivers required here) but are at the same time indistinguishable in quality from a pure TIFF from other digicams. Excellent.
Below are three crops (blown up 200%) from samples taken at the three different compression settings.
|Normal JPEG compression
Fairly heavy JPEG artifacts are visible.
|Fine JPEG compression
Some JPEG artifacts are visible.
|Super-Fine JPEG compression
No JPEG artifacts are visible, excellent detail and smooth flat areas.
"CCD Gain" / ISO sensitivity equiv.
The S10 features three possible ISO modes, 0 (ISO 100 equiv.), +1 (ISO 200 equiv.) and +2 (ISO 400 equiv.). This gives the S10 good flexibility to shoot in low light situations or where higher shutter speeds are required, one side effect of increasing the "Gain" (and this is true of all consumer digicams) is an increase in visible CCD noise which can be seen in the three crops (blown up to 200%) below.
(ISO 100) 1s @ F3.5
(ISO 200) 1/4s @ F3.5
(ISO 400) 1/8s @ F3.5