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Image Quality

Big expectations for the S20. That's what everyone has for the new batch of 3.3 megapixel digicams. I was lucky to get my hands on the S20 very early in the year when the S20 was the only 3.3 megapixel around. I was slightly nervous that Canon had simply dropped a larger imager in the S10 engine which wouldn't perform as we'd hope. I was wrong.

The S20 brings not only higher resolution with obviously higher definition and detail (just check the cropped examples below) but Canon have also sorted it's colour and white balance algorithms so that those images are very natural. There is certainly a coolness to the S20 images (compared to the 950) this appears to produce whiter whites but may not suit all people. The detail and balance the S20 produced is the best I've seen so far on this site.. but don't just take my word for it, compare the shots below and examine the samples gallery in detail...


Compared to the Powershot S10 & Nikon Coolpix 950

The following scene was shot with each camera from the same tripod, same lighting within minutes of each other. Cameras were set to incandescent white balance, JPEG compression set to the medium setting (Fine on the S10 & S20, Normal on the 950).

Canon Powershot S20 Canon Powershot S10 Nikon Coolpix 950

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Canon Powershot S20 Canon Powershot S10 Nikon Coolpix 950

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Canon Powershot S20 Canon Powershot S10 Nikon Coolpix 950

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Canon Powershot S20 Canon Powershot S10 Nikon Coolpix 950

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I think the crops above speak for themselves. Simply the extra pixels have produced much better definition, further than that the images are better colour and white balanced, slightly sharper and handling the full range of light (highlights & shadows) much better. Overall the S20 simply produces some of the best images I've seen out of a consumer digicam.

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