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Compared to... Panasonic Lumix LX1

Below you will find a studio comparison between the Canon PowerShot S80 and the similarly specified and priced Panasonic DMC-LX1 at ISO 400.

Studio scene comparison (@ ISO 400)

  • Canon PowerShot S80: Aperture Priority mode, ISO 400, Default Image Parameters, Manual white balance, +0.67 EV compensation
     
  • Panasonic DMC-LX1: Aperture Priority mode, ISO 400, Default Image Parameters,
    Manual white balance, +1.0 EV compensation
     
  • Lighting: Two 800W studio lamps with dichroic daylight filters bounced off the ceiling
Canon PowerShot S80
Panasonic DMC-LX1
ISO 400, 1/501 sec, F5
ISO 400, 1/400 sec, F4.9
4,157 KB JPEG
2,468 KB JPEG

At ISO 400 the S80's images stand up remarkably well - especially compared to the LX1, which suffers from noise (especially chroma noise) and the detail-destroying effects of noise reduction. Of course there is noise in the S80 image, but it's fairly mild (compared to, for example, 99% of 5 megapixel cameras), and is mostly luminance noise, which gives a 'grainy', rather than a 'speckled' effect. The effects of noise reduction are also much lower - there's still plenty of detail.

We were worried that the move from the well-respected 7MP sensor - used in the S70 (and most of its competitors) - to an 8MP chip would bring a noticeable increase in noise, but it appears those fears were unfounded. With 8 million pixels to play with the visible effect of noise in prints at 'normal' sizes (up to about 10x8 inches) is fairly unobtrusive.

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