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Compared to the Nikon Coolpix 995

Now we'll compare the DiMAGE S304 to its competition, Nikon's Coolpix 995. Both cameras have 3 megapixel sensors (2048 x 1536 output size), both cameras have 4x optical zoom lenses. Both have similar features and manual controls (although the 995 is still king for features).

Some crops below are of an 120 x 90 area of the image magnified 200%, the last one is a 240 x 180 crop. Lighting - 2 x 800W studio lights with dichroic daylight filters bounced off a white overhead reflector (about as close as you can get to "indoor daylight").

As per other samples in this review the S304 image has been converted to the sRGB colour space using the Minolta Image Viewer application [info]. You can download the original unconverted S304 image by clicking on the [original] link below.

Cameras setup:

  • Minolta DiMAGE S304 - M-REC, Self Timer, Flash Off, ISO 100, Manual WB
  • Nikon Coolpix 995 - M-REC(P), Self Timer, Flash Off, ISO 100, Sharpening: Normal, Manual WB
Minolta DiMAGE S304 (Resaved as sRGB)
F3.6, 1/11 sec. 1,393 KB, [original]
Nikon Coolpix 995 (v1.6)
F3.4, 1/10 sec. 1,028 KB

On the whole the S304 does very well, its lens is sharp and manages to make the most of the 3 megapixel sensor, metering and balance also seem to be pretty much right. Here are my general observations about the S304's image quality (bear in mind that the S304 has the 'advantage' of having had its image run through Minolta's Image Viewer to correct colour).

  • The S304's lens appears to be sharper
  • The S304's bayer pattern interpolation isn't as 'smooth' as the 995, some details look a little pixelated (this could be down to in-camera sharpening)
  • Colours - blue, yellow and green all seem slightly more accurate, although the S304's red is to much towards orange
  • Flat areas (look at the gray areas of the patch cards) are noisy compared to the 995
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