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Compared to...

It's unusual but good for the buyer that there are three new five megapixel four times zoom digital cameras entering the market at the same time, and all at similar prices. These are the Canon PowerShot G5, Nikon Coolpix 5400 and Sony DSC-V1. The table below provides a quick side-by-side comparison of features and specifications between each of the cameras. Items which are notably better than the other two are highlighted in green.

Features / Specifications comparison

For anyone who's confused the highlighting of what I think is 'better' or 'worse' is my own personal opinion, your mileage may vary.

  Canon PowerShot G5 Nikon Coolpix 5400 Sony DSC-V1
 
Street price *1 US: $ 799
UK: £ 679
US: $ 799
UK: £ 599
US: $ 699
UK: £ 549
Body Magnesium alloy Magnesium alloy Magnesium alloy
Ergonomics Small hand grip Best hand grip Compact hand grip
Lens zoom 4x optical, 35 - 140 mm 4x optical, 28 - 116 mm 4x optical, 34 - 136 mm
Zoom steps 12 steps 20 steps 16 steps
Lens aperture F2.0 - F3.0 F2.8 - F4.6 F2.8 - F4.0
Lens thread With adapter, 58 mm Various With adapter, 52 mm
CCD 1/1.8" 5.2 megapixel 1/1.8" 5.2 megapixel 1/1.8" 5.2 megapixel
CCD CFA RGB RGB RGB
Max resolution 2592 x 1944 2592 x 1944 2592 x 1944
Aspect ratio 4:3 4:3 or 3:2 4:3 or 3:2
Lower
Resolutions
1600 x 1200
1024 x 768
640 x 480
1600 x 1200
1280 x 960
1024 x 768
640 x 480
2048 x 1536
1280 x 960
640 x 480
Image modes RAW, TIFF, JPEG *2 TIFF, JPEG *3 TIFF, JPEG
JPEG compression 3 levels 3 levels 2 levels
Sensitivity Auto, 50, 100, 200, 400 Auto, 50, 100, 200, 400 Auto, 100, 200, 400, 800
Focus modes AF, MF AF, MF AF, MF
Auto Focus Center area (3 areas horz.)
FlexiZone (300 points)

Auto (5 areas cross)
Five Area Selectable

Wide area (3 areas horz.)
Five Area Selectable
AF modes Single AF Continuous AF (LCD on)
Single AF
Single AF
Monitor AF (LCD on)
Continuous AF
AF illumination lamp White light No Laser pattern
Night Shot InfraRed
AF distance Normal: 50 cm
Macro: 6 cm
Normal: 50 cm
Macro: 1 cm
Normal: 40 cm
Macro: 10 cm
MF assist Center area magnified Sharpening None
Auto bracketing 3 images
0.3 - 2.0 EV
3 or 5 images
0.3 - 1.0 EV
3 images
0.3 - 1.0 EV
WB fine tuning No Yes No
WB manual preset Yes Yes Yes
Noise reduction Auto Auto, can be disabled Auto
Exposure modes Auto, P, Tv, Av, M, C1, C2, Scene, Stitch Assist, Movie Auto, P, S, A, M, Scene, Movie Auto, P, S, A, M, Scene, Movie
Metering Evaluative
Center-weighted avg.
Spot
AF Spot
Matrix (256 segment)
Center-weighted avg.
Spot
AF Spot
Multi pattern (49 segment)
Center-weighted avg.
Spot
AE Lock Yes, SET button Yes, AE/AF-L button Yes, AE Lock button
AE compensation +/-2 EV in 0.3 EV steps +/-2 EV in 0.3 EV steps +/-2 EV in 0.3 EV steps
Shutter speed 15 - 1/2000 sec *4 8 - 1/4000 sec *4 30 - 1/1000 sec
Aperture priority Wide: 13 steps
Tele: 9 steps
Wide: 10 steps
Tele: 5 steps
Wide: 10 steps
Tele: 7 steps
Bulb No Yes & Timed up to 10 mins No
Continuous
@2592 x 1944
1.3 fps, max 6 frames
1.8 fps, max 7 frames
2.5 fps, max 7 frames
1.3 fps, max 17 frames
2 fps, max 3 frames
Record review Flick record/play dial Press QUICK twice Press review button
Image Params Contrast (3)
Saturation (3)
Sharpening (3)
Contrast (3)
Saturation (5)
Sharpening (4)
Contrast (3)
Saturation (3)
Sharpening (3)
User memories 2 2 1
Remote control Included InfraRed Optional wired Optional wired
LCD 1.8" Flip-out and twist
118,000 pixels
1.5" Flip-out and twist
134,000 pixels
1.5" Fixed
123,000 pixels
Play magnification Up to 10x, very fast Up to 6x Up to 5x
Histogram Record review, Playback Playback Live view, Record review, Playback
Flash Built-in Built-in Pop-up
External flash Hot-shoe Hot-shoe Hot-shoe
Misc. ND Filter
WB Bracket
Focus Bracket
Manual Flash power
JPEG to RAW in review
Time lapse
BSS, AE-BSS
WB Bracket
Multi-Shot 16 cont.
Ultra HS cont.
5 shot buffer cont.
NightFraming
NightShot mode
Battery Canon BP-511 (8.1 Wh)
Lithium-Ion rechargeable
Nikon EN-EL1 (4.8 Wh)
Lithium-Ion rechargeable
Sony NP-FC11 (2.8 Wh)
Lithium-Ion rechargeable
Battery life 4 hr 33 mins 3 hr 06 mins 2 hr 39 mins
AC adapter Supplied (Charger) Optional Supplied (Charger)
Storage Compact Flash Type I/II Compact Flash Type I/II Memory Stick
Memory Stick Pro
Storage supplied 32 MB Compact Flash 32 MB Compact Flash 32 MB Memory Stick
Microdrive supported Yes Yes n/a
Orientation sensor Yes, images tagged No No
Weight inc battery 481 g (17.0 oz) 380 g (13.4 oz) 291 g (10.3 oz)
Dimensions 121 x 74 x 70 mm
(4.8 x 2.9 x 2.8 in)
108 x 73 x 69 mm
(4.3 x 2.9 x 2.7 in)
99 x 65 x 57 mm
(3.9 x 2.6 x 2.2 in)
Auto WB Average Above average Below average
ISO noise levels High Average Low
Fringing More than average Below average Less than average
Lens distortion Below average Below average Less than average
Startup speed 4.2 sec 3.9 sec 3.2 sec
Write speed Average Slow Fast
Operation speed Average Average to Slow Fast
AF speed Average Below Average Fast

*1 Prices correct at time of publication
*2 During record review you can convert any image shot as JPEG to RAW
*3 Nikon have stated that they will provide RAW format support in a Firmware update available sometime in Spring 2004
*4 Fastest shutter speeds only available with limited aperture range

A quick look down the specs and we can see that features wise its between the Canon G5 and Nikon 5400. Performance and value come from the Sony DSC-V1, it's noticeably faster in operation and some $100 cheaper than the other two, it's also smaller and lighter. Clearly if you're looking for a shutterbug's camera with lots of features then you should be thinking of the G5 or 5400, everyone else should have the DSC-V1 at the top of their list. How does image quality compare, click on Next...

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