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Compared to...

Below you will find a studio comparison between the Nikon Coolpix 7900 and the similarly specified Canon PowerShot SD500. We have included samples for the lowest and highest ISO settings for each camera (ISO 50 and 400).

Studio scene comparison (@ ISO 50)

  • Nikon Coolpix 7900: Program mode, ISO 50, Default Image Parameters,
    Manual white balance, +0.70 EV compensation
     
  • Canon PowerShot SD500: Program mode, ISO 50, Default Image Parameters,
    Manual white balance, +1.0 EV compensation
     
  • Lighting: Daylight simulation, >98% CRI
Nikon Coolpix 7900
Canon PowerShot SD500
ISO 50, 1/35 sec, F6.3
ISO 50, 1/80 sec, F4
2,220 KB JPEG
2,719 KB JPEG
Noise, std dev: 2.1
Noise, std dev: 1.7

Comparing the output of the Coolpix 7900 and the Canon SD500 (Ixus 700) shows the slight difference in the way Nikon and Canon treats image processing; the Canon image is 'bolder' - more saturated (especially warm tones) and more obviously sharpened than the more reserved - and less processed - Nikon image. Although the Coolpix 7900 has better edge-to-edge consistency (the SD500 - like other IXUS/Elph models - suffers a little from corner softness), overall there's no denying the SD500 is capturing slightly more detail despite a higher level of noise reduction. And it's not all down to stronger in-camera sharpening - even after post processing (using unsharp masking) to remove the Coolpix 7900's softness it cannot capture quite the same level of fine detail in the center of the frame as the SD500.

That all said, the 7900 is producing very pleasing results with a very natural tonal quality that - once sharpened up in post-processing - can produce very nice prints at large sizes.

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