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Superzoom camera group: Real world comparison

Below you'll find the second set of our 'real world' comparison shots taken with each of the cameras in the group. Click on the thumbnail to see the full image.

  • All taken from the same tripod position at widest zoom setting
  • Auto White Balance and auto (program) exposure
  • ISO 1600
  • -0.3 to -1.0 EV exposure compensation (only where absolutely necessary)

Night Shot comparison (ISO 1600)

Canon SX10 IS FujiFilm S2000HD FujiFilm S8100fd
Nikon P80 Olympus SP-565UZ Panasonic FZ28
Sony H50

ISO 1600 night shot 100% crops:

Canon SX10 IS FujiFilm S2000HD FujiFilm S8100fd
Nikon P80 Olympus SP-565UZ Panasonic FZ28
Sony H50

The small sensors that enable such incredible zoom ranges to be fitted in sensibly sized and priced packages do a pretty good job in bright sunshine. Unfortunately, they begin to struggle as the light levels fall. At ISO 1600, which is pretty high in terms of film but is not the highest setting for the majority of these cameras, the results are pretty dismal. The results range between speckled (from noise) and smudged (by noise reduction) with the best performance put in by the cameras that get the balance right (or least-badly wrong). None of them are producing anywhere near the level of detail they achieved in good light, though most will produce a (just about) acceptable print at a small size (the Canon, Panasonic and Sony are best in this regard, the Nikon P80 and the two Fujifilm models are probably the worst).

The Panasonic and Olympus do at least have the option to save the output of their sensors to a RAW file, so that more sophisticated noise reduction can be applied by users who have bought such software.

Low light flash portrait comparison

Below you'll find the final set of our 'real world' comparison shots taken with each of the cameras in the group. Click on the thumbnail to see the full image.

One of the most common uses for compact cameras is for social 'snaps' of friends and family, and in anything but the brightest light this means using flash. This test allowed us to not only check each camera's flash performance, but also to find out how well they cope with focusing and face detection in more challenging conditions (in a dimly lit bar).

In the resultant shots we're looking first and foremost for accurate focus and exposure and pleasing color balance (flash can produce very cool / bluish results - not ideal for flattering skin tones). We're also looking at how well the red-eye reduction works (some cameras use a simple 'preflash' system, others actually find and remove red-eye once the picture has been taken, and some even do both). Red-eye reduction is useful but less critical than overall color/focus/exposure as it's easy to remove in post processing (and most printing labs do it for you automatically).

  • All taken from the same position at very similar zoom settings (subject distance approx. 3 feet)
  • Auto White Balance and auto (program) exposure
  • Auto ISO
  • Auto flash mode (with red-eye reduction turned on where available)
  • Face detection active where available
  • Three shots taken with each camera and the best chosen
Canon SX10 IS
ISO 250
FujiFilm S2000HD
ISO 400
FujiFilm S8100fd
ISO 400
Nikon P80
ISO 64
Olympus SP-565UZ
ISO 100
Panasonic FZ28
ISO 100
Sony H50
ISO 200

Most of the cameras have done well in this test, with a good level of exposure and good representation of skin tones. Yet again it's the S2000HD that falls short of the standards of its peers, producing a considerably over-exposed shot with bleached-out skin tones and harsh, unflattering highlights. The S8100fd has done a better job, though both it and the Olympus SP-565UZ have washed out the skin tones with overpowered flash (note also the contracted pupils and half-closed eyes in the Olympus image). The Panasonic, by contrast, has very slightly underexposed the image. As we've seen in our other group tests the Sony produces perhaps the most flattering skin tones and most pleasing overall result.

All of the cameras allow some degree of ambient light to enter the pictures, preventing the 'when did my friends and I last visit a coal mine?' phenomenon. The Fujifilm pair make the best job of this but part of this is due to their tendency towards higher auto ISO setting (and mild overexposure, particularly in the case of the S2000HD).

Flash shot 100% crops:

Canon SX10 IS
ISO 250
FujiFilm S2000HD
ISO 400
FujiFilm S8100fd
ISO 400
Nikon P80
ISO 64
Olympus SP-565UZ
ISO 100
Panasonic FZ28
ISO 100
Sony H50
ISO 200

Most of the cameras do well at this test, with only the Fujifilms and the Olympus overcooking the flash to the extent that it detracts from the representation of skin tones. Most of the cameras have done a good job of reducing red-eye, though the Olympus has struggled with the catch-light in the center of the eye. The Canon, with its combined pre-flash and post-processing appears to have done the best job removing redeye, though they all do pretty well.

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Comments

Chiemba
By Chiemba (11 months ago)

My Lumix Fz28 has my picture images hostage SMILE .. I took pictures at granny's party and when I upload the images only a few showed . But when I put the sd card back into the camera I can see all 85 pictures . During my picture taking I change the setting and all pictures after that won't upload . But again I can see them all in my Fz28 .
How do I up load all of my images ?
Thanks in Advance
Chiemba E

0 upvotes