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Slim/Style camera group: Real world comparison

On this page you'll find the first 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 approximately 35mm equivalent focal length
  • Auto White Balance and auto (program) exposure
  • Base ISO (lowest setting)

Note: due a card failure the Sony T700 shot had to be re-taken on a different day, so please bear in mind that the light was different.

Base ISO Landscape comparison (all cameras at approx 35mm equivalent focal length)

Canon SD790 IS
(IXUS 90 IS)
ISO 80
Casio Exilim S10
ISO 50
Fujifilm Z200fd
ISO 64
Nikon Coolpix S60
ISO 64
Nikon Coolpix S210
ISO 64
Olympus Stylus 1040 (Mju 1040)
ISO 50
Panasonic DMC-FX37
ISO 100
Pentax Optio S12
ISO 64
Sony Cybershot T700 *1
ISO 80

Base ISO Landscape 100% crops:

Canon SD790 IS
(IXUS 90 IS)
ISO 80
Casio Exilim S10
ISO 50
Fujifilm Z200fd
ISO 64
Nikon Coolpix S60
ISO 64
Nikon Coolpix S210
ISO 64
Olympus Stylus 1040 (Mju 1040)
ISO 50
Panasonic DMC-FX37
ISO 100
Pentax Optio S12
ISO 64
Sony Cybershot T700 *1
ISO 80

Unsurprisingly there's not a huge difference between the best and worst performers here, though there are obviously some that are sharper (Canon SD790 IS, Pentax S12, Sony T700), some that are noticeably less sharp/detailed (the Fuji Z200fd, Olympus Stylus 1040, Nikon Coolpix S210) and a few in the middle. Most of the cameras opt for a slightly exaggerated color rendition by default, and for the most part the results are very similar, the exceptions being the Fujifilm Z200fd (which has produced an almost turquoise sky and has a slightly cool color cast) and the Pentax S12, which has a slight, but noticeable magenta color cast.

Telephoto (long end of zoom)

This is less of a direct comparison as the cameras have slightly different focal length ranges, but gives you an idea of the kind of range offered (these were shot from the same tripod position as the previous shots).

Canon SD790 IS
(IXUS 90 IS)
105mm (equiv.)
Casio Exilim S10
108mm (equiv.)
Fujifilm Z200fd
165mm (equiv.)
Nikon Coolpix S60
165mm (equiv.)
Nikon Coolpix S210
114mm (equiv.)
Olympus Stylus 1040
(Mju 1040)

114mm (equiv.)
Panasonic DMC-FX37
114mm (equiv.)
Pentax Optio S12
114mm (equiv.)
Sony Cybershot T700 *1
140mm (equiv.)

Once it was rare for an ultra compact / slim camera to offer much beyond the standard '35-105mm-ish' zoom lens, and the majority of models still sport 3x optics. In the last few years, however, lens designers have managed to squeeze slightly bigger zooms into ultra slim bodies, usually by 'bending' the optical path using a mirror, placing the sensor face-up inside the body with the lens oriented vertically inside the camera - just like a periscope. The three cameras in this group that offer slightly bigger zooms (the Fujifilm Z200fd, Nikon S60 and Sony T700) all use 'folded optics' (in fact the Nikon and Fuji appear to use the same lens).

Our experience of folded optics is that they can't usually match the performance of more conventional zooms, and the rather ambitious 5x zooms on the Nikon and Fuji certainly aren't the sharpest here, though of course this has to be offset against the more versatile range offered. The Sony lens actually seems pretty good, and certainly doesn't seem to suffer from any major optical issues.

Wideangle

Two of the cameras in this group offer a marginally wider angle of view with zooms that start at 33mm equivalent. The difference between 33mm and 35mm isn't great - a few degrees - but when combined with the longer telephoto end on these cameras (165mm) for a total 5x zoom range, it does give you a little more versatility with framing.

The Panasonic FX37 has perhaps the most ambitious - and in many ways the most useful - lens here, starting at an impressive 25mm (equiv.), which is a real wideangle by anyone's standards. A 25mm equivalent lens gives you almost 20 degrees more field of view, making it a lot, lot easier to capture sweeping landscapes, large groups of people or cramped interiors. The downside is that pushing the boundaries of lens design in this manner brings compromises, and the FX37's lens isn't that sharp compared to the best of the other cameras here, but for standard sized prints you're unlikely to see it - and many will see it as an acceptable price to pay for such a wide lens.

Fujifilm Z200fd
33mm (equiv.)
Nikon Coolpix S60
33mm (equiv.)
Panasonic DMC-FX37
25mm (equiv.)
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