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Compared to Nikon Coolpix 990 and Sony DSC-S70

As usual I chose the Nikon Coolpix 990 as the benchmark 3 megapixel digital camera, but have also had many requests to compare the F505V with its family member the S70. As with all my reviews I try to present a comparison with other digital cameras. In these sets of sample images the cameras were setup in exactly the same manner, had the same subjects, lighting and camera settings (as close as possible) and shots taken within minutes of each other. For comparison with other digital cameras use the resolution charts and colour patches now available through the camera specification database.

Scene Comparison One

Again, one of my favourite subjects, spirit bottles (useful because of their detailed labels). Exposure compensation +0.3EV (F505V: +0.7EV), ISO: 100, Whitebalance: (F505V: Manual) (Coolpix 990: Incandescent) (S70: Indoor).

Sony DSC-F505V
Nikon Coolpix 990
Sony DSC-S70

The first thing that strikes you is the much better colour saturation from the DSC-F505V, the Coolpix 990 looking pale by comparison. The S70 still didn't get the white balance right (we tried all sorts of combinations of Auto, Indoor and Hold). Looking at the first set of crops (right hand column above) the Coolpix 990 looks slightly sharper, but this is likely to just be a consequence of having more pixels.

Sony DSC-F505V
Nikon Coolpix 990
Sony DSC-S70

Here in our second set of crops (from the same scene) we see that what the DSC-F505V lacks in pixel count it more than makes up for with sharpness and dynamic range, showing little or no noise in the image at all, detail to easily match the Coolpix 990 and yet a larger dynamic range gives it the ability to pull details out of shadows and cope with strong highlights much better.

Sony DSC-F505V
Nikon Coolpix 990
Sony DSC-S70

Our final set of crops from this sample scene shows almost no flat area noise from the DSC-F505V, compare this to the Nikon Coolpix 990's fairly constant mottled noise effect, some of which is visible on the DSC-S70 sample.

Scene Comparison Two

Colours, lots of them. Aperture Priority, F8.0. Exposure compensation: (Coolpix 990: +0.3EV), ISO: 100, Whitebalance: (F505V: Manual) (Coolpix 990: Incandescent) (S70: Indoor).

Sony DSC-F505V
Nikon Coolpix 990
Sony DSC-S70

Again, you've got to love those "Sony Colours", the S70 image looking very slightly more saturated than the F505V, that could be down to the inaccurate white balance of the S70. Once more the Coolpix 990 is looking pale by comparison, "to my own eyes" the real colours of this scene are somewhere between the Coolpix 990 and DSC-F505V, although there's no doubting that the F505V's image is more "visually exciting". Sharpness is almost equal, I'd probably have to give this one to the Coolpix 990 for pulling a little more detail out of the paper wrapped around the crayons (take a closer look to see what I mean) however the F505V produced the cleanest (least noise) image.

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