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Compared to...

Here we will use our standard color and resolution charts to compare the Canon PowerShot G5, Nikon Coolpix 5400, Sony DSC-V1 and Sony DSC-F717. Note that because of the DSC-V1's persistent blue cast for automatic white balance indirect daylight shots we were forced to use a manual white balance image.

Color Chart Comparison

Color charts are shot in daylight, Auto White Balance, +0.3 EV compen. All cameras are given 20 seconds for their white balance systems to settle before the shot is taken (often we will take up to eight shots and select the 'average' AWB result).

Canon PowerShot G5 Nikon Coolpix 5400
Sony DSC-V1 * Sony DSC-F717

In the table below we're only measuring color. The RGB values were measured from a VGA reduced image (to average colors, remove noise and eliminate JPEG artifacts) using the Eyedropper tool in Photoshop with a 5 by 5 Average Sample Size.

Patch Canon
PowerShot G5

Nikon
Coolpix 5400

Sony
DSC-V1 *

Sony
DSC-F717
Black 32,32,32 33,37,35 27,27,29 23,22,24
Middle Gray 94,95,95 103,104,103 92,96,96 92,92,94
White 211,211,207 223,221,220 200,202,198 195,193,192
Magenta 206,41,114 223,30,127 173,33,116 180,26,96
Red 199,35,42 209,29,47 171,23,36 170,19,21
Yellow 203,186,17 212,207,40 189,192,18 190,184,45
Green 7,131,61 7,162,63 6,146,77 34,137,76
Cyan 0,142,205 5,179,240 8,169,221 38,160,192
Blue 29,38,99 47,32,132 44,33,109 53,34,106

First of all I'll talk about Sony's automatic white balance. If you look at the Canon, Nikon and Sony F717 samples they were all shot in exactly the same situation and all three achieved a near perfect gray balance. The DSC-V1 however did not and in the interests of color comparison we have been forced to use the manual white balance shot, I truly hope Sony can address this issue quickly.

Comparing the overall color balance the G5 takes a fairly neutral but well balanced approach, Nikon have gone for a more vivid color response, especially noticeable in the magenta and cyan patches. The DSC-V1 seems far more muted and I was surprised to see a large amount of green in the yellow patch and what appears to be insufficient red in the magenta patch (both appear 'muddy').

* Note that this is NOT our normal AWB sample image but a Manual White balance image, the DSC-V1 has a blue cast problem with automatic white balance in indirect daylight.

Resolution Comparison

Shots here are of the PIMA/ISO 12233 standard resolution test chart (more of which are available in our comparison database). This resolution chart allows us to measure the actual performance of the lens and sensor system. It measures the ability of the camera to resolve lines at gradually higher resolutions and enables us to provide a definitive value for comparison purposes. Values on the chart are 1/100th lines per picture height. So a value of 8 equates to 800 lines per picture height.

Studio light, cameras set to auto, all settings factory default. Exposure compensation +0.7 EV for all cameras (to compensate for the white background). Click on the camera name below the crops to download the full resolution chart (large JPEG's).

Horizontal resolution Vertical resolution 5 degree diagonal res.
Canon PowerShot G5 (1,985 KB)
Nikon Coolpix 5400 (2,162 KB)
Sony DSC-V1 (1,959 KB)
Sony DSC-F717 (2,040 KB)

Measurable findings (three measurements taken for each camera)

Camera Measurement Absolute Res. Extinction Res.
Canon PowerShot G5 Horizontal LPH 1450  * 1650 
Vertical LPH 1350  * 1700 
5° Diagonal LPH + 1000  n/a 
Nikon Coolpix 5400 Horizontal LPH * 1400  * 1600 
Vertical LPH 1250  * 1400 
5° Diagonal LPH + 1000  n/a 
Sony DSC-V1 Horizontal LPH * 1450  * 1800 
Vertical LPH 1300  * 1700 
5° Diagonal LPH + 1000  n/a 
Sony DSC-F717 Horizontal LPH 1450  * 1800 
Vertical LPH 1300  * 1800 
5° Diagonal LPH + 1000  n/a 

* Moiré is visible, + Chart maximum, # Jagged diagonals

Definition of terms

LPH Lines per Picture Height (to allow for different aspect ratios the measurement is the same for horizontal and Vertical)
5° Diagonal Lines set at 5° diagonal
Absolute Resolution Still defined detail (below Nyquist frequency*)
Extinction Resolution Detail beyond camera's definition (becomes a solid gray alias)
n/a Not Available (above the capability of the test chart)
n/v Not Visible (not visible on test results)

* Nyquist frequency defined as the highest spatial frequency where the CCD can still faithfully record
image detail. Beyond the Nyquist frequency aliasing occurs.

The absolute resolution of all four cameras on this page is very similar, all managed approximately 1400 lines per picture height in the horizontal direction and 1300 lines per picture height in the vertical direction. The Sony's managed to continue the ability to resolve detail further than Canon or Nikon, perhaps Sony use a weaker anti-alias filter or have better optimized demosaic algorithms.

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