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Compared to...

For the scene comparison we decided to use the EOS 30D (which is also effectively identical to the EOS 350D / Digital Rebel XT), Sony DSC-R1 (as Sony's only other 'Pro' camera and another ten megapixel) and the Nikon D200 which while completely out of the A100's market from a price, features and build-quality point of view does share the same CCD design (although Nikon are keen to stress, it's not identical).

Camera Body Price Sensor
Megapixel
difference
Sony DSLR-A100 $899 10.2 MP CCD (1.5x crop) -
Canon EOS 30D $1,399 8.2 MP CMOS (1.6x crop) -24%
Nikon D200 $1,699 10.2 MP CCD (1.5x crop) -
Sony DSC-R1 $999 10.3 MP CMOS (fixed lens) +1%

Lenses used

For direct comparisons we always use sharp prime lenses stopped down (typically to F9). For the 'cropped' sensor cameras we used 50 mm lenses (Minolta 50 mm F1.4 for the DSLR-A100, Canon EF 50 mm F1.4 for the EOS 30D and the Nikkor 50 mm F1.8 for the D200) obviously the DSC-R1 doesn't have a removable lens. We've had a few eniquiries asking why we use the Nikkor 50 mm F1.8 on the D200 instead of the F1.4, simply because at the aperture we're using for these shots (F9) the Nikkor F1.8 is sharper than the Nikkor F1.4 (we've been using the F1.8 for Nikon reviews for quite a while now).

Sharpness settings

To deliver a more leveling playing field when comparing JPEG's straight from the camera we set sharpness to +1 on both the DSLR-A100 and Nikon D200, both cameras have conservative default sharpening which is notably less than the other two cameras here (the EOS 30D and DSC-R1). Note that we have made the 'default' images available for download at the bottom of each page.

Studio scene comparison (JPEG)

This is our standard studio scene comparison shot taken from exactly the same tripod position. Lighting: daylight simulation, >98% CRI. Crops are 100%. Ambient temperature was approximately 22°C (~72°F).

Sony Alpha DSLR-A100 vs. Canon EOS 30D

Camera settings:

  • Sony DSLR-A100: Minolta 50 mm F1.4 lens, Aperture Priority, ISO 100
    JPEG Large/Fine, Manual WB, Custom Parameters (Sharpness +1), Self-Timer
     
  • Canon EOS 30D: Canon EF 50 mm F1.4 lens, Aperture Priority, ISO 100
    JPEG Large/Fine, Manual WB, Default Parameters (Standard PS), Self-Timer
Sony DSLR-A100
Canon EOS 30D
2,868 KB JPEG (3872 x 2592)
2,847 KB JPEG (3504 x 2336)

The DSLR-A100's two megapixel advantage is clear to see in the relative magnification of each crop, however comparing the two it's difficult to say that it extracts any more detail from the scene than the EOS 30D (despite attempting match sharpening levels). As we observed in our D200 review there isn't a significant difference between ten and eight megapixels and especially when it's against the Canon which appears to have a crisper appearance with better 'per pixel detail'.

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