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Compared to... Canon S3 IS

This year manufacturers have woken up to the fact that all the pixels in the world won't help an image shot in very low light that suffers from camera shake, and have started to include high sensitivity (high ISO) options to their new models. The H5 offers two new high ISO options; ISO 800 and ISO 1000.

Below you will find a studio comparison between the Sony DSC-H5 and the Canon S3 IS at ISO 800.

Studio scene comparison (@ ISO 800)

  • Sony DSC-H5 : Aperture Priority mode, ISO 800, Default Image Parameters,
    Manual white balance, +0.7 EV compensation
  • Canon PowerShot S3 IS: Aperture Priority mode, ISO 800, Default Image Parameters,
    Manual white balance, +0.67 EV compensation
  • Lighting: Daylight simulation, >98% CRI
Sony DSC-H5
Canon PowerShot S3 IS
ISO 800, 1/1000 sec, F4.5
ISO 800, 1/500 sec, F5.0
2,833 KB JPEG
3,483 KB JPEG

At ISO 800 the difference in Canon and Sony's approach to noise reduction is even more obvious, with the H5 image less noisy, but with a slightly soft, 'smudgy' appearance. That said, the H5 is producing results at ISO 800 that are just about usable for smaller prints if you really have to. Of course with a fairly fast lens and effective image stabilization there's less need to crank up the ISO to 800 or 1000 (which really is unacceptably noisy for most uses). Note also that noise gets progressively worse the darker the scene - this is about as good as you can expect.

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