Compared to the Nikon Coolpix 950 and IXUS 300

In this test we're comparing the PowerShot A20 to it's brother the Digital IXUS 300 and to Nikon's Coolpix 950 (still, two years on, considered to be one of the benchmark 2 megapixel digital camera). Note: the IXUS 300 is known as the S300 ELPH in the US.

Cameras set to native JPEG (best quality) mode. Sensitivity set to ISO 100, white balance was set to Auto on all cameras, all other settings were set to factory default or auto.

Some crops below are of an 120 x 90 area of the image magnified 200%, some are straight 240 x 180 crops. Lighting - 2 x 800W studio lights with dichroic daylight filters bounced off a white overhead reflector (about as close as you can get to "indoor daylight").

Canon PowerShot A20 Canon Digital IXUS 300 Nikon Coolpix 950
Canon PowerShot A20 Canon Digital IXUS 300 Nikon Coolpix 950

And the PowerShot A20 continues to impress, compared to the Coolpix 950 it's definetly proving that these second generation 2 megapixel digital cameras have come on some in their development, colour is better (mroe balanced, better saturated but not overly) as is resolution, the 950's lens exhibiting quite a degree of softness near the corners / edges of the frame. The A20 also managed to handle highlights better than the 950, its dynamic range extending out above where the 950 just blows out to pure white.

As we saw in our IXUS 300 review its white balance seems to tends to be very warm (red) under our "artificial daylight", all three cameras were given 30 seconds to "settle down" before taking the shot (more than enough time for automatic white balance to do its thing). Otherwise the A20 and IXUS 300 are fairly closely matched, I'd give my nod to the A20 for its very slightly sharper images.