Compared to... Nikon Coolpix P50

And here we have the comparisons of the A720 IS and the P50 at ISO 1600. This is a mode you should only really consider using if the light is starting to fail and you want to capture a subject that might move but is too far away to use flash for. This is the Canon's highest setting but the Nikon offers another setting one third of a stop faster than this (ISO 2000).

Studio scene comparison (@ ISO 1600)

  • Canon A720 IS: Aperture Priority mode, ISO 1600, Default Image Parameters,
    Manual white balance, +0.33 EV compensation
  • Nikon P50: Program mode, ISO 1600, Default Image Parameters,
    Manual white balance, +0.7 EV compensation
  • Lighting: Daylight simulation, >98% CRI

* Effective apeture - the Nikon has a fixed aperture and a 2-stop ND filter.

Canon A720 IS
Nikon P50
ISO 1600, 1/1500 sec, F4.5
ISO 1600, 1/371 sec, F8.2
4,003 KB JPEG
2,555 KB JPEG

Sadly, one of the new features that the A720 IS offers over the previous model is the addition of a ISO 1600 mode. And, as anyone familiar with ISO 1600 on high-MP, 1/2.5" sensor cameras will be able to tell you, the results are rubbish. The Canon, which was still doing a reasonable job at ISO 800, is now applying so much noise reduction that color, detail and general image quality have all been sacrificed and substituted for blotchy, ugly artefacts. THe Nikon hasn't exactly done much better. Its results look like some kind of odd 'Texturize' special effect has been applied. Which is fine if you want your images to look like they've been poorly reproduced on canvas, but we suspect most people won't.

As we've seen, even the Canon's High Auto ISO mode can't bring itself to use ISO 1600 and do this to your images. We'd strongly advise you do the same.