Compared to Nikon Coolpix 950, Olympus C-2020Z, Canon PowerShot S10

In all my reviews I try to present a comparison with other digicams. In these sets of sample images all the cameras were setup in exactly the same manner, had the same subjects, lighting and camera settings (as close as possible). Other Resolution charts and Colour patches now available through the camera comparison database. These three cameras were chosen as they are all 2.1mp (1600 x 1200).

Colour Comparison

Shot in daylight, Auto White Balance, EV compensation +0.3 (all cameras).

Canon Digital IXUS (PowerShot S100)
Canon PowerShot S10
Nikon Coolpix 950
Olympus C-2020Z

Nikon and Olympus still piping Canon to the post for white balance and colour saturation, both the Digital IXUS and S10 images have fairly good white balance but noticeably less saturated colours.

We're only measuring colour here. RGB values below were taken from a VGA reduced image (to average colours and eliminate JPEG artifacts) using the Eyedropper tool in Photoshop with a 5 by 5 dropper average. (Red, Green, Blue)

Digital IXUS
PowerShot S10
Coolpix 950
Patch White 197,201,206 209,213,220 198,198,198 197,200,200
Middle Gray 84,85,96 112,111,128 105,108,108 97,101,107
Patch Red 135,18,29 173,40,54 215,31,41 211,27,39
Patch Green 30,123,50 58,137,96 0,148,67 0,140,61
Patch Blue 27,37,83 43,50,108 57,51,132 43,44,139

Resolution Comparison

Shots here are of the PIMA/ISO 12233 standard resolution test chart (more available for comparison in our comparison database). Studio light, cameras set to Auto, Exposure compensation +0.7 EV for all cameras. How to read the charts: All values are 1/100th lines per picture height. So the "10" value equates to 1000.

Canon Digital IXUS (PowerShot 100 Digital Elph)
Canon PowerShot S10
Nikon Coolpix 950
Olympus C-2020Z

Measurable findings (three measurements taken for each camera):

Camera Measurement Absolute Res. Extinction Res.
Canon Digital IXUS
(PowerShot S100)
Horiz LPH 750 1050
Vert LPH 750 1000
5o Diagonal 700 1000
Canon PowerShot S10 Horiz LPH 850 1150
Vert LPH 850 1100
5o Diagonal LPH 700 n/a
Nikon Coolpix 950 Horiz LPH 750 1050
Vert LPH 750 1050
5o Diagonal LPH 800 n/a
Olympus C-2020Z Horiz LPH 800 1100
Vert LPH 700 1050
5o Diagonal LPH 900 1000

Definition of terms:

LPH Lines per Picture Height (to allow for different aspect ratios the measurement is the same for horizontal and vertical)
5o Diagonal Lines set at 5o 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.

So the Digital IXUS doesn't have the amazing sharpness and resolution of it's older brother the S10, though it's fairly comparable to the Nikon Coolpix 950 / Olympus C-2020Z of last year.

Flat area noise

The samples above are of 50 x 50 blocks cropped from the colour comparison charts above of the Medium gray patch (marked 'M'), each block is then broken down into it's red green and blue channels and reflected as such directly below.

The Digital IXUS exhibits some "speckling" of noise on what should be a flat gray block, note how much better the S10 performs. These interesting results could be related to (a) smaller CCD in the Digital IXUS and (b) switch from the CYGM colour filer array of the S10 to an GRGB colour filter array in the Digital IXUS.