Canon DIGITAL IXUS 330 (PowerShot S330) Review
ISO (Sensitivity) Adjustment
ISO equivalence on a digital camera is the ability to increase the sensitivity of the CCD to allow for faster shutter speeds and/or better performance in low light. The way this works in a digital camera is by "turning up the volume" on the CCD's signal amplifiers, nothing is without its price however and doing so also amplifies any noise that may be present and often affects colour saturation.
The IXUS 330 provides an 'Auto ISO' where the camera will automatically vary sensitivity between ISO 50 and ISO 150 depending on available light. You can also select ISO sensitivities ISO 50, 100, 200 and 400.
But what, or rather where is ISO 50?
When Canon introduced the PowerShot G1 they also broke the mold for selectable ISO sensitivity by providing an 'ISO 50' setting. This generated a lot of interest as it appears to deliver low noise levels and can still be useful as long as you are shooting in good light. Recently I have been comparing other camera models to the PowerShot G2 and S40 and have noticed that although Canon label their lowest sensitivity as ISO 50 that in fact this is just as sensitive as other cameras at ISO 100.
This was also true of the IXUS 330, with the camera set to ISO 50 it exposed as another camera would for ISO 100 (combination of shutter speed and aperture). For the shots below I used a light meter to take a (flat surface) reading from the subject, it was 4.0 EV (at ISO 100), taking shots the camera exposed 4.0 EV at ISO 50 and 5.0 EV at ISO 100 (etc.). I re-verified this by taking similar shots with other cameras (and indeed Canon's own EOS-D60 D-SLR), my results were reconfirmed. This means that in effect the IXUS 330's ISO 50 is actually equivalent to ISO 100, and so on up the scale. What is very curious is why Canon chose to label the camera sensitivity in this way.
Unfortunately I didn't have another (modern) 2 megapixel digital camera with selectable ISO sensitivities to do a direct comparison, so instead I have simply provided a montage of 60 x 60 pixel crops from our standard GretagMacBeth ColorChecker shot taken at each selectable sensitivity.
The ISO 50 setting provides a very clean almost completely noise free shooting mode, noise increases as we would expect in fairly consistent way all the way up the selectable sensitivities.
Unfortunately the IXUS 330's automatic white balance did seem to fall over (quite badly) under both Incandescent and Fluorescent light. However, the news is better if you switch to one of the pre-programmed white balance settings. Pre-selecting white balance before shooting guarantees some of the best artificial light white balance I've seen in any consumer digital camera (check out that Incandescent shot, almost no hue shift). Additionally the IXUS 330 also has manual preset white balance which virtually guarantees perfect white balance. Canon lose one mark for poor Auto White balance but gain at least two for excellent pre-programmed settings!
|Outdoors, Auto||Outdoors, Sunny (or Cloudy)||Outdoors, Manual|
|Incandescent, Auto||Incandescent, Incandescent||Incandescent, Manual|
|Fluorescent, Auto||Fluorescent, Fluorescent||Fluorescent, Manual|
Because of its extending compact lens design the IXUS 330 can't offer much in the way of macro ability. That said things do seem to be slightly improved over last years camera, at least now we can get close enough (at full telephoto) to produce a "macro" coverage of 8 cm (3.1 in) horizontally across the frame.
Low Light Focus
This test measures the minimum amount of light under which the camera can still focus. The focus target is our lens distortion test chart (shown here on the right), camera is positioned exactly 2 m (6.6 ft) away.
Light levels are gradually dropped until the camera can no longer focus. This is carried out at both wide angle and telephoto zoom positions (as more light reaches the focusing systems with a larger aperture).
This test target is the optimum type of subject for most "contrast detect" AF systems (as it has a vertical line at its center), you should consider the results below the best you could expect to achieve.
|Lens position||Aperture||AF Assist lamp||Lowest light focus|
|Wide angle (39 mm)||F4.7||On||0.9 EV (4.7 Lux, 0.4 fc)|
|Telephoto (117 mm)||F4.7||On||2.9 EV (18.7 Lux, 1.7 fc)|
|Wide angle (39 mm)||F2.7||Off||1.9 EV (9.3 Lux, 0.9 fc)|
|Telephoto (117 mm)||F4.7||Off||3.4 EV (26.4 Lux, 2.5 fc)|
Light intensity (Lux) = 2.5 x 2^EV (@ ISO 100), 10.76391 Lux = 1 foot-candle (fc)
Surprisingly the IXUS 330's AF assist lamp didn't work in complete darkness, instead it managed to extend the camera's AF sensitivity by one stop at wide angle and about half a stop at telephoto. This is probably due to the fact that at 2 m from our AF target the beam cast by the lamp was looking slightly faint and didn't line up properly with the center AF point.
The IXUS 330's flash unit has a quoted range of 3.5 m (12.5 ft) at wide angle and 2.0 m (6.6 ft) at telephoto. As you can see from our samples below exposures were accurate and consistent without any colour cast, there was some notable drop-off trying to shoot our white wall from 2 m away at full wide angle.
|Waffles with fruits by Coolinarka|
from Food photography (desserts)
|Vestrahorn Frozen Reflection by Will B Milner|
from Ice cold
As summer really gets going over here in the Northern hemisphere, the team at Imaging Resource has put together a list of the best cameras for backpacking.
The Ukrainian Parliament banned statues of Lenin in 2015. Two years later, the monuments no longer adorn public buildings or stand watch over town squares, but they're still there.
If you had to choose one camera to bring along for the ultimate West coast road trip, what would it be? DPR's Sam Spencer choose the X100F. Read more
The a9 boasts impressive capability. As more examples of it in practice pour in, Sony's claims hold up. Watch the a9 track and maintain focus on a rapidly approaching basketball.
Last week, more than a million tonnes of Californian coastline slid into the ocean, taking part of Highway 1 with it. Check out the remodeling in photos taken before and after the landslide.
Even after eighteen months of reviewing the latest, greatest, shiniest and must-buy-me-est new gear, DPReview staffer Carey Rose has continued to use older DSLR cameras for his freelance work. But now, that might be changing. Read more
Sony is the world's leading mirrorless camera brand but remains third for ILCs overall, it's said in a presentation to investors. A focus on high value cameras and lenses should boost operating income, it says. Read more
It's nicknamed the 'Cycloptic Mustard Monster,' and is a 3D printed medium format camera. Read more
The new NanGuang LED lights are battery powered and come with accessories including filters and diffusers.
Have you been telling yourself, "Hey, I really need one of those 8K displays?" A video about Dell's new 8K monitor shows you what to expect. Is it really that much better?
Tamara Lackey, a Nikon ambassador USA and pro shooter, discusses embracing self-consciousness as a means of connecting with subjects.
There's a new Spiderman movie coming out and the poster been generating a lot of online chatter. Mostly about how it looks like the creation of a fevered teenager that just discovered Photoshop.
An honest defense of the system's merits, with photos as proof.
Copyright disputes are no fun at all. 'Binded' is a new startup that aims to simplify the process of registering - and enforcing - copyright for photographers. Read more
Not everyone wants to pay a premium for a long zoom camera. Thankfully, there are many reasonably priced cameras available, though they won't offer the same image quality as enthusiast models. In this updated roundup we look at big zoom cameras with more consumer-friendly price tags. Read more
Think Tank Photo has updated two of its popular bag lines with improvements to functionality. Read more
We’ve all seen Bob Jackson’s Pulitzer Prize winning photo, but there's another.
The sample footage looks good.
It will automatically pick the best camera settings depending on shooting conditions. It even promises enhanced functionality for your camera, like exposure and focus stacking. It already supports many cameras from Canon, Fuji, Nikon and Sony. Read more
As if $13,950 wasn’t enough to pay for a special edition lens, the Leica Store in San Francisco is offering a prototype of said lens for $24,995. Read more
Make those old photos disappear without deleting them forever.
Firmware updates enable 10 fps shooting with adapted A-mount lenses, and faster startup times and better compatibility for 20 fps shooting when using native lenses on the a9.
Fujifilm has released firmware updates for its camera models X-T2, X-Pro2, GFX 50s, X-T20, X100F and X-T1 and updates to three of its software products.
A 22 year-old Romanian photographer uses his DJI Phantom 4 drone to capture unique perspectives of the city where he now lives.
What's it like to ride the waves with champion surfer Kelly Slater? This VR video from Teton Gravity Research gives you a taste.
When Nikon released the full-frame D3 in 2007, it changed the professional photography industry. In this week's Throwback Thursday, Barney remembers a legend. Read more
The new stuff should have better red hues, improved sensitivity and finer grain - but don't worry - will still shift blues to green, greens to purple and yellows to pink.
Ricoh has introduced a new rugged compact camera with a 16MP CMOS sensor, 28-140mm lens, 2.7" LCD and built-in LED macro lights. Read more
This compact drone can shoot HD video using a 2-axis stabilized 12MP camera. Read more
The new Prynt Pocket can print a photo directly from their iPhone simply by inserting the phone into the printer, then snapping a photo. Each print will cost about 50 cents. Read more