Compared to... Sony DSC-H1

Below you will find a studio comparison between the Canon PowerShot S2 IS and the similarly-specified Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-H1. We have included samples for the lowest and highest ISO settings for each camera (ISO 50 and 400 for the Canon S2 IS, ISO 64 and 400 for the Sony H1).

Studio scene comparison (Canon S2 IS @ ISO 50, Sony H1 @ ISO 64)

  • Canon PowerShot S2 IS: Aperture Priority mode, ISO 50, Default Image Parameters,
    Manual white balance, +1.0 EV compensation
  • Sony Cyber-shot DSC H1 : Aperture Priority mode, ISO 64, Default Image Parameters,
    Manual white balance, +1.0 EV compensation  
  • Lighting: Daylight simulation, >98% CRI
Canon PowerShot S2 IS
Sony DSC-H1
ISO 50, 1/40 sec, F5.0
ISO 64, 1/50 sec, F5.0
2,067 KB JPEG
2,004 KB JPEG
Noise, std dev: 1.3
Noise, std dev: 1.1

Again the differences between these two new - and very similarly specified - cameras are minimal in terms of detail, overall tonal range and color. But if we thought the S2 IS had over-sharpened results then the H1 is verging on the ridiculous, with visible sharpening halos at all high contrast edges. The Cyber-shot's contrast and saturation are also higher (though of course these can be toned down in-camera). Noise levels are broadly similar, with the H1 slightly better (especially considering the half a stop difference in sensitivity), but overall, using the default settings, the S2 IS has the slight edge here in photographic quality (although to be fair we're talking about very small differences).