Compared to...

Here we will use our standard color and resolution charts to compare the Canon PowerShot S50, HP Photosmart 935, Sony DSC-V1 and Canon PowerShot G5. Note that because of the DSC-V1's persistent blue cast for automatic white balance indirect daylight shots we were forced to use a manual white balance image.

Color Chart Comparison

Color charts are shot in daylight, Auto White Balance, +0.3 EV compensation (apart from the HP 935 which has +0.5 EV compensation). All cameras are given 20 seconds for their white balance systems to settle before the shot is taken (often we will take up to eight shots and select the 'average' AWB result).

Canon PowerShot S50 HP 935
Sony DSC-V1 * Canon PowerShot G5

In the table below we're only measuring color. The RGB values were measured from a VGA reduced image (to average colors, remove noise and eliminate JPEG artifacts) using the Eyedropper tool in Photoshop with a 5 by 5 Average Sample Size.

Patch Canon
PowerShot S50

Photosmart 935

DSC-V1 *

PowerShot G5
Black 33,34,34 26,22,25 27,27,29 32,32,32
Middle Gray 96,100,103 105,104,101 92,96,96 94,95,95
White 207,209,210 239,230,227 200,202,198 211,211,207
Magenta 200,44,119 226,20,105 173,33,116 206,41,114
Red 197,36,47 225,12,29 171,23,36 199,35,42
Yellow 203,193,24 245,211,8 189,192,18 203,186,17
Green 9,135,70 0,135,65 6,146,77 7,131,61
Cyan 6,144,213 0,152,198 8,169,221 0,142,205
Blue 29,41,109 17,26,99 44,33,109 29,38,99

Remember that the 935 results will be brighter because of this camera's 0.5 EV exposure compensation steps. Overall balance between the S50 and 935 is fairly similar, the 935 tending to have better contrast and cleaner reds (less leak from other channels). Canon's blue response was better than the HP and this would be visible in everyday shots as stronger blue skies. The S50's AWB tended towards blue (cool), the HP slightly towards red (warm).

* Note that this is NOT our normal AWB sample image but a Manual White balance image, the DSC-V1 has a blue cast problem with automatic white balance in indirect daylight.

Resolution Comparison

Shots here are of the PIMA/ISO 12233 standard resolution test chart (more of which are available in our comparison database). This resolution chart allows us to measure the actual performance of the lens and sensor system. It measures the ability of the camera to resolve lines at gradually higher resolutions and enables us to provide a definitive value for comparison purposes. Values on the chart are 1/100th lines per picture height. So a value of 8 equates to 800 lines per picture height.

Studio light, cameras set to auto, all settings factory default. Exposure compensation +0.7 EV for all cameras (to compensate for the white background). Click on the camera name below the crops to download the full resolution chart (large JPEG's).

Horizontal resolution Vertical resolution 5 degree diagonal res.
Canon PowerShot S50 (2,011 KB)
HP Photosmart 935 (2,423 KB)
Sony DSC-V1 (1,959 KB)
Canon PowerShot G5 (1,985 KB)

Measurable findings (three measurements taken for each camera)

Camera Measurement Absolute Res. Extinction Res.
Canon PowerShot S50 Horizontal LPH 1450  * 1650 
Vertical LPH 1350  * 1700 
5° Diagonal LPH + 1000  n/a 
HP Photosmart 935 Horizontal LPH 1350  * 1600 
Vertical LPH 1200  * 1500 
5° Diagonal LPH * 1000  n/a 
Sony DSC-V1 Horizontal LPH * 1450  * 1800 
Vertical LPH 1300  * 1700 
5° Diagonal LPH + 1000  n/a 
Canon PowerShot G5 Horizontal LPH 1450  * 1650 
Vertical LPH 1350  * 1700 
5° Diagonal LPH + 1000  n/a 

* Moiré is visible, + Chart maximum, # Jagged diagonals

Definition of terms

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

As noted in our side-by-side comparison (previous page) the S50 manages to squeeze slightly more resolution from its five megapixel sensor than the HP. That said HP have come a long way since cameras such as the 812 which had pretty appalling resolution for the sensor used. The S50 matched the G5 and was also virtually identical to Sony's DSC-V1.