Compared to... Panasonic FX33

The Panasonic FX33 is one of the SD850's most direct competitors. Both cameras sport an 8MP sensor in a compact body. The zoom ranges are fairly similar although the Panasonic's lens at 28mm is wider at the short end. We have included samples for the lowest standard ISO settings and at ISO 400 and 800.

Please note that during our tests we found that the Panasonic FX33 (certainly the one we have) does not report F-numbers correctly, neither in-camera nor in the Exif data. Therefore we dot not provide any information on the FX33's F-numbers in this section of the review.

Studio scene comparison (SD850 @ ISO 80, FX33 @ ISO 100)  

  • Canon SD850 IS (Ixus 950 IS): Program mode, ISO 80, Default Image Parameters,
    Manual white balance, +0.33 EV compensation

  • Panasonic DMC-FX33: Program mode, ISO 100, Default Image Parameters,
    Manual white balance, +0.33 EV compensation
  • Lighting: Daylight simulation, >98% CRI
Canon SD850 IS (Ixus 950 IS)
Panasonic DMC-FX33
ISO 80, 1/100 sec, F35
ISO 100, 1/125 sec
3,222 KB JPEG
3,433 KB JPEG

Looking at the image crops in this comparison it is fairly clear that the Canon produces the better results. At base ISO we would have expected more from the Leica branded lens on the Panasonic but the Canon beats it by a mile. Actually, the Canon lens beats its Panasonic counterpart in almost all areas. General sharpness is better on the Canon without being over-sharpened. If you like your images really crisp you could add a pinch of unsharp mask. Colors and contrast are 'vividly pleasant' on both cameras. Ultimately it's unlikely that the target market will be disappointed by the SD850's output at base ISO, and we were pretty impressed.