Compared to... Panasonic FX33

Below you will find a studio comparison between the Canon SD 850 IS (Ixus 950 IS) and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX33 at ISO 800.

Studio scene comparison (@ ISO 800)  

  • Canon SD850 IS (Ixus 950 IS): Program mode, ISO 800, Default Image Parameters,
    Manual white balance, +0.33 EV compensation

  • Panasonic DMC-FX33: Program mode, ISO 000, Default Image Parameters,
    Manual white balance, +0.33 EV compensation

  • Lighting: Daylight simulation, >98% CRI
Canon SD850 IS (Ixus 950 IS)
Panasonic DMC-F33
ISO 800, 1/160 sec, F10
ISO 800, 1/800 sec
3,524 KB JPEG
2,873 KB JPEG

At ISO 800 noise reduction starts having a bigger impact on the overall image quality than the lens. Therefore the difference between the two cameras' output appears to be decreasing. Having said that the Panasonic results are still visibly softer than the Canon's. The lens is soft to start with but at this sensitivity the noise reduction smearing is taking its toll as well. Nonetheless, the image is far from being noise-free. Both luminance and chroma noise are becoming quite intrusive.

There is a lot of noise in the Canon image too but at least there's some detail left and the overall result still looks relatively sharp. The SD850's ISO 800 output is perfectly usable as long as you don't expect miracles and are only looking to produce small prints.