Compared to... Olympus E510

Many DSLRs still limit themselves to ISO 1600 because anything beyond that would produce images below what their manufacturers consider to be acceptable. The same sentiment doesn't extend to compacts, however, so how does the S100FS perform at what is, in fairness, a pretty high ISO setting?

Studio scene comparison (ISO 1600)

  • Fujifilm FinePix S100FS: Aperture Priority mode, ISO 1600, Default Image Parameters,
    Manual white balance, +0.33 EV compensation

  • Olympus E-510: Olympus 14-42mm Zuiko, Aperture Priority mode, ISO 1600, Modified Image Parameters*, Manual white balance, +0.3 EV compensation
  • Lighting: Daylight simulation, >98% CRI
Fujifilm FinePix S100FS
Olympus E510
ISO 1600, 1/750 sec, F5.6
ISO 1600, 1/640 sec, F7.1
5,369 KB JPEG
6,259 KB JPEG

There are, of course, limits to what the S100FS can do and ISO 1600 looks to be one of those limits. Although overall the image still looks comparable to the one produced by the Olympus, the fine detail just isn't there. Saturation and contrast are lower than the E510's output and the Fuji's images at lower ISO settings. These, along with fine details, are suffering at the hands of noise reduction. The artifacts noted at lower ISO settings are now exaggerated in a slightly unpleasant manner. And despite being turned up to a damaging degree, this noise reduction still isn't strong enough to stop noise creeping into the image.

This must be kept in perspective, though - the S100FS doesn't have a DSLR-sized sensor and is producing some of the best results we've seen from any compact. There are limits, though.