Barrel and Pincushion Distortion

Unsurprisingly the S7000 exhibits the same lens distortion characteristics as the S602 Zoom (and the 6900 Zoom, 4900 Zoom) which uses the same lens. While this range of distortion isn't unusual for a telescoping long zoom lens it is more than some of the slightly larger more modern prosumer digital camera lens systems.

Barrel Distortion, 1.8% @ wide angle Pincushion Distortion, 0.8% @ telephoto

Vignetting / Lens Shading

Our vignetting / lens shading test is very simple, a shot of a blank wall from two meters away, vignetting will always be most visible at wide angle and maximum aperture and will start to disappear at smaller apertures and/or further zoom. It's fair to say that the S7000's lens doesn't produce any level of lens shading at wide angle or telephoto which could be visible on a normal shot.

Slight lens shading at wide angle, F2.8 Slight lens shading at telephoto, F3.1

Purple Fringing (Chromatic Aberrations)

While the S7000 did exhibit some fringing on our standard chromatic aberration test shot it was not of the strong purple color we normally associate with this problem (thus is either just limited to the blue channel, is being controlled by software or is mostly blooming). Hunting through a hundred or more 'everyday' shots I couldn't come up with one sample which demonstrates fringing, the image below is about as close as I could get. Thus purple fringing / CA isn't a problem from which the S7000 suffers.

Image thumbnail 100% crop
35 mm equiv., F2.8 (maximum aperture)
210 mm equiv., F7.0

Overall Image Quality / Specific Issues

The S7000 produces its image by generating the missing pixels between each of its 45 degree orientated 'honeycomb' of input pixels, this is necessary to create an image with a square pixel layout. This generates at twelve million pixel image, the camera then either stores this image as is (the 12 MP setting) or downsamples it to a smaller size before saving. It's important to understand this and to understand that when the camera is set to the 6 MP mode you are not specifically getting one output pixel for every one input pixel, or at least not mapped as such.

At the six megapixel image size (2848 x 2136) the S7000 delivers good images which are at least a match for a five megapixel standard CCD prosumer digital camera. Record at the twelve megapixel image size and you will gain a little more resolution but will also have much larger files (more to process, more storage required) and will also have the slightly grainy 'SuperCCD' look which to me at least doesn't appeal.

All things considered the S7000 does well when used as a six megapixel prosumer digital camera, a one of a kind in that respect. Use the larger size output and you will get a larger image with a little more resolution but also a lot more storage space will be required and artifacts more visible.

Strong reds

This problem was a little more difficult to isolate and demonstrate but we did note a 'preference' for red hues from the S7000. Quite a few shots exhibited stronger (more saturated) reds than other colors, this was more evident when examining our standard color patches chart (later in this review). What this can lead to is clipping of the red channel for brightly lit red and strange edge artifacts where this borders other colors.