Compared to...

The Canon PowerShot S50 and HP 935 are both five megapixel, three times zoom compact digital cameras. While they don't compete in the same 'consumer space' the should deliver similar image quality. The S50 has the bigger feature set with a wider range of manual control. The biggest difference apart from feature set is price, the HP available around $399, the Canon between $549 and $599. Because the HP 935 only provides 0.5 EV exposure compensation steps the brightness of the images below isn't identical (+0.5 EV was too bright), bear this in mind when comparing these two images.

Studio scene comparison

  • Canon PowerShot S50: Aperture Priority mode, ISO 50, Default Parameters,
    Manual preset white balance
  • HP Photosmart 935: Aperture Priority mode, ISO 100, Default Parameters,
    Manual preset white balance
Canon PowerShot S50 HP Photosmart 935
ISO 50, 1/5 sec, F5.0 ISO 100, 1/4 sec, F6.1
2,071 KB JPEG 2,228 KB JPEG

Between the two the S50 takes the lead on resolution, although it is closer than I had expected. HP has clearly spent time and effort on improving its image processing algorithms since the last generation of cameras. The 935's lens is also softer near the corners and edges of the frame compared to the S50.

Tonal balance appears better on the 935, the image has better contrast with real blacks and whiter whites. Color from both cameras a little too saturated for my tastes, however both cameras do offer control of saturation so this could be toned down. The 935 did appear to have slightly less visible noise, especially surrounding the black text on the ruler crop. The 935 also exhibited some moiré color artifacts which Canon's more advanced algorithms appear to have quashed. Overall you have to give some credit to HP who are obviously closing fast on Canon.

Also available for download