Compared to...

Below you will find a studio comparison between the Nikon Coolpix 4800 and the similarly priced Canon PowerShot S1 IS. We have included samples for the lowest and highest ISO settings for each camera (50 and 400).

Studio scene comparison (@ ISO 50)

  • Nikon Coolpix 4800: Program mode, ISO 50, Default Image Parameters,
    Manual white balance, 0.3 EV compensation
  • Canon PowerShot S1 IS: Aperture Priority mode, ISO 50, Default Image Parameters,
    Manual white balance, 0.33 EV compensation
  • Lighting: Two 800W studio lamps with dichroic daylight filters bounced off the ceiling
Nikon Coolpix 4800
Canon PowerShot S1 IS
ISO 50, 0.35 sec, F3.5
ISO 50, 0.3 sec, F5
1,217 KB JPEG
1,336 KB JPEG
Noise, std dev: 2.2
Noise, std dev: 1.7

It's obvious from these comparison shots that the Coolpix 4800 is capable of capturing more detail than the PowerShot S1 IS - something borne out by our resolution tests on page 8, but there are some real problems that mean most people would be much happier with the Canon's images. First noise is quite high for an ISO 50 setting, though I suspect this is more to do with Nikon's lighthanded approach to noise reduction than any real difference in noise levels. It is also obvious from these shots that the 4800's lens, though very sharp in the centre of the frame, has more distortion, and more edge softness than the Canon equivalent. It is also worth noting that the lack of any real manual controls made getting a good exposure difficult, and of course the lack of exposure information or manual controls made choosing an aperture impossible.