Compared to...

Image Quality Comparison: Outdoors (Bridge Scene)

Our second comparison was taken, again, from a tripod with as near as possible identical settings for each camera. Options such as White Balance were set to Automatic, as was Sharpening on the Coolpix 5000. Each of the crops shown below the thumbnail are of a 160 x 160 area of the image at 100%.

Nikon Coolpix 5000 Olympus E-20 Sony DSC-F707
ISO 100, F5.4, 1/370 sec ISO 80, F5.6, 1/200 sec ISO 100, F5.6, 1/400 sec

Once more the Sony DSC-F707 produces the absolute best resolution, clearly defining details which are lost to the other two cameras. In this comparison the E-20 looks softer than the Coolpix 5000 and its white balance has been affected too much by the blue sky background. As noted in the previous comparison the Coolpix 5000 clips highlight details which are maintained by the other cameras (again, more so with the DSC-F707).

Image Quality Comparison: Studio (Standard Scene)

Our almost standard still life scene. Lighting - 2 x 800W studio lights with dichroic daylight filters bounced off a white ceiling reflector. All cameras set to aperture priority and preset white balance (taken from a grey card). Aperture chosen produced optimum sharpness from all cameras. Crops below are 'blown up' 200%, apart from the last which is at 100%.

Nikon Coolpix 5000 Olympus E-20 Sony DSC-F707
ISO 100, F4.7, 1/3 sec ISO 80, F5.0, 1/2 sec ISO 100, F5.0, 1/3 sec

Again the Sony DSC-F707 shows just how important a good lens and good image processing algorithms are to final output. This camera has reigned supreme on our resolution charts (at a consumer level) and by the three comparisons posted here it maintains this in real life tests. Second place here must go to the E-20 which puts up a good fight, managing to maintain much better colour definition thanks to its slightly less saturated look. The Coolpix 5000 comes in third, visible lens aberrations, softness and clipped highlights means it looses out to the Sony DSC-F707.