Compared to... Canon Powershot A720 IS

The Nikon P50 is by no means alone in its sector. Its appearance and feature set puts in directly up against the very popular Canon A series that, despite rather mundane styling, makes a pretty formidable series of opponents. Here we compare the Nikon to the similarly-priced Canon A720 IS. In fact, their appearances are so similar that if one of them were to demand too much during contract negotiations on 'Digi Camera: The Soap Opera,' the other could step in without the audience stirring from their couches.

Studio scene comparison (A720 IS @ ISO 80, P50 @ ISO 64)  

  • Nikon P50: Program mode, ISO 64, Default Image Parameters,
    Manual white balance, +0.70 EV compensation
  • Canon A720 IS: Aperture Priority mode, ISO 80, Default Image Parameters,
    Manual white balance, +0.33 EV compensation 
  • Lighting: Daylight simulation, >98% CRI
Nikon P50
Canon A720 IS
ISO 64, 1/64 sec, F4.1
ISO 80, 1/60 sec, F4.5
2,017 KB JPEG
3,385 KB JPEG

Nikon compact cameras have, for some time now, been reluctant to apply much sharpening to their output. And this reticence does the P50 few favors against the Canon which sharpens and saturates its images to an amazing degree. Although the Canon's image is a bit lurid, we'd expect a lot of purchasers to prefer their images to have that 'advert in a glossy magazine' look, rather than risk them looking drab. It's a question of taste, really, and we can understand the appeal of the Nikon's more subtle approach. It's worth pointing out that there's more to the difference than sharpening; the Canon's lens appears to offer better edge-to-edge detail too, and the P50 is clipping the highlights (on the paperclips) a little more harshly.