Compared to... Canon Ixus 750 (SD550)

Below you will find a studio comparison between the Olympus SP-310 and the seven megapixel Canon PowerShot SD550 (Ixus 750). We have included samples each camera's highest and lowest ISO settings (SP-310; ISO 64 and 400, SD550; ISO 50 and 400).

Studio scene comparison (SP-310 @ ISO 64, Canon SD 550 @ ISO 50)

  • Olympus SP-310: Aperture Priority mode, ISO 64, Default Image Parameters,
    Manual white balance, +1.0 EV compensation
  • Canon PowerShot SD550: Program mode, ISO 50, Default Image Parameters,
    Manual white balance, +1.0 EV compensation
  • Lighting: Daylight simulation, >98% CRI
Olympus SP-310
Canon PowerShot SD550
ISO 64, 1/50 sec, F5
ISO 50, 1/79 sec, F3.5
4,455 KB JPEG
2,733 KB JPEG

It'll come as no surprise to learn that - broadly speaking - there's not a huge amount of difference between these two cameras, which almost certainly share the same sensor and have a very similar lens. It's obvious that the Canon is capable of capturing more detail at the center of the frame, but loses out in the corners (soft corners are one of the biggest problems with the SD series). The other obvious difference is in the processing; the Canon image looks a lot cleaner and a little soft compared to the SP-310, which is a touch on the over-sharpened side (though the resulting artefacts are not serious). Compared to the typically 'over the top' PowerShot colors the SP-310 looks relatively restrained, though the reds are a touch underpowered to my eyes.

Ultimately the SP-310 is producing images that will print beautifully, though the combination of noise reduction and sharpening may limit their appeal to post-processing junkies or purists. Fortunately the SP-310 has an ace up its sleeve - raw shooting (more of which later).