Compared to... Samsung NV10

Below you will find a studio comparison between the Pentax Optio A20 and the Samsung NV10 at ISO 800.

Studio scene comparison (@ ISO 800)  

  • Pentax Optio A20 : Manual mode, ISO 800, Default Image Parameters,
    Manual white balance.

  • Samsung NV10: Manual mode, ISO 800, Default Image Parameters,
    Manual white balance, +0.7 EV compensation.
  • Lighting: Daylight simulation, >98% CRI
Pentax Optio A20
Samsung NV10
ISO 800, 1/1000 sec, F3.8
ISO 800, 1/1500 sec, F3.8
3,113 KB JPEG
4,465 KB JPEG

At ISO 800 the A20's result is looking very noisy indeed, and the effects of noise reduction on texture and detail are obvious. And yet it's still better than many competitor cameras because there is still a semblance of detail in there, color is still pretty good and the output looks fairly sharp, so will produce a - just - acceptable small print. By comparison the NV10 shot is so over-processed by noise reduction that it is blurry and blotchy looking - even in a fairly small print. The pressure is always going to be on manufacturers to balance the need to retain detail with the desire to keep noise as low as possible, and here we have two different approaches; which you prefer is down to taste as much as anything else, though it's worth bearing in mind there's lots of software that can remove noise, but none that can put back detail lost to heavy in-camera NR.