Group test: Canon Powershot S95, Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5, Nikon Coolpix P7000
The actual sensitivity of each indicated ISO is measured using the same shots as are used to measure ISO noise levels, we simply compare the exposure for each shot to the metered light level (using a calibrated Sekonic L-358), middle gray matched. We estimate the accuracy of these results to be +/- 1/6 EV (the margin of error given in the ISO specifications). Note that these tests are based on the sRGB JPEG output of the cameras, in accordance with ISO 12232:2006, the standard used by camera manufacturers.
Barring minor fluctuations caused by white balance drifts and noise, measured ISO from all three of the cameras on test here is within +/- 1/6 EV of indicated ISO across their entire ISO range.
Noise and Noise Reduction (JPEG)
This is our standard studio scene comparison shot taken from exactly the same tripod position. Lighting: daylight simulation, >98% CRI. Crops are 100%. Ambient temperature was approximately 22°C (~72°F).
Note: this page features our new interactive noise comparison widget. By default, we show you the default noise reduction settings of the camera tested, and three other models of the same class. You can select from all available NR options, and from other cameras. The 'tricolor' patches beneath the familiar gray/black/portrait images are taken from the same test chart, and show how noise impacts upon blue, green and red areas of a scene.
As you can see from the images in this comparison, at their respective base ISO settings and up to ISO 200, images from all three of these cameras are essentially noise free at their defaut NR settings. By ISO 400, it is clear that the P7000's approach to luminance noise reduction is somewhat conservative, but detal is still very high from all three cameras. At ISO 800, slight grittiness creeps into all of the images, and it is clear that the LX5's NR+2 setting takes the edge off fine detail reproduction for the sake of slghtly smoother output.
At ISO 1600 and above, images from all three of the cameras in this grouptest start to show increased noise levels, but the best of the bunch in terms of detail reproduction is the P7000 with NR set to 'low'. We consider that the S95 strikes the best balance between noise reduction and detail retention, but there isn't a great deal between the three models at this point, and all are capable of producing high-quality small prints at these settings.
At ISO 3200, the differences between the three models are clear - the S95's noise reduction has smeared away a lot of fine detail, whilst the P7000 (which uses the same sensor) manages to retain it, but at the expense of much higher overall luminance noise levels. The LX5 is a midpoint between the two, and whilst high-contrast detail is relatively well described, areas of plain tone are distractingly blotchy. Only the Nikon P7000 can manage ISO 6400 at its full resolution of 10MP and image quality is fairly poor at this setting, as we'd expect. Useable results (just) can be coaxed out of its .NRW RAW files though (see below).
RAW noise (ACR 6.3 - noise reduction set to zero)
With ACR's noise reduction set to zero (which isn't the same thing as 'off', but provides as near to a level playing field as practical), it is clear that the differences visible in the JPEG files are largely due to in-camera processing. We'd expect the Canon S95 and Nikon P7000 to give very similar results here, but even the LX5, which uses a totally different sensor, gives very similar results right up to ISO 3200.
Although the lines on our noise graph show some separation between the cameras in this comparison, the 'real world' differences are minimal. In terms of detail reproduction, the distinctions between these cameras are almost certainly due to Adobe Camera RAW's approach to demosaicing, more than the output of the sensors themselves. What is interesting is that despite sharing a sensor with the S95 and P7000, the Samsung EX1's RAW output appears sharper and more detailed when converted in the same way. If this changes when Adobe releases the full public version of ACR 6.3 we will update this review accordingly.
Jan 20, 2011
Dec 14, 2010
Jan 17, 2014
Dec 30, 2013
The a9 boasts impressive capability. As more examples of it in practice pour in, Sony's claims hold up. Watch the a9 track and maintain focus on a rapidly approaching basketball.
Last week, more than a million tonnes of Californian coastline slid into the ocean, taking part of Highway 1 with it. Check out the remodeling in photos taken before and after the landslide.
Even after eighteen months of reviewing the latest, greatest, shiniest and must-buy-me-est new gear, DPReview staffer Carey Rose has continued to use older DSLR cameras for his freelance work. But now, that might be changing. Read more
Sony is the world's leading mirrorless camera brand but remains third for ILCs overall, it's said in a presentation to investors. A focus on high value cameras and lenses should boost operating income, it says. Read more
It's nicknamed the 'Cycloptic Mustard Monster,' and is a 3D printed medium format camera. Read more
The new NanGuang LED lights are battery powered and come with accessories including filters and diffusers.
Have you been telling yourself, "Hey, I really need one of those 8K displays?" A video about Dell's new 8K monitor shows you what to expect. Is it really that much better?
Tamara Lackey, a Nikon ambassador USA and pro shooter, discusses embracing self-consciousness as a means of connecting with subjects.
There's a new Spiderman movie coming out and the poster been generating a lot of online chatter. Mostly about how it looks like the creation of a fevered teenager that just discovered Photoshop.
An honest defense of the system's merits, with photos as proof.
Copyright disputes are no fun at all. 'Binded' is a new startup that aims to simplify the process of registering - and enforcing - copyright for photographers. Read more
Not everyone wants to pay a premium for a long zoom camera. Thankfully, there are many reasonably priced cameras available, though they won't offer the same image quality as enthusiast models. In this updated roundup we look at big zoom cameras with more consumer-friendly price tags. Read more
Think Tank Photo has updated two of its popular bag lines with improvements to functionality. Read more
We’ve all seen Bob Jackson’s Pulitzer Prize winning photo, but there's another.
The sample footage looks good.
It will automatically pick the best camera settings depending on shooting conditions. It even promises enhanced functionality for your camera, like exposure and focus stacking. It already supports many cameras from Canon, Fuji, Nikon and Sony. Read more
As if $13,950 wasn’t enough to pay for a special edition lens, the Leica Store in San Francisco is offering a prototype of said lens for $24,995. Read more
Make those old photos disappear without deleting them forever.
Firmware updates enable 10 fps shooting with adapted A-mount lenses, and faster startup times and better compatibility for 20 fps shooting when using native lenses on the a9.
Fujifilm has released firmware updates for its camera models X-T2, X-Pro2, GFX 50s, X-T20, X100F and X-T1 and updates to three of its software products.
A 22 year-old Romanian photographer uses his DJI Phantom 4 drone to capture unique perspectives of the city where he now lives.
What's it like to ride the waves with champion surfer Kelly Slater? This VR video from Teton Gravity Research gives you a taste.
When Nikon released the full-frame D3 in 2007, it changed the professional photography industry. In this week's Throwback Thursday, Barney remembers a legend. Read more
The new stuff should have better red hues, improved sensitivity and finer grain - but don't worry - will still shift blues to green, greens to purple and yellows to pink.
Ricoh has introduced a new rugged compact camera with a 16MP CMOS sensor, 28-140mm lens, 2.7" LCD and built-in LED macro lights. Read more
This compact drone can shoot HD video using a 2-axis stabilized 12MP camera. Read more
The new Prynt Pocket can print a photo directly from their iPhone simply by inserting the phone into the printer, then snapping a photo. Each print will cost about 50 cents. Read more
Updates for Adobe Camera Raw and Lightroom CC bring support for the Sony A9 and Panasonic ZS70/TZ90, along with bug fixes.
The Triggertrap remote camera control system is no longer sold due to the company folding, but now users will be able to build their own. Read more
The Magic Format Converter comes with internal optics that expand the image circle of full-frame DSLR lenses for use on the Fuji medium format camera. Read more