Compared to... Canon EOS Rebel XT (350D)

Perhaps the biggest competition for high end 'super zoom' cameras is the budget DSLR. Obviously we're talking about a lot more money (for the body and lenses to cover the 28-420 range), but not a ridiculous amount of money. So here, as an interesting comparison, are studio shots taken using the Pro815 and the Canon EOS Rebel XT (350D) at each camera's lowest and highest setting (ISO 50 and 400 for the Pro815, ISO 100 and 1600 for the XT). Note that you should bear in mind that the EOS Rebel XT pictures were taken with a high quality 50mm prime lens - if you used an inexpensive zoom on the body you would expect to see slightly softer results.

Studio scene comparison (Pro815 @ ISO 50, Rebel XT @ ISO 100)

  • Samsung Pro815 : Aperture Priority mode, ISO 50, Default Image Parameters, Manual white balance, +1.0 EV compensation
  • Canon Digital Rebel XT (350D): Canon EF 50 mm F1.4, Aperture Priority (F9), ISO 100, JPEG Large/Fine, Manual WB, Default Parameters (Parameter 1)
  • Lighting: daylight simulation, >98% CRI.
Samsung Pro815
Canon EOS Rebel XT
ISO 50, 1/60 sec, F5.0
ISO 100, 1/40 sec, F9
3,845 KB JPEG
2,882 KB JPEG
Noise, std dev: 2.4
Noise, std dev: 2.5

I think it's fair to say that at the lowest ISO setting the Pro815 is doing a fairly good job against the SLR - especially when you remember that the Canon studio scene was shot with a 50mm F1.4 lens; if we'd used a cheaper zoom lens the results would have been much closer. The Rebel XT - like all SLRs - is producing a cleaner image (noise is slightly lower), and is capturing marginally more detail (though again this is due in no small part to the lens), but for standard prints the difference isn't so great. What does make a difference is how the two cameras have processed the images, with the Pro815 result looking almost gaudy next to the Rebel. This comes down to excessive in-camera sharpening and a rather steep tone curve (giving high contrast results). You can control both by shooting Raw, if you can bear the 16-second wait between shots.