Compared to... (contd.)

Colour Chart Comparison

Now we can compare the CD200 to a couple of other cameras, using samples from our test archives we will now compare its image quality to the Olympus C-2020Z, Canon PowerShot S10 and Nikon Coolpix 950.

Colour charts are shot in daylight, Auto White Balance, EV compensation +0.3 (all cameras), measured light ~10 EV.

Sony MVC-CD200 Nikon Coolpix 950
Olympus C-2020Z Canon PowerShot S10
Obviously the CD200's auto white balance had real problems here, despite being taken in exactly the same position with the same light source as the other cameras.

We're only measuring colour here. RGB values below were taken from a VGA reduced image (to average colours and eliminate JPEG artifacts) using the Eyedropper tool in Photoshop with a 5 by 5 Average Sample Size.

Coolpix 950
PowerShot S10
Patch White 184,198,196 198,198,198 197,200,200 209,213,220
Middle Gray 86,98,102 105,108,108 97,101,107 112,111,128
Patch Red 192,7,23 215,31,41 211,27,39 173,40,54
Patch Green 0,164,37 0,148,67 0,140,61 58,137,96
Patch Blue 57,31,148 57,51,132 43,44,139 43,50,108

Ignoring the slight green cast it's obvious that the CD200's colours are stronger and cleaner than those found on these similar 2 megapixel digital cameras. Overall excellent performance (if only the auto white balance had worked properly).

Red Channel Noise

Something we've commented on previously is noise in the red colour channel in what should be pure blues. This was most visible in the light blue of skies or painted walls. Our colour patch test chart turned out to be a good "leveller" and a way to measure the performance of one camera to the next.

The samples below are of 40 x 40 blocks cropped from the colour comparison charts above of the Blue and Cyan patches, each block is then broken down into it's red green and blue channels and reflected as such directly below.

As we'd expected the CD200 does well, indeed most 2 megapixel digital cameras seem to perform better in this test than their 3 megapixel counterparts.

Resolution Comparison

Shots here are of the PIMA/ISO 12233 standard resolution test chart (more available for comparison in our comparison database). Studio light, cameras set to auto, Exposure compensation +0.7 EV for all cameras. How to read the charts: All values are 1/100 th lines/picture height/width. So the "10" value equates to 1000.

Sony MVC-CD200
Nikon Coolpix 950
Olympus C-2020Z
Canon PowerShot S10

Measurable findings (three measurements taken for each camera):

Camera Measurement Absolute Res. Extinction Res.
Sony MVC-CD200 Horiz LPH * 850 1050
Vert LPH 850 1050
Diagonal LPH 800 900
Nikon Coolpix 950 Horiz LPH 750 1050
Vert LPH 750 1050
Diagonal LPH 800 n/a
Olympus C-2020Z Horiz LPH * 800 1100
Vert LPH 700 1050
Diagonal LPH 900 1000
Canon PowerShot S10 Horiz LPH 850 1150
Vert LPH 850 1100
Diagonal LPH 700 n/a

Definition of terms:

LPH Lines per Picture Height (to allow for different aspect ratios the measurement is the same for horizontal and vertical)
5o Diagonal Lines set at 5o diagonal
Absolute Resolution Still defined detail (below Nyquist frequency*)
Extinction Resolution Detail beyond camera's definition (becomes a solid gray alias)
n/a Not Available (above the capability of the test chart)
n/v Not Visible (not visible on test results)
* Nyquist frequency defined as the highest spatial frequency where the CCD can still faithfully record
image detail. Beyond the Nyquist frequency aliasing occurs.

A good performance and about what we'd expect of a "second generation" 2 megpixel digital camera, performance is up there with the highest we've tested (the Canon Powershot S10), combine that with the excellent colour reproduction and the CD200 is beginning to look like the best 2 megapixel we've seen so far (for image quality).