Compared to... (contd.)

Colour Chart Comparison

Now we can compare the CD300 to a couple of other cameras, using samples from our test archives we will now compare its image quality to the Sony DSC-S70, Nikon Coolpix 990 and Canon PowerShot G1.

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

Sony MVC-CD300 Nikon Coolpix 990
Canon PowerShot G1 Sony DSC-S70
Again, the CD300 exhibits better colour output than any of its 3 megapixel rivals, colours are cleaner and stronger far more accurate and better balanced. Interesting to note that blues and greens while accurate aren't as strong as we saw on the S75.

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.

Nikon Coolpix
Canon PowerShot
Patch White 195,203,206 201,201,201 214,208,208 182,182,182
Middle Gray 92,101,108 104,104,104 97,96,102 85,85,87
Patch Red 199,15,10 223,52,58 186,33,53 189,17,27
Patch Green 18,148,81 5,149,63 26,149,73 1,132,35
Patch Blue 43,37,114 60,50,112 55,49,117 33,26,123

Red Channel Noise

Something we noticed early on with the current crop of 3 megapixel cameras was a certain amount of noise in the red channel, even at normal shutter speeds. 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.

A fairly good performance, not as good as the S75 which is kind of surprising but reinforces my initial comments that the CD300 images appeared to have slightly more noise in them.

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-CD300
Nikon Coolpix 990
Canon PowerShot G1
Sony DSC-S70

Measurable findings (three measurements taken for each camera):

Camera Measurement Absolute Res. Extinction Res.
Horiz LPH 1050 1400
Vert LPH 1050 1500
5o Diagonal LPH 1000 n/a
Coolpix 990
Horiz LPH 900 1300
Vert LPH 900 1400
5o Diagonal LPH 900 n/a
PowerShot G1
Horiz LPH 950 1300
Vert LPH 950 1400
5o Diagonal LPH 900 n/a
Horiz LPH 1050 1400
Vert LPH 1050 1500
5o Diagonal LPH 1000 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.

Here's interesting news, for resolution the CD300 is easily a match for the S70 which held the crown as the highest resolution 3 megapixel consumer digital camera. That's good news indeed as it shows that the new crop of 3 megapixel Sony's carry on the tradition of high resolution, sharp images. (We noted in our S75 review a very slight decrease in resolution, these results further affirm our assumption that this was down to the pre-production status of that sample camera).