Compared to... Canon S2 IS

Below you will find a studio comparison between the Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-H1 and the similarly-specified Canon PowerShot S2 IS. We have included samples for the lowest and highest ISO settings for each camera (ISO 64 and 400 for the Sony H1, ISO 50 and 400 for the Canon S2 IS).

Studio scene comparison (Sony H1 @ ISO 64, Canon S2 IS @ ISO 50)

  • Sony Cyber-shot DSC H1: Aperture Priority mode, ISO 64, Default Image Parameters, Manual white balance, +1.0 EV compensation
  • Canon PowerShot S2 IS: Aperture Priority mode, ISO 50, Default Image Parameters,
    Manual white balance, +1.0 EV compensation
  • Lighting: Daylight simulation, >98% CRI
Sony DSC-H1
Canon PowerShot S2 IS
ISO 64, 1/50 sec, F5.0
ISO 50, 1/40 sec, F5.0
2,004 KB JPEG
2,067 KB JPEG
Noise, std dev: 1.1
Noise, std dev: 1.3

The differences between these two new - and very similarly specified - cameras are minimal in terms of detail, overall tonal range and color. The H1 image has higher contrast, higher in-camera sharpening and a slightly more natural color rendition (though, as ever, reds are very saturated), and also very slightly lower luminance noise. Ultimately I very much doubt that anyone seeing a print from both cameras side by side would see any significant difference, with the possible exception of the H1's higher default contrast. I personally prefer not to have so much contrast out of the camera (there is always the risk of clipping of extreme highlights/shadows) - fortunately the H1 allows you to reduce the contrast - and the sharpening (which is also a little high) with a simple menu option.