JPEG/TIFF Image Size & Quality

Standard Test Scene

The S85 has two JPEG compression levels which can be combined with a variety of image resolutions (2270 x 1704, 2270 x 1520 (3:2), 1600 x 1200, 1280 x 960 and 640 x 480) in combination with either JPEG FINE, JPEG STANDARD or TIFF image quality, a total of 15 different image size / quality combinations.

To give an impression of what some of the combinations of image size and quality produce the table below is a cross reference of some of them:

  • 2270 x 1704 TIFF
  • 2270 x 1704 FINE JPEG
  • 2270 x 1704 STANDARD JPEG
  • 1600 x 1200 FINE JPEG
  • 1280 x 960 FINE JPEG
  • 640 x 480 FINE JPEG

Images below are cropped 240 x 100 area of the image magnified 200% (nearest neighbour).

2270 x 1704
11,345 KB (Not available for download)

1,360 KB

795 KB

1600 x 1200

847 KB

1280 x 960

593 KB

640 x 480

152 KB

There's very little between JPEG fine and TIFF, especially at the storage expense of some 11 MB, it's hardly something you'll use every day. The full size JPEG FINE images look very good and are only about 300 - 400 KB larger than a 3 megapixel equivalent. The reduced size images do seem to gain nicely from the extra resolution and look very nice and sharp.

ISO (Sensitivity) Adjustment

ISO equivalence on a digital camera is the ability to increase the sensitivity of the CCD to allow for faster shutter speeds and/or better performance in low light. The way this works in a digital camera is by "turning up the volume" on the CCD's signal amplifiers, nothing is without its price however and doing so also amplifies any noise that may be present and often affects colour saturation.

The S85 now features three selectable ISO sensitivities of 100, 200 and 400 as well as Auto mode which varies sensitivity between ISO 100 and 300 automatically depending on available light. Test images shot under both good and low light.

Good Light Low Light
Measured light: 9.2 EV Measured light: 3.0 EV
ISO 100, 1/25 s, F5.0 ISO 100, 1 s, F4.0
ISO 200, 1/50 s, F5.0 ISO 200, 1/2 s, F4.0
ISO 400, 1/80 s, F5.0 ISO 400, 1/3 s, F4.0

I'm mightily impressed. This is probably the best high ISO performance I've seen out of any consumer (sub $1000) digital camera. Sure, there's noise there at ISO 400 but it's less than see out of 3 megapixel digital cameras at ISO 200. We can only speculate that this is because of the 'next generation' status of this new 4.1 megapixel CCD.

Picture Effects

Just as with most other Sony digital cameras the S85 features four 'post processing' picture effects which can be used to stylize your images before they're written away to the Memory Stick.

No picture effect Negative Art picture effect
Sepia picture effect Black & White picture effect
Solarize picture effect  

Note that as well as this you can use the "TEXT" mode to shoot black and white (2 colour) photocopy style GIF's (useful for copying text, although slow to process) and apply a date-stamp onto the image (same as S70).