Compared to...

Below you will find a studio comparison between the Sony DSC-W7 and the Canon PowerShot SD500 (IXUS 700). We have included samples for the lowest and highest ISO settings for each camera Sony W7: ISO 100 and 400, Canon SD500: ISO 50 and 400).

Studio scene comparison (Sony DSC-W7 @ ISO 100, Canon SD500 @ ISO 50)

  • Sony DSC-W7 : Manual mode, ISO 100, Default Image Parameters,
    Manual white balance (preset)
  • Canon PowerShot SD500: Program mode, ISO 50, Default Image Parameters,
    Manual white balance, +1.0 EV compensation
  • Lighting: Daylight simulation, >98% CRI
Sony DSC-W7
Canon PowerShot SD500
ISO 100, 1/100 sec, F4
ISO 50, 1/80 sec, F4
3,004 KB JPEG
2,719 KB JPEG
Noise, std dev: 1.2
Noise, std dev: 1.3

Perhaps unsurprisingly the differences between these two cameras (which we presume share the same Sony 7.2MP chip) are minimal, and are mostly the result of Sony and Canon's slightly different approach to image processing. There appears to be very little difference in the performance of the lenses (something borne out by our testing), though the Canon SD500 is squeezing a tiny amount more detail out of our test shot.

The W7 images are unmistakably Sony - bright, vivid colors, slightly warm tone, fairly high contrast and fairly abrupt highlight clipping, but lots of detail and a very smooth, low noise appearance. To my eyes the results look very slightly over-sharpened (there are some halos around high contrast edges) when viewed at 100% like this, but they produce sharp, punchy prints with little or no post-processing, which I suppose is what a camera like this should do. You can turn down the contrast, sharpness and saturation in-camera, something I'd recommend doing if you want to do some post-processing (it should be pointed out, however, that the difference is fairly minimal).

We've been very impressed with the results obtained by most cameras using this particular CCD, especially in terms of noise and dynamic range, and the W7 is no exception. Overall the W7 gives very little cause for complaint, certainly when compared to its direct competitors in the 7MP compact market.