Canon Powershot N Review

3.5
May 29, 2013 | Mark Goldstein |

Image Quality


All of the sample images in this review were taken using the 12 megapixel JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 3.5Mb.

The Canon PowerShot N produces images of good quality. It recorded noise-free images at ISO 80-400, with some noise and slight colour desaturation at ISO 800. ISO 1600 shows more obvious noise and loss of colour but still remains perfectly usable, and even the faster setting of ISO 3200 doesn't suffer too badly, although we'd avoid using the fastest speed of ISO 6400.

The Canon PowerShot N handled chromatic aberrations well, with limited purple fringing effects appearing only in high contrast situations and generally at the edges of the frame. The built-in flash worked OK indoors, with adequate overall exposure. The night photograph was poor, with the maximum shutter speed of 1 second not long enough for most after-dark shots.

Anti-shake works well when hand-holding the camera in low-light conditions or when using the telephoto end of the zoom range. Macro performance is excellent, allowing you to focus as close as 1cm away from the subject. The images were a little soft straight out of the Canon PowerShot N at the default sharpening setting and ideally require some further sharpening in an application like Adobe Photoshop. The range of Creative Filters and the new Creative Shot mode help to spice up your images.

Noise

There are 8 ISO settings available on the Canon Powershot N. Here are some 100% crops which show the noise levels for each ISO setting:

ISO 80 (100% Crop)

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

ISO 6400 (100% Crop)

Sharpening

Here are two 100% crops which have been Saved as Web - Quality 50 in Photoshop. The right-hand image has had some sharpening applied in Photoshop. The out-of-the camera images are a little soft at the default setting ideally and benefit from some further sharpening in a program like Adobe Photoshop.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)

   

Focal Range

The Canon Powershot N's 8x zoom lens provides a versatile focal length of 28-224mm in 35mm terms, as demonstrated below.

28mm

224mm

Chromatic Aberrations

The Canon Powershot N handled chromatic aberrations excellently during the review, with limited purple fringing present around the edges of objects in certain high-contrast situations, as shown in the example below.

Chromatic Aberrations 1 (100% Crop)

Chromatic Aberrations 2 (100% Crop)

Macro

The Canon Powershot N offers a Macro setting that allows you to focus on a subject that is 1cm away from the camera when the lens is set to wide-angle. The first image shows how close you can get to the subject (in this case a compact flash card).

Macro

Macro (100% Crop)

Flash

The flash settings on the Canon Powershot N are Auto, Flash On, Slow Synchro, and Flash Off, with Red-eye Correction and Red-Eye Lamp settings available via the Flash Settings main menu option. These shots of a white coloured wall were taken at a distance of 1.5m.

Flash Off - Wide Angle (28mm)

Auto Flash - Wide Angle (28mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64
   

Flash Off - Telephoto (224mm)

Auto Flash - Telephoto (224mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

Night

The Canon Powershot N's maximum shutter speed is 1 second, which is not very good news if you're seriously interested in night photography. The shot below was taken using a shutter speed of 1 second at ISO 100.

Night

Night (100% Crop)

Anti Shake

The Canon Powershot N has an anti-shake mechanism, which allows you to take sharp photos at slower shutter speeds than other digital cameras. To test this, we took 2 handheld shots of the same subject with the same settings. The first shot was taken with anti shake turned off, the second with it turned on. Here are some 100% crops of the images to show the results. As you can see, with anti shake turned on, the images are sharper than with anti shake turned off.

Shutter Speed / Focal Length

Anti Shake Off (100% Crop)

Anti Shake On (100% Crop)

1/60th sec / 28mm
     
1/25th sec / 224mm

Creative Filters

The Canon Powershot SX280 HS has 7 different creative filter options to help spice up your images.

Off

Fish-eye Effect

   

Miniature Effect

Toy Camera Effect

   

Soft Focus

Monochrome - B/W

   

Monochrome - Sepia

Monochrome - Blue

Creative Shot

In the Creative Shot mode the Canon Powershot SX280 HS records six different versions of the current scene.

1

2

   

3

4

   

6

5

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