Canon Powershot SX100 IS Review

Review Date: November 15th 2007
Author: Gavin Stoker

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Page 1
Introduction / Ease of Use
Page 2
Image Quality
Page 3
Sample Images
Page 4
Design
Page 5
Specifications
Page 6
Conclusion

Image Quality

All of the sample images in this Review were taken using the 8 megapixel Superfine JPEG mode, which gives an average image size of around 4-5Mb.

Noise

There are 6 ISO settings available on the Canon Powershot SX100 IS which you can select at any time if the camera is in the normal shooting mode. Noise is visible from ISO 400 and upwards, with the ISO 1600 option returning results that look like they were shot through a trickle of sand rather than an all-out storm, which means they're not the worst we've seen by far and still usable. 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)

   

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 just a little soft at the default sharpening setting. You can change the in-camera sharpening level if you don't like the default look.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)

   
   

Chromatic Aberrations

The Canon Powershot SX100 IS did suffer from chromatic aberrations during the review. On close inspection there are lines of purple fringing visible between areas of high contrast and highlights are blown, but this is truthfully no better nor worse than other cameras in its price bracket. Limited purple fringing was mainly present around the edges of objects in high-contrast situations, as shown in the examples below.

Example 1 (100% Crop)
Example 2 (100% Crop)
   

Macro

The Canon Powershot SX100 IS offers a Macro setting that allows you to focus on a subject that is just 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). The second image is a 100% crop.

Macro Shot

Macro Shot (100% Crop)

   

Flash

The flash settings on the Canon Powershot SX100 IS are Auto, On, Auto Red-eye Reduction, Slow Synchro and Off. These shots of a white coloured wall were taken at a distance of 1.5m.

Flash Off - Wide Angle (36mm)

Auto Flash - Wide Angle (36mm)

ISO 64
ISO 64
   

Flash Off - Telephoto (360mm)

Auto Flash - Telephoto (360mm)
ISO 64
ISO 64
   

And here are some shots of yours truly. As you can see, neither the Flash On setting or the Red-Eye Reduction option caused any amount of red-eye.

Flash On

Flash On (100% Crop)
   

Flash - Red-Eye Reduction

Flash - Red-Eye Reduction (100% Crop)
   

Night Shot

The Canon Powershot SX100 IS's maximum shutter speed is 15 seconds, which is great news if you're seriously interested in night photography. The shot below was taken using a shutter speed of 1/8th second, aperture of f/2.8 at ISO 250. I've included a 100% crop of the image to show what the quality is like.

Night Shot

Night Shot (100% Crop)
   

Overall Image Quality

When it comes to image quality, overall sharpness impresses pictures being as crisp as the autumnal days on which they were taken. The Canon Powershot SX100 IS's handling of colour well saturated without being overwhelmingly 'in your face' is true to expected form, though the fact that noise is visible from ISO 400 and upwards disappoints, a bugbear that also blighted the Powershot S5 IS. That said, here it's not quite as pronounced: the manually selectable ISO 1600 option returning results that look like they were shot through a trickle of sand rather than an all-out storm, which means they're not the worst we've seen by far and still usable. In truth most family users may well be content to fall back on using the flash anyway so it's not as contentious an issue as on an enthusiast targeted model. On a more positive note, the Canon Powershot SX100 IS's optical image stabilisation seems to work particularly well, in that I was able to enjoy blur free photography at the extremities of the zoom on dull overcast, November days, and when switching to macro and shooting handheld. In fact, set to continuous IS mode, I'd stick my neck out and say its ability to counteract camera shake is one of the best I've yet seen on a consumer compact. As when examining noise levels, it's therefore only really when you zoom into the camera's images that problems appear. Thus, on close inspection, there are lines of purple fringing visible between areas of high contrast and highlights are blown. But again this is truthfully no better nor worse than others in its price bracket, and under most conditions the large-lens sporting Canon Powershot SX100 IS delivers an impressive level of detail.

Page 1
Introduction / Ease of Use
Page 2
Image Quality
Page 3
Sample Images
Page 4
Design
Page 5
Specifications
Page 6
Conclusion

DIWAPhotographyBLOG is a member of the DIWA organisation. Our test results for the Canon Powershot SX100 IS have been submitted to DIWA for comparison with test results for different samples of the same camera model supplied by other DIWA member sites.

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