Digital Cameras - Canon PowerShot A95 Test Images
|I've begun including links in our reviews to a Thumber-generated index page for the test shots. The Thumber data includes a host of information on the images, including shutter speed, ISOsetting, compression setting, etc. Rather than clutter the page below with *all*that detail, we're posting the Thumber index so only those interested inthe information need wade through it!|
High resolution and strong detail. Very good color, just slightly on the warm side. Good tonal range.
The extreme tonal range of this image makes it a tough shot for many digicams, which is precisely why I set it up this way, and why I shoot it with no fill flash or reflector to open the shadows. The object is to hold both highlight and shadow detail without producing a "flat" picture with muddy colors, and the PowerShot A95 handled the challenge fairly well.
The shot at right was taken with a +0.7 EV exposure compensation adjustment, which resulted in moderately bright midtones and good detail in the strong highlights of Marti's shirt. Though just slightly reddish, I chose the Auto white balance setting for the main series, although the Daylight setting also produced good results. Oddly, the Manual setting resulted in a stronger red cast.Marti's skin tones here are excellent, perhaps just slightly yellowish, but still very good, while, and the very difficult blue flowers in the bouquet are pretty much dead-on. (Many digicams have trouble with this blue, which is in reality a light navy with only hints of purple in it.) The bright red flowers appear slightly pinkish, but the strong greens and yellows look good (if a little dark). Resolution is quite high, and detail is strong in the flower bouquet and in Marti's features (though details are just a hint soft). Shadow detail is good, with surprisingly low noise except in the very darkest areas. Overall, an excellent performance.
To view the entire exposure series from zero to +1.3 EV, see files A95OUTAP0.HTM
through A95OUTAP4.HTM on the thumbnail index page.
Great resolution and detail, though contrast is slightly high.
Color and overall exposure are similar to the wider shot above, with a slight warm tone and high contrast. The midtone range is limited, though with reasonably good detail, and the highlights on Marti's face are borderline. The shot at right was taken with no exposure compensation adjustment. The A95's 3x zoom lens does a good job of preventing any geometric distortion of Marti's features. Detail and resolution are excellent, with great definition in Marti's face and hair, as well as in the fabric of the green leaves and subtle embroidery on her shirt collar. Excellent!
To view the entire exposure series from -0.3 to +1.3 EV, see files A95OUTFACAM1.HTM
through A95OUTFACAP4.HTM on the thumbnail index page.
Indoor Portrait, Flash:
Good intensity and coverage with the built-in flash, though some orange cast from the background lighting.
The A95's built-in flash was dim at the default
exposure, but provided fairly even coverage despite the low intensity.
I chose a +0.7 EV exposure compensation adjustment
for the main shot, as the best exposure that didn't lose detail in the
highlights of Marti's shirt. The background incandescent lighting results
in an orange cast on the back wall, which also spills onto Marti's features
and the white shirt. Still, overall color is pretty good. I also shot
with the camera's Slow-Sync flash mode, again
choosing a +0.7 EV exposure compensation adjustment. The orange cast is
stronger, due the longer exposure time, but the additional ambient light
softens the exposure.
To view the entire exposure
series from -0.3 to +1.0 EV in the Slow-Sync flash mode, see files A95INFSM1.HTM
through A95INFSP3.HTM on the thumbnail index page.
Indoor Portrait, No Flash:
Auto white balance has trouble, but excellent color with both the Incandescent and Manual white balances. Visible image noise, however.
This shot is always a very tough test of a camera's white balance capability,
given the strong, yellowish color cast of the household incandescent bulbs
used for the lighting. It was a toss-up between the A95's Incandescent
and Manual white balance settings, as both
produced good results. As the Incandescent setting had just a hint more
red, I chose the Manual setting for the main series. (The Auto
white balance option resulted in a strong warm cast.)
To view the entire exposure series from zero to +1.3 EV, see files A95INMP0.HTM
through A95INMP4.HTM on the thumbnail index page.
High resolution and strong detail, with accurate color.
The A95's Manual white balance produced
the best results here, though the Auto and
Daylight settings also performed well (with
just slightly warmer color balances). Resolution is very high, and detail
is strong in the tree limbs above the roof, as well as in the smaller
leaf details of the front shrubbery. The brick pattern of the house is
well-defined also. (The A95's five-megapixel CCD stretches the limits
of this poster as a test target. Even though the poster was made from
a 500MB scan of a 4x5 negative shot with a tack-sharp lens, the A95 is
close to extracting all the detail that's to be found here.) Details are
just a hint soft throughout the frame, likely the result of Canon's generally
conservative approach to in-camera image sharpening. A good job overall.
Excellent resolution and detail, but a slightly limited dynamic range.
This image is shot at infinity to test far-field lens performance. NOTE that this image cannot be directly compared to the other "house" shot, which is a poster, shot in the studio. The rendering of detail in the poster will be very different than in this shot, and color values (and even the presence or absence of leaves on the trees!) will vary in this subject as the seasons progress. In general though, you can evaluate detail in the bricks, shingles and window detail, and in the tree branches against the sky. Compression artifacts are most likely to show in the trim along the edge of the roof, in the bricks, or in the relatively "flat" areas in the windows.
This is my ultimate "resolution shot,"
given the infinite range of detail in a natural scene like this, and the
A95 performs very well. Detail is very good in the tree limbs over the
roof, as well as in the fine foliage in front of the house, with crisply
defined leaf patterns. Sharpness is pretty good across the frame, although
there's a little softness in the corners. This softness doesn't appear
to extend too far into the frame however. The camera almost
(but not quite) holds onto details in the strong highlights of the bay
window, a trouble spot for many digicams. Detail
is stronger, however, in the shadow area above the front door. The Auto
white balance setting produced accurate color, and exposure is about right,
though contrast is high. The table below shows a standard resolution and
quality series, followed by ISO and effects series.
Lens Zoom Range
A typical 3x zoom range.
I routinely shoot this series of images to show the field of view for
each camera, with the lens at full wide angle, at maximum telephoto (3x,
in this case), and at full telephoto with the digital zoom enabled. The
A95's lens is equivalent to a 38-114mm zoom on a 35mm camera. That corresponds
to a range from moderate wide angle to moderate telephoto. Following are
the results at each zoom setting.
Pretty accurate color with the Daylight white balance, just slightly warm. High resolution and a lot of visible fine detail.
This shot is often a tough test for digicams, as the abundance of blue
in the composition frequently tricks white balance systems into producing
a warm color balance. Though just slightly warm, I chose the A95's Daylight
white balance setting for this shot. The Auto
setting resulted in a stronger warm cast, while the Manual
setting appeared more magenta and cool. The blue background has a few
purplish tints in the darker areas from the warm cast, as do the deep
shadows of the blue robe. Skin tones are reasonable, if slightly red.
Resolution is very high, and detail is strong in the bird wings on the
blue robe, as well as in the necklaces and instrument details. Details
are also sharp, from corner to corner. (The original data file for this
poster was only 20MB though, so cameras like the A95 are definitely capable
of showing more detail than the poster has in it.)
A small macro area with excellent detail, though the flash has trouble up close.
The A95 performed very well in the macro category, capturing a minimum
area of 2.04 x 1.53 inches (52 x 39 millimeters). Resolution is excellent,
and detail is very strong in the dollar bill. The brooch and coins are
soft, however, due to the close shooting range and the resulting limited
depth of field. (An optical fact of life, not the camera's fault.) Details
are sharp on the dollar bill, but all four corners of the frame are quite
soft, a common failing of digicam macro modes. Color and exposure look
good as well. The A95's flash had trouble throttling
down for the macro area, and overexposed the shot. - Plan on using external
lighting for your closest macro shots with the A95.
"Davebox" Test Target
Good overall exposure, very good color, good image noise levels.
Both the A95's Auto and Manual
white balance settings produced good results here, so I chose the Auto
setting for the main shot. (The Daylight setting
resulted in a slight warm cast.) Exposure is about right, and the A95
has no trouble distinguishing the subtle tonal variations of the Q60 target.
The A95's color here is very much the "Canon" color I've come
to expect from this manufacturer's cameras. Like most consumer cameras,
it's a little oversaturated compared to a purely accurate rendering, but
this is very clearly what most consumers want. Reds are a bit more pumped
up than other colors, and cyans are pulled toward blue hues somewhat,
apparently in order to make nicer-looking sky colors. All things considered,
this is bright, vibrant color that should make most consumers very happy.
Detail is very good in the shadow area of the charcoal briquettes, with
only moderate noise.
Very good low-light performance, with comparatively low image noise. Autofocus works down to about 1/2 foot-candle. (About half as bright as typical city street lighting at night.)
The A95 produced clear, bright, usable images down to the 1/16 foot-candle (0.67 lux) limit of my test at the 100, 200, and 400 ISO settings. At ISO 50, images were bright as low as 1/8 foot-candle (1.3 lux) light level. Color was good with the Auto white balance, though just slightly pink at the lower exposures. The A95 handled image noise well here, producing low noise levels at the 50 and 100 ISO settings, rising somewhat at. Even at ISO 400, noise is high, but not overpowering. The A95's autofocus system works well down to a light level of 1/2 foot-candle without its autofocus illuminator, or to a bit over 1/4 foot-candle with the AF illuminator working. This isn't spectacular, but is quite adequate for typical city night scenes, which average around one foot-candle of illumination. The table below shows the best exposure I was able to obtain for each of a range of illumination levels. Images in this table (like all sample photos) are untouched, exactly as they came from the camera.
(Note: If you'd like to use a light meter to
check light levels for subjects you might be interested in shooting, a
light level of one foot-candle corresponds to a normal exposure of two
seconds at f/2.8 and ISO 100.)
Flash Range Test
A flash range of 9-10 feet.
In my testing, the A95's flash illuminated the test target all the way
out to 14 feet, though with a significant decrease in intensity. Flash
power was fairly consistent to about nine feet, then fell off in intensity
from there. Below is the flash range series, with distances from eight
to 14 feet from the target.
Very high resolution, 1,350-1,400 lines of "strong detail." Slightly better than average barrel distortion, low chromatic aberration, good sharpness in the corners.
The A95 performed very well on the "laboratory" resolution test chart. It started showing artifacts in the test patterns at resolutions as low as 700 lines per picture height, in both horizontal and vertical directions. I found "strong detail" out to at least 1,350 lines. (You could perhaps make a case for resolution as high as 1,450 lines in the horizontal direction, but there are too many artifacts at that point for my conservative standard to permit that high a rating.) "Extinction" of the target patterns occurred around 1,650 lines.
Using its "MTF 50" criteria, Imatest reported average resolution of 1118 line widths/picture height, or 1365 LW/PH when normalized to a standard 1-pixel sharpening.
Optical distortion on the A95 was a little better than average at the wide-angle end, where I measured approximately 0.6 percent barrel distortion. The telephoto end fared better still, as I measured 0.1 percent barrel distortion there. Chromatic aberration was quite good, showing three or four pixels of fairly faint coloration on either side of the target lines. (This distortion is visible as a very slight colored fringe around the objects at the edges of the field of view on the resolution target.) The A95's images were also sharper than average in the corners of the frame. A good performance all around.
Resolution Series, 50mm
Viewfinder Accuracy/Flash Uniformity
Near-perfect accuracy from the LCD monitor, but a very tight optical viewfinder.
The A95's optical viewfinder is very tight, showing only about 80 percent
of the final image area at wide angle, and about 78 percent at telephoto.
The LCD monitor proved much more accurate, at almost exactly 100 percent.
Given that I like LCD monitors to be as close to 100 percent accuracy
as possible, the A95's LCD monitor is just about perfect in this regard,
but its optical viewfinder could use some help. Flash distribution is
somewhat uneven at wide angle, with strong falloff at the corners and
edges of the frame. At telephoto, flash distribution is more even, with
only slight falloff in the corners.
A95 Test Images
A95 Imatest Results
A95 "Picky Details"
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