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Digital Cameras - Canon PowerShot SD10 Digital ELPH 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!

 

Outdoor Portrait:

Very good resolution and detail, good color, but slightly high contrast. (Apologies for the errant strand of hair!)

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. The SD10 did a pretty good job here, but did lose the strongest highlights.

The shot at right was taken with a +0.7 EV exposure compensation adjustment, which lost a fair bit of highlight detail, even though the midtones ended up a little dark. (The SD10 has a slightly contrasty tone curve.). Midtones are a little dark, and highlight detail is limited in the brightest areas. I chose the Auto white balance for the main series, though the Daylight setting also produced good results.

Skin tones look pretty good, although they're slightly reddish in places, and the blue flowers in the bouquet are almost perfect. (Many digicams have trouble with this blue, introducing more purple than is present in real life. The SD10's rendering of them is pretty close to spot-on though, only slightly dark.) Color and saturation are good throughout the rest of the frame as well. The SD10's 4.2-megapixel CCD picks up good detail throughout the frame, with reasonably good detail in the shadows. Image noise is moderately low.

To view the entire exposure series from zero to +0.7 EV, see files SD10OUTAP0.HTM through SD10OUTAP2.HTM on the thumbnail index page.




 

Closer Portrait:

Increased resolution and detail, but Marti's features are distorted by the short focal length lens.

Exposure and color balance are similar to the wider shot above, again with slightly high contrast. The shot at right was taken with a +0.3 EV exposure compensation adjustment, which resulted in moderately bright midtones. The SD10's fixed focal length lens creates quite a bit of distortion in Marti's features, which is an important consideration in close-up shots like this. (A zoom-equipped camera will do much better on shots like this.) Resolution and detail are much stronger, however, with great definition although the skin tones here are more reddish than in the shot above.

To view the entire exposure series from zero to +0.7 EV, see files SD10FACAP0.HTM through SD10FACAP2.HTM on the thumbnail index page.



 

Indoor Portrait, Flash:
Normal Flash
+1.3 EV
Slow-Sync Mode
+1.3 EV

Pretty good flash coverage, but significant underexposure and a strong orange cast from the background household lighting. (In hindsight, I should have tried using the incandescent white balance setting, very unusual for a flash shot.)

The SD10's built-in flash illuminated the subject fairly well, though it required a +1.3 EV exposure compensation boost for the best image, more than average for this shot. Though the shot at right is just slightly dark, increasing the exposure compensation to +1.7 EV was too much, resulting in glowing white highlights. (Click here for a look at the default exposure.) Color balance is very warm from the background incandescent lighting, which also creates an orange cast on the back wall that spills onto Marti's features. I also shot with the Slow-Sync flash mode, which balanced-out the exposure slightly by combining the flash with a slower shutter speed, albeit at the cost of an even stronger orange cast. Again, the best results were obtained with a +1.3 EV exposure compensation adjustment. (The default exposure setting was slightly dark.)

 

Indoor Portrait, No Flash:
Auto White Balance
Incandescent White Balance

Great color with the Incandescent white balance setting, and pretty good exposure as well.

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. The SD10's Auto white balance had quite a bit of trouble here, and produced a very strong warm cast. However, the Incandescent setting produced very nice results. The main shot was taken with a +1.0 EV exposure compensation adjustment (about average for this shot). Though the exposure is ever-so-slightly dim, anything brighter resulted in hot highlights on Marti's shirt. Color is good overall, even in the blue flowers of the bouquet. Overall, an excellent result.

ISO Series:
Noise is quite low at the ISO 50 setting, and moderately low at ISO 100. However, it becomes increasingly pronounced and problematic at the 200 and 400 settings, affecting both color and detail. (I'd advise against using the SD10 at ISO 200 or higher for photos you care about.)

ISO Series
ISO 50
ISO 100
ISO 200
ISO 400



 

House Shot:
Auto White Balance
Daylight White Balance

High resolution with good detail, good overall color.

Both the SD10's Auto and Daylight settings produced similar results, though the Auto setting had more of a slight red tint and the Daylight option more of a warm, yellow tint. I stuck with the Auto setting for the main image, however. Resolution is very high, with a lot of fine detail visible in the tree limbs and front shrubbery. Details are also sharp throughout most of the frame. There's quite a bit of softness in the corners on the left side of the frame, but only a little bit in the lower right corner.



 

Far-Field Test

Excellent resolution and detail, but somewhat 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 SD10 performed very well. Detail is very strong in the tree limbs above the roof and in the fine foliage in front of the house, and even the tree bark and leaf details are well-defined. Details are sharp throughout the frame, and appear to be fairly sharp from corner to corner. Exposure is a little bright, causing the camera to lose most of the detail in the bright white paint surrounding the bay window, a trouble spot for many digicams. Detail is only slightly better in the shadow area above the front door, an indication of the SD10's limited dynamic range, resulting from its somewhat high contrast. The table below shows a standard resolution and quality series, followed by ISO and effects series.

Resolution Series:

Wide Angle "Fine"
JPEG
"Normal"
JPEG
"Economy"
JPEG
2,272 x 1,704
SD10FARLF
SD10FARLN
SD10FARLE
1,600 x 1,200
SD10FARMF
-
1,024 x 768
SD10FARSF
-
 -
640 x 480
SD10FARTF
-
 -


ISO Series:

ISO Series
ISO 50
ISO 100
ISO 200
ISO 400

Effects Series: The SD10 has a handful of Effects options, which provide a few creative options when shooting.

Effects Series
Normal
Neutral Color
Vivid Color
Sepia
Black and White
Low Sharpening



 

Lens Zoom Range

The SD10 has a fixed focal length lens. There was thus no point to including a series of images here. For an idea of lens coverage, check the Far shot above.



 

Musicians Poster

Auto White Balance
Daylight White Balance

Good color with the Daylight white balance option, and great resolution and 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. The SD10's Auto white balance fell victim to this trap, but the Daylight setting produced very good color. The blue robe looks about right, with only a hint of a purplish tint in the deep shadows. Skin tones are also pretty good. Resolution is excellent, with a lot of fine detail visible in the embroidery of the blue robe and red vest, as well as in the instrument details. (The original data file for this poster was only 20MB though, so cameras like the SD10 are definitely capable of showing more detail than the poster has in it.)



 

Macro Shot
Standard Macro Shot
Macro with Flash

A surprisingly small macro area with good detail in the dollar bill and smaller coin. The flash has trouble up close though.

The SD10 performed very well in the macro category, capturing a minimum area of only 2.33 x 1.75 inches (59 x 44 millimeters) - particularly impressive for a camera with a fixed focal length lens. Resolution is very high, showing excellent fine detail in the dollar bill and smaller coin. The larger coin and brooch are soft, most likely due to the shallow depth of field caused by the very short shooting distance. As is often the case with digicam macro shots, there's some softness in the corners of the image here. The SD10's flash had trouble throttling down for the macro area, and overexposed the shot, so plan on using external light sources for your macro photos with the SD10.



 

"Davebox" Test Target
Auto White Balance
Daylight White Balance

An excellent result, accurate color and good exposure.

The SD10's Auto white balance option produced pretty accurate color here, though the Daylight setting resulted in a warm cast. Exposure is good, and the SD10 distinguishes the subtle tonal variations of the Q60 target well. The large color blocks are about right, with good saturation overall. Shadow detail is good in the charcoal briquettes, with low noise.



 

Low-Light Tests
(Coming soon)



 

Flash Range Test

A tendency toward underexposure, with best results at about eight feet from the test target.

In my testing, the SD10's flash illuminated the test target all the way out to 14 feet, but with a progressive decrease in intensity from the eight foot distance on. Below is the flash range series, with distances from eight to 14 feet from the target.

8 ft 9 ft 10 ft 11 ft 12 ft 13 ft 14 ft
Click to see SD10FL08.JPG
1/60 secs
F2.8
Click to see SD10FL09.JPG
1/60 secs
F2.8
Click to see SD10FL10.JPG
1/60 secs
F2.8
Click to see SD10FL11.JPG
1/60 secs
F2.8
Click to see SD10FL12.JPG
1/60 secs
F2.8
Click to see SD10FL13.JPG
1/60 secs
F2.8
Click to see SD10FL14.JPG
1/60 secs
F2.8



 

ISO-12233 (WG-18) Resolution Test

High resolution, 1,200 lines of "strong detail." Slightly less than average barrel distortion.

The SD10 performed nicely on the "laboratory" resolution test chart. It started showing artifacts in the test patterns at resolutions as low as 850-900 lines per picture height, in both horizontal and vertical directions. I found "strong detail" out to at least 1,200 lines, and you could argue for 1250 lines horizontally. "Extinction" of the target patterns didn't occur until about 1,450 lines. Overall, a good performance for a fairly simple point-and-shoot camera.

Optical distortion on the SD10 is slightly less than average for a camera with a wide-angle lens, as I measured approximately 0.7 percent barrel distortion. I'd still like to see a little less than that, however. Chromatic aberration is very low, showing only two or three pixels of very slight 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 softness I observed in the left side of other shots is again visible here.

Resolution Series
Wide Angle "Fine"
JPEG
"Normal"
JPEG
"Economy"
JPEG
2,272 x 1,704
SD10RESLF
SD10RESLN
SD10RESLE
1,600 x 1,200
SD10RESMF
-
-
1,024 x 768
SD10RESSF
-
-
640 x 480
SD10RESTF
-
-



 

Viewfinder Accuracy/Flash Uniformity

A very accurate LCD monitor.

The SD10 offers only an LCD monitor for a viewfinder, which shows almost exactly 100 percent frame accuracy. Actually, the LCD monitor is just a little loose, as the lines I use for measurement are just cut off at the top and bottom, and on the right side of the frame. So, you'll need to add a hair of space when tightly framing a subject. Given that I like LCD monitors to be as close to 100 percent accurate as possible, the SD10 does very well in this respect. Flash distribution is uneven though, with moderate falloff at the corners of the frame.




SD10 Review
SD10 Test Images
SD10 Specifications
SD10 "Picky Details"
Up to Imaging Resource digital cameras area

 

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