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!|
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
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
Indoor Portrait, Flash:
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:
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.
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.
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.
Effects Series: The SD10 has a handful of Effects options, which provide a few creative options when shooting.
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.
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.)
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
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.
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.
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.
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 Test Images
SD10 "Picky Details"
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