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Digital Cameras - Sony Cyber-shot DSC-S90 Test Images

 

I've begun including links in our reviews to a Thumbnail index page for the test shots. The data on this page includes a host of information on the images, including shutter speed, ISO setting, compression setting, etc. Rather than clutter the page below with all that detail, we're posting the thumbnail index so only those interested in the information need wade through it!

 

"Sunlit" Portrait:
(This is my new "Outdoor" Portrait test - read more about it here.)

Slightly warm color, but high resolution and good detail. Contrast is very high, however, with limited detail in both highlights and shadows.

  • Exposure compensation: +0.7 EV, about average.
  • Contrast/Tone: Very high, a lot of highlight detail lost, and shadows are quite dark.
  • White Balance: Auto is best, though warm toned. Daylight is even warmer.
  • Color accuracy: Pretty good, despite the warm cast. Blues are just about right, only slightly more purple than in real life, and reds, greens, and yellows are all good.
  • Skin tones: A little orange looking, harsh from the high contrast.
  • Resolution/sharpness: High resolution and strong detail. Sharp details in the bouquet, though face details are softer. (I think the camera was focusing on the flowers, a little in front of Marti's face.)
  • Shadow detail: Somewhat limited, with moderate noise.

To view the entire exposure series from zero to +1.0 EV, see files S90OUTAP0.HTM through S90OUTAP3.HTM on the thumbnail index page.


Contrast Series:
The contrast adjustment does make a difference, but it doesn't extend far enough in the "low" direction. A bigger issue though, is that the low contrast setting produces some very odd saturation shifts in Marti's skin tones, some parts of her face appearing almost gray.

Contrast Series
Low
Normal
High


Saturation Series:
A good range of saturation adjustment

Saturation Series
Low
Normal
High



 

Closer Portrait:

Higher resolution and stronger detail, but again, very high contrast.

  • Exposure compensation: +0.3 EV, average or a bit lower than average.
  • Exposure/Tone: Very high contrast creates very deep shadows and darker midtones, in order to hold highlight detail.
  • Detail: A lot of detail, slightly soft.
  • Distortion: Good, 3x zoom lens avoids distortion close-in like this.

 

To view the entire exposure series from zero to +1.0 EV, see files S90OUTFACAP0.HTM through S90OUTFACAP3.HTM on the thumbnail index page.



 

Indoor Portrait, Flash:
Normal Flash
High Intensity
Slow-Sync Flash
High Intensity

Normal setting results in underexposure, though Slow-Sync mode produces brighter results.

  • Exposure: Somewhat dim even at High Intensity, but brighter than the default exposure. The Slow Sync mode produces brighter exposure and more even coverage, also at High Intensity.
  • Flash balance with room lighting?: Good, no blue highlights from the flash, but the overall color is rather warm.
  • Color: Pretty good skin tones, though warm, dark colors in bouquet

 Normal Flash Series:

Intensity Series
Low
Normal
High


Slow-Sync Flash Series:

Intensity Series
Low
Normal
High



 

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

Slightly warm color with the Incandescent white balance setting, though still good. Higher than average exposure compensation required.

  • Exposure: +1.0 EV, adjustment needed, about average.
  • White Balance: Incandescent a little warm, but best overall. Auto setting much warmer.
  • Color: Skin tones are pretty good, though pink in places. Blue flowers are dark and purple, reds a little hot and magenta.

To view the entire exposure series from zero to +1.3 EV, see files S90INTP0.HTM through S90INTP4.HTM on the thumbnail index page.

ISO Series:
Noise levels on the S90 are typically low to moderate, but it selectively reduces subtle subject detail to hold the noise in check Thus, shots at ISO 100 are fairly sharp, with good amounts of fine/subtle detail, but the images become progressively softer as the ISO is raised. Even with the reduced subject detail though, shots at ISO 400 show a fair number of colored pixels. When printed, ISO 200 shots are a little rough looking at 8x10 inches, but fine at 5x7, while ISO 400 shots are rough at 5x7, probably OK at 4x6.

ISO Series
ISO 80
ISO 100
ISO 200
ISO 400



 

House Shot:
Auto White Balance
Daylight White Balance

Good detail and resolution, good color. Some blurring in the lower left corner though.

  • Sharpness/Detail: About average for a 4.1-megapixel camera. A lot of fine detail, though details slightly soft.
  • Sharpness in Corners: Pronounced blurring in the lower left corner, though the right side of the frame looks good.
  • Color: Auto white balance pretty good, though Daylight setting is warm.
  • Detail lost to anti-noise processing?: Some, in the shaded brick patterns.





 

Far-Field Test

High resolution and strong detail, surprisingly good dynamic range.

This image is shot at infinity to test far-field lens performance, and to present a near-infinite range of detail to the camera. NOTE that this image cannot be directly compared to the other "house" shot, which is a poster, shot in the studio.

  • Sharpness/Detail: About average for a four-megapixel camera. Good detail in the tree limbs.
  • Sharpness in Corners: Pretty good, though some blurring in the lower left corner.
  • Color: Pretty good.
  • Dynamic Range: Surprisingly good.
  • Detail lost to anti-noise processing?: Little or none in this particular shot.


Resolution Series:

Wide Angle "Fine"
JPEG
"Normal"
JPEG
2,304 x 1,728
S90FAR2304F
S90FAR2304N
2,048 x 1,536
S90FAR2048
-
1,280 x 960
S90FAR1280
-
640 x 480
S90FAR0640
-


ISO Series:

ISO Series
ISO 80
ISO 100
ISO 200
ISO 400


Sharpness Series:
A good range of sharpening adjustment. High would be good for inkjet prints at small sizes, Low takes unsharp masking in Photoshop very well, to reveal excellent detail.

Sharpness Series
Low
Normal
High


Contrast Series:
An effective contrast control, changes contrast with only a slight effect on saturation. I'd like to see it extend further in the "Low" direction though.
Contrast Series
Low
Normal
High


Saturation Series:
A good saturation adjustment, controls saturation with only a slight effect on contrast.

Saturation Series
Low
Normal
High


Color Effects Series:

Color Effects Series
Black & White
Sepia



 

Lens Zoom Range

A typical 3x zoom range, biased slightly toward the telephoto end.

The DSC-S90's focal length range of 39-117mm equivalents is fairly typical of most point & shoot digital cameras, just slightly biased toward the telephoto end as compared to the 35-105mm range that's most common. It corresponds to a moderate wide angle to a modest telephoto.

Wide Angle
3x Telephoto
Digital Telephoto



 

Musicians Poster
Auto White Balance
Daylight White Balance

Slightly warm and dark color, but still good results. High resolution and strong detail.

  • White Balance: Auto setting is slightly warm, but best overall. Daylight setting just a little too red.
  • Color: Dark overall, but pretty good skin tones. Blue robe and background both purplish and dark.
  • Sharpness/Detail: Good detail, with good sharpness. (Close to the limits of the poster though.)





 

Macro Shot
Standard Macro Shot
Macro with Flash

An average-size macro area with good detail, slightly soft. Flash has a little trouble up close though.

  • Minimum Macro Area: 3.29 x 2.47 inches (84 x 63 millimeters), about average.
  • Softness in corners?: Quite a bit, a little more than average. (Most cameras get fairly soft corners in macro mode.)
  • Flash performance in macro mode?: Flash throttles down a little too well, with strong falloff in the corners of the frame. (Best to plan on using external lighting for your closest shots.)




 

"Davebox" Test Target
Auto White Balance
Daylight White Balance

Slightly underexposed, but still good results, better than average color accuracy.

  • White balance: Auto setting best, though still a little warm. Daylight setting much warmer.
  • Color Accuracy: Very good overall. Red (as always) is a bit oversaturated, greens are a little bright, other colors are much more accurate than normal.
  • Shadow detail and noise: Moderate detail in the charcoal briquettes, low noise.



The images series below duplicate examples of various camera controls we've already covered above. I include them here though, for our more analytically-minded readers, who'd like to see the effect of various camera controls with a well-known target like the MacBeth Color Checker (tm).

ISO Series:

ISO Series
ISO 80
ISO 100
ISO 200
ISO 400

Contrast Series:
Contrast Series
Low
Normal
High


Saturation Series:

Saturation Series
Low
Normal
High

Color Effects Series:

Color Effects Series
Black & White
Sepia



 

Low-Light Tests

Good low-light performance, though noise is moderately high and color balance is slightly warm. Good low-light autofocus ability.

  • Exposure limit: 1/16 foot-candle. (About 1/16 as bright as typical city street lighting at night.)
  • Autofocus Limit: Down to 1/4 foot-candle without AF-assist, in total darkness for nearby objects with AF-assist enabled.
  • White Balance: Pretty good, just a little warm.
  • Noise Levels: High at ISO 400, particularly at the lower light levels. OK at ISO 100 though.
  • Detail loss to anti-noise processing?: Minimal at one foot-candle, slightly more noticeable at 1/16 foot-candle, though still not bad.
  • General Notes: Overall, not a bad low-light performer. Acceptable autofocus performance, even without the AF-assist light, good exposure capability.

(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.)

  1 fc
11 lux
1/2 fc
5.5 lux
1/4 fc
2.7 lux
1/8 fc
1.3 lux
1/16 fc
0.67 lux
ISO
80
Click to see S90LL0803.JPG
2.5 sec
f2.8
Click to see S90LL0804.JPG
7 sec
f2.8
Click to see S90LL0805.JPG
15 sec
f2.8
Click to see S90LL0806.JPG
25 sec
f2.8
Click to see S90LL0807.JPG
30 sec
f2.8
ISO
100
Click to see S90LL1003.JPG
2 sec
f2.8
Click to see S90LL1004.JPG
5 sec
f2.8
Click to see S90LL1005.JPG
13 sec
f2.8
Click to see S90LL1006.JPG
20 sec
f2.8
Click to see S90LL1007.JPG
30 sec
f2.8
ISO
200
Click to see S90LL2003.JPG
1 sec
f2.8
Click to see S90LL2004.JPG
2.5 sec
f2.8
Click to see S90LL2005.JPG
7 sec
f2.8
Click to see S90LL2006.JPG
10 sec
f2.8
Click to see S90LL2007.JPG
20 sec
f2.8
ISO
400
Click to see S90LL4003.JPG
1/2 sec
f2.8
Click to see S90LL4004.JPG
1.3 sec
f2.8
Click to see S90LL4005.JPG
3 sec
f2.8
Click to see S90LL4006.JPG
5 sec
f2.8
Click to see S90LL4007.JPG
10 sec
f2.8



 

Flash Range Test

Slightly underexposed even at eight feet, with decreasing intensity to 14 feet.

  • Flash range at telephoto lens setting: Eight feet. (Limited)
8 ft 9 ft 10 ft 11 ft 12 ft 13 ft 14 ft
Click to see S90FL08.JPG
1/50 sec
f5.2
ISO 80
Click to see S90FL09.JPG
1/50 sec
f5.2
ISO 80
Click to see S90FL10.JPG
1/50 sec
f5.2
ISO 80
Click to see S90FL11.JPG
1/50 sec
f5.2
ISO 80
Click to see S90FL12.JPG
1/50 sec
f5.2
ISO 80
Click to see S90FL13.JPG
1/50 sec
f5.2
ISO 80
Click to see S90FL14.JPG
1/50 sec
f5.2
ISO 80



 

ISO-12233 (WG-18) Resolution Test

Good resolution, 1,200 lines of "strong detail." High barrel distortion at wide angle, and a moderate amount at telephoto. Moderately low chromatic aberration, pretty good sharpness in the corners.

  • Resolution: 1,200 lines both vertically and horizontally.
  • Artifacts begin at: ~1,000 lines.
  • Extinction point: ~1,500 lines.

  • Barrel/Pincushion distortion: 1.0 percent barrel at wide angle, 0.4 percent at telephoto.
  • Chromatic Aberration: Low at wide angle and telephoto.
  • Corner Sharpness: Pretty good at both wide angle and telephoto, though some softening in the lower left corner at wide angle.



Resolution Series, medium focal length
Wide Angle "Fine"
JPEG
"Normal"
JPEG
2,304 x 1,728
S90RES2304F
S90RES2304N
2,048 x 1,536
S90RES2048
-
1,280 x 960
S90RES1280
-
640 x 480
S90RES0640
-


 

Resolution Test, Zoom Series
2,304 x 1,536
(Fine,
Wide Angle)
S90RESW
2,304 x 1,728
(Fine,
Telephoto)
S90REST



 

Viewfinder Accuracy/Flash Uniformity

An accurate LCD viewfinder, but tight optical viewfinder with poor aiming accuracy. Strong flash falloff at wide angle, very little at telephoto.

  • Optical Viewfinder Accuracy: Quite tight, about 83 percent at both telephoto and wide angle. Optical viewfinder aims low, so your photos will tend to include much more at the top than you think you're capturing.
  • LCD Viewfinder Accuracy: Very good, 99.9 percent.
  • Flash Uniformity: Strong falloff at wide angle, very little at telephoto.



S90 Review
S90 Test Images
S90 Specifications
S90 "Picky Details"
Up to Imaging Resource digital cameras area

 

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