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Digital Cameras - Canon PowerShot SD100 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:

A very nice job, with good detail and resolution, and good overall color as well.

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 SD100 did a good job.

The shot at right was taken with a +0.3 EV exposure compensation adjustment, which brightened the midtones slightly, albeit at the cost of some highlight detail, while the shadows are still darker than I'd like. I chose the Daylight white balance as the most accurate overall, though the Auto setting produced similar results. The Manual setting resulted in a warmer, yellow image.

Skin tones are a little warm and ruddy, but not bad overall. The blue flowers in the bouquet look almost exactly right. (This is a very difficult blue for many digicams to get right. For reference, the flowers are a pretty pure light navy blue, with just a few hints of purple in them.) The red flowers of the bouquet are just a little oversaturated, but the strong yellow and green tones look good. Resolution is very good, with a lot of fine detail visible throughout the frame, even in the shadows. Details are also sharp overall, and image noise in the shadows is low.

To view the entire exposure series from zero to +1.0 EV, see files SD10OUTDP0.HTM through SD10OUTDP3.HTM on the thumbnail index page.




 

Closer Portrait:

Great resolution and detail, though just a slight distortion from the lens.

Results are similar to the wider shot above, in terms of color and exposure. The SD100's 2x zoom lens prevents some distortion of Marti's features, but there's still a little artificial exaggeration of her nose. Detail is much stronger in this shot, particularly in Marti's face and hair. Details are just slightly soft, but still well-defined. The shot at right was taken at the default exposure setting, which produced a nicely balanced exposure with only the strongest highlights blown out. Shadow detail is again strong, with low noise.

To view the entire exposure series from -0.3 to +0.7 EV, see files SD10FACM1.HTM through SD10FACP2.HTM on the thumbnail index page.



 

Indoor Portrait, Flash:
Normal Flash
+0.7 EV
Slow Sync Mode
+0.7 EV

Good intensity and coverage with the built-in flash, though a strong color cast from the room lighting.

The SD100's built-in flash illuminates the subject well, producing a bright image with a +0.7 EV exposure compensation adjustment. (The default exposure was just a little too dark.) The background incandescent lighting results in a fairly strong orange cast on the wall in the background, quite a bit of which spills onto Marti's features and the flower bouquet. The camera's Slow Sync flash mode produced similar results, though with slightly more even lighting than the normal flash mode. Again, a +0.7 EV exposure compensation adjustment produced the best results, as the default setting was slightly dim.

To view the entire exposure series in the normal flash mode from zero to +1.3 EV, see files SD10INAFP0.HTM through SD10INAFP4.HTM on the thumbnail index page. To see the same series in the Slow Sync flash mode, see files SD10INAFSP0.HTM through SD10INAFSP4.HTM.



 

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

Though slightly warm, good color with the Incandescent white balance. 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. It was a bit of a toss-up between the SD100's Manual and Incandescent white balance settings, as both produced nearly accurate color balances. (The Auto setting really had trouble here, producing a strong orange cast.) In the end, I chose the slight warmth of the Incandescent setting over the greenish tint of the Manual setting, as being more representative of the original scene. Though slightly warm, Marti's skin tone is pretty good. However, the blue flowers appear dark and purplish. (Probably to be expected, considering the light source.) I chose an exposure compensation adjustment of +1.0 for the main image, which is about average for this shot.

To view the entire exposure series from zero to +1.7 EV, see files SD10INTP0.HTM through SD10INTP5.HTM on the thumbnail index page.

ISO Series:
Noise is moderate in this shot at the default ISO setting, low at ISO 50, fairly high at ISO 400 (a fairly typical outcome).

ISO Series
ISO 50
ISO 100
ISO 200
ISO 400



 

House Shot:
Auto White Balance
Daylight White Balance
Manual White Balance

Great resolution, detail, and color.

Both the SD100's Auto and Daylight white balance settings produced nearly identical results here, so I stuck with the Auto setting for the main shot. The Manual white balance resulted in a strong cool cast. Resolution is high, with a lot of fine detail visible in the tree limbs and shrubbery. Details are again slightly soft, but still well-defined. The extreme corners of the image are quite soft, particularly on the lefthand side, but the effect doesn't extend too far into the image area.



 

Far-Field Test

Excellent resolution and detail, with good 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 SD100 does a good job with it. The tree limbs over the roof and fine foliage in front of the house show strong detail, with very nice definition in the leaf patterns, although flare from the lens obscures some details. The brick pattern of the house also shows good detail. Details are just slightly soft throughout the frame, with increased softness in the two left corners, but not to the extent we saw in the shot of the house poster above. The camera loses all but the strongest details in the bright white paint surrounding the bay window, a trouble spot for many digicams. However, detail is stronger in the shadow area above the front door. Overall color looks good, although the greens are somewhat oversaturated (particularly the grass color), and exposure is just slightly bright. The table below shows a standard resolution and quality series (with the "normal" and "economy" samples pared out for image sizes smaller than the maximum), followed by ISO and Effects series.

Resolution Series:

Wide Angle "Fine"
JPEG
"Normal"
JPEG
"Economy"
JPEG
2,048 x 1,536
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 SD100 offers a handful of creative effects, controlling sharpness, color, and saturation.

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




 

Lens Zoom Range

Typical 2x 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 (2x, in this case), and at full telephoto with the digital zoom enabled. The SD100's lens is equivalent to a 35-70mm zoom on a 35mm camera. That corresponds to a moderate wide angle to a slight telephoto. Following are the results at each zoom setting.

Wide Angle
2x Telephoto
3.2x Digital Telephoto



 

Musicians Poster
Auto White Balance
Daylight White Balance
Manual White Balance

Pretty good color, although slightly cool-toned with the Manual white balance. Good 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. Both the SD100's Auto and Daylight white balance settings did just that, producing very warm-hued images. The Manual setting, though slightly cool, produced the best results overall. Skin tones are a bit pale and cool, but not too bad. The blue robe looks pretty good, although the deep shadows border on being purplish. Resolution is high, with great detail in the embroidery of the blue robe.



 

Macro Shot
Standard Macro Shot
Macro with Flash

An average macro area, but good exposure, detail, and flash performance.

The SD100 performed well in the macro category, capturing a minimum area of only 2.91 x 2.19 inches (74 x 55 millimeters). Resolution is very high, with strong detail in the coins, brooch, and dollar bill. Corner softness is present in this shot, but the effect isn't terribly strong. Exposure looks good, though color is a hint cool. The SD100's flash throttled down pretty well for the macro area, though the brooch caused a hot reflection.



 

"Davebox" Test Target

Auto White Balance
Daylight White Balance
Manual White Balance

Good overall exposure, and good color and saturation.

The SD100's Auto white balance produced the best color here, with the most accurate white value in the mini-resolution target and large, white color block. The Daylight setting resulted in a warm cast, and the Manual setting had a greenish tint. The SD100 had no trouble distinguishing the subtle tonal variations of the Q60 target, and overall exposure looks pretty good. Colors are bright and vibrant in the large color blocks, although I found two of the additive primary colors (red and blue) slightly oversaturated. The shadow area of the charcoal briquettes shows a moderately high level of detail, with low noise. Overall, an excellent performance.




 

Low-Light Tests

Very good low-light performance: Good color balance, a good AF illuminator, and good exposure capability in the long-exposure mode.

The SD100 does surprisingly well for a subcompact camera in the low light category. It has a "long shutter" mode, that permits exposures as long as 15 seconds, vs the 1 second limit in normal shooting mode. Combined with the autofocus-assist illuminator, this let the SD100 capture usable images down to the1/16 foot-candle (0.67 lux) limit of my test.

  1fc
11lux
1/2fc
5.5lux
1/4fc
2.7lux
1/8fc
1.3lux
1/16fc
0.67lx
ISO
50
Click to see SD10LL0503.JPG
1 secs
F2.8
Click to see SD10LL0504.JPG
4 secs
F2.8
Click to see SD10LL0505.JPG
8 secs
F2.8
Click to see SD10LL0506.JPG
15 secs
F2.8
Click to see SD10LL0507.JPG
15 secs
F2.8
ISO
100
Click to see SD10LL1003.JPG
1/ 2 secs
F2.8
Click to see SD10LL1004.JPG
2 secs
F2.8
Click to see SD10LL1005.JPG
4 secs
F2.8
Click to see SD10LL1006.JPG
8 secs
F2.8
Click to see SD10LL1007.JPG
15 secs
F2.8
ISO
200
Click to see SD10LL2003.JPG
1/ 3 secs
F2.8
Click to see SD10LL2004.JPG
1 secs
F2.8
Click to see SD10LL2005.JPG
2 secs
F2.8
Click to see SD10LL2006.JPG
4 secs
F2.8
Click to see SD10LL2007.JPG
8 secs
F2.8
ISO
400
Click to see SD10LL4003.JPG
1/6 secs
F2.8
Click to see SD10LL4004.JPG
1/ 3 secs
F2.8
Click to see SD10LL4005.JPG
1 secs
F2.8
Click to see SD10LL4006.JPG
2 secs
F2.8
Click to see SD10LL4007.JPG
4 secs
F2.8



 

Flash Range Test

Good intensity at eight feet, with slight falloff from there.

In my testing, the SD100's flash illuminated the test target all the way out to 14 feet, but the intensity decreased with every foot of distance beyond 8 feet. I'd thus rate it as effective to 8 feet, in general agreement with Canon's own rating of only 6.7 feet with the lens at its telephoto position. 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
F3.9
Click to see SD10FL09.JPG
1/60 secs
F3.9
Click to see SD10FL10.JPG
1/60 secs
F3.9
Click to see SD10FL11.JPG
1/60 secs
F3.9
Click to see SD10FL12.JPG
1/60 secs
F3.9
Click to see SD10FL13.JPG
1/60 secs
F3.9
Click to see SD10FL14.JPG
1/60 secs
F3.9



 

ISO-12233 (WG-18) Resolution Test

High resolution, with 1,050 lines of "strong detail." Less than average barrel distortion.

The SD100 performed fairly well on the "laboratory" resolution test chart. It started showing artifacts in the test patterns at resolutions as low as 600 lines per picture height, in both horizontal and vertical directions. I found "strong detail" out to at least 1,050 lines, although you could perhaps argue for as high as 1,100 lines in the horizontal direction. "Extinction" of the target patterns didn't occur until about 1,200 lines.

Optical distortion on the SD100 is somewhat 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 found only two pixels of barrel distortion there. Chromatic aberration is also very low, showing only very 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.)

Resolution Series, Wide Angle
Wide Angle "Fine"
JPEG
"Normal"
JPEG
"Economy"
JPEG
2,048 x 1,536
SD10RESWLF
SD10RESWLN
SD10RESWLE
1,600 x 1,200
SD10RESWMF
-
-
1,024 x 768
SD10RESWSF
-
-
640 x 480
SD10RESWTF
-
-

 

Resolution Test, Telephoto
2,048 x 1,536
(Fine, Tele)
SD10RESTLF




 

Viewfinder Accuracy/Flash Uniformity

A tight optical viewfinder, though the LCD monitor is nearly perfect.

The SD100's optical viewfinder is somewhat tight, showing only about 84 percent of the final frame at both wide angle and telephoto zoom settings. The LCD monitor proved much more accurate, showing just about 100 percent of the final image area. Given that I like LCD monitors to be as close to 100 percent accuracy as possible, the SD100's LCD monitor is essentially perfect in that regard, but I'd really like to see a more accurate optical viewfinder. Flash distribution is fairly even at wide angle, with just a little falloff at the corners and edges of the frame. At telephoto, flash distribution is even more uniform.



SD100 Review
SD100 Test Images
SD100 Specifications
SD100 "Picky Details"
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