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Digital Cameras - Canon Powershot SD400 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.)

Good color with all three white balance settings tested. High resolution and strong detail, but contrast is high and highlight detail limited.

  • Exposure compensation: +0.7 EV, a bit less than average.
  • Contrast/Tone: High, some highlight detail lost in the shirt and white flowers, but decent midtones.
  • White Balance: Auto is best, though the Daylight and Manual settings are also quite good.
  • Color accuracy: Very good, blues are a little dark, but overall saturation and color are quite good.
  • Skin tones: Very good, natural-looking.
  • Resolution/sharpness: Good, slightly soft in the Marti's face (seems like the camera was focusing on the bouquet), but good detail overall.
  • Shadow detail: Good, fairly low noise.

To view the entire exposure series from zero to +1.0 EV, see files SD4OUTAP0.HTM through SD4OUTAP3.HTM on the thumbnail index page.



 

Closer Portrait:

Higher resolution and very good fine detail, but again rather high contrast.

  • Exposure compensation: +0.3 EV, about average.
  • Exposure/Tone: High contrast results in harsh skin tones and deep shadows.
  • Detail: Excellent, increased detail and resolution.
  • Distortion: Good, 3x zoom lens avoids strong distortion close-in like this.

To view the entire exposure series from zero to +1.0 EV, see files SD4OUTFACAP0.HTM through SD4OUTFACAP3.HTM on the thumbnail index page.



 

Indoor Portrait, Flash:
Normal Flash
+1.0 EV
Slow-Sync Flash
+1.0 EV

Slight underexposure with the flash in the normal setting, though a brighter exposure with the Slow-Sync mode. Warm color cast, though.

  • Exposure: Just slightly dark at +1.0 EV, very dim at default exposure. Brighter exposure with Slow-Sync setting, at +1.0 EV.
  • Flash balance with room lighting?: Good, no artificial blue highlights from the flash. Slow-sync is rather warm toned though.
  • Color: Slightly red skin tones, and dark colors in bouquet.

 To view the entire exposure series from zero to +1.0 EV in the normal flash mode, see files SD4INFP0.HTM through SD4INFP3.HTM on the thumbnail index page.

To view the same exposure series in the Slow-Sync flash mode, see files SD4INFSP0.HTM through SD4INFSP3.HTM on the thumbnail index page.



 

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

Very good color with the Incandescent and Manual white balance settings, about average exposure compensation required.

  • Exposure: +1.0 EV, about average.
  • White Balance: Manual setting most pleasing, though Incandescent also good (slightly pink). Auto setting rather warm.
  • Color: Skin tones pretty good, blue flowers are dark and purple, but other flowers good. (Pretty good, given the tough light source.)

 To view the entire exposure series from zero to +1.3 EV, see files SD4INMP0.HTM through SD4INMP4.HTM on the thumbnail index page.

ISO Series:
Noise is generally low at the lower ISO settings, and increases (as you'd expect) at higher ISO settings. Even at high ISOs though, the noise is better-behaved than that in most digital cameras, particularly some competing subcompact models. Shots at ISO 200 are quite usable for making 8x10 inch prints, something you can't always count on with a subcompact digicam. Shots at ISO 400 are soft and grainy-looking when printed at 8x10 inches, but quite acceptable at 5x7 and below.

ISO Series
ISO 50
ISO 100
ISO 200
ISO 400



 

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

Very good color with all three white balance settings, with high resolution but soft details. Bad blurring in the corners though.

  • Sharpness/Detail: Details are slightly soft overall, but fine detail is still strong.
  • Sharpness in Corners: Corners are very soft, much more than average. (Unfortunately, a common failing with subcompact digital camera models.)
  • Color: Auto white balance best, though Daylight very close. Manual setting also good, just a hint cool.
  • Detail lost to anti-noise processing?: A moderate amount in the shingles and shaded bricks.





 

Far-Field Test

High resolution and strong detail, but details are again slightly soft, and the corners of the frame are very soft indeed. High contrast limits the dynamic range as well.

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: A lot of fine detail, though details are again soft overall.
  • Sharpness in Corners: Very strong blurring in the corners.
  • Color: Very nice.
  • Dynamic Range: A lot of lost detail on the highlight end, but good detail in the deep shadows.
  • Detail lost to anti-noise processing?: Very little.

Resolution Series:

Wide Angle "Fine"
JPEG
"Normal"
JPEG
"Economy"
JPEG
2,592 x 1,944
SD4FAR2592F
SD4FAR2592N
SD4FAR2592E
2,048 x 1,536
SD4FAR2048
-
1,600 x 1,200
SD4FAR1600
-
640 x 480
SD4FAR0640
-


ISO Series:

ISO Series
ISO 50
ISO 100
ISO 200
ISO 400


Color Effects Series:

Color Effects Series
Neutral Color
Vivid Color
Black & White
Sepia
Low Sharpening



 

Lens Zoom Range

A typical 3x zoom range.

The SD400's focal length range of 35-105mm equivalents is typical of most point & shoot digital cameras. It corresponds to a moderate wide angle to a modest telephoto.

Wide Angle
3x Telephoto
4x Digital Telephoto



 

Musicians Poster
Auto White Balance
Daylight White Balance
Manual White Balance

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

  • White Balance: Daylight most appealing, though slightly warm. Auto too warm and Manual setting too cool and magenta.
  • Color: Slightly warm color overall, but good skin tones. Blue background and robe both dark with slight purple tints.
  • Sharpness/Detail: Very good. (Pushing the limits of the poster though.)





 

Macro Shot
Standard Macro Shot
Macro with Flash

A *very* tiny macro area with pretty good detail. Flash has trouble up close though.

  • Minimum Macro Area: 0.97 x 0.73 inches (25 x 18 millimeters), really excellent.
  • Softness in corners?: Some, but about average. (Most digital cameras get fairly soft corners in macro mode.)
  • Flash performance in macro mode?: Poor, shooting distance is too close for the flash, resulting in overexposure. (Plan on using external lighting for your closest shots.)





 

"Davebox" Test Target
Auto White Balance
Daylight White Balance
Manual White Balance

Great color with all three white balance settings. Good exposure as well.

  • White balance: Auto setting best overall, though Daylight and Manual settings also produced good color.
  • Color Accuracy: Generally good hue accuracy, reds and greens are a bit oversaturated, yellows are a bit undersaturated. Cyans are sifted toward blue, a common trick to get better-looking sky colors. Other colors tend to be quite accurate. Better than average color overall.
  • Shadow detail and noise: Limited detail in the briquettes, moderate noise.



The results in the tests below mirror those seen above in other test shots. The test series are repeated here without further comment, for the benefit of our more quantitatively-oriented readers.


ISO Series:

ISO Series
ISO 50
ISO 100
ISO 200
ISO 400


Color Effects Series:

Color Effects Series
Neutral Color
Vivid Color
Black & White
Sepia


My Colors Series:

My Colors Series
Red
Blue
Green
Positive Film
Darker Skin Tones
Lighter Skin Tones



 

Low-Light Tests

Good low-light performance, though noise is slightly high. Good color balance. AF works at 1 foot-candle without AF-assist light, capable enough for average city night scenes.

  • Exposure limit: 1/16 foot-candle at ISOs 200 and 400. (About 1/16 as bright as typical city street lighting at night.) 1/4 - 1/8 foot candle at ISOs 50 and 100.
  • Autofocus Limit: One foot-candle with normal AF, 1/4 foot-candle with AF assist.
  • White Balance: Good.
  • Noise Levels: Moderate at the lower ISO settings, but higher at the higher sensitivities and lower light levels.
  • Detail loss to anti-noise processing?: Moderate at 1/16 foot-candle.
  • General Notes: The Canon PowerShot SD400 does pretty well under low-light conditions. It can properly expose shots down to the 1/16 foot-candle (about 1/16 as bright as typical city night scenes) limit of our test, its autofocus system works down to 1 foot-candle with the AF-assist light turned off, and it can focus down to about 1/4 foot-candle with the AF-assist turned on. Images are a bit noisy at the lowest light levels and at high ISO settings, but not as bad as those from many subcompact digicam models. Bottom line, a fine camera for use after dark in typical urban settings.

(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
50
Click to see SD4LL0503.jpg
3.2 sec
f2.8
Click to see SD4LL0504.jpg
6 sec
f2.8
Click to see SD4LL0505.jpg
13 sec
f2.8
Click to see SD4LL0506.jpg
15 sec
f2.8
Click to see SD4LL0507.jpg
15 sec
f2.8
ISO
100
Click to see SD4LL1003.jpg
1.6 sec
f2.8
Click to see SD4LL1004.jpg
3.2 sec
f2.8
Click to see SD4LL1005.jpg
6 sec
f2.8
Click to see SD4LL1006.jpg
13 sec
f2.8
Click to see SD4LL1007.jpg
15 sec
f2.8
ISO
200
Click to see SD4LL2003.jpg
1/2 sec
f2.8
Click to see SD4LL2004.jpg
1.6 sec
f2.8
Click to see SD4LL2005.jpg
3.2 sec
f2.8
Click to see SD4LL2006.jpg
6 sec
f2.8
Click to see SD4LL2007.jpg
13 sec
f2.8
ISO
400
Click to see SD4LL4003.jpg
1/5 sec
f2.8
Click to see SD4LL4004.jpg
1/2 sec
f2.8
Click to see SD4LL4005.jpg
1.6 sec
f2.8
Click to see SD4LL4006.jpg
3.2 sec
f2.8
Click to see SD4LL4007.jpg
6 sec
f2.8



 

Flash Range Test

Underexposed at eight feet, with decreasing intensity from that point on.

  • Flash range at telephoto lens setting: Less than eight feet.
8 ft 9 ft 10 ft 11 ft 12 ft 13 ft 14 ft
Click to see SD4FL08.jpg
1/60 sec
f4.9
Click to see SD4FL09.jpg
1/60 sec
f4.9
Click to see SD4FL10.jpg
1/60 sec
f4.9
Click to see SD4FL11.jpg
1/60 sec
f4.9
Click to see SD4FL12.jpg
1/60 sec
f4.9
Click to see SD4FL13.jpg
1/60 sec
f4.9
Click to see SD4FL14.jpg
1/60 sec
f4.9



 

ISO-12233 (WG-18) Resolution Test

Good resolution, 1,250 lines of "strong detail." Average barrel distortion at wide angle, no distortion at telephoto. Low chromatic aberration, particularly at telephoto, significant softening in the corners though.

  • Resolution: 1,300 lines horizontally, 1,200 vertically. (Here's a sample shot with the Low Sharpness setting.)
  • Artifacts begin at: ~800 lines.
  • Extinction point: ~1,600 lines horizontally, and 1,700 lines vertically.

  • Barrel/Pincushion distortion: 0.7 percent barrel at wide angle, 0.04 percent at telephoto (about one pixel).
  • Chromatic Aberration: Very low at wide angle, virtually none at telephoto.
  • Corner Sharpness: Quite soft at wide angle, and some softness at telephoto as well.



Resolution Series, medium focal length
Wide Angle "Fine"
JPEG
"Normal"
JPEG
"Economy"
JPEG
2,592 x 1,944
SD4RES2592F
SD4RES2592N
SD4RES2592E
2,048 x 1,536
SD4RES2048
-
-
1,600 x 1,200
SD4RES1600
-
-
640 x 480
SD4RES0640
-
-


 

Resolution Test, Zoom Series
2,592 x 1,944
(Fine,
Wide Angle)
SD4RESW
2,592 x 1,944
(Fine,
Telephoto)
SD4REST



 

Viewfinder Accuracy/Flash Uniformity

An accurate LCD viewfinder, but tight optical viewfinder. Slight flash falloff at wide angle, none at telephoto.

  • Optical Viewfinder Accuracy: Tight, 78 percent at wide angle, and 76 percent at telephoto.
  • LCD Viewfinder Accuracy: Very good, right about 100 percent at telephoto. LCD is actually slightly loose at wide angle, showing just a bit more than the final frame area.
  • Flash Uniformity: Some falloff at wide angle, none at telephoto (though shot is quite dim).
SD400 Review
SD400 Test Images
SD400 Specifications
SD400 "Picky Details"
Up to Imaging Resource digital cameras area

 

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