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Digital Cameras - Canon PowerShot SD500 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.)

High resolution and strong detail, with very good color. Contrast is a little high, with limited detail in the highlights but pretty good midtones.

 

  • Exposure compensation: +0.7 EV, a bit less than average.
  • Contrast/Tone: Slightly high, but highlight detail is much better than average for this shot.
  • White Balance: Auto is most neutral, though Daylight and Manual are also good.
  • Color accuracy: Very good, blues are almost spot-on, though reds a bit over saturated. Very good overall though.
  • Skin tones: Very slightly orange, but very nice.
  • Resolution/sharpness: High, some details a little soft in Marti's face.
  • Shadow detail: Very good, fairly low noise

To view the entire exposure series from zero to +1.0 EV, see files SD50OUTAP0.HTM through SD50OUTAP3.HTM on the thumbnail index page.



 

Closer Portrait:

Excellent resolution and detail, but again, somewhat high contrast.

  • Exposure compensation: +0.3 EV, about average.
  • Exposure/Tone: High contrast results in harsher skin tones than above, but shadow detail is very good.
  • Detail: Excellent, stronger and better defined than above.
  • Distortion: Good, zoom lens avoids distortion close-in like this.

To view the entire exposure series from zero to +1.0 EV, see files SD50OUTFACAP0.HTM through SD50OUTFACAP3.HTM on the thumbnail index page.



 

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

Good results with the flash in the normal setting, though more balanced exposure with the Slow-Sync mode. Fairly strong warm color cast, though.

  • Exposure: Good with a +1.0 EV boost, though default exposure was a little dim. More balanced exposure with Slow-Sync mode, also at +1.0 EV.
  • Flash balance with room lighting?: Very good, a noticeable warm cast overall, but no blue highlights from the flash.
  • Color: Red skin tones, dark colors in bouquet.

To view the entire exposure series from zero to +1.3 EV in the normal flash mode, see files SD50INFP0.HTM through SD50INFP4.HTM on the thumbnail index page.

To view the same exposure series in the Slow-Sync flash mode, see files SD50INFSP0.HTM through SD50INFSP4.HTM on the thumbnail index page.



 

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

Good color with the Incandescent white balance setting, more than average exposure compensation required.

  • Exposure: +1.3 EV adjustment needed, a bit more than average. Bright highlights, but good overall exposure.
  • White Balance: Incandescent most accurate, Auto rather warm, and Manual slightly yellow (but still good).
  • Color: Skin tones a little pink, blue flowers slightly purple, other flowers good (though reds are quite hot). Very good overall, given the tough light source.

 To view the entire exposure series from zero to +1.3 EV, see files SD50INTP0.HTM through SD50INTP4.HTM on the thumbnail index page.

ISO Series:
As sensor resolution increases in digital cameras, noise levels increase as well. BUT, if the ultimate aim is to make prints, you have to consider the fact that the noise that's very evident when viewed 1:1 onscreen may be less significant in a normal-sized print. In this light, while the SD500 shows at least some blue-channel noise even at ISO 50, and quite a lot of it by the time you get to ISO 400, this noise isn't all that visible in prints. Even at ISO 400, 8x10" prints from its images should be entirely acceptable to most users, and at 5x7" the noise simply isn't an issue at all.

ISO Series
ISO 50
ISO 100
ISO 200
ISO 400



 

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

Accurate color with all three white balances, with high resolution and strong detail. Only slight blurring in the corners.

  • Sharpness/Detail: Good, with a lot of visible fine detail.
  • Sharpness in Corners: Slight falloff, but better than average.
  • Color: Auto, Daylight, and Manual settings all very good. Auto most accurate.
  • Detail lost to anti-noise processing?: Very little, barely noticeable in the shadowed brick pattern.





 

Far-Field Test

High resolution and strong detail, better than average 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: Very good, a lot of fine detail.
  • Sharpness in Corners: Slight blurring, but still good. Some chromatic aberration/purple fringing in upper corners.
  • Color: Very good.
  • Dynamic Range: Very good, though slight loss of detail in both highlights and shadows. (Better than average overall.)
  • Detail lost to anti-noise processing?: None noticeable.

Resolution Series:

Wide Angle "Fine"
JPEG
"Normal"
JPEG
"Economy"
JPEG
3,072 x 2,304
SD50FAR3072F
SD50FAR3072N
SD50FAR3072E
2,592 x 1,944
SD50FAR2592
-
2,048 x 1,536
SD50FAR2048
-
1,600 x 1,200
SD50FAR1600
-
640 x 480
SD50FAR0640
-


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 SD500's focal length range of 37-111mm equivalents is typical of most point & shoot digital cameras. It corresponds to a moderate wide angle to a good telephoto.

Wide Angle
3x Telephoto
4x Digital Telephoto



 

Musicians Poster
Auto White Balance
Daylight White Balance
Manual White Balance

Good color, with high resolution and strong detail.

  • White Balance: Auto and Daylight white balance both slightly warm (Daylight warmer). Manual setting slightly cool but best overall.
  • Color: Slightly pale skin tones, but good overall color and accurate blues (if a hint purplish in places).
  • Sharpness/Detail: Very good. (Beyond the limits of the poster.)





 

Macro Shot
Standard Macro Shot
Macro with Flash
Digital Macro

A very small macro area with great detail. Flash has trouble up close though.

  • Minimum Macro Area: 2.17 x 1.63 inches (55 x 41 millimeters) in normal macro mode. Digital Macro mode captures an extremely tiny area, but at the cost of considerable softness due to the digital zoom that's used. (Good for web and other online work though.)
  • Softness in corners?: Some, but less than average. (Most digital cameras get fairly soft corners in macro mode.)
  • Flash performance in macro mode?: In normal Macro mode only, but doesn't throttle down quite enough.




 

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

Good overall exposure and color.

  • White balance: Auto setting produced excellent results, Daylight was a little yellowish, and Manual was also slightly warm.
  • Color Accuracy: Very good/pleasing color. Generally good hue accuracy, although cyans are pulled toward blue (producing more appealing sky colors). Reds are a little hot, other colors are only mildly oversaturated, matching consumer preferences well.
  • Shadow detail and noise: Slightly limited detail in the briquettes, moderate noise.


ISO Series:

ISO Series
ISO 50
ISO 100
ISO 200
ISO 400



 

Low-Light Tests

Good low-light performance with good color, though noise is slightly high. Good low-light focusing as well.

  • Exposure limit: 1/16 foot-candle at ISOs 200 and 400. (About 1/16 as bright as typical city street lighting at night.) 1/8 foot-candle at ISO 100, and 1/4 foot-candle at ISO 50 (though you can see the target well at 1/8 foot-candle).
  • Autofocus Limit: 1/4 foot-candle without AF-assist light, total darkness with it.
  • White Balance: Good, without strong color casts.
  • Noise Levels: Good at the lower sensitivity settings, though higher at the 200 and 400 levels at the lower light levels. Very tight "grain pattern" though, ISO 400 shots look great printed at 8x10"
  • Detail loss to anti-noise processing?: Very little.
  • General Notes: With good low-light autofocus capabilities, and great exposure range, the SD500 makes an excellent choice for available-light photography after dark. Shots at ISO 400 are noisy, but the fine, tight noise pattern makes for great-looking prints, even as large as 8x10 inches.

(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 SD50LL0503.JPG
2.5 sec
f2.8
Click to see SD50LL0504.JPG
5 sec
f2.8
Click to see SD50LL0505.JPG
13 sec
f2.8
Click to see SD50LL0506.JPG
15 sec
f2.8
Click to see SD50LL0507.JPG
15 sec
f2.8
ISO
100
Click to see SD50LL1003.JPG
1.6 sec
f2.8
Click to see SD50LL1004.JPG
2.5 sec
f2.8
Click to see SD50LL1005.JPG
6 sec
f2.8
Click to see SD50LL1006.JPG
10 sec
f2.8
Click to see SD50LL1007.JPG
15 sec
f2.8
ISO
200
Click to see SD50LL2003.JPG
1/1 sec
f2.8
Click to see SD50LL2004.JPG
1.3 sec
f2.8
Click to see SD50LL2005.JPG
3.2 sec
f2.8
Click to see SD50LL2006.JPG
6 sec
f2.8
Click to see SD50LL2007.JPG
10 sec
f2.8
ISO
400
Click to see SD50LL4003.JPG
1/3 sec
f2.8
Click to see SD50LL4004.JPG
1/1 sec
f2.8
Click to see SD50LL4005.JPG
1.6 sec
f2.8
Click to see SD50LL4006.JPG
3.2 sec
f2.8
Click to see SD50LL4007.JPG
5 sec
f2.8



 

Flash Range Test

Bright to about nine feet, then decreasing intensity from there.

  • Flash range at telephoto lens setting: Nine feet
8 ft 9 ft 10 ft 11 ft 12 ft 13 ft 14 ft
Click to see SD50FL08.JPG
1/60 sec
f4.5
Click to see SD50FL09.JPG
1/60 sec
f4.9
Click to see SD50FL10.JPG
1/60 sec
f4.9
Click to see SD50FL11.JPG
1/60 sec
f4.9
Click to see SD50FL12.JPG
1/60 sec
f4.9
Click to see SD50FL13.JPG
1/60 sec
f4.9
Click to see SD50FL14.JPG
1/60 sec
f4.9



 

ISO-12233 (WG-18) Resolution Test

High resolution, 1,500 lines of "strong detail." Average barrel distortion at wide angle, low distortion at telephoto. Low chromatic aberration, particularly at telephoto.

 

  • Resolution: 1,600 lines horizontally, 1,400~1,500 lines vertically.
  • Artifacts begin at: ~1,200 lines.
  • Extinction point: ~2,000 lines.

  • Barrel/Pincushion distortion: 0.7 percent barrel at wide angle, 0.1 percent barrel at telephoto (about three pixels).
  • Chromatic Aberration: Moderate at wide angle, low at telephoto
  • Corner Sharpness: Good in most cases, generally better than average, particularly when compared with other subcompact digital camera models.



Resolution Series, medium focal length
Wide Angle "Fine"
JPEG
"Normal"
JPEG
"Economy"
JPEG
3,072 x 2,304
SD50RES3072F
SD50RES3072N
SD50RES3072E
2,592 x 1,944
SD50RES2592
-
-
2,048 x 1,536
SD50RES2048
-
-
1,600 x 1,200
SD50RES1600
-
-
640 x 480
SD50RES0640
-
-


 

Resolution Test, Zoom Series
3,072 x 2,304
(Fine,
Wide Angle)
SD50RESW
3,072 x 2,304
(Fine,
Telephoto)
SD50REST



 

Viewfinder Accuracy/Flash Uniformity

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

  • Optical Viewfinder Accuracy: Tight, 84 percent at wide angle, 82 percent at telephoto.
  • LCD Viewfinder Accuracy: Very good, 99+ percent at both wide angle and telephoto.
  • Flash Uniformity: Some falloff at wide angle, none at telephoto.



SD500 Review
SD500 Test Images
SD500 Specifications
SD500 "Picky Details"
Up to Imaging Resource digital cameras area

 

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