P&S versus DSLR -- actual photos for comparison

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Andrew Koenig, Dec 5, 2008.

  1. It is said that a picture is worth 1,000 words. Accordingly, I set up a
    tripod and took a bunch of pictures of the same subject with a P+S camera
    and a DSLR. The cameras I used were the ones I happened to have handy: A
    Canon SD800 (7.1 megapixels) and a Nikon D700 (12.1 megapixels).

    In all cases, I set the camera to delay for a few seconds before taking the
    picture, to allow any vibration from my hands to settle down. I used a 50mm
    f/1.4 lens with the Nikon; I set the lens to f/11 for all pictures because I
    think that is close to the optimum image quality. This particular P&S does
    not allow manual aperture adjustments, so I had no choice but to let the
    camera pick the aperture.

    The DSLR offers an ISO range from 200 through 6400, so I took pictures at
    200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, and 6400. The P&S offers an ISO range from 80
    through 1600, so I took pictures at 80, 100, 200, 400, 800, and 1600.

    For each picture, I have posted a scaled-down version of the picture and a
    full-size crop from the center portion of it. Aside from scaling and
    cropping, the pictures are exactly as they came from the cameras; I have not
    applied sharpening, additional noise reduction, or any other
    image-processing algorithms.

    I invite you to look at the pictures and draw your own conclusions. You can
    find them here:

    Andrew Koenig, Dec 5, 2008
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  2. Andrew Koenig

    Pete D Guest

    LOL, you think you are telling anyone something new? :)

    We know you have got the labels back to front anyway.... ;-)
    Pete D, Dec 5, 2008
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  3. Andrew Koenig

    tony cooper Guest

    Peering into the gift horse's mouth...it would be easier to make a
    determination if the P&S images and the dslr images- at the same ISO
    setting - were viewable on the same screen at the same time.

    Doncha just love someone making a suggestion for you to do more work
    when you've already done something for them?
    tony cooper, Dec 5, 2008
  4. Open the images you want to compare in two separate windows and move them
    where you like.
    Andrew Koenig, Dec 5, 2008
  5. Well, probably not; but I was curious to see the images for myself, and once
    I had them, I figured I might as well post them.
    Andrew Koenig, Dec 5, 2008
  6. Andrew Koenig

    me Guest

    So what SW and specific steps did you use to do this? There are many
    scaling methods. And since these are jpgs with no exif it appears these may
    possibly have been resaved.
    me, Dec 5, 2008
  7. I used a program called "JPEG Wizard" to do the cropping. After that, I
    uploaded the original JPEG files and the cropped output files from JPEG
    Wizard onto Pbase. Any further transformations were done by Pbase as part
    of putting the images into their galleries. I see no obvious visual
    difference between the cropped images on Pbase and corresponding sections of
    the original JPEG images on my machine.
    Andrew Koenig, Dec 5, 2008
  8. Andrew Koenig

    Morton Guest


    Canon SD 800 is not a very good choice for comparison. In order to get a
    28mm equivalent at the wide end, the quality of this zoom lens is
    compromised. Why not compare with a P & S with a better lens?

    Morton, Dec 5, 2008
  9. Because it's the one I had available.

    You're welcome to take similar pictures with whatever camera you like and
    post them. If you want to try for a similar scale, the bookshelf in the
    photo is 40 inches wide.
    Andrew Koenig, Dec 5, 2008
  10. Andrew Koenig

    Mark Thomas Guest

    Nice comparison, although putting a D700 up against an SD800 was pretty
    much a foregone conclusion.
    A few points are worth noting:
    The P&S at 80 ISO and DSLR at 3200 ISO, give roughly equivalent noise
    levels. The p&s also has at least one hot pixel..
    The low P&S lens quality is evident in the corners of the image, even at
    those highly reduced sizes, and there's a lot of barreling.
    The P&S seems to be suffering from a lot of flare/discoloration at left
    - was there a lighting issue?
    Mark Thomas, Dec 5, 2008
  11. Thanks. As I remarked in another post, I used what I had.
    Actually, I thought the center crops were surprisingly good at low ISO. And
    of course, distortion is easily corrected when needed.

    I don't immediately see where the hot pixel is, so I would appreciate it if
    you could tell me.
    Yes -- there's a window right next to the bookshelf, just outside the image
    area :)
    Andrew Koenig, Dec 5, 2008
  12. Andrew Koenig

    Mark Thomas Guest

    Centre crops, look at the shelf below the "Wheels of Commerce", directly
    under the 'r&' of Harper&Row

    Did the 700 have a lens hood on, perhaps? Or is that just another cross
    against the p&s?
    Mark Thomas, Dec 5, 2008
  13. Got it; thanks.
    Yes, I always use a hood if the lens has a way to attach one.
    Andrew Koenig, Dec 5, 2008
  14. Well, that depends on your definition of "out-resolving." At low ISO, I
    think both cameras are limited by the sensor. At high ISO, there is no
    In that case, you will have no trouble posting your own images for
    The full-scale images are, of course, recompressed by Pbase. The cropped
    images aren't, as far as I know, and I have the JPG compression set to the
    lowest possible level (i.e. the least compression) on both cameras. The
    DSLR offers me the option of raw mode; the P&S does not.

    Incidentally, I bought this particular camera because it at the time it was
    the only one on the market with four features that I considered essential:

    1) A zoom range that goes out to 28mm equivalent.
    2) An optical viewfinder.
    3) Image stabilization.
    4) Fits in my shirt pocket.

    At present, I am not aware of any camera on the market that meets these
    requirements. If you know of one, I'll be glad to consider it. However, I
    will not give up any of these features for higher image quality, because if
    I want higher image quality, I know where to get it.
    There is no way to attach a hood to this particular P&S.
    Please let me know when you've posted your test pictures, and I'll be happy
    to look at them.
    If you can find a better camera that meets my requirements, please let me
    Andrew Koenig, Dec 6, 2008
  15. Please post some pictures that you have taken of moving people in low light
    without flash so that I can see how "well versed in photography" you are.
    You have failed to take focal length into account in computing angular
    resolution. That's a factor of 5.5 that you're neglecting.
    Please let me know when I can look at your images.
    I will be happy to consider any adapters that you suggest, as soon as you
    post images to convince me that their quality is adequate. Failing that, I
    will not waste my time looking for them, as I do not believe they exist at
    all -- let alone meet my size requirements.
    Please suggest to me a camera with an EVF that does not impose a significant
    time lag. Every one I have seen adds a delay of at least 1/4 second, which
    is just too much for moving subjects. I don't care about framing accuracy
    because I know how to crop.
    You are obviously welcome to buy whatever you want, but I consider it a
    requirement because of how much of an improvement it makes even at shutter
    speeds where one might think it would make no difference. If you disbelive
    me, I will be happy to look at samples of your images taken at 1/30 second
    once you have posted them.
    Not at all. If I don't need extreme portability, my D700 is dramatically
    better than anything else I've seen. And if I'm going to give up extreme
    portability, I wouldn't dream of taking on the extra delay implied by an
    electronic viewfinder.
    Not with this particular wall of windows it isn't.
    Well, then, we have nothing more to talk about.
    In that case, you've made things very simple for me -- there is no need for
    you to waste any more of your precious time communicating with me.
    It is obvious that your photographic needs are dramatically different from
    mine, so I am not going to waste any more of my time reading your
    descriptions of them.
    Andrew Koenig, Dec 6, 2008
  16. Andrew Koenig

    N Guest

    N, Dec 6, 2008
  17. Andrew Koenig, Dec 6, 2008
  18. Andrew Koenig

    N Guest

    That's not my photo. I just thought it was cute.
    N, Dec 6, 2008
  19. Andrew Koenig

    N Guest

    Actually, I use a D80 and am tossing up whether to upgrade to a D300 or
    D700. It's a tough call as I would lose the use of 2 very useful lenses if
    I go to the D700. Also it's weight might be a problem for me. The D80's
    exposure algorithm and dynamic range are a real drawback.
    N, Dec 6, 2008
  20. Ah -- in that case, never mind :)

    Yes indeed; it is cute.
    Andrew Koenig, Dec 6, 2008
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