The View From 32


JULY 24, 2007  

New camera, Canon SD1000

Canon Powershot SD1000 cameraSince I trashed the LCD screen of my digital camera in Nashville, and repairing it would cost at least $150, I decided to bite the bullet and buy a new camera instead.

I feel guilty about buying yet another piece of hardware instead of repairing the old one, but after reading lots of reviews of both, I'm hoping the Canon will give me better picture quality and a less-vulnerable LCD.

The Casio produced well-focused images, but the highlights were usually blown out. We'll see if the Canon does better. This time I'm following the advice I give others: buy a camera made by a traditional camera company to get the best images.

Smaller size wasn't my main concern, but since I try to take my camera everywhere, the less bulky the better (move your mouse over the picture to see the size comparison). The new Canon is considerably thinner too.

Casio Exilim Z850 vs. Canon Digital Elph SD1000

Side by side comparison of the same picture from two different camerasI took a bike ride to Edgewater Park to shoot some comparison pix. First stop was a new upscale housing development called Battery Park, on the site of the long-closed Union Carbide plant.

Since the Casio LCD screen is shot, I tried to match the scene using the viewfinder, which worked pretty well.

At first glance the images look very similar, as you can see in this side-by-side composite:

When you look at details, though, the Casio actually does a better job.

Detail of railing using CasioDetail of railing using Canon

Notice that the Casio image (far left) shows the wire grid more clearly, and has a bit more detail in the stonework than the Canon image (left).

It's not a huge difference, but the Canon images are a bit softer.

My first thought was that this was because the Casio, advertised as 8.1 megapixels compared to the Canon's 7.1, capture more pixels.

Checking the size of the original images, though, shows the Casio at 2816 x 2112 pixels, while the Canon image is 3072 x 2304 = 20% more pixels. Should show more detail, you'd think, but it doesn't. Detail of side by side sunset comparison shot

Where the problem comes in is the file size.

The Canon image with more pixels ends up a smaller file at 2.8 Mb. The smaller Casio image becomes a 3.2 Mb file. The difference comes in when the original file is compressed in the camera. Both cameras use JPEG compression, a "lossy" process, meaning that some of the original information captured by the camera is lost when it is mathematically converted to a smaller data file. This loss shows up as blocky areas called compression artifacts.

You can see a difference in this side by side detail of the sunset over the lake. Notice on the right side (Canon) there are larger blocky white areas—artifacts—that reduce the detail in the water.

The color rendition is also noticeably different. The Canon images tend to be warmer, which in general I think I prefer. I like the sharpness of the Casio, though.

I'm also concerned about some of the controls on the Canon. To set up to make a sound recording is a multi-step menu selection process that's much more cumbersome than turning the selcctor on the Casio to the microphone icon.

Not sure whether to keep this little guy or not. But I have to decide soon, since I'm leaving for Finland in a couple of days.

Help! Do you have any experience with a Canon SD1000? Please click on Comments below.

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