Canon PowerShot S95 – Sample Photos

At last I have managed to get the sample photos from the Canon PowerShot S95! The post might as well be titled “Canon EOS 550D – Sample Pictures” (or Canon Digital Rebel T2i) as I will be including – as usual – sample pictures from the 550D – of the same motifs taken at the same time. The cold and snowy weather has – for some time now – kept me from getting comparable pictures from both cameras! The motifs are – of course – much of snow so I plan to do more samples of less snowy things when I get an oportunity!

As  always all of these samples are full size and have not been edited in any way – except changing the filenames! I have taken a series of pictures of the same motif with the two different cameras: Canon PowerShot S95 and Canon EOS 550D (with the kit lens EF-S 18-55 mm IS) – mostly as comparison – but they are interesting on their own as sample pictures from the 550D! I know it is VERY unfair comparison because of sensor size, price … etc but at least there is something that can be used as a sort of “gold” reference. A compact would have to work VERY hard to surpass any decent DSLR as the ISO goes up – and the light goes down! Give me sun (or rather low ISO) and the pictures are very good from all cameras!

The test shots were taken shortly after midday – with hardly any clouds and no visible variation in lighting. Bear in mind though that the sun does not rise very high on the sky here in Sweden at this time of year – giving a sort of afternoon warmth to the light and very much shadow areas!

Both cameras was set similarly: AWB, all other settings to normal. Note that the sharpening on 550D is normally set for “soft” from Canon – I did not change that!

PRESS STOP! I just saw that I had forgotten to reset the contrast and saturation on the 550D to factory setting – so the pictures can not be directly compared between these two cameras! I will redo this as soon as I have a chance! Sorry for this!

Comparing camera pictures is SOO difficult – all cameras should really be set so that YOU think it gives the best possible result – not just left with what the maker thought was the best… well... Hands up all those that have left the setting at what it was out of the box!  Taking into account that both cameras has different resolution is soo tricky – you will have to scale either way and then the sharpness changes…. but it does all the time that you look att pictures on a screen – very few 18 or 10 MPixel screens exist! Printing the pictures on paper and then comparing them is, I guess, the most fair method…

I will be showing sample photos aimed at different goals. First is the wide-angle and tele sharpness samples – with some 100% crops to make comparison easy!. Then – in the next post – the increasing ISO samples – all the way from low to high ISO. These will all be full-size samples from both the S95 and the 550D.

Click on the sample pictures to see them in full size!

Wide angle sharpness samples


Starting with the wide-angle samples above (28 mm equivalent) both cameras produce very similar results. Taken in mostly shade with some sunlight on the roofs. Both cameras were set for ISO 100 and the Programme Setting (P). The S95 picked 1/320 sec and f 4.0 – the 550D picked 1/125 sec and f 7.1. Both combinations are ok – the s95 goes from f 2.0 to 8.0 and the 550D from f 3.5 to 22 so I guess it makes some sense in the S95 staying with the larger apertures. Having the widest angle – that is lessening the effect of visible camera shake and image stabilization still does make me wonder why the S95 picked such a short time and such a large aperture? Would it not make sense to increase the depth of field by using a smaller aperture? The visual impression is of  two cameras that produce similar good sharpness – even if the resolution differ quite a lot! Quite impressive!

This is something to note – that some compact cameras will give images of a quality close to that of a DSLRif used with low ISOs and in good lighting! Once again: Quite impressive! That leaves us with the tricky question of lenses – and there is no question about it – the lens do influence the result! The 18-55 mm Canon kit lens is quite alright – for its price – but better lenses do exist – for a price! I have one prime lens – EF 50 mm 1:1.8 II – that is regarded as very good lens – for its very low price! Build is plasticy – but sharpness when stopped down a little is quite good! I will try to include samples of this when I redo the samples!

From the samples above I have cropped an area of the top of the tree in the middle. On the left I have shown these two 100% crops – different in size due to that the cameras have different resolution – 10 Mpix and 18Mpix.

In between them I have also included a 550D scaled crop (70%) to make it the same size as the S95. I scaled it with Irfanview to show what happens with a picture when you scale it down. As you can see the sharpness goes up! In real life you would (for viewing on a computer screen) scale most images much more than  this – increasing the percieved sharpness – and at the same time loosing some detail…! The maximum resolution and sharpness would only be of use when you print out or crop your picture! This is of course good news to anyone mostly viewing their pictures on screen – any camera (almost) will look real good! 🙂

There are many other interesting parts to look at in the sample pictures! Look at the green bin in the shady area by the fence at the left. There you can see slight noise appearing in the S95 picture where as the 550D is almost noise free.

Also on the tree branches in the very top right you can see that the sharpness has gone down a bit and also some slight purple fringning can be seen. This is something that I can not see when I scale the pictures to fit my screen!

Tele sharpness samples


At the tele samples above (85 mm equivalent) both cameras again produce very similar results. Taken in mostly shade with some sunlight on the roofs. Both cameras were set for ISO 100 and the Programme Setting (P). The S95 picked 1/200 sec and f 4.5 – the 550D again picked 1/125 sec and f 7.1. Both combinations are ok – but as the cameras both are using a longer focal length shutter times should really be shorter not longer as with the S95 – the f 4.5 is because at 85 mm that is the aperture you get with the S95 lens. This really comes back to the wide angle – why the S95 picked such a very short time for that? Anyhow, again the visual impression is of  two cameras that produce similar good sharpness! Quite impressive!


In the crops above you can see that in the tele setting again the sharpness  is quite similar – both in the centre crops (first) and in the corner crops (second)! One has to be a little amazed at the resolution of the little lens of the Canon S95 has to produce on its very small sensor with its extremely small pixels to look as good as the ones from the Canon 550D with its much bigger sensor! It is 43 mm² compared to 329 mm² which – when the Mpixels are taken into account makes the S95 lens over 4 times as sharp! A bigger sensor actually puts less requirements on the sharpness of the lenses!

Till next time – happy snapping!


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