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Old May 28, 2009, 6:27 PM   #1
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Default Canon PowerShot SD 1200 IS Elf Image Quality - Caution

I recently ordered a Canon 10 mp PowerShot SD 1200 Digital Elf camera for my wife. It hasn't arrived yet. But in the meantime I reviewed its performance on the Imaging-Resources web site - something I should have done before I ordered it.

I compared several images shot with this recently updated version of the Canon PowerShot 1100 SD with 5 other cameras in the 8 to 12 mp range and $150 to $240 range. These included a Kodak, a Pentax, a couple of Nikons, and the prior 8 mp model Canon SD 1100. Every one of these OTHER cameras had MARKEDLY superior (cleaner, sharper, less fuzzy) test photos than the new SD 1200. Virtually every camera over $150 in price exhibited cleaner photos than the SD 1200 from the center of the photo all the way to the left side.

There are two possible explanations for this:
1) Canon screwed up with image quality on this camera
2) A bad unit was used for the tests

Image Resources (IR) confirmed the very (unacceptably, in my opinion) soft images on the left half of the photos taken with the 10 mp Canon SD 1200 IS Elph camera for their tests. Even the images of the camera it replaced, the 8 mp SD 1100 were better overall than what is indicated by the new SD 1200 test photos.

IR said they will shoot another series of test shots with another copy of the SD1200.

It is apparently not uncommon for just about any make digital camera, mostly the smaller sized pocket versions, to have an alignment problem concerning either the sensor or the lens that causes uneven focus across the image.

I would bet unfortunately 90% of the people who buy pocket digitals or even their larger fixed lens cousins never check whether their cameras are faulty in this regard - not performing to their optimum capabiility. And many users might not care about the difference.

My Canon SD 1200 is expected to arrive this afternoon. I will conduct some tests of my own to determine if there is uniform focus on my copy of the camera. Fortunately, Butterfly Camera, where I purchased this camera, has a good exchange policy if the images are as bad as the ones shot for the tests on IR.
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Old May 30, 2009, 2:21 PM   #2
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Default Vindicated!

I took some test shots with the Canon I received yesterday. The focus appears to be uniformly good across the photo. In fact it is a bit sharper than my Pentax K100D, probably due to the 4 mp larger photo sensor. However the color depth of the Canon doesn't appear quite as good, possibly because of a 1/3 to 2/3 overexposure that can be tweaked in camera.

Here is a shot with the Canon PowerShot SD 1200 IS:

Here is the same bookshelf shot with my Pentax K100D:

Last edited by gfmucci; May 30, 2009 at 2:34 PM.
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Old Jun 1, 2009, 7:30 PM   #3
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Can you provide the EXIF data? I know some people ehre can figure it out from teh posting but I can't. That is an awesome photo as far as clarity. Were you shooting macro? Flash? I can't make my A590 do anything that good!
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