Comparison

Nikon Coolpix 5700

Sony DSC-F828

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Continuing from previous page: the same position, but fully zoomed in.
There is no corresponding Canon image, since the resulting picture depends on the lens used: most dSLR are equiped with a standard 28-85 mm lens, resulting in a 42 mm to 127 mm effective coverage, and that's much less than the Sony 200 mm lens.

Nikon (562K)


Sony (1912k)


Finding Nemo, or finding the right exposure and white balance?

Nikon (576K)

Sony (534k)

This is a tricky shot with a high contrast. No camera was able to reproduce the full dynamic range.
The Sony colors are not quite right (never quite right, but that's another story: it's getting better and better, but still way off compared to a real live picture (or one from a realy good camera)). The color setting on the Sony were "normal" (this is what Sony calls his color rendering, compared to "real", the alternate setting). "Normal" setting enhance color reproduction by producing a more saturated, more "pleasing" picture. But if the white balance is wrong, it's much more visible on the Sony. "Real" is the un-enhanced mode.
I compressed (slightly!) the Sony image using Photoshop. I could see no difference between the original size (some 2 megabytes) and the compressed file.
In the next pictures, i used a more aggressive compression, and the first artefacts are visible.

Nikon (607K)


Sony (482k)


Much talked about: the chromatic aberration (CA for short and for people who stutter) or color fringe of the Sony is visible in the crop out. It's not quite the same as the CA happening with the Nikon 990, caused mostly in wide setting by the layered construction of the CCD. Ideally, the light should hit the sensor perpendicularly. When going from tele to wide, the light is hitting the sensor in a more and more oblique way. Since the sensor has a layered construction (like a film), one light ray can hit different color sensors on it's way.
The Sony has some halo effect (high intensity light bouncing back from the sensor), causing a fringe or halo effect.

Nightshot, one hour before sunrise

Nikon (1453K)

Sony (1891k)


The flashgun. Every digital still camera has one. The one on cheaper model is generally to weak to correctly lighten the subject. But even more expensive cameras uses too small flashes.
Small flashguns have some inconvenients: they tend to create sharp shadows, they illuminate only the foreground, they create red eyes, and so on. Better is to use an external slave flashgun at full power, directed to the ceilar (use the main gun only at low power to trigger the slave). For the newbies: a slave flasgun will automatically fire when it senses a flashgun firing. You can't use a slave with the Sony, because it's uses a pre-flash to determine the main flash power (so the subjet is not overexposed).

Isidore, the cat. 1.5 meter, fully automatic, flash

Nikon (1466K)

Sony (1879k)


Nikon (1464K) with extra fill-in flash

In each pictures above, there seems to be a hint from the street lights. It's not the wall paper that's coming off.
The Sony flash seems more potent (or is the lens more efficient?), but a real good picture can only be taken with an external flash directed to the ceiling (Vivivar 2500 modified to work as slave flash). Look how much better this picture left looks!
I was not able (not yet) to use the Sony with an external flash. All pictures were nearly black, even if i didn't modify any setting between a "internal flash only" and "internal + slave" picture. This is probably caused by the preflash (used for power calculation) activating the slave.

The three pictures below show you a cropping of the same image, so you don't have to download the full image.


Bad Sony! It makes my cat look like he's nearly dead.
The best picture is indeed the one using the external slave flash.

Below you see the same cat with the zoom in fully tele. The Nikon was not able to focus (the room was only lit by a 9W fluo lamp). The Sony has night framing (switching a IR light on) and hologram AF (using a laser hologram beam): see below for description about the AF hologram feature.
Now the Sony picture is much better exposed.

Nikon (2087K)

Sony (1972k)


The advantages of an external flash becomes even more apparent with these two pictures left. The first one is my Nikon 5700 with internal flash. Not very effective, indeed. The white fence is at 4 m from the camera, the first house at 10m. The Sony (no picture available) does not perform much better.
The second one is with another slave flash (Metz mecablitz 216). This flash is extremely powerfull and is able to illuminate the whole range quite evently, as you can see.



In the picture above right, i use my Vivitar slave flash set to maximal zoom. It is not as powerfull as the Metz, but has a zoom, making it behave like a torch. This zoom feature is a very nice one, because it enables me to lighten part of the picture (the houses in the background) without risk of overexposing the foreground.
In most cases, the Metz is much too powerfull (even in it's low power setting) to obtain nicely exposed interior pictures, but the Vivivar is cut for the job. Remember the Mr. Bean film where he uses a bomb to paint his house? You get the same effect with the Metz.


The following is the Sony's hologram AF in action. The picture is taken with a Nikon (1/60 second shutter) while activating the AF on the Sony.
The Sony sends out a diffracted laser beam. A laser beam remains concentrated irrespective the distance and can thus be used for autofocus. Since the projected pattern is always sharp, it can even be used on low contrast subjects, where a normal autofocus would fail.
The second picture is taken with a 1 second shutter. To archieve maximal efficiency, the laser beam is pulsed, that's why you see a double image in the 10 - 4 hour direction (The Sony was handheld).

And a final note about the Sony: use the "P" mode instead of the full auto mode (the green icon on the main control). The most important difference with the full auto mode is that you can adjust the file size (from the standard "Fine" to "Normal"). This setting is also available in A (aperture priority) and S (shutter priority). There is no much difference on picture quality between fine and normal.

Part IV: enter the digital rebel
JVC GC-S5
Hardware
Showing your pictures
Sony DSC-F505
Digital vs. Chemical
Compression
Nikon Coolpix 950
Resolution
Sony DSC-F505V
Batteries
Olympus Camedia C3030
Nikon Coolpix 990
Action pictures
Nikon Coolpix 5700
Sony DSC-F707
vs.
Nikon Coolpix 5700
Nightshots
ON4CHL
Nikon 5700 vs. Sony 707 vs. Nikon 990
Nikon 5700 features
Comparing the Sony DSC-F828 Nikon 5700 Canon 300D Sony DSC-F828 Nikon 5700 Nightshots and flashlights Comparing the Sony DSC-F828 and Canon 300D Portrait photography with the Sony DSC-F828 and Canon 300D portraitfotografie