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Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H55 Ken McMahon, July 2010

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H55 results: Real-life resolution / High ISO Noise

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H55 vs Nikon COOLPIX S8000 vs Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ8 / ZS5 High ISO Noise

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To compare noise levels under real-life conditions we shot this scene with the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H55, the Nikon COOLPIX S8000, and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ8 / ZS5.

The lenses on all three cameras were set to approximate the same field of view and ISO was manually set.

The above shot was taken with the the Sony Cyber-shot H55 in Program mode with the lens at a wide angle setting of 5.2mm (30mm). The exposure was 0.6 of a second at f4. The crops are taken from the area marked with the red square and presented below at 100%.

Overall the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H55 performed fairly well in our high ISO noise test. Starting with the 100 ISO crop, the exposure's good, the level of detail is fine and there's little evidence of noise, though it isn't entirely absent and there's a perceptible grainy quality about the wood panelling. The 100 ISO crop is very similar, showing a good level of detail in the stone column and a nice crisp edge.

Moving up to 200 ISO and the noise level has gone up a notch. The detail in the wood panelling and, more noticeably in the stone column is beginning to go soft. By 400 ISO both the noise and the softening produced by the Cyber-shot's efforts to contain it are becoming pretty intrusive, notice how the edge of the stone column is beginning to break up in this crop.

From 800 ISO upwards it begins to look very ugly. It's worth pointing out, however, that these 100 percent crops present, if you like, the worst-case scenario. Usually you'll be looking at the whole image in reduced size, not a small part of it at 100 percent. When viewed like that things don't look nearly so bad, take a look at the 1600 ISO example in the galleries for these models for a better idea of the overall picture.

Having said that, we'd expect, and do see better results than this from other compacts. Though the Cyber-shot H55 does very well at low ISO sensitivty settings, what's disappointing is the rate at which things deteriorate, with even the 400 ISO setting providing quite poor image quality.

Even though the Cyber-shot H55 does badly further up the scale, it does much better then the COOLPIX S8000 at every step along the way. Right from the off the COOLPIX crops show evidence of both noise and smoothing. The comparison with the Panasonic Lumix TZ8 ZS5 is more interesting. At 80 ISO we think the Lumix has the edge on the H55, the crop is cleaner and shows more detail. From 100 ISO upwards the crops differ, but you couldn't really say one was better than the other. The Pansonic crops are smoother, theSsony ones granier, it's really a question of personal preference.

It's interesting to note that the 3 Megapixel High Sensitivity scene mode on the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ8 / ZS5 has produced a far better result than any of the manaul ISO settings above 400 ISO, if you can live with the smaller image size, this is a really useful low-light feature to have at your disposal. Now head over to our Sony Cyber-shot H55 gallery to see some more real-life shots in a variety of conditions.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H55
Nikon COOLPIX S8000
Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ8 / ZS5
80 ISO
80 ISO Not available
80 ISO
100 ISO
100 ISO
100 ISO
200 ISO
200 ISO
200 ISO
400 ISO
400 ISO
400 ISO
800 ISO
800 ISO
800 ISO
1600 ISO
1600 ISO
1600 ISO
3200 ISO
3200 ISO
2000 ISO (Low Light scene mode)

Sony Cyber-shot DSC H55 results: Real-life resolution / High ISO Noise

All words, images, videos and layout, copyright 2005-2017 Gordon Laing. May not be used without permission.

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