Just purchased Canon SD1200IS and all of the pictures are worse than Canon A610...

RussianSensation

Elite Member
Sep 5, 2003
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765
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Hi,

Today I purchased Canon SD1200IS for a quick point and shoot camera. The specs are Digic 4 and 10 megapixels (I know that sensor size and optics have a greater impact on image quality but still...). I compared shots in Macro mode, in dim light and in daylight, at the lowest ISO 80 with no zoom at all/and with 3x optical zoom and with flash and without flash to my 4-year-old Canon A610 (specs are 5 megapixels, Digic 2), etc.

Everyone in the family agreed that the A610 delivered far more sharper/crisper pictures (although once you zoom in there is less detail compared to the 10 megapixel camera). However, blacks were far deeper while the SD1200IS exhibited white dots on black colors (noise) in exact same shots where A610 didn't have problems. The A610 was sharp around all 4 corners at far edges of the picture while the SD1200 was blurry, even in the center of the shots (blurred out pattern on the living room table).

D:

I am not sure what I am doing wrong. Can anyone recommend a GOOD small point and shoot camera? Or do I really have to move up to Panasonic LX3, Canon S90, G11 to meet my expectations? I think a 4-year-old 'budget' A610 should NOT outperform any camera in the $150-200 price range right now...

Looking for advice on what camera to exchange the SD1200IS to.

Thanks.
 

adairusmc

Diamond Member
Jul 24, 2006
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I have had good results with my SD780IS, not a lot more expensive than the SD1200 was when I got it a couple weeks ago.
 

RussianSensation

Elite Member
Sep 5, 2003
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how are you comparing?

Browsing through the pictures on a 2009 HP 17 inch laptop with a resolution of 1440x900 (which is not high). Perhaps I am being overly critical in expecting that a camera more than 2x smaller than the A610 deliver better (or least as good) image quality for $150. Looks like my expectations were too high.

I just browsed http://www.imaging-resource.com/ for comparison of stills at ISO 80/100 for SD1200IS vs. SD780IS vs. SD940/960/980. It appears the 12 megapixel versions that cost more than SD1200IS are slightly better (other than SD780). However, the quality isn't anything to write home about.

I think I was just expecting that in the last 4-5 years there would be similar progress to what has happened in computers, but it seems this largely occurred in the DSLR space, not point and shoot space (other than the addition of new features such as HDMI outputs and HD video).

I will try retaking some pictures tomorrow and tinker with the settings to see if I can get better pics.

SD1200IS (10 megapixels)
SD1200.jpg





A610 (5 megapixels)
A610.jpg
 
Feb 19, 2001
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Ok, I see that as a noise problem. ISO settings? Your SD1200 shot is bad. Let's look at some 100% crops to compare. Perhaps its misfocusing or your ISO settings are whack. The SD1200 gets awesome reviews at POTN forums. It's a very good camera for its price too.
 

Cattykit

Senior member
Nov 3, 2009
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I don't know much about P&S cameras but I'm quite positive there's something very wrong with your SD1200IS. It's just terrible and ugly.
Considering how focusing is out of whack although it's a P&S camera, I'm 99.9% sure it's a lens alignment issue. Somehow, you got TS lens-like effects on your camera.
Go to any camera shops where they have that model, try taking same picture using shop's and yours. I'm positive the problem is your camera being defective.
 
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RussianSensation

Elite Member
Sep 5, 2003
19,458
765
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Ok, I see that as a noise problem. ISO settings? Your SD1200 shot is bad. Let's look at some 100% crops to compare. Perhaps its misfocusing or your ISO settings are whack. The SD1200 gets awesome reviews at POTN forums. It's a very good camera for its price too.

The A610 was set with ISO on Auto Mode with Auto White Balance. I put the SD1200IS on P mode, with ISO and White Balance on Auto. Both cameras were shooting in Auto Mode and not in Indoors mode.

Both shared the following:

F-stop: F/2.8
Exposure Bias: 0 step
Flash Bios: 0 step
Exposure time: 1/60 sec.
Max aperture: 2.96875
Metering mode: pattern
Flash mode - Auto, Red eye reduction

SD1200 has image stabilization as Continous, focal length 6mm, ISO-250, compressed bits/pixel = 3, image quality setting: Fine/Large (No SuperFine option is available)

A610 has no image stabilization, focal length 7mm, compressed bits/pixel = 6, image quality setting: SuperFine/Large

I will capture some images outdoors and during daylight tomorrow for part 2.
 

RussianSensation

Elite Member
Sep 5, 2003
19,458
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Here is another set of indoor comparison pictures (all 3 are different shots, that I took sections of).

SD1200IS:
SD1200a.jpg


A610:
A610a.jpg


SD1200IS:
SD1200b.jpg


A610:
A610b.jpg


SD1200IS:
SD1200c.jpg


A610:
A610c.jpg


I am really not sure how I am getting such poor performance from SD1200.
 

Washoe

Senior member
Nov 13, 2003
425
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I can definitely tell the difference! There must be some setting that needs adjustment. That SD1200 is a good camera!
 
Aug 25, 2004
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Perhaps you got a faulty piece? There is a noticeable difference in these photos.

Also, did you try shooting with the IS off?
 

Doggiedog

Lifer
Aug 17, 2000
12,780
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I can definitely see the difference too. I don't have any solution for you but to make you feel better my Canon TX1 takes awful awful pictures. I've tried every single setting and I cannot get it to take better pictures.
 

ElFenix

Elite Member
Super Moderator
Mar 20, 2000
102,414
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i think you've got a centering defect. try another one.
 

Gooberlx2

Lifer
May 4, 2001
15,381
6
91
Yeah, I definitely think something is defective with the SD1200. Could be a focusing issue? Some film of gunk on the inside of the lens? Weird aperture problem?

Like someone else said, take your SD1200 to a store, and compare shots of yours with a display model. I'll bet the store's turn out better. If so, just exchange it.
 

RussianSensation

Elite Member
Sep 5, 2003
19,458
765
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Hey guys, thanks for the responses.

I took some more pictures today and realized that in almost all of the pictures indoors when ISO is set to Auto, then the SD1200IS reverts to ISO 200. In contrast, my A610 generally shoots at ISO 50 or ISO 100 when set to Auto. Also, I tinkered with the settings and changed lighting setting from AWB (Auto) to Day Light for indoor shooting. In addition, I changed the color from Off to Vivid. Then I forced ISO to 80 manually. Below are the results of the changes:

SD1200 (Set to "P" with Auto settings):
Canon&


SD1200 (lighting changed from AWB to Day Light, Color changed from Off to Vivid):
SD1200_Daylight_Vivid.jpg


SD1200IS (Day Light, Vivid and ISO manually set to ISO 80):
SD1200_Daylight_Vivid_ISO80.jpg


Is the last picture still below what is expected of SD1200?
 
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Cattykit

Senior member
Nov 3, 2009
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You can play with setting all you want but there's no point because the issues here is the lens. Looking at the sample images you posted, it is definitely a lens alignment issue. Trust me on this one

Stop wasting your time playing with it; just send it back saying it's got a faulty lens and get a replacement.
 
Feb 19, 2001
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Glad you played around with the ISO settings. Your best tests should be done with ISO at similar values.

However, ISO alone shouldn't ruin your pics that badly. ISO400 in today's SLRs are amazing. I don't know how P&S performs, but back in the day ISO400 was unbearable. I imagine that since SLRs have improved like night and day, that it's mainly due to the NR algorithms that have improved, so even ISO250 should be ok.

I think something's wrong with your camera. You can send it back to Canon now, or you can do a test that many of us SLR users run.

Focus testing:

http://focustestchart.com/chart.html

What you should make sure you set on your camera is that focusing is done on the center point. Just print that sheet out and focus on the 0mm at a 45 deg angle somehow. See what you get. You can setup your own tests too. Some people just shoot a calendar on the wall and aim at a specific date. Some people line up a row of pencils or batteries or whatever, and focus on the middle one.

Basically if the center is not sharp, then you're getting back focus/front focus.

Both cameras are shooting at F/2.8? Hmmm. Your most recent set of pics are very nice. But I can't tell if the SD1200 is better or anything. I need 100% crops. Perhaps the faucet would be nice to see. 100% view ensures no resizing and stuff, and allows better evaluation in addition to a resized comparison of the whole shot.
 

twistedlogic

Senior member
Feb 4, 2008
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I need 100% crops. Perhaps the faucet would be nice to see. 100% view ensures no resizing and stuff, and allows better evaluation in addition to a resized comparison of the whole shot.

And EXIF info.

If your comparing ISO 80 to ISO 200, the ISO 200 will have less detail due to the noise reduction ramping up.
 

joseph28

Junior Member
Dec 31, 2009
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0
If you're camera is defective, then mine is too. I'm experiencing the same thing you're seeing. I just came across this while looking for information about my new SD1200, and apparently we've been doing the same thing the past few days. I registered just so I could respond to this.

I bought my SD1200 on Dec 28th, and after taking a few pictures, I felt they weren't up to par with my 7 year old 2 MP Powershot A40. I did just like you and started comparing pictures and thought the A40 images looked much better. This started off by using the Auto mode since that's what I've always used with my A40. I then found out like you that I could get better pictures by going into the Program mode.

I noticed that on the Auto mode for the SD1200, when taking pictures indoors, the ISO setting would go up to around 650-800 and not use the flash. I didn't experience this with the A40 as the ISO only goes up to 400 max.

I was able to get some better shots with the SD1200 by using some of the scenic modes, but like you I've found that switching the "My Colors" to Vivid, I was able to get colors much closer to the A40. It seems like the default on my A40 heavily saturates the colors compared to the default saturation on the SD1200. I also found that you can change the saturation under the Custom section of "My Colors" along with the Contrast and Sharpness. This will allow you to get different quality out of the images. I don't have the capability to change these settings on the A40, so maybe it was part of the default.

I'm with you in that I thought I would see at least just as good if not better picture quality by getting a new camera. I've posted on some other forums and some people just seem to think it has to do more with the settings. I have read reviews where people complained about the quality for indoor shots, so I took some shots outside to compare. With natural light and using Auto mode, the ISO stays down, and the quality is similar to my A40, but the colors still look bland unless I switch over to Vivid. Then the images are very similar.

Having said all that, it seems that it shouldn't be this hard to get similar images out of the SD1200 when all I did was take the A40 out of the box and started taking good photos.
 
Feb 19, 2001
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I believe Vivid simulates a Nikon better where the colors pop more. Typical dSLR Canon shots are done on Standard which most people believe to be more photographic film quality. Vivid makes your images look more interesting though. I like saturation sometimes.
 

RussianSensation

Elite Member
Sep 5, 2003
19,458
765
126
Hey DLeRium,

Imo when set to Auto White Balance (AWB), the colors on the SD1200 are washed out compared to the older Canon cameras. I tried taking pictures while ice skating, resulting in blurry subjects (when moving) since the camera takes too long to focus. I went back to BestBuy and returned the SD1200 after using it for more than a week. It is a disappointment for low-light/indoor shooting. Outdoors picture quality was also disappointing. I realize it's cheap at $150 but it doesn't have the crispness of even older SD880.

Since I will not own 2 cameras (i.e., small point and shoot and a dSLR), I need 1 camera that's good for low-light shooting and outdoors and is small enough. I tried SD940, 960 and S90. SD940 was not much better to be honest. I think the inferior optics to A610 and only a 3.5 m flash range vs. 4.2m contributes to poor low light performance. The SD1200, with the Slow Sync option, is definitely superior at night though.

I am probably going to pick up the S90 now.

Thanks for all the help.
 
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krisma

Junior Member
Feb 2, 2010
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I'm going to hijack this thread now, but I would appreciate response.

[noob's question deleted]

---

No, you will not. If you know enough to know you're hijacking this thread, you know better. Post your question in your own thread, preferably in a less rude manner.

Harvey
Senior AnandTech Moderator/Administrator
 
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