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Thread: GRD III vs Canon S90 at ISO 800

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    Senior Member Amin's Avatar
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    GRD III vs Canon S90 at ISO 800

    These two cameras are said to use the same sensor, so I compared converted RAW files at a variety of ISOs using this test scene:



    Throwing in a Panasonic G1 for good measure, here are the ISO 800 crops processed in Raw Developer with no sharpening or NR:







    Overall, my feeling is that the GRD III hangs tough with the S90. The GRD shows slightly less noise but also slightly less detail. Having printed high ISO files from both cameras, I'd say they are equally capable for shutter speed-limited, low light work.
    -Amin Sabet

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    Re: GRD III vs Canon S90 at ISO 800

    Uh oh, the GRD and S90 samples strike me as consistent with a whiff of adrenal insufficiency...

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    Senior Member Amin's Avatar
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    Re: GRD III vs Canon S90 at ISO 800

    -Amin Sabet

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    Senior Member bensonga's Avatar
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    Re: GRD III vs Canon S90 at ISO 800

    Is it just my eyes or does the G1 top them both? So presumably a GF1 would as well?

    Gary

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    Re: GRD III vs Canon S90 at ISO 800

    Gary - Yes, the difference is pretty much what you'd expect given the relative sizes of the respective sensors, and it should apply to the GF1 too.

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    Senior Member nostatic's Avatar
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    Re: GRD III vs Canon S90 at ISO 800

    Doesn't the S90 have IS but the GRD3 doesn't? Seems that should give a little edge to the S90 for low light (knowing that IS doesn't help with moving objects).

    The GRD3 seems a bit "hotter" as well. I noticed that in Sean's comparison of GRD2 vs. GRD3 vs. DLux4. Not sure if that is just an ev compensation thing.

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    Senior Member Amin's Avatar
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    Re: GRD III vs Canon S90 at ISO 800

    Quote Originally Posted by bensonga View Post
    Is it just my eyes or does the G1 top them both? So presumably a GF1 would as well?

    Gary
    No doubt about it Gary. GF1 should be essentially the same as G1. For the full ISO range (100-1600), see my post here.


    Quote Originally Posted by nostatic View Post
    Doesn't the S90 have IS but the GRD3 doesn't? Seems that should give a little edge to the S90 for low light (knowing that IS doesn't help with moving objects).
    Absolutely.


    Quote Originally Posted by nostatic View Post
    The GRD3 seems a bit "hotter" as well. I noticed that in Sean's comparison of GRD2 vs. GRD3 vs. DLux4. Not sure if that is just an ev compensation thing.
    Yes, at any given nominal ISO/shutter speed/f-number combination, the GRD 3 was a bit brighter. This was true for in-camera JPEG as well as for RAW converted in Lightroom or Raw Developer. I don't know why this is the case. The following are possible explanations: 1) GRD is more sensitive for a given nominal ISO; 2) GRD uses a larger aperture relative to effective focal length for a given nominal f-number; 3) GRD uses a longer exposure time for a given nominal shutter speed.
    -Amin Sabet

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    Senior Member nostatic's Avatar
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    Re: GRD III vs Canon S90 at ISO 800

    I have to say that in Sean's review I thought that the DLux4 rendered a more detailed shot at lower ISO. Where the GRD3 took over was at higher ISO, though there obviously was some smoothing going on with the GRD3.

    And just to complicate things, I thought that the GF1 shots in that review really lacked mid-tones. I preferred the look of the GRD3 shots. It seemed like the GF1 was almost like a "scooped mid" (in audio speak) - all highlights and shadows. Seems like Sean is usually pretty consistent in his post processing but I think it also shows the variation in online images and how it is difficult to make an assessment based on web posts.

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    Re: GRD III vs Canon S90 at ISO 800

    I was planning to buy the S90 for my wife. Looks as a good decision for a P+S camera with F2 lens WA. So she can join for street photography, whereas in the past, she was limited to 400 ISO with an F3.5 lens.

    Thanks for posting.

    Seyhun
    H3DII-31, 5DII, M8, NEX-3 and Camera collection
    http://seyhun.com
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    Senior Member Amin's Avatar
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    Re: GRD III vs Canon S90 at ISO 800

    Quote Originally Posted by nostatic View Post
    I have to say that in Sean's review I thought that the DLux4 rendered a more detailed shot at lower ISO. Where the GRD3 took over was at higher ISO, though there obviously was some smoothing going on with the GRD3.
    I see what you mean in Sean's review, but the differences are quite subtle. The more prominent differences, both in his testing (GRD vs D-LUX) and mine (GRD vs S90), come from the fact that 1) GRD III seems to apply some smoothing at high ISO; and 2) GRD lens has very balanced performance across the frame (my resolution test is here).

    Quote Originally Posted by nostatic View Post
    And just to complicate things, I thought that the GF1 shots in that review really lacked mid-tones. I preferred the look of the GRD3 shots. It seemed like the GF1 was almost like a "scooped mid" (in audio speak) - all highlights and shadows. Seems like Sean is usually pretty consistent in his post processing but I think it also shows the variation in online images and how it is difficult to make an assessment based on web posts.
    Not sure about Sean's review, but I am not seeing anything like you're describing in my day to day use of the G1 and GRD III.
    -Amin Sabet

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    Subscriber Member kit laughlin's Avatar
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    Re: GRD III vs Canon S90 at ISO 800

    OT, but for me, looking at Sean's images on a calibrated monitor, all tones are pushed too far to the blacks; the overall effect is simple underexposure. I know the examples show the full range from white to black, but the mid-tones are too dark for me. Anyone else find this?

    Re. the comparo: nice work, Amin. I kept the G1 and on-sold the GF1 and got the S90—simply because it really is a pocket camera. The GF1 plus even the 20/1.7 just isn't. for me.

    And the G1's grip means that 1) its profile is non-pocket, and 2) you can grip it with a heavier lens on it. I think the G1 plus the 14–45 kit lens is a pretty sweet multi-purpose camera, and the swivel screen really is handy. Last, I use the EVF most of the time; I really can't get used to having to put my reading glasses on to see an image held at arms' length (or near that).

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    Senior Member Amin's Avatar
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    Re: GRD III vs Canon S90 at ISO 800

    Quote Originally Posted by kit laughlin View Post
    Re. the comparo: nice work, Amin. I kept the G1 and on-sold the GF1 and got the S90—simply because it really is a pocket camera. The GF1 plus even the 20/1.7 just isn't. for me.

    And the G1's grip means that 1) its profile is non-pocket, and 2) you can grip it with a heavier lens on it. I think the G1 plus the 14–45 kit lens is a pretty sweet multi-purpose camera, and the swivel screen really is handy. Last, I use the EVF most of the time; I really can't get used to having to put my reading glasses on to see an image held at arms' length (or near that).
    Thanks Kit! These comparisons are tough to do right and tougher to write up in a complete fashion, but I enjoy doing them.

    I pretty much feel the same way as you about the G1 vs GF1 (or E-P1), and I too bought a S90 to complement the Micro Four Thirds kit. I considered the G11 instead of the S90, but even the G11 is too large to be a pocket camera for me.
    -Amin Sabet

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    Senior Member nostatic's Avatar
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    Re: GRD III vs Canon S90 at ISO 800

    Quote Originally Posted by Amin View Post

    Not sure about Sean's review, but I am not seeing anything like you're describing in my day to day use of the G1 and GRD III.
    Not the GRD3 - I like the images on Sean's review and what I've seen, though as I said, I think the DLux4 retains more detail at low iso and had more texture.

    Wrt the GF1, it is just how the images in his review (mostly the b&w conversions) struck me. I just didn't care for them, as I didn't see many mid tones. Now I'll admit to having a somewhat untraditional eye - I always liked my K20d because it preserved highlights at all cost, and I like a slightly darker/more subdued image. And I'll also admit that I didn't give the GF1 a very long try, but in my hands I just didn't get an image that bowled me over compared to the DLux4. For the online examples, I see stuff all over the map, but I'm really not seeing enough DR or hi iso response for my taste from any of the Panny u4/3. I liked my E-P1 ok, and somewhat regret selling it. But I'm likely going to try a Pentax Kx as that is showing some very good hi iso performance, and with a small pancake will be about the same size as any of the u4/3.

    Not meaning to rant against anything in particular here. It is just that your examples and Sean's along with my own messing about give me a gut reaction. I really like the GRD3 but am not sure that I can live with 28mm. And the S90 interests me a lot because the DLux4 is small but isn't pocketable. But I'm just not digging much of the GF1 output. That's why they make different stuff though

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    Senior Member Amin's Avatar
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    Re: GRD III vs Canon S90 at ISO 800

    I hear you! I was just saying that I didn't notice anything to do with a lack of midtones in my use of the G1 as compared with the GRD III. I understand that this is something you saw in your own use as well as in Sean's GF1 review, and I can dig it .

    Regarding E-P1 vs G1/GF1, those cameras use the same sensor, so DR/high ISO performance ought to be similar.

    Regarding S90, I think Canon has a winner here, but it's not all good. The controls aren't Ricoh good, or even G11 good. The lens has a lot of barrel distortion, is slow at tele, doesn't do very well in the corners of the frame, and has a real problem with purple fringing in high contrast areas. Finally, the thing is just not very comfortable to hold.
    -Amin Sabet

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    Subscriber Member kit laughlin's Avatar
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    Re: GRD III vs Canon S90 at ISO 800

    Amin, I had the G11 for a few weeks too; too big for what it is, IMHO

    [/QUOTE]The lens has a lot of barrel distortion[/QUOTE]

    True, but DPP corrects this excellently (and the G11 has pretty much the same, as far as I could tell in the time I had it.

    Re. comfort: I have some adhesive 'shark-skin' material a camera tech friend gave me, and the Freniac (sp.?) grip on the way.

    nostsatic, which Pentax do you have in mind ("Kx")? cheers all, kl

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    Senior Member nostatic's Avatar
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    Re: GRD III vs Canon S90 at ISO 800

    Yeah, Kx seems to have some pretty amazing IQ for the price. Plus it is small and light, and if you put a DA ltd prime it could be a great setup.

    The problem with the software correction is that Aperture (my photo app of choice) does not yet support *any* of the cameras that do lens correction. At some point they'll have to, because I see more and more manufacturers adding correction so they can cut corners on optics.

    I held the S90 and it is quite small. I agree with the sentiment that it might be *too* small for some users. One thing I did like a lot about the GRD2 was the ergos. It is probably the most comfortable to hold compact that I've owned/used. If only they made one with a 40/1.4 or 50/1.4 fixed lens. I'd buy that in a heartbeat.

    Yeah...I guess that means I should get a GXR

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    Subscriber Member kit laughlin's Avatar
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    Re: GRD III vs Canon S90 at ISO 800

    @ nostatic: Yes, for me the 28mm EFOV is too wide for much of what I like to shoot for pleasure. Hence S90 and the grip! And I think we will have to get used to software correction: much cheaper than doing it optically.

    and I must have missed the Kx: which DA primes would you consider?

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    Senior Member nostatic's Avatar
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    Re: GRD III vs Canon S90 at ISO 800

    40/2.8 pancake (60mm equivalent). 70/2.4 for tele/portrait. 15/4 or 21/3.2 for wider. All small/light. I actually loved my FA ltd (31/43/77) but found that they were a little disappointing on the K7 vs the K20d. My guess is that they have optimized the new bodies to work best with the DA ltd lenses.

    From the "other cameras" forum - blue body with 40/2.8 pancake


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    Re: GRD III vs Canon S90 at ISO 800

    The K-X is actually a very very nice camera from what I have seen and heard.
    I got to handle a k-m/2000 and liked the feel in-hand and the results I saw.
    Like my K100D Super, the shutter was quieter than either of my Oly's. I think the camera you show, with the pancake would make an awesome carry/street camera.

  20. #20
    Senior Member Amin's Avatar
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    Re: GRD III vs Canon S90 at ISO 800

    "True, but DPP corrects this excellently (and the G11 has pretty much the same, as far as I could tell in the time I had it."

    Lightroom 2.6 Release Candidate also corrects the S90 distortion. As for the G11, that camera has minimal barrel distortion compared to the S90.

    "Re. comfort: I have some adhesive 'shark-skin' material a camera tech friend gave me, and the Freniac (sp.?) grip on the way."

    The Franiec grip looks like it will make a nice difference:



    I'm probably going to order one as well.
    -Amin Sabet

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