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Christmas Gift Guide

Noise and JPEG processing

ISO 100

Bokeh

Highlight recovery

ISO 400 JPEG

ISO 800

ISO 1600 JPEG

ISO 3200 raw vs. JPEG

ISO 6400 raw vs. JPEG

Color

Standard vs. Neutral Picture Control

Bright, saturated colors

JPEGs look very clean up through ISO 800, and there's a noticeable sharpness difference between ISO 800 and ISO 1600. ISO 3200 is usable, but I wouldn't recommend going higher than that unless you're willing to make some compromises.
Caption by / Photo by Lori Grunin/CNET
Images have an impressive, natural sharpness and hold up surprisingly well compared with those of the Fujifilm X-Trans sensor.

(1/100 sec, f11, ISO 100, matrix metering, AWB)
Caption by / Photo by Lori Grunin/CNET
The slighly polygonal out-of-focus highlights when stopped down a bit are the results of the lens' seven-bladed aperture; it's nice at f2.8. If you're picky about your bokeh, though, eight blades or more is better.

(1/250 sec, f4.5, ISO 100, matrix metering, AWB)
Caption by / Photo by Lori Grunin/CNET
I had mixed results with highlight latitude on the Coolpix A. I couldn't recover any detail from the blown-out areas on the image on the left, but fared pretty well with the tablecloths on the right image. It performed well with shadow detail recovery.
Caption by / Photo by Lori Grunin/CNET
The camera delivers very nice, clean detail at ISO 400.

(1/60 sec, f3.5, ISO 400, spot metering, AWB)
Caption by / Photo by Lori Grunin/CNET
Photos look artifact-free as high as ISO 800.

(1/30 sec, f5, ISO 800, spot metering, AWB)
Caption by / Photo by Lori Grunin/CNET
I start to see some noise suppression artifacts in JPEGs at ISO 1600, but it's not bad in brighter areas. I did get better results with raw at this setting.

(1/60 sec, f5, ISO 1600, matrix metering, AWB)
Caption by / Photo by Lori Grunin/CNET
Shooting raw for ISO 3200 delivers much better results than JPEG, and the camera fares pretty well at this setting. This is as high as I'd go, though.

(1/60 sec, f3.2, ISO 3200, matrix metering, AWB)
Caption by / Photo by Lori Grunin/CNET
You can get usable results at ISO 6400 if you shoot raw, but not without considerable graininess.

(1/60 sec, f5, ISO 6400, matrix metering, AWB)
Caption by / Photo by Lori Grunin/CNET
The camera renders colors pretty accurately.
Caption by / Photo by Lori Grunin/CNET
The default Standard Picture Control seems to push contrast more than saturation, so there's no significant hue shift but some loss of shadow detail. The Neutral setting doesn't look too flat, though, which is nice.

(1/640 sec, f3.5, ISO 100, matrix metering, AWB)
Caption by / Photo by Lori Grunin/CNET
The camera handles out-of-gamut colors and intensities reasonably well.

(1/200 sec, f5.6, ISO 100, matrix metering, AWB)
Caption by / Photo by Lori Grunin/CNET
Updated:
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