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ISO comparison

These are 100 percent crops from photos of our test scene. Photos are very good to excellent depending on how much light you have -- the more, the better. Like most small-sensor compacts, though, photos from the S9700 viewed at full size onscreen show noise and artifacts and fine details look mushy even under ideal conditions. Zooming out some, though, gives you nice detail and excellent color. Basically, if you really want to enlarge and crop in on images, you'll probably be disappointed.

Between ISO 200 and 800 details start to soften more and benefit from some light sharpening with editing software. The good part is there's enough detail intact at ISO 800 that it's still usable at smaller sizes, though, again, I'd avoid any heavy cropping.

The two highest ISOs -- 3200 and 6400 -- should only be used in emergencies, mainly because the colors get very washed out and the noise reduction makes subjects appear smeary. In fact, I'd stay away from ISO 6400 altogether.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Joshua Goldman/CNET

Full-size image sample

This picture as well as those that follow are available for download to view at 100 percent. These are large files, though, so they may take a few seconds to open. All were taken at ISO 125 unless otherwise noted.

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Updated:Caption:Photo:Joshua Goldman/CNET

750mm

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1,500mm Dynamic Fine Zoom

View at full size. Dynamic Fine Zoom is a digital zoom that approximates up to a 1,500mm focal length.

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51mm

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51mm

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25mm

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25mm

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750mm

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43mm

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25mm

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36mm

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29mm (Easy Panorama)

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36mm (Toy Camera)

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750mm

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750mm

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750mm (ISO 400)

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750mm (ISO 160)

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