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Olympus C-5050 Zoom

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C5050 Sample Images

Review First Posted: 01/09/2003

Untitled Document

Digital Cameras - Olympus C-5050 Zoom Test Images

I've begun including links in our reviews to a Thumber-generated index page for the test shots. The Thumber data includes a host of information on the images, including shutter speed, ISO setting, compression setting, etc. Rather than clutter the page below with *all* that detail, we're posting the Thumber index so only those interested in the information need wade through it!

 

Outdoor Portrait:

Excellent job, with great resolution, detail, and color.

The extreme tonal range of this image makes it a tough shot for many digicams, which is precisely why I set it up this way, and why I shoot it with no fill flash or reflector to open the shadows. The object is to hold both highlight and shadow detail without producing a "flat" picture with muddy colors, and the C-5050 Zoom did a great job, albeit using it's contrast adjustment option.

The shot at right was taken with a +0.3 EV exposure compensation adjustment, as well as the contrast set down by minus three units. The results was a little loss of detail in the strongest highlights, but a nice, snappy photo nonetheless. Midtones are a little dark, but still have good detail. I shot with the Auto white balance, which produced good overall color. Skin tones are accurate, and the flowers in the bouquet are almost dead-on in color. (The blue there is very difficult for many digicams to get right, and the C-5050 Zoom does produce slightly purplish tints in them. For reference, the flowers are a light navy blue, with just a tad less purple than the 5050 shows. Overall, really excellent color though.) The C-5050 Zoom also did well with the strong reds and greens in the bouquet.

Resolution is excellent, with a lot of fine detail visible throughout the frame. Details are sharp, with great definition. Shadow detail is also strong, with low noise. An excellent job all around.

To view the entire exposure series from zero to +1.0 EV, see files C55OUT64AP0.HTM through C55OUT64AP3.HTM on the thumbnail index page.

I really like the very fine-grained control the 5050 gives you over contrast and saturation (and also white balance, as we'll see later). You have +/- five steps in both contrast and saturation, covering a nice range with very subtle changes possible. I'd really like to see the overall contrast range shifted downward a bit, but I was always able to get to the level I wanted with the controls offered. (It'd just be nice to have a little more room to maneuver at the bottom.) The series of shots below show the results of the full range of contrast and saturation adjustment, skipping steps to make the differences more obvious.)

Contrast Series:
Contrast Series

-5


-3


0

+3

+5

Saturation Series:
Saturation Series

-5


-3


0


+3


+5



 

Closer Portrait:

Excellent resolution and detail, excellent skin tones.

Overall results are similar to the wider shot above, and the C-5050 Zoom's 3x zoom lens helps prevent distortion of Marti's features. Marti's face and hair show excellent detail, with great clarity and definition. (Almost an embarrassing amount of detail, I won't show this to Marti 1:1 on-screen. ;-) The skin tones here look just right to my eye, very natural, with no over- or undersaturation, and no odd casts. Very faithful to Marti's natural skin coloring. The shot at right was taken at the default exposure setting, which produced bright midtones without losing too much highlight detail. Shadow detail is again strong, with low noise.

To view the entire exposure series from zero to +0.7 EV, see files C55FAC64AP0.HTM through C55FAC64AP2.HTM on the thumbnail index page.


 

Indoor Portrait, Flash:
Normal Flash
(+1.0 EV)
Slow Sync Mode
(+1.0 EV)
External Flash

Good intensity and coverage with the built-in flash, although a fair bit of exposure compensation is needed. Excellent color as well.

The C-5050's built-in flash does a good job illuminating the subject, producing a bright image with good color at an exposure compensation of plus 1.0 EV. At it's normal exposure setting though, it produced a rather dark exposure. (This is fairly common with this shot, as the light background and Marti's white shirt tend to trick exposure systems into underexposing.)The background incandescent lighting results in a bit of an orange cast on the back wall, which spills onto Marti's features, but overall color was excellent for this shot. I also shot with the camera's Slow-Sync exposure mode, and again found the best results with the flash Set to about plus1.0 EV intensity setting. The slower shutter speed resulted in more of the orange cast of the room lighting coming through, but the flash and room light really balanced beautifully, with none of the blue highlights I normally see in this combination. (Excellent job.)

Finally, I plugged my old Sunpak external strobe on top of the 5050 and snapped the external flash shot you see below right. I bounced the flash off the ceiling and also diffused some of it toward Marti with a piece of paper. As it happened, I had more light hitting her directly than I usually do under this condition, so the light isn't quite as natural-looking that you'd normally see in my external-flash versions of this shot. Not at all a reflection on the camera though...


 

Indoor Portrait, No Flash:
Auto White Balance
Incandescent White Balance
Manual White Balance

Most accurate color with the Manual white balance option, but good results with Auto and Incandescent as well.

This shot is always a very tough test of a camera's white balance capability, given the strong, yellowish color cast of the household incandescent bulbs used for the lighting. It was a bit of a toss-up here as to which white balance setting I should choose. None of them were spot-on, but all would be acceptable, depending on what mood I felt like conveying. I settled on the Manual white balance as being the best, but all are surprisingly good. (Most cameras will muff this shot with at least one of their white balance settings. Few get it this good with all three options.)

The 5050 Zoom's excellent white-balance adjustment capability deserves some mention here as well. - Via a menu option, you can "tweak" the white balance across a very broad range, in very small steps. This lets you customize the camera's white balance response to match your personal tastes to an unusual degree.

The one thing I wasn't crazy about in this shot was that the 5050 took a full 1.3 EV of positive exposure compensation to produce these images. (You could argue that 1/3 less EV adjustment would have been fine too, but I still would have liked to see less compensation needed.)

ISO Series:
The C5050 generally shows moderate noise in its images, although it's reasonably "quiet" at ISO 64. As you'd expect, the image noise rises along with the ISO rating, becoming quite evident at ISO 400. Here's a series of this shot, taken at each of the 5050's fixed ISO settings.

ISO Series
ISO 64
ISO 100
ISO 200
ISO 400


 

House Shot:
Auto White Balance
Daylight White Balance
Manual White Balance

Outstanding detail and resolution, with great color.

The C-5050 Zoom 's Auto white balance setting produced great results here, with the most accurate white value on the house trim and the best overall color. The Daylight setting was nearly accurate, though slightly warm, and Manual white balance resulted in a slight green cast. Resolution is very high, as the tree limbs and shrubbery show a lot of fine detail. (The C-5050 Zoom is really stretching the limits of this poster as a test target. Even though the poster was made from a 500MB scan of a 4x5 negative shot with a very sharp lens, the C-5050 Zoom extracts nearly all the detail that's to be found here.) Details are sharp throughout the frame, with only a hint of corner softness in the left corners. An excellent job.


 

Far-Field Test

Excellent resolution and detail, with a good dynamic range.

This image is shot at infinity to test far-field lens performance. NOTE that this image cannot be directly compared to the other "house" shot, which is a poster, shot in the studio. The rendering of detail in the poster will be very different than in this shot, and color values (and even the presence or absence of leaves on the trees!) will vary in this subject as the seasons progress. In general though, you can evaluate detail in the bricks, shingles and window detail, and in the tree branches against the sky. Compression artifacts are most likely to show in the trim along the edge of the roof, in the bricks, or in the relatively "flat" areas in the windows.

This is my ultimate "resolution shot," given the infinite range of detail in a natural scene like this, and the C-5050 Zoom performed very well. The tree limbs over the roof and fine foliage in front of the house have strong, crisp detail. Leaf pattern and tree bark details are outstanding as well. The C-5050 Zoom's in-camera sharpening does a good job here, as details are sharp throughout the frame, with only very slight softening in the corners. The camera picks up good detail in the bright white paint surrounding the bay window (even though these shots were taken with no reduction in the 5050's default contrast), a trouble spot for many digicams. Detail is also strong in the shadow area above the front door, further evidence of the C-5050 Zoom's good dynamic range. Overall color looks good, and exposure is about right. Contrast is slightly high, however, and image noise is moderate in the shadows and roof shingles. The table below shows a standard resolution and quality series, followed by ISO, sharpness, contrast, and saturation series.

Resolution Series:

Wide Angle "Fine"
JPEG
"Normal"
JPEG
3,200 x 2,400
(Interpolated)
C55FARGF
C55FARGN
2,560 x 1,920 C55FARLF C55FARLN
2,288 x 1,712 C55FARM1F C55FARM1N
2,048 x 1,536
C55FARM2F
C55FARM2N
1,600 x 1,200 C55FARM3F C55FARM3N
1,280 x 960
C55FARM4F
C55FARM4N
1,024 x 768 C55FARSF C55FARSN
640 x 480
C55FARTF
C55FARTN


ISO Series:

ISO Series
ISO 64
ISO 100
ISO 200
ISO 400

Sharpness Series:

Sharpness Series
-5
-3
0
+3
+5

Contrast Series:

Contrast Series

-5


-3


0


+3

+5

Saturation Series:

Saturation Series

-5


-3


0


+3

+5

 



 

Lens Zoom Range

A fairly typical 3x zoom range.

I routinely shoot this series of images to show the field of view for each camera, with the lens at full wide angle, at maximum telephoto (3x, in this case), and at full telephoto with the digital zoom enabled. The C-5050 Zoom's lens is equivalent to a 35-105mm zoom on a 35mm camera. That corresponds to a normal wide angle to a moderate telephoto. Following are the results at each zoom setting.

Wide Angle
3x Telephoto
3.4x Digital Telephoto


 

Musicians Poster
Auto White Balance
Daylight White Balance
Daylight White Balance

Good color and excellent detail.

This shot is often a tough test for digicams, as the abundance of blue in the composition frequently tricks white balance systems into producing a warm color balance. The C-5050 Zoom's Auto white balance setting fell victim to this trap, producing a warm, yellowish image. The Daylight setting produced the best results overall, though still slightly red, and the Manual setting wasn't too far off the mark (just a hint cool). Skin tones look good under the Daylight white balance, and the blue robe is nearly right, though with hints of purple in the shadow areas. Resolution is very high, with excellent detail in the embroidery of the blue robe. (This original data file for this poster was only 20MB though, so cameras like the C-5050 Zoom are capable of showing more detail than the poster has in it.)


 

Macro Shot
Standard Macro Shot
"Super Macro" Shot
Normal Macro with Flash

About average macro performance in the normal mode, flash has trouble really close. Excellent performance in "super macro" mode.

The C-5050 Zoom performed well in the macro category, capturing a minimum area of 2.86 x 2.14 inches (73 x 54 millimeters) in the normal macro mode. In "Super Macro" mode, it did quite a bit better, with a minimum capture area of only 1.29 x 0.97 inches (33 x 25 mm). Resolution is very high in both modes, with strong detail in the dollar bill, coins and brooch. The images are surprisingly sharp in the corners, something I don't commonly see in the digicams I test. An excellent performance. The one weak point is that the C-5050 Zoom's flash has trouble with the macro shooting distance, overexposing the shot.


 

"Davebox" Test Target
Auto White Balance
Daylight White Balance
Manual White Balance

Good exposure, with excellent color and saturation.

The Auto white balance produced the best color here, with the most accurate white value in the mini-resolution target and large, white color block. Manual white balance was just slightly green, and the Daylight setting produced a warm image. Exposure looks good (though contrast is a touch high), and the C-5050 Zoom distinguishes the subtle tonal variations of the Q60 target well. The large color blocks are bright and vibrant, although I found the additive primary colors (red, green, and blue) slightly oversaturated, albeit not by much. The shadow area of the charcoal briquettes shows moderate detail, with very low noise, and the last steps of both gray scales are just barely distinguishable. Overall, an excellent performance on this target.


 

Low-Light Tests

Excellent low-light performance with great color balance and low noise. (And an AF assist light too!)

The C-5050 Zoom's full manual exposure control, variable ISO settings, and maximum exposure time of 16 seconds give the camera an edge in the low-light shooting category. The camera produced clear, bright, usable images down to the 1/16 foot-candle (0.67 lux) limit of my test, with good color at all four ISO settings. At ISO 64, the 1/16 foot-candle image is a bit dim, but still usable. Additionally, the camera's AF assist light did an excellent job aiding focus, even at the lowest light level.

The C-5050 Zoom's Noise Reduction mode does a great job eliminating image noise, even at ISO 400. (Here are sample images without Noise Reduction, at the 64, 100, 200, and 400 ISO settings.) The table below shows the best exposure we were able to obtain for each of a range of illumination levels. Images in this table (like all of our sample photos) are untouched, exactly as they came from the camera.

  1fc
11lux
1/2fc
5.5lux
1/4fc
2.7lux
1/8fc
1.3lux
1/16fc
0.67lx
1/16fc
0.67lx
(No NR)
ISO
64
Click to see C55LL0603.JPG
2 sec
F/2.6
Click to see C55LL0604.JPG
4 sec
F/2.6
Click to see C55LL0605.JPG
13 sec
F/2.6
Click to see C55LL0606.JPG
16 sec
F/2.6
Click to see C55LL0607.JPG
16 sec
F/2.6
Click to see C55LL0607MNR.JPG
16 sec
F/2.6
ISO
100
Click to see C55LL1003.JPG
1.3 sec
F/2.6
Click to see C55LL1004.JPG
2.5 sec
F/2.6
Click to see C55LL1005.JPG
8 sec
F/2.6
Click to see C55LL1006.JPG
13 sec
F/2.6
Click to see C55LL1007.JPG
16 sec
F/2.6
Click to see C55LL1007MNR.JPG
16 sec
F/2.6
ISO
200
Click to see C55LL2003.JPG
1/2 sec
F/2.6
Click to see C55LL2004.JPG
1.6 sec
F/2.6
Click to see C55LL2005.JPG
4 sec
F/2.6
Click to see C55LL2006.JPG
8 sec
F/2.6
Click to see C55LL2007.JPG
16 sec
F/2.6
Click to see C55LL2007MNR.JPG
16 sec
F/2.6
ISO
400
Click to see C55LL4003.JPG
1/3 sec
F/2.6
Click to see C55LL4004.JPG
1/2 sec
F/2.6
Click to see C55LL4005.JPG
2 sec
F/2.6
Click to see C55LL4006.JPG
4 sec
F/2.6
Click to see C55LL4007.JPG
6 sec
F/2.6
Click to see C55LL4007MNR.JPG
8 sec
F/2.6


 

Flash Range Test

Good intensity all the way out to 14 feet from the test target, with only a slight decrease in brightness.

In my testing, the C-5050 Zoom's flash illuminated the test target all the way out to 14 feet, with only a slight decrease in intensity (which resulted in a pinkish cast). Below is the flash range series, with distances from eight to 14 feet from the target.

8 ft 9 ft 10 ft 11 ft 12 ft 13 ft 14 ft
Click to see C55FL08.JPG

1/100 sec
F/2.6
ISO:100

Click to see C55FL09.JPG

1/100 sec
F/2.6
ISO:100

Click to see C55FL10.JPG

1/100 sec
F/2.6
ISO:100

Click to see C55FL11.JPG

1/100 sec
F/2.6
ISO:100

Click to see C55FL12.JPG

1/100 sec
F/2.6
ISO:100

Click to see C55FL13.JPG

1/100 sec
F/2.6
ISO:100

Click to see C55FL14.JPG

1/100 sec
F/2.6
ISO:100

 

ISO-12233 (WG-18) Resolution Test

Very high resolution, with 1,200-1,300 lines of "strong detail." Higher than average barrel distortion, but low pincushion distortion. Also more chromatic aberration than I'd like to see.

The C-5050 Zoom's 5.0-megapixel CCD performed very well on our "laboratory" resolution test chart. It started showing artifacts in the test patterns at resolutions as low as 800 lines, but I found "strong detail" out to at least 1,200 lines vertically, and as high as 1,200 lines in the horizontal direction. "Extinction" of the target patterns didn't occur until about 1,600 lines.

Optical distortion on the C-5050 Zoom is high at the wide-angle end, where I measured an approximate 1.0 percent barrel distortion. The telephoto end fared much better, as I measured a 0.1 percent pincushion distortion. Chromatic aberration is moderately high, showing about seven or eight pixels of coloration on either side of the target lines, with fairly bright color. (This distortion is visible as a very slight colored fringe around the objects at the edges of the field of view on the resolution target.) The image was quite sharp corner to corner though, with only a little softening in the corners.

Overall, an excellent performance, marred somewhat by barrel distortion at wide angle and higher than average chromatic aberration.

Resolution Series, Wide Angle

Wide Angle "Fine"
JPEG
"Normal"
JPEG
3,200 x 2,400
(Interpolated)
C55RESWGF
C55RESWGN
2,560 x 1,920 C55RESWLF C55RESWLN
1,600 x 1,200 C55RESWMF C55RESWMN
1,280 x 960
C55RESWSF
C55RESWSN
640 x 480
C55RESWTF
C55RESWTN

 

Resolution Test, Telephoto
2,560 x 1,920
(Fine, Tele)
C55RESTLF


 

Viewfinder Accuracy/Flash Uniformity

A slightly tight optical viewfinder, but nearly 100 percent accurate LCD monitor.

The C-5050 Zoom's optical viewfinder is just a little tight, showing 86 percent frame accuracy at wide angle, and about 87 percent at telephoto. This is quite typical among digicams I test, but I'd really like to see more accurate optical viewfinders, particularly on higher-end models like the 5050. The LCD monitor is close to 100 percent accuracy, though the final image is shifted up and to the right very slightly. Given that I like LCD monitors to be as close to 100 percent accuracy as possible, the C-5050 Zoom performs well here, though you'll need to remember to shift the camera slightly when tight framing is important. Flash distribution is bright and uneven at wide angle, with just a little falloff at the corners and edges of the frame. At telephoto, flash distribution is quite uniform, albeit slightly dim.

 


Wide Angle, Optical

Telephoto, Optical

Wide Angle, LCD

Telephoto, LCD


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