Olympus C-5060 Wide ZoomOlympus makes a strong update to the top of their prosumer lineup
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C-5060 Sample ImagesReview First Posted: 11/21/2003
Digital Cameras - Olympus C-5060 Wide 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!|
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-5060 did a good job here.
The shot at right was taken with a +0.3 EV exposure compensation adjustment, which is much lower than average for this shot. Contrast is a bit high, resulting in slightly dark midtones. After twiddling with the camera's adjustable saturation and contrast settings, I felt that decreasing the contrast and increasing the saturation slightly produced a slightly better tonal balance, although I inadvertently captured the shot at a lower resolution setting, so didn't use it for the main selection here. (See below for a side-by-side comparison.) I chose the Auto white balance as the most accurate overall, though the Daylight setting produced similar results (just slightly cooler). The Manual white balance resulted in a warmer color balance.
Skin tones here are just about right, although the blue flowers in the bouquet are slightly dark. (This is a difficult blue for many digicams to get right, and the C-5060 generally does a very good job with them, with just about the right amount of purple in the petals, but rendering them somewhat darker than they are in real life.) Color is pretty good throughout the rest of the frame, although the reds and greens are slightly dark as well. Resolution is excellent, with a lot of fine detail visible throughout the frame. Shadow detail is high, with moderate noise.
To view the entire exposure series from zero to +0.7 EV, see files C56OUTAP0.HTM
through C56OUTAP2.HTM on the thumbnail index page.
The comparison shot above shows the effect of dropping the contrast and boosting saturation slightly. - Generally, when you cut contrast, it also drops the color saturation a bit as well, so you usually need to boost the saturation level (assuming that a control is provided for this) slightly to compensate. In the case of the 5060, if it were my camera, I'd probably set up a "My" mode for harshly lit situations like this, with the contrast dialed down to -4 and the saturation set to +1: I'd like to see a bit less contrast than is left above, as well as slightly less saturated colors. The ability to customize the 5060's color and tonal characteristics like this is a real strong point of the camera.
Excellent resolution and detail, although high contrast once again.
Overall results are similar to the wider shot above, again with somewhat high contrast in response to the very harsh lighting. (This image was shot "straight," with no contrast or saturation adjustments.) Alhough slightly dark, midtone detail is good, as is detail in the deep shadows. The shot at right was taken with a +0.3 EV exposure compensation adjustment. The C-5060's 4x zoom lens helps prevent distortion in Marti's features, important in close-up shots like this. (Wide angle lenses tend to distort facial features, so be sure to get a camera with a zoom lens if you're interested in close-in shooting like this.) Detail is outstanding, with sharp details in the strands of Marti's hair, as well as in her skin.
To view the entire exposure series from zero to +0.7 EV, see files C56FACAP0.HTM
through C56FACAP2.HTM on the thumbnail index page.
Indoor Portrait, Flash:
Good intensity and coverage with the built-in flash, with good color as well. Hot shoe makes external flash use easy.
The C-5060's flash illuminated the subject nicely, with good intensity at the +1.0
EV exposure compensation setting. (Here's a shot at the default exposure, +1.0 EV is a fairly typical amount of exposure adjustment needed on this somewhat high-key subject, among the cameras I've tested.) Overall color is quite good. The background incandescent lighting of the house results in a very slight orange cast on the back wall, but it isn't strong enough to really interfere with the image. The camera's Slow Sync flash mode also performed well, using a slower shutter speed to allow more ambient light into the shot. Thus, in that shot, the overall exposure was slightly brighter, but the orange cast increased as well. I obtained the best exposure there with a +1.3
EV exposure compensation adjustment. (Click here to see the default exposure in slow-sync mode.) Finally, I attached a more powerful external
flash unit, and bounced the light off of the ceiling, with a piece of paper held in front of the flash head to provide a little direct/diffused light for more even coverage. The fact that the shot with external flash looks so much like natural room lighting illustrates why I so highly recommend cameras with external flash options for "enthusiast" photographers. - If you're willing to take a little time with it, the results are dramatically better than can be obtained with only on-camera flash.
Indoor Portrait, No Flash:
Pretty good color with all tested WB settings, best with Manual although slightly greenish, and good exposure.
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. The C-5060's Auto and Incandescent white balance settings had a little trouble here, producing orange and yellow color casts, respectively, although some people would prefer it that the camera left some of the warmth of the original lighting in the final images. The Manual white balance setting produced the best overall results to my eye, although the resulting color was slightly greenish. (See below for a range of white balance adjustments in the Manual setting.) The blue flowers of the bouquet are dark and purplish, a common problem with this shot, and the reds and greens are slightly dark as well. The main shot has a +1.0 EV exposure compensation adjustment, which is about average for this shot.
White Balance Adjustment Series: In one of my favorite features, the C-5060 lets you "tweak" its white balance settings, by shifting the color balance toward either the red or blue ends of the spectrum. This can be very helpful in achieving a more accurate color balance. Below is a range of adjustments for the Manual white balance setting. The negative end of the range adds more red, while the positive end adds more blue.
Great resolution, and detail, though color balance is warm.
Although somewaht blue, I preferred the overall color balance of the C-5060's Manual white balance to the warm cast of the Auto setting. (The Daylight
setting resulted in a stronger warm cast.) Resolution is excellent, with
a lot of fine detail visible in the tree limbs above the roof, as well
as in the fine foliage in front of the house. Leaf patterns are well-defined,
as are the more linear details of the house front. (The C-5060's five-megapixel
CCD stretches 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 tack-sharp
lens, the camera is close to extracting all the detail that's to be found
here.) Details are also sharp throughout the center of the frame, though
corner softness is strong on the right side, extending down the side of
Excellent resolution and detail, with a very 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-5060 does an excellent job. There's a lot of fine detail in the tree limbs over the roof and in the fine foliage in front of the house, with great definition in the leaf patterns and tree trunks. In-camera sharpening does a good job here as well, with crisp details throughout the frame. The camera picks up good detail in the bright white paint surrounding the bay window, a trouble spot for many digicams, although it underexposed the midtones slightly to manage this. Detail is also strong in the shadow area above the front door though, further evidence of the C-5060's excellent dynamic range. Overall color looks pretty good, and exposure is pretty good, although as noted the midtones are a little dark. The table below shows a standard resolution and quality series, followed by ISO, sharpness, contrast, and saturation series.
Lens Zoom Range
Excellent 4x 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 (4x, in this case), and at full telephoto with the digital zoom enabled. The C-5060's lens is equivalent to a 27-110mm zoom on a 35mm camera. That corresponds to a nice wide angle (wider than any other consumer digicam) to a decent telephoto. Following are the results at each zoom setting.
Pretty good color with the Daylight white balance, if a little red, 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. Though slightly reddish, the C-5060's Daylight white
balance setting produced the best overall color here. The Auto
setting was warm and yellow, while the Manual
setting was much too cool. Despite the reddish color cast, skin tones
are still pretty good on the models. However, the blue background has
purplish tints, as do the deep shadow areas of the blue robe. Resolution
is excellent, with very nice detail in the embroidery of the blue robe
and on the red vest. (The original data file for this poster was only
20MB though, so cameras like the C-5060 are definitely capable of showing
more detail than the poster has in it.)
Excellent macro performance, even with the flash, "Super" macro gets really close.
The C-5060 performed very well in the macro category, capturing a minimum area of only 3.04 x 2.28 inches (77 x 58 millimeters) at the normal setting. In Super macro mode, results were quite a bit better, at 1.32 x 0.99 inches (33 x 25 millimeters). Resolution was very high, with excellent detail in the dollar bill, coins, and brooch. Corner softness is very slight in the right side of the frame. The C-5060's flash throttled down well for the macro area, producing a very even exposure with only a slight reflection in the brooch. (Note though, that the flash is disabled in Super Macro mode, so you'll need external illumination for the very closest shots.)
"Davebox" Test Target
Good color, though slightly warm, and good exposure as well.
The C-5060's Auto white balance setting did the best job here, despite a slightly warm color cast. The Daylight setting produced a much warmer image, while the Manual setting resulted in a cool cast. Exposure is about right, though contrast is a little high, and the C-5060 distinguishes the subtle tonal variations of the Q60 target without trouble. The large color blocks are nearly accurate, with good saturation. The shadow area of the charcoal briquettes shows a lot of fine detail, with low noise.
Really(!) excellent low-light performance, with great color balance and very low noise, even without Noise Reduction enabled. A bright autofocus-assist illuminator, too.
With full manual exposure control, adjustable ISO, and a maximum exposure time of 16 seconds, the C-5060 has no trouble with low-light shooting. It produced clear, bright images down to the 1/16 foot-candle (0.67 lux) limit of my test, with good color at all four ISO settings. Most impressive was the C-5060's handling of image noise. Even with the optional Noise Reduction disabled, noise was very low. (Here are sample images at ISO 80, 100, 200, and 400 without Noise Reduction.) An excellent job(!) The table below shows the best exposure I was able to obtain for each of a range of illumination levels. Images in this table (like all sample photos) are untouched, exactly as they came from the camera.
Flash Range Test
A powerful flash, only a little falloff at the 14 foot limit of this test.
Olympus rates the C-5060's flash as effective to 13 feet (3.7 meters), at the normal intensity setting, which agrees pretty well with my own findings. In my testing, the flash illuminated the test target all the way out to 14 feet, albeit with a slight decrease in intensity from 13 to 14 feet. Below is the flash range series, with distances from eight to 14 feet from the target.
Very high resolution, 1,250-1,300 lines of "strong detail." High barrel distortion at wide angle, though telephoto has virtually no distortion.
The C-5060 performed very well on the "laboratory" resolution test chart. It started showing artifacts in the test patterns at resolutions as low as 900~1,000 lines per picture height, in both horizontal and vertical directions. I found "strong detail" out to at least 1,300 lines horizontally, 1,250 lines vertically. "Extinction" of the target patterns didn't occur until about 1,700 lines.
Optical distortion on the C-5060 is a little higher than average at the wide-angle end, where I measured approximately 1.0 percent barrel distortion. (Average is 0.8 percent barrel distortion, which is still too high, IMHO.) The telephoto end fared much better though, as I couldn't find even one pixel of pincushion or barrel distortion. Chromatic aberration is moderate, showing about six pixels of coloration on either side of the target lines. (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.)
Resolution Series, Wide Angle
Resolution Test, Telephoto
Viewfinder Accuracy/Flash Uniformity
A tight optical viewfinder, but nearly accurate LCD monitor.
The C-5060's optical viewfinder is quite tight, showing about 77 percent frame accuracy at wide angle, and about 81 percent at telephoto. (A shame, given how low the camera's power consumption is with the LCD turned off.) The LCD monitor proved much more accurate, showing about 97 percent of the frame at both zoom settings. Given that I like LCD monitors to be as close to 100 percent accuracy as possible, the C-5060's LCD monitor has only a little room for improvement here. Flash distribution is fairly even at wide angle, with some falloff at the corners and edges of the frame. At telephoto, flash distribution is more uniform with only a hint of falloff in the corners.