Olympus Camedia C-60 ZoomOlympus packs a 6.1-megapixel CCD into an ultra-compact body, with a host of advanced features too.
<<Reference: Datasheet :(Previous) | (Next): Print-Friendly Review Version>>
C60 Sample ImagesReview First Posted: 06/10/2004
Digital Cameras - Olympus C-60 Zoom Test Images
|I've begun including links in our reviews to a Thumbnail index page for the test shots. The data there 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 post the index page 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-60 captured pretty good color, but its default contrast is high.
The shot at right was taken with a +1.0 EV exposure compensation adjustment, which produced good-looking midtone values, but at the cost of a lot of highlight detail. (No promises, but I'm going to try to come back and repeat this shot if the weather will cooperate before I have to return the camera, with the contrast adjustment dialed down, at this same exposure setting.) I chose the Auto white balance for the main series, though the Daylight setting produced results that were nearly identical.
Overall color is just a little reddish, giving Marti a redder skin tone than in real life. (Either that, or she's starting to get sunburned from posing for all these shots. ;-) The blue flowers in the bouquet are a little darker than in real life, but the hue is just about right. (Many cameras have a hard time with this blue, which in reality is a light navy color, with just a hint of purple to it.) The red flowers are a bit oversaturated, but color looks good elsewhere. Resolution is very high, and detail is strong but slightly soft throughout the frame. There's some evidence of the C-60's anti-noise processing in Marti's hair, where the noise reduction algorithm flattens out some of the subtle detail in areas of low contrast. Shadow detail is pretty good, and noise there is visible but not bad.
To view the entire exposure series from zero to +1.3 EV, see files C60OUTAP0.HTM
through C60OUTAP4.HTM on the thumbnail index page.
Like many consumer digicams, the C-60's default tone curve is pretty
contrasty, matching many consumers' desire for "snappy" looking
prints. This causes it to lose a lot of detail in the highlights of this
shot, with its deliberately harsh lighting. Fortunately, the C-60 has
an unusually effective contrast adjustment that does an excellent job
of knocking down the highlights, while leaving the shadows pretty much
untouched. I'd prefer the contrast control to pull up the shadows at the
same time that it pulls down the highlights, but overall am very happy
with the range of control that the C-60's contrast adjustment provides.
Very nice, I wish more manufacturers could provide as useful a range of
contrast adjustment on their cameras.
High resolution with great definition, excellent detail.
Color balance and overall exposure are similar to the wider shot above, though this shot was taken at the camera's default exposure setting. Midtones are slightly dark (I shot this with no contrast adjustment), but detail is strong. The C-60's 3x zoom lens helps prevent distortion of Marti's features, although there's still a little of the "chipmunk effect" common to shorter focal length lenses on this shot. Detail is stronger and better defined in this close-up shot (probably more than Marti would care to see full-screen!), with less of the softness and detail flattening we saw in the shot above. The deep shadows hold modest detail, with a moderate noise level.
To view the entire exposure series from -0.3 to +1.0 EV, see files C60FACDM1.HTM
through C60FACDP3.HTM on the thumbnail index page.
Indoor Portrait, Flash:
Limited flash power in the normal mode, better results with the Slow-Sync setting.
The C-60's built-in flash illuminated the subject tolerably well at its default exposure, but the results with a +0.3 EV boost were somewhat better. However, the exposure changed only slightly from +0.3 to +1.3 EV. I chose the shot taken with the +0.3 EV exposure compensation adjustment for the main image, since that was about as good as it got. (Many subcompact digicams suffer from limited flash power, and the C-60 appears to be one of them.) The background incandescent lighting creates an orange cast on the back wall, which spills onto Marti's features. The red tones are slightly oversaturated as well, which affects Marti's skin tone. I also shot with the camera's Slow-Sync flash mode, which produced slightly better results, though with a yellow cast in place of the orange one. I chose an exposure adjustment of +1.0 EV for the slow-sync shot. The longer exposure produces more even lighting on Marti, and a brighter exposure as well.
To view the entire exposure series from -0.3 to +1.3 EV in the normal flash mode, see files C60INFM1.HTM through C60INFP4.HTM on the thumbnail index page.
To see the same series in the Slow-Sync flash mode, see files C60INFSM1.HTM
through C60INFSP4.HTM, also on the thumbnail index
Indoor Portrait, No Flash:
Excellent color with the Incandescent white balance setting, better than average exposure accuracy 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. The C-60's Auto white balance had trouble here, producing a strong yellow cast, but the Incandescent setting produced a very good-looking image. Overall color is good, though very slightly yellow. (I actually prefer a very slight yellow cast on this shot, to preserve some of the mood of the original lighting. - I'd count the shot at right as just about perfect.) The blue flowers of the bouquet are dark and purplish, probably to be expected with this light source. The shot at right was taken with a +0.7 EV exposure compensation adjustment (a bit less than is usually required for this shot), which resulted in a good exposure.
To view the entire exposure series from zero to +1.7 EV, see files C60INTP0.HTM through C60INTP5.HTM on the thumbnail index page.
Nearly accurate color, and high resolution with good detail.
The C-60's Auto white balance setting produced
nearly accurate color here, though slightly cool and magenta overall.
(The Daylight setting resulted in a strong yellow
cast.) Resolution is very high, with a lot of fine detail visible in the
tree limbs and front shrubbery. Details are slightly soft throughout the
frame however, and the underlying sensor noise pops through the anti-noise
processing along the high-contrast edges of the white trim on the house.
Overall, not a bad performance for a compact digicam though. (The C-60
has a six-megapixel CCD, which begins to stretch 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 C-60 is close to extracting
all the detail that's to be found here. - Although 6 megapixel digital
SLRs with good lenses on them can indeed find more detail here than the
High resolution and detail, good dynamic range, even with the default contrast setting.
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-60 did a great job with it. (Apologies for the slightly crooked shot though.) Detail is strong in the trees above the roof as well as in fine foliage in front of the house. Details are slightly coarse, but still pretty well-defined in most areas. There's a moderate amount of softening in the corners, extending a fair ways into the frame, but it isn't too severe. The camera actually manages to avoid blowing out the highlights in the bright white paint surrounding the bay window, a trouble spot for many digicams. Detail is also moderate in the shadow area above the front door, the net result being surprisingly good dynamic range. Overall color looks good as well. The table below shows a standard resolution and quality series, followed by ISO, sharpness, contrast, and aperture series.
Lens Zoom Range
A 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-60's lens is equivalent to a 38-114mm zoom on a 35mm camera. That corresponds to a moderate wide angle to a moderate telephoto, slightly biased toward the telephoto end when compared to the 35-105mm range that's most common. Following are the results at each zoom setting.
Warm, reddish color, but good 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. Both the C-60's Auto
and Daylight settings produced warm, reddish
color casts, so I stuck with the Auto setting for the main shot. The reddish
color cast affects the models' skin tones, and produces purplish tints
in the blue background as well as in the shadow areas of the blue robe.
Contrast is a little high, with strong highlights on the models' faces.
Resolution is good, with strong detail visible in the embroidery of the
blue robe and elsewhere in the frame. (The original data file for this
poster was only 20MB though, so cameras like the C-60 are definitely capable
of showing more detail than the poster has in it.)
Average performance in normal macro mode, but very good results with Super mode. Flash throttles down quite well also.
The C-60 performed about average in the macro category with its normal
macro setting, capturing a minimum area of 4.43 x 3.32 inches (113
x 84 millimeters). However, in Super Macro
mode, the minimum area is a tiny 1.68 x 1.26 inches (43 x 32 millimeters).
Resolution is very high, and fine detail is strong in the dollar bill,
coins, and brooch (though the details are soft in the coins and brooch
in the Super Macro mode, from a limited depth of field at the closer shooting
range). There's some softness in all four corners of the frame, but strongest
on the left side. (This is a common failing of digicam macro modes, caused
by curvature of field in the optics.) The C-60's flash
throttles down well for the macro area in normal mode (shooting distance
is too close for Super mode), though the brooch catches a reflection.
All in all, the C-60 is a really excellent macro performer!
"Davebox" Test Target
Good overall exposure, though a warm color cast.
The C-60's Auto white balance setting did
the best job here, despite a very slight reddish tint. (The Daylight
setting produced a warmer, more yellow color balance.) Exposure is bright
and contrast is high, causing the camera to just barely distinguish the
subtle tonal variations of the Q60 target. The large color blocks are
quite hue-accurate, but for the most part slightly undersaturated. (That
said, the large red and blue primary color blocks are on the verge of
oversaturating.) Detail is moderate in the shadow area of the charcoal
briquettes, with a moderate noise level as well. Here are sample images
with the camera's Black and White and Sepia
About average low-light performance, with good color. Plenty sensitive for average city street lighting at night. Excellent low-light focusing.
The C-60 produced clear, bright, usable images down to the 1/16 foot-candle (0.67 lux) limit of my test only at the 400 ISO setting (though this shot is a hint dim, it's still usable). At ISO 64, images were bright only down to 1/2 foot-candle (5.5 lux), though at ISO 100 and 200 images were bright down to 1/4 foot-candle (2.7 lux). (You could arguably use the shot taken at 1/8 foot-candle, 1.3 lux, at the ISO 200 setting.) Color was pretty good in the brighter shots, but took on a warm cast as the exposure dimmed. The camera's Noise Reduction system did a pretty good job of decreasing the amount of visible image noise. While noise levels were lower with the system on, a few pixels were actually brighter and more visible. Most surprising about the C-60's low light performance though, was its autofocus system: It easily focused accurately down to the limit of my test. (1/16 foot-candle, a really low light level.) 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.
(Note: If you'd like to use a light meter to check light levels for subjects you might be interested in shooting, a light level of one foot-candle corresponds to a normal exposure of two seconds at f/2.8 and ISO 100.)
Flash Range Test
An underpowered flash unit, somewhat dim at 8 feet, and decreasing steadily in intensity with each additional foot from the target.
In my testing, the C-60's flash seemed rather underpowered, at least when using the camera's ISO 64 sensitivity setting. Even at 8 feet, the shot was a little dark, and the image brightness decreased steadily from there on. Flash power was brightest at eight feet, and decreased from there. Below is the flash range series, with distances from eight to 14 feet from the target.
Very good resolution, 1,400 lines of "strong detail." High barrel distortion at wide angle, though low distortion at telephoto.
The C-60 performed moderately well on the "laboratory" resolution test chart. It started showing artifacts in the test patterns at resolutions as low as 800 lines per picture height in the vertical direction, though I noticed jaggies in the lines starting at 600 lines in the horizontal direction. I found "strong detail" out to at least 1,400 lines. "Extinction" of the target patterns didn't occur until about 1,800 lines.
Geometric distortion on the C-60 is fairly high at the wide-angle end, where I measured approximately 1.0 percent barrel distortion. The telephoto end fared much better, as I found only 0.1 percent barrel distortion there. The C-60's images were surprisingly sharp from corner to corner at wide and medium focal lengths, but somewhat soft there at telephoto focal lengths, and there was quite a bit of chromatic aberration at the wide angle setting, with fairly bright red/green fringes around the target objects in the corners of the frame. (This distortion is visible as slight colored fringes around the objects at the edges of the field of view on the resolution target.) Overall, a pretty good performance, better than I'd normally expect from a compact lens design.
Resolution Series, Wide Angle
Resolution Test, Telephoto
Viewfinder Accuracy/Flash Uniformity
An accurate LCD monitor, but somewhat tight optical viewfinder.
The C-60's optical viewfinder is quite tight, showing about 89 percent frame accuracy at wide angle, and about 86 percent at telephoto. Images framed with the optical viewfinder are also slightly off-center in the final frame. The LCD monitor is much more accurate, showing about 97 percent frame accuracy at wide angle, and about 98 percent at telephoto. Since I generally prefer LCD monitors to be as close to 100 percent accuracy as possible, the C-60's LCD monitor has only a little room for improvement. The optical viewfinder accuracy is about average for point and shoot digicams, but I'd personally like to see the average improved a fair bit. Flash distribution is fairly even at wide angle, with just a little falloff at the corners and edges of the frame. At telephoto, flash distribution is more uniform.
Top 3 photos this month win:
1 Canon PIXMA PRO-100
2 Canon PIXMA MG6320
3 Canon PIXMA MG5420