Olympus C-8080 Wide ZoomOlympus enters the 8 megapixel arena with a feature-packed body and fast f/2.4-3.5 5x zoom lens.
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C-8080 Sample ImagesReview First Posted: 02/12/2004, Updated: 05/07/04
Digital Cameras - Olympus C-8080 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, ISOsetting, compression setting, etc. Rather than clutter the page below with *all*that detail, we're posting the Thumber index so only those interested inthe 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-8080 did a pretty good job, although its default settings left the contrast somewhat high. (Happily though, the C-8080 has excellent, fine-grained controls to adjust both contrast and saturation to precisely match your personal preferences.)
The shot at right was taken with a +0.7 EV exposure compensation adjustment, about a third of a stop less than average for this shot. I also chose for the main selection here the shot I captured with the 8080's contrast adjustment set to its minimum value, as the contrast was quite high with the default settings. Color looked good with all three white balance settings, though I chose the Auto white balance as the most accurate overall. The Manual setting produced nearly identical results, but the Daylight setting was a hint reddish.
Compared to many consumer-grade cameras, the image here looks just a little undersaturated, but is actually a more accurate representation of the original scene than it would be with more saturation added. Color is quite accurate, and the blue flowers in the bouquet have almost exactly the right hue. (Many digicams have trouble with this blue, which is actually a light navy blue with just a tinge of purple in it, in real life.) The color of the bright red flowers is also kept in check, and the greens and yellows look quite good as well.
Resolution is excellent, with a lot of fine detail visible throughout the frame (even in the shadows) and low image noise. In particular, there's relatively little loss of detail in the subtly contrasting areas of Marti's hair from the noise-suppression processing, a good sign. Overall, an excellent performance.
To view the entire exposure series from zero to +1.0 EV, see files 8080OUTMP0.HTM
through 8080OUTMP3.HTM on the thumbnail index page.
Excellent resolution and detail, but again high contrast with the default setting.
Overall results here are similar to the wider shot above, in terms of exposure. Contrast is again high, and saturation a little lower than average, but as noted above, probably at a level that most pros would prefer. (I left the contrast adjustment at its default value for this shot.) Although the highlights are quite bright, the midtones are fairly dark. The image at right was captured with no exposure compensation adjustment, a bit lower than average for this shot. I was a little torn whether to show the image with +0.3 EV adjustment, as that produced much better midtones, but I felt left the highlights too washed out. The C-8080's 5x zoom lens does a great job preventing any strong distortion on Marti's features. Resolution and detail are again excellent, with great definition in Marti's face, hair, and in the flowers.
To view the entire exposure series from -0.3 to +0.7 EV, see files 8080FACAM1.HTM
through 8080FACAP2.HTM on the thumbnail index page.
Indoor Portrait, Flash:
A bright, powerful flash, producing good color and good coverage. Slow-Sync mode results in an orange cast though.
The C-8080's built-in flash is quite powerful, producing good coverage
and overall color. As the default exposure
setting was slightly dim, I boosted the exposure to +1.0
EV, which resulted in a very bright exposure, but still left detail
in the highlights and good color in the flowers. I also shot with the
camera's Slow-Sync flash mode, which surprisingly required a +1.7
EV exposure compensation adjustment. (Slow sync mode usually requires
less exposure compensation, not more.) Here's a shot at the default
longer exposure time allows more ambient light into the image and results
in a strong orange cast from the household incandescent lighting. (It
looks like the Slow-Sync exposure option tends to bias the exposure toward
the ambient lighting more than is sometimes the case.)
Indoor Portrait, No Flash:
Really excellent results with the Automatic white balance, good exposure 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. Surprisingly, the C-8080's Auto white balance setting produced the best-looking color here, doing a near-perfect job of dealing with the warm-toned incandescent lighting. (It's really unusual for a camera's auto white balance setting to do this well on this test.) The Manual setting was just a little too cool, and the Incandescent setting was reddish. Overall color looks really good with the Auto white balance, though the blue flowers are a bit dark and purplish. (Still, considering the light source, results are very good.) The shot at right was taken with a +1.0 EV exposure compensation adjustment, which is about average for this shot.
Very nice color, with great detail and resolution.
The C-8080's Manual white balance setting
produced the best overall color here, though the Auto
and Daylight settings weren't too far off
the mark. Resolution is very high, with excellent detail in the tree limbs
and front shrubbery. Definition is very good as well. (The C-8080's eight-megapixel
CCD definitely 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 C-8080 is close to extracting all the detail that's
to be found here.) Details are fairly sharp overall, though corner softness
is present in all four corners.
Excellent resolution and detail, reasonably 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. This is an image where the wisdom of Olympus' investment in the 8080's huge lens really shows its worth. The image is quite sharp from corner to corner, with little or none of the softness I've become so accustomed to seeing in the corners of digicam images. There's also virtually no chromatic aberration to be found here either. The tiny foliage details in the front shrubbery are well-defined, as are the finer details of the tree limbs above the roof, and the house front trim. The camera picks up some detail in the bright white paint surrounding the bay window, but not a lot. (This is a trouble spot for many digicams.) Detail is good in the shadow area above the front door, though, with fairly low noise. Overall color is quite good, very faithful to the original scene, but the camera's default contrast is rather high, as I'd noted earlier. The table below shows a standard resolution and quality series, followed by ISO, sharpness, saturation, contrast, and hue series.
As I commented on earlier, the C-8080 Wide zoom has nice, very fine-grained adjustments for saturation, contrast, and hue. In the tables below, I show the effect of images shot with each setting at its extreme values, as well as at default and one step above and below default. This should give a good idea of both the range of each control, as well as the relatively small size of the individual steps. (You can see the missing +/-2 steps for these series on the thumbnail index page, if you're interested.)
Lens Zoom Range
Excellent 5x 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 (5x, in this case), and at full telephoto with the digital zoom enabled. The C-8080's lens is equivalent to a 28-140mm zoom on a 35mm camera. That corresponds to a pretty wide angle to a pretty good telephoto, a very useful range. Following are the results at each zoom setting.
Nearly accurate color with the Manual white balance setting, 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-8080's Manual
white balance option produced the best overall color here, despite a slight
cool cast. (Both the Auto and Daylight
settings were tricked into producing warmer color balances.) Skin tones
are pale, but still pretty good. The blue robe is nearly accurate, with
only faint purple tints in the deep shadows. Resolution is excellent,
as the embroidery of the blue robe and on the red vest show a lot of fine
detail. (The original data file for this poster was only 20MB though,
so cameras like the C-8080 are definitely capable of showing more detail
than the poster has in it.)
A very tiny macro area with outstanding detail. Flash is blocked by the lens, however.
The C-8080 performed very well in the macro category, capturing a minimum
area of only 2.57 x 1.92 inches (65 x 49 millimeters) in normal macro
mode. The "Super" macro setting captured an even smaller area,
at 1.47 x 1.11 inches (37 x 28 millimeters). Resolution is excellent,
with strong detail in the dollar bill, coins, and brooch. (In Super macro
mode, however, details are blurred in the coins and brooch due to the
shallow depth of field that resulted from the short shooting distance,
not the fault of the C-8080.) The C-8080's flash
is blocked by the lens, so you'll need an alternative source of lighting
(such as a macro ringlight). While there's some softness in the corners
of the super macro mode shot, what's really surprising is how crisp the
standard macro shot is from corner to corner. Here again, the 8080's lens
proves its worth.
"Davebox" Test Target
Excellent color, but somewhat high contrast.
The C-8080's Auto and Manual white balance settings produced virtually identical color balances here, though the Daylight setting resulted in a warm color cast. I chose the Auto setting for the main shot, though it was really a toss-up between it and the Manual shot. The 8080 wanted to underexpose this shot slightly, so I boosted exposure by 0.3 EV, to put the white block of the MacBeth(tm) target right about where I aim for, namely between 240 and 250 brightness units in the final file. (Here, it ended up at 250, on the high end of the range I try for.) Color here is very accurate and appropriately saturated, with very pure colors across the board. While the contrast is on the high side, shadow detail is really excellent, with very low noise as well. (The C-8080 clearly separates the bottom two swatches of the large grey scale, something that few cameras can manage this well.)
As before, here are some examples showing the range of adjustment of the C8080 Wide Zoom's saturation, contrast, and hue controls.
Excellent performance, with good color and exposure, even at the darkest light levels.
The C-8080 produced clear, bright, usable images down to the 1/16 foot-candle (0.67 lux) limit of my test, with pretty good color at all four ISO settings. The color was slightly warm-hued in the dimmer shots, but overall performance was very good. The C-8080 has an optional Noise Reduction system that did a good job of keeping noise in check, although even with the noise reduction system turned off, the 8080's images are surprisingly clean. (Some reviewers have found little difference with the 8080 noise reduction on or off, but I found a very clear difference, at least with our test sample.) 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 1 foot-candle corresponds to a normal exposure of 2 seconds at F/2.8 and ISO 100.)
Flash Range Test
A very powerful flash, with virtually no falloff at the furthest shooting distance, at ISO 100.
In my testing, the C-8080's flash illuminated the test target all the way out to 14 feet, without any significant decrease in intensity. Below is the flash range series, with distances from eight to 14 feet from the target.
Very high resolution, 1,600-1,650 lines of "strong detail." Average barrel distortion, low pincushion though.
The C-8080 performed very well on the "laboratory" resolution test chart, as expected with its eight-megapixel CCD and good lens. It started showing artifacts in the test patterns at resolutions as low as 1,000-1,100 lines per picture height, in both horizontal and vertical directions. I found "strong detail" out to at least 1,600 lines vertically (although there are enough artifacts at that point that I question whether I should perhaps drop back to 1,500 lines, per my own, fairly conservative criteria - see below), 1,650 lines horizontally. "Extinction" of the target patterns didn't occur until right around 2,000 lines, but even then, some detail is faintly discernable.
A note on "resolution:" Some reviewers would doubtless report the resolution as higher here, but I tend to be conservative in these numbers, feeling that you shouldn't rate a camera as resolving a level of detail if the artifacts and aliasing are as strong as the primary subject detail. Hence my somewhat lower figures.) It's also worth noting that I've found the resolution of the three 8-megapixel digicams I've tested thus far (the 8080, the Sony DSC-F828, and the Nikon Coolpix 8700, as of this writing) to be the same, in terms of the number of lines they can resolve on the test charts. There are differences between their res-chart images though, in terms of how crisp the images appear. This has as much to do with the cameras' image processing though, as it does with their actual optical resolution, so I don't try to slant my figures here to acknowledge that. (For what it's worth though, I found the Sony F828 to be the most crisp looking, the C-8080 next, and the 8700 the softest of the lot, although not by a great amount.)
Optical distortion on the C-8080 is about average at the wide-angle end, where I measured approximately 0.8 percent barrel distortion. The telephoto end fared somewhat better, as I measured 0.2 percent pincushion distortion there. This range of geometric distortion seems to be about average among the high-end 8-megpixel cameras currently on the market, but I'd really like to see less geometric distortion in digicam lenses overall. Chromatic aberration is interesting in this lens, in that its effects extend quite a distance from the scene object triggering them, but the level of coloration is fairly low, so the net effect isn't as bothersome as it might otherwise be. (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
Excellent accuracy from the electronic viewfinder.
The C-8080's electronic "optical" viewfinder (EVF) is very
accurate, showing 97 percent frame accuracy at wide angle, and about
99 percent at telephoto. The LCD monitor is also very accurate, since
it shows the same view, just on a larger screen. Given that I like LCD
monitors to be as close to 100 percent accuracy as possible, the C-8080's
LCD monitor is essentially perfect in this regard. 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,
without any noticeable falloff at all.