Digital Camera Home > Digital Camera Reviews > Olympus Digital Cameras > Olympus C-8080 Wide Zoom

Olympus C-8080 Wide Zoom

Olympus enters the 8 megapixel arena with a feature-packed body and fast f/2.4-3.5 5x zoom lens.

<<Reference: Datasheet :(Previous) | (Next): Print-Friendly Review Version>>

C-8080 Sample Images

Review First Posted: 02/12/2004, Updated: 05/07/04

Untitled Document

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!

 

Outdoor Portrait:

Excellent resolution and fine detail, with good color, but high contrast and slightly low saturation with the default settings. (Good contrast and saturation controls though.)

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.

Contrast Series:
As noted above, the C-8080 Wide Zoom has a contrast adjustment option with very fine-grained steps. For the main image in this test, I used the lowest setting, but include links to the lowest, default, and highest settings below. What's particularly nice about the C-8080's contrast adjustment is that it has a total of 7 steps with which to cover its range, so you can easily make small "tweaks" to match your personal preferences very closely.
Contrast Series
Low
Normal
High

Saturation Series:
As with its contrast adjustment, the C-8080 Wide Zoom has a color saturation adjustment with very fine-grained steps as well. As above, the shots below show examples with the saturation control set to its lowest, default, and highest settings. This is a very useful range of control, with steps small enough to permit minor tweaks to match personal preferences, something I'd like to see on more cameras. (To view the entire saturation series, see files 8080OUTSAT1.HTM through 8080OUTSAT7.HTM on the thumbnail index page.)

Saturation Series
Low
Normal
High



 

Closer Portrait:

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:
Normal Flash
+1.0 EV
Slow-Sync Mode
+1.7 EV

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 exposure.) The 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:
Auto White Balance
Incandescent White Balance
Manual White Balance

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.

 

ISO Series:
Considering its 8-megapixel sensor, the C-8080 Wide Zoom generally does pretty well in the noise department. Here, while there's minor blotchiness visible in the blue channel, even at ISO 50, the image noise isn't particularly visible until you hit ISO 200. At ISO 400 though, the noise becomes what I would consider objectionable.

ISO Series
ISO 50
ISO 100
ISO 200
ISO 400



 

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

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.



 

Far-Field Test

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.

Resolution Series:
(Gee, only 8 image-size options? - I'm not complaining, but does anyone really need this many size options on their digicam?)

Wide Angle "Fine"
JPEG
"Normal"
JPEG
3,264 x 2,448
8080FAR3264F
8080FAR3264N
2,592 x 1,944
8080FAR2592F
-
2,288 x 1,712
8080FAR2288F
-
2,048 x 1,536
8080FAR2048F
-
1,600 x 1,200
8080FAR1600F
-
1,280 x 960
8080FAR1280F
-
1,024 x 768
8080FAR1024F
-
640 x 480
8080FAR640F
-


ISO Series:

ISO Series
ISO 50
ISO 100
ISO 200
ISO 400

Sharpness Series:
The C-8080 Wide Zoom's options for in-camera sharpening span a wide but very useful range of effects, from what looks like no sharpening at all (ideal for images you want to manipulate in an imaging program, and then sharpen after the fact), to a fairly strong sharpening that nonetheless stops short of the absurd levels some cameras permit. I was surprised by what a good job the camera does with its default setting -It brings out excellent detail, with minimal halos around objects, and minimal impact on image noise as well. Very well done.

Sharpness Series
-3
-2
-1
Normal
+3

Saturation 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.)

Saturation Series
-3
-1
Normal
+3

Contrast Series:

Contrast Series
-3
-1
Normal
+3

Hue Series:

Hue Series
-3
-1
Normal
+3



 

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.

Wide Angle
5x Telephoto
Digital Telephoto



 

Musicians Poster
Auto White Balance
Daylight White Balance
Manual White Balance

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.)



 

Macro Shot
Standard Macro Shot
Macro with Flash
Super Macro

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
Auto White Balance
Daylight White Balance
Manual White Balance

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.)

ISO Series:

ISO Series
ISO 50
ISO 100
ISO 200
ISO 400

Saturation Series:

As before, here are some examples showing the range of adjustment of the C8080 Wide Zoom's saturation, contrast, and hue controls.

Saturation Series
-3
Normal
+3

Contrast Series:

Contrast Series
-3
Normal
+3

Hue Series:

Hue Series
-3
Normal
+3




 

Low-Light Tests

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.)

  1 fc
11 lux
1/2 fc
5.5 lux
1/4 fc
2.7 lux
1/8 fc
1.3 lux
1/16 fc
0.67 lux
1/16fc
No NR
ISO
50
Click to see 8080LL0503.JPG
3.2 sec
f2.4
Click to see 8080LL0504.JPG
8 sec
f2.4
Click to see 8080LL0505.JPG
15 sec
f2.4
Click to see 8080LL0506.JPG
30.41 sec
f2.4
Click to see 8080LL0507.JPG
64.51 sec
f2.4
Click to see 8080LL0507NNR.JPG
64.57 sec
f2.4
ISO
100
Click to see 8080LL1003.JPG
1.6 sec
f2.4
Click to see 8080LL1004.JPG
4 sec
f2.4
Click to see 8080LL1005.JPG
8 sec
f2.4
Click to see 8080LL1006.JPG
16.41 sec
f2.4
Click to see 8080LL1007.JPG
32.58 sec
f2.4
Click to see 8080LL1007NNR.JPG
32.31 sec
f2.4
ISO
200
Click to see 8080LL2003.JPG
1/1 sec
f2.4
Click to see 8080LL2004.JPG
2 sec
f2.4
Click to see 8080LL2005.JPG
4 sec
f2.4
Click to see 8080LL2006.JPG
8 sec
f2.4
Click to see 8080LL2007.JPG
16.76 sec
f2.4
Click to see 8080LL2007NNR.JPG
16.58 sec
f2.4
ISO
400
Click to see 8080LL4003.JPG
1/2 sec
f2.4
Click to see 8080LL4004.JPG
1 sec
f2.4
Click to see 8080LL4005.JPG
2 sec
f2.4
Click to see 8080LL4006.JPG
4 sec
f2.4
Click to see 8080LL4007.JPG
8 sec
f2.4
Click to see 8080LL4007NNR.JPG
8 sec
f2.4


 

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.

8 ft 9 ft 10 ft 11 ft 12 ft 13 ft 14 ft
Click to see 8080FL08.JPG
1/100 sec
f3.2
ISO 100
Click to see 8080FL09.JPG
1/100 sec
f3.5
ISO 100
Click to see 8080FL10.JPG
1/125 sec
f3.5
ISO 100
Click to see 8080FL11.JPG
1/125 sec
f3.5
ISO 100
Click to see 8080FL12.JPG
1/125 sec
f3.5
ISO 100
Click to see 8080FL13.JPG
1/125 sec
f3.5
ISO 100
Click to see 8080FL14.JPG
1/125 sec
f3.5
ISO 100



 

ISO-12233 (WG-18) Resolution Test

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
Wide Angle "Fine"
JPEG
"Normal"
JPEG
3,264 x 2,448
8080RESW3264F

8080RESW3264N

2,592 x 1,944
8080RESW2592F
-
2,288 x 1,712
8080RESW2288F
-
2,048 x 1,536
8080RESW2048F
-
1,600 x 1,200
8080RESW1600F
-
1,280 x 960
8080RESW1280F
-
1,024 x 768
8080RESW1024F
-
640 x 480
8080RESW0640F
-

 

Resolution Test, Telephoto
3,264 x 2,448
(Fine, Tele)
8080REST3264F

Sharpness Series
Sharpness Series
-3
-2
Normal
+1
+3



 

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.




Reader Comments! --> Visit our discussion forum for the Olympus C-8080 Wide Zoom!



<<Reference: Datasheet | Print-Friendly Review Version>>

Follow Imaging Resource:

Purchase memory card for Panasonic Lumix DMC-XS3 digital camera
Top 3 photos this month win:

1 $300 Adorama Gift Certificate

2 $200 Adorama Gift Certificate

3 $100 Adorama Gift Certificate