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Olympus Brio D-100

Olympus uses tricky optics to build a sleekly compact 1.3 megapixel digicam with excellent image quality!

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Brio D-100 Sample Images

Review First Posted: 5/6/2001

We've begun including links in our reviews to a Thumber-generated index page for our 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: (803 k)
The extreme tonal range of this image makes it a tough shot for many digicams, which is precisely why we set it up this way. The object is to hold highlight and shadow detail without producing a "flat" picture with muddy colors, and the Olympus D-100 does a pretty nice job. We shot samples of this image with the automatic (811 k) and daylight (813 k) white balance settings, which produced nearly identical results. The automatic setting produced a slightly warmer image, with more orange tints in the skin tones, leading us to choose the daylight setting as the most accurate. Overall color looks pretty accurate with the daylight white balance, though the skin tones are a little magenta. The blue flowers and pants look about right, with just a hint of purple in them. (These blues are hard for many digicams to reproduce correctly, so the D-100 does well here.) The red flower in the bouquet is so bright that it appears to glow, which causes some loss of detail, and the overall color of the flower is more magenta than it is in reality. Resolution is moderate, about what we'd expect for a 1.3-megapixel camera, with a fair amount of fine detail visible throughout the image. The shadow areas show good detail, with moderately low noise present. (We can also see faint noise in the sunny portions of the house siding.) Our main image was taken with a +0.5 EV exposure adjustment to get the best exposure in the shadow areas without overexposing the bright highlights. The table below shows the results of a range of exposure settings from zero to +1.5 EV.

Exposure Compensation Settings:
0 EV
1/ 400
F/ 8
(813 k)
0.5 EV
1/ 320
F/ 8
(803 k)
1.0 EV
1/ 200
F/ 8
(814 k)
1.5 EV
1/ 160
F/ 8
(790 k)



 
Closer portrait: (804 k)
The D-100 performs reasonably well with this closer, portrait shot, though we noticed a fair amount of distortion from its wide-angle lens. (Shorter focal length lenses tend to distort facial features in close-up shots like this and the availability of longer focal lengths is a key feature if you're going to be shooting close-up people shots.) We again shot with the daylight white balance setting, which produced a nice color balance. Resolution is higher in this shot, with sharp details visible throughout the image. The individual strands of the model's hair are just visible, and her face reveals more fine detail than in the wider Outdoor Portrait. Color looks good overall, with slightly less intense magenta in the skin tones than with the Outdoor Portrait. Noise level is moderately low in the shadow areas, with a medium sized, tightly spaced grain pattern. Our main shot was taken with no exposure adjustment. The table below shows the results of a range of exposure settings from zero to +1.5 EV.

Exposure Compensation Settings:
0 EV
1/ 320
F/ 8
(804 k)
0.5 EV
1/ 200
F/ 8
(802 k)
1.0 EV
1/ 160
F/ 8
(780 k)
1.5 EV
1/ 1000
F/ 2.8
(752 k)



 
Indoor Portrait, Flash: (795 k)
The D-100's built-in flash does a good job of illuminating the subject here, but the camera apparently lets in a lot of incandescent room lighting, without compensating for its strong color cast. In all of our test shots, the D-100 produced a strong orange cast in response to the background incandescent lighting. In this test, we first shot with the flash and no exposure compensation at all, producing this (837 k) fairly well lit image. Though very warm, colors are in correct proportion to each other, though the orange cast affects even the model's white shirt. Next, we adjusted the exposure compensation to +0.5 EV, (795 k) which brightened the exposure slightly. The white shirt is a little brighter, and the model's face shows less orange and magenta. We then increased the exposure compensation to +1.0 EV, (837 k) which significantly decreased the orange cast in the image, though color begins to wash out in the model's face and flower bouquet. Finally, we shot with the flash in Night Scene (798 k) mode, with an exposure compensation adjustment of +0.5 EV. This produced similar results to our first image, with a strong orange color cast, though the overall exposure is a little brighter than our first image.

Interestingly, despite the very strong color cast, the D-100 captures all the essential information needed to produce a good image. Here's two variations we made of this image. First, a quick "auto levels" adjustment in Photoshop(tm) produced this (624 k) image, with the model's shirt cleaned up quite a bit, but still a fair bit of color in the background. A few minutes in our favorite photo-tweaking program, PhotoGenetics produced this result, (1115 k) with quite nice color all around. (You can download the "Genotype" we created here, by right-clicking on the link (Mac users click and hold) and instructing your browser to download the file to your disk: Put it in your PhotoGenetics "Genotypes" folder, and you can apply it to your photos with a single mouse click!)


 
Indoor portrait, no flash: (844 k)
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, and the D-100's white balance system handles the challenge well. We shot samples of this image with the automatic (850 k) and incandescent (837 k) white balance settings, choosing the incandescent setting for our main series. The automatic setting resulted in a very warm image with a strong orange color cast. The incandescent setting produced only slightly warm results, but overall color balance and accuracy looked pretty good. The blue flowers of the bouquet show light purple tints at the edges of the petals, and the red flower appears a bright magenta. Still, the green leaves and skin tones, though slightly warm, appear nearly accurate. Details are fairly sharp, with moderate fine detail visible throughout the image. Noise is moderate in the shadows and slightly lower in the brighter areas. We chose an exposure adjustment of +1.0 EV for our main image. The table below shows a range of exposures from zero to +1.5 EV.

(We've also made some PhotoGenetics Genotypes for you here too. Here they are, for: 1) An "oops" correction for shots taken in incandescent lighting, with the exposure boosted, but auto white balance, 2) A correction for incandescent lighting with the incandescent white balance setting, and no exposure boost, and 3) A correction for incandescent lighting with the incandescent white balance setting, and +1.0 EV of exposure boost. Check our review of PhotoGenetics to see how to use these!)

Exposure Compensation Settings:
0 EV
1/ 30
F/ 2.8
(837 k)
0.5 EV
1/ 20
F/ 2.8
(834 k)
1.0 EV
1/ 15
F/ 2.8
(844 k)
1.5 EV
1/ 10
F/ 2.8
(812 k)



 
House shot: (852 k)
We shot samples of this image with the daylight (92 k) and automatic (91 k) white balance settings, which again produced nearly identical results. Both white balance settings produced slightly warm images, but the color is quite nice otherwise. Resolution is pretty good for a 1.3 megapixel camera, with good detail visible in the bricks and shrubbery, as well as in the tree limbs above the roof. Details are sharp for the most part (particularly the linear details of the house), though we noticed some corner softness (mainly in the left corners of the image). The roof shingles and shadows show fairly low noise, with a small, tight grain pattern. About two pixels of a halo around the light and dark edges of the white trim along the roof line give away the in-camera sharpening. The tables below show a range of resolution and quality settings for both automatic and daylight white balance settings.

Resolution/Quality Series (Automatic white balance)
Large/Fine
1/ 60
F/ 2.8
(852 k)
Large/Economy
1/ 60
F/ 2.8
(286 k)

Small/Economy
1/ 60
F/ 2.8
(91 k)


Resolution/Quality Series (Daylight white balance)
Large/Fine
1/ 60
F/ 2.8
(858 k)
Large/Economy
1/ 60
F/ 2.8
(288 k)

Small/Economy
1/ 60
F/ 2.8
(92 k)



 
 
Far-Field Test (861 k)
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.

The wide angle only lens of the D-100 meant we had to take this shot from below the house, looking up somewhat, producing the odd perspective. (We usually shoot from across the road with cameras having zoom lenses, producing a more straight-on image.) We shot this image with the automatic white balance setting, which produced a nearly accurate color balance without any strong color casts. (Really, quite pleasing and accurate color, to our eyes.) This shot is a strong test of detail, given the practically infinite range of fine detail in a natural scene like this, viewed from a distance. Resolution is pretty good, with the tree branches, bricks, and house front details showing the strongest details. While there's a good deal of detail in the tree limbs, a slight haziness produces an image that seems slightly soft overall. We also judge a camera's dynamic range in this shot, comparing how well the camera holds detail in both the shadow and highlight areas. The D-100 is fooled by the bright, white paint of the bay window, and captures only the starkest details of the trim. The shadow area under the porch fares somewhat better, as the brick pattern and porch light details are just barely visible. Noise is moderate in the roof shingles, but isn't noticeable anywhere else. The table below shows our standard resolution and quality series.

Resolution/Quality Series
Large/Fine
1/ 160
F/ 8
(861 k)
Large/Economy
1/ 160
F/ 8
(284 k)

Small/Economy
1/ 125
F/ 8
(87 k)



 
 
Lens Zoom Range
We've received a number of requests from readers to take shots showing the lens focal length range of those cameras with zoom lenses. Thus, we're happy to present you here with the following series of shots, showing the field of view with the lens at full wide angle and at full 2x digital telephoto. The D-100's wide angle setting (really, its normal setting, given that it's a fixed focal length lens) captures a very wide field of view. Details are slightly soft, and resolution is moderate. As is usually the case with digital telephoto options, detail and resolution decrease dramatically with the 2x digital telephoto, with higher noise and a large amount of artifacts.

Wide Angle
Shutter: 1/ 160
Aperture: F8
(861k)
2x Digital Telephoto
Shutter: 1/ 125
Aperture: F8
(664k)



 
 
Musicians Poster (809 k)
For this test, we shot with the automatic (814 k) and daylight (809 k) white balance settings, this time choosing the daylight setting as the most accurate. The large amount of blue in the image often tricks digicams into overcompensating, and we noticed that the D-100's automatic white balance setting responded by producing a very warm cast. The daylight setting resulted in slightly cooler image, with magenta tints in the skin tones, but still the most accurate overall. The blue of the Oriental model's robe is pretty accurate, with good saturation as well (this is a difficult blue for digicams to reproduce, so the D-100 performs nicely). Resolution is moderately high, with a lot of the fine detail distinguishable in the bird wings and silver threads of the model's robe. Likewise, the violin strings, beaded necklaces, and flower garland show good detail. Noise is moderate and mostly visible in the blue background (some noise could actually be the film grain in the poster itself).


 
Macro Shot (824k)
The D-100 does about an average job in the macro category for its 1.3 megapixel class, capturing a minimum area of 4.75 x 3.56 inches (120.63 x 90.47 millimeters). Color, detail and resolution all look pretty good, though the image appears slightly overexposed in the center. The D-100's built-in flash (609 k) has a lot of trouble throttling down for the macro area, overexposing the image entirely. The flash image is also badly out of focus, but we're not sure why. (Could enabling the flash disable the macro mode setting?)


"Davebox" Test Target (784 k)
We shot samples of this target using the automatic (784 k) and daylight (796 k) white balance settings, choosing the automatic setting as the most accurate of the two. The daylight setting resulted in a slightly warm image, while the automatic setting produced a more accurate white value (though we did notice some reddish tints in the top, white corner of the Davebox). The large color blocks seem particularly accurate in this shot. The D-100 barely distinguishes the subtle difference between the red and magenta color blocks on the middle, horizontal color chart (which is a common problem area for many digicams), making them darker and nearly the same color. Exposure looks about right, as the subtle tonal variations of the Q60 chart are visible all the way up to the "B" range, though just barely. The tonal gradations of the smaller, vertical gray scales also look good, with the two darkest blocks blending together slightly. The shadow area of the charcoal briquettes shows a fair amount of detail, with a moderate noise level. We also noticed reasonably good detail in the white gauze area, though some of the brightest highlights are blown out. Resolution looks moderate, as we've noticed all along, though the mini-resolution target appears slightly soft. Overall, very nice, very accurate color, kudos to Olympus!


 
Low-Light Tests
The D-100 had some trouble in the low-light category, as we were only able to obtain bright, clear images at a light level as low as eight foot-candles (0.88 lux). Images became progressively darker with each decrease in light level, and the target was barely visible at one foot-candle (11 lux), which is where we stopped our testing. Noise is moderate at the eight foot-candle (88 lux) light level, with a somewhat small grain pattern. (We direct readers to Mike Chaney's excellent Qimage Pro program, for a tool with an amazing ability to remove image noise without significantly affecting detail.) To put the D-100's low-light performance into perspective, an average city night scene under modern street lighting corresponds to a light level of about one foot-candle, so night exposures will require the built-in flash. 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.

8fc
10EV
88lux
4fc
9EV
44lux
2fc
8EV
22lux
1fc
7EV
11lux
Click to see D10L10NR00.JPG
807 KB
1/ 10
F2.8
Click to see D10L10NR01.JPG
784 KB
1/ 30
F2.8
Click to see D10L10NR02.JPG
760 KB
1/ 50
F2.8
Click to see D10L10NR03.JPG
719 KB
1/ 40
F2.8



 
Flash Range Test
Olympus rates the D-100's flash as effective from 0.7 to 9.8 feet (0.2 to 3 meters), which is more conservative than our test results. We found the D-100's flash bright and effective as far as 14 feet from the target. Intensity is highest at the eight foot distance, but flash power only barely decreases between the eight and 14 foot distances. Below is our flash range series, with distances from eight to 14 feet from the target.

8 ft
1/ 30
F/ 2.8
(757 k)
9 ft
1/ 30
F/ 2.8
(766 k)
10 ft
1/ 30
F/ 2.8
(777 k)
11 ft
1/ 30
F/ 2.8
(777 k)
12 ft
1/ 30
F/ 2.8
(775 k)
13 ft
1/ 30
F/ 2.8
(776 k)
14 ft
1/ 30
F/ 2.8
(776 k)



 
ISO-12233 (WG-18) Resolution Test (810 k)
In our laboratory resolution test, the D-100 resolves the target patterns cleanly (with no artifacts) out to 550 lines per picture height in both horizontal and vertical directions, with good detail showing to 600 lines in both directions.

Optical distortion on the D-100 is surprisingly low, as we noticed only about two pixels of barrel distortion from the wide angle lens, as seen on the lines in our Viewfinder Accuracy target below. Chromatic aberration is also pretty low, showing about two pixels of coloration on either side of the black 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/Quality Series
Large/Fine
1/ 125
F/ 2.8
(810 k)
Large/Economy
1/ 125
F/ 2.8
(284 k)

Small/Economy
1/ 125
F/ 2.8
(87 k)



 
Viewfinder Accuracy/Flash Uniformity
We found the D-100's optical viewfinder (82 k) to be a little tight, showing approximately 84.58 percent of the final image area (at the 640 x 480-pixel resolution size). In our experience, while we personally like to see optical viewfinders that show more of the final image, most average around 85% frame coverage, as does the D-100's. We also noticed that the image framed with the optical viewfinder was slanted toward the lower left corner, indicating a slightly shifted CCD. The LCD monitor (82 k) was much more accurate, showing approximately 98.96 percent of the final image area (also at the 640 x 480-pixel resolution size). Since we generally like to see LCD monitors as close to 100 percent accuracy as possible, the D-100 does an excellent job in this respect. Flash distribution is somewhat splotchy, with a large bright spot in the center of the target and uneven falloff along the sides and at the corners.
 

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