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Digital Cameras - Olympus D-360L Test Images

(Original test posting: 3/17/2000)

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 (366k)

This is a tough shot for many digicams, due to the extreme tonal range (which is why we set it up this way!). The trick is to hold highlight and shadow detail without producing a "flat" picture with muddy colors and the Olympus D-360L did a nice job. We shot this image using the daylight (366k) white balance setting because it produced the most accurate color and white balance overall. The D-360L did a pretty good job with color balance, judging from the always difficult blues of the flowers and the model's pants. (Many digicams have a tendency to reproduce these with a purplish hue). Resolution and detail also look good, (we always check the small green leaves next to the model's shirt and the outer strands of her hair). The D-360L did a nice job in the shadow areas as there's a fair amount of detail and just a little noise. We only required one unit of exposure compensation adjustment (+0.5EV) on this shot for our main image, which managed to get the best exposure overall without blowing the highlights in the shirt and white flowers. The table below shows the results of a range of exposure settings from zero to +1.5 EV.

Exposure Compensation Settings:
0 EV
Shutter: 1/468
Aperture: F11
(384k)
+0.5 EV
Shutter: 1/317
Aperture: F11
(366k)
+1.0 EV
Shutter: 1/226
Aperture: F11
(373k)
+1.5 EV
Shutter: 1/113
Aperture: F11
(368k)


 

Closer Portrait (377k)

Because the D-360L is not equipped with an optical zoom lens, it doesn't do too well on this "portrait" shot. The shorter focal length tends to distort facial features in close-up shots like this. (The availability of longer focal lengths is a key feature if you're going to be shooting close-up people shots). As is typical with this test, our main shot (377k) didn't require any adjustment in exposure compensation at all. Sharpness and detail remain nice and crisp in both the highlight and shadow areas, still maintaining a very minimal amount of noise. The table below shows the results of a range of exposure settings from zero to +1.5 EV.

Exposure Compensation Settings:
0 EV
Shutter: 1/305
Aperture: F11
(377k)
+0.5 EV
Shutter: 1/172
Aperture: F11
(353k)
+1.0 EV
Shutter: 1/116
Aperture: F11
(348k)
+1.5 EV
Shutter: 1/76
Aperture: F11
(319k)


 

Indoor Portrait, Flash (385k)

The D-360L performs nicely in this category. We achieved the best results when we set the to use a slow shutter with +0.5 EV of exposure compensation (385k) in conjunction with the flash, which sufficiently lit the foreground and background without blowing out the highlights or shifting the color too much. We did notice slightly blue tints in the shadow areas and some of the highlight areas. Leaving the exposure and white balance settings on automatic (351k), we found the color balance to be very close to accurate without any exposure compensation. The +0.5 exposure adjustment in normal flash mode over-emphasized the highlight areas, resulting in this (355k) image. Overall, the D-360L does a nice job of exposing the image without overpowering the subject with too much flash.


 

Indoor Portrait, No Flash (390k)

This shot is 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 D-360L's white balance system did fairly well here. We shot with the automatic (390k) white balance setting, which seemed just a little warm but still maintained a nice color balance. Likewise, the tungsten (388k) setting produced similar results, with a slightly warmer cast. (Both the automatic and tungsten settings required a +1 exposure adjustment to brighten the image). We also shot with the 125 (339k), 250 (403k) and 500 (437k) ISO settings. We found the 125 setting to be the most accurate with the least amount noise. The 250 and 500 settings brightened up somewhat, but the noise level went up consistently. The 1/74 second shutter speed produced by the ISO 500 setting is pretty fast though, making the camera very suitable for handheld shooting under average indoor lighting. The table below shows a range of exposure compensation settings from zero to +1.5 with automatic white balance and automatic ISO settings. (Interestingly, the camera chose to respond to our +EV exposure compensation settings by increasing its ISO, rather than by lengthening the exposure time.)

Exposure Compensation Settings:
0 EV
Shutter: 1/26
Aperture: F2.8
(352k)
+0.5 EV
Shutter: 1/29
Aperture: F2.8
(387k)
+1.0 EV
Shutter: 1/30
Aperture: F2.8
(390k)
+1.5 EV
Shutter: 1/24
Aperture: F2.8
(415k)


 
House shot (401k)

NOTE that this is the "new" house shot, a much higher-resolution poster than we first used in our tests. To compare the image of the D-360L with previously-tested cameras, here's a shot of the original (405k) house poster.

In this shot, we preferred the automatic (401k) white balance setting, as that color balance seemed the most accurate. We also tried the daylight (238k) setting, which produced slightly warm results. Resolution and detail look pretty good in the brick and shingle areas, as well as in the shrubbery and tree limbs (there's just a hint of softness at the corners of the image). A minor amount of noise is perceptible in the shingles (possibly from the actual poster), but not too bad overall. The tiniest halo effect around light and dark edges gives away the in-camera sharpening, but it's really quite minimal. Overall, a nice job, well in line with other entry-level 1.3 megapixel cameras. The table below shows the full range of resolution and quality settings for the D-360L.


Resolution/Quality series:
SHQ Uncompressed (TIFF)
(3692k)
Note: TIFF format - download and view in imaging program
SHQ
Shutter: 1/114
Aperture: F2.8
(401k)
HQ
Shutter: 1/114
Aperture: F2.8
(209k)
 
SQ High
Shutter: 1/114
Aperture: F2.8
(237k)
SQ
Shutter: 1/114
Aperture: F2.8
(62k)


 
 

Far-Field Test (394k)

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 D-360L does a decent job with this shot. This test is the strongest test of detail of any we do, and the bright white of the central bay window often tricks digicams into losing detail in that area (which the D-360L fell victim to). Color balance and saturation look good with just a small hint of noise in the shingles. Resolution also looks a bit soft compared to other 1.3 megapixel cameras. (Not terrible, but slightly below average.) The table below shows the full resolution/quality series for the D-360L.


Resolution/Quality series:
SHQ Uncompressed (TIFF)
(3692k)
Note: TIFF format - download and view in imaging program
SHQ
Shutter: 1/214
Aperture: F11
(394k)
HQ
Shutter: 1/214
Aperture: F11
(205k)
 
SQ High
Shutter: 1/214
Aperture: F11
(203k)
SQ
Shutter: 1/208
Aperture: F11
(62k)


Musicians Poster (389k)

As with the House shot, we shot samples of this using auto (389k) and daylight (193k) white balance options. We selected the automatic setting as it produced the best skin tones and overall color balance while daylight produced just slightly warmer results (especially noticeable in the skin tones). Color saturation looks good in the model's blue robe (which is hard for many digicams to reproduce correctly) and the skin tones. The D-360L does a reasonably good job with resolution and detail, judging by the subtle color variations of the bird wings and silver threads of the Oriental model's robe. A slight amount of noise is visible in the background, possibly coming from the poster itself. A nice job overall.


Resolution/Quality series:
SHQ Uncompressed (TIFF)
(3692k)
Note: TIFF format - download and view in imaging program
SHQ
Shutter: 1/95
Aperture: F2.8
(389k)
HQ
Shutter: 1/96
Aperture: F2.8
(208k)
 
SQ High
Shutter: 1/96
Aperture: F2.8
(193k)
SQ
Shutter: 1/96
Aperture: F2.8
(61k)


 

Macro Shot (388k)

The D-360L turns out a reasonable performance in the macro category, although it seems a little limited compared with some current (March, 2000) digicams which capture smaller macro areas. The D-360L captures a minimum area of 4.11 x 3.08 inches (104.40 x 78.30 mm). Nice detail, sharpness and color overall, although there's a slight amount of noise in the grey background and the brooch looks a little soft. We also noticed some of the same lens distortion as with the outdoor portrait shot, evidenced by a slight barrel distortion on the horizontal edges of the dollar bill. The flash (389k) does a nice job of throttling down for the macro area (the reflection of the coin often tricks many digicams).

 

"Davebox" Test Target (314k)

The D-360L does a nice job in this category as the usually difficult cyan, magenta and yellow color blocks look very good with only just a hint of weakness, due mostly to the slight overall underexposure. In fact, the entire color chart looks very nice. The D-360L does a good job of distinguishing between the red and magenta color blocks on the middle, horizontal color chart (many digicams have trouble here and try to blend the colors into one). The subtle tonal variations in the Q60 chart are also reproduced well, with the "B" range in the pastels completely visible and distinguishable. Likewise, the shadow area on the briquettes turned out fairly well, with moderate detail and a only tiny amount of noise. We shot with both the daylight (120k) and auto (314k) white balance settings, choosing automatic as the most accurate overall, based on the white values. Daylight produced much warmer results. Below is our standard resolution and quality series.


Resolution/Quality series:
SHQ Uncompressed (TIFF)
(3692k)
Note: TIFF format - download and view in imaging program
SHQ
Shutter: 1/168
Aperture: F2.8
(314k)
HQ
Shutter: 1/172
Aperture: F2.8
(171k)
 
SQ High
Shutter: 1/168
Aperture: F2.8
(119k)
SQ
Shutter: 1/168
Aperture: F2.8
(54k)


 
 

Low-Light Tests

Given it's low cost, and entry-level profile, we were quite surprised by the good job the D-360L did with available-light shooting. We obtained the best results in full auto-exposure mode, letting the camera adjust its ISO (light sensitivity) and exposure as it saw fit. At the lowest light levels, boosting the exposure compensation setting turned out to not increase the brightness of the captured image any, but rather just introduced a reddish color shift. (As an example, compare these shots, which were both taken at a light level of about 1 footcandle (11 lux), one in full auto mode (388k), the other with +2EV of exposure compensation (406k).) With it's very high maximum ISO setting of 500, we found that the D-360L did pretty well down to light levels of about 1 footcandle (11 lux), about the level you'd find shooting outdoors at night under typical city streetlights. At one footcandle though, shadow detail was lost, but overall exposure was still pretty good. At a half footcandle, the image started to get pretty dark, and image noise became a real issue when we brightened the pictures after the fact in Photoshop(tm). At 2 footcandles, exposure was good overall, and even shadows held some detail. Image noise is always an issue in low-light digicam pictures shot with higher ISO settings, so we were surprised by how low the D-360L's noise levels seemed to be when working at ISO 500. Overall, a very good performance for such an inexpensive camera. The table below holds links to our test images, shot at light levels ranging from 8 footcandles down to 1/4 footcandle (88 to .27 lux).


8fc
Shutter: 1/16
Aperture: F2.8
ISO: 250
(330k)
4fc
Shutter: 1/9
Aperture: F2.8
ISO: 250
(330k)
2fc
Shutter: 1/3
Aperture: F2.8
ISO: 250
(353k)
1fc
Shutter: 1/2
Aperture: F2.8
ISO: 500
(388k)
0.5fc
Shutter: 1/2
Aperture: F2.8
ISO: 500
(359k)
0.25fc
Shutter: 1/2
Aperture: F2.8
ISO: 500
(330k)


 

Flash Range Test (New)

(This test was added in August 1999, so cameras tested before that time won't have comparison pictures available. As we go forward though, all the new models will have similar tests available). Olympus rates the D-360L's flash range from eight inches to 9.8 feet (0.2 to 3.0 m). We found the D-360L's flash to be highly effective all the way out to 14 feet, without much light falloff at all. We did not after the fact though, that the camera was "cheating" a little bit by boosting its ISO rating at distances of 10 feet and beyond. Still, this is actually a useful feature for a point & shoot camera, as it makes it much more likely that you'll get a usable flash exposure, even at moderate distances. The table below shows results obtained at a range of distances from eight to 14 feet with the flash at the normal intensity setting.


Flash Range/Distance: 
8ft
Shutter: 1/30
Aperture: F2.8
ISO: 125
(120k)
9ft
Shutter: 1/30
Aperture: F2.8
ISO: 125
(118k)
10ft
Shutter: 1/30
Aperture: F2.8
ISO: 140
(116k)
11ft
Shutter: 1/30
Aperture: F2.8
ISO: 178
(122k)
12ft
Shutter: 1/30
Aperture: F2.8
ISO: 220
(128k)
13ft
Shutter: 1/30
Aperture: F2.8
ISO: 500
(154k)
14ft
Shutter: 1/30
Aperture: F2.8
ISO: 500
(162k)
 


ISO-12233 (WG-18) Resolution Test (340k)

The D-360L's resolution came in just on the low side of average amongst 1.3 megapixel digicams we've tested to date (March, 2000), not surprising given its low cost. Despite the low price point though, resolution was quite respectable, only a little off the average, which included much higher-priced models. We called the visual resolution on our test target as being just under 600 lines per picture height in the horizontal direction, and a bit over 600 lines in the vertical orientation. The 640x480 pixel images shot in "SQ" mode were very sharp, particularly those saved in the high-quality mode for that size. The "Digital Telephoto" option makes the usual (severe) tradeoff between image size and resolution, since all it's doing is cropping into the central portion of the CCD and making a separate (smaller) file from it. The table below holds links to test images shot at all combinations of image size and quality.


ISO Variations: 
SHQ Uncompressed (TIFF)
(3692k)
Note: TIFF format - download and view in imaging program
SHQ
Shutter: 1/141
Aperture: F2.8
ISO: 125
1280x960
(340k)
HQ
Shutter: 1/144
Aperture: F2.8
ISO: 125
1280x960
(179k)
SQ High
Shutter: 1/144
Aperture: F2.8
ISO: 125
640x480
(156k)
SQ
Shutter: 1/144
Aperture: F2.8
ISO: 125
640x480
(57k)
Digital Tele
Shutter: 1/220
Aperture: F2.8
ISO: 125
640x480
(128k)


Viewfinder Accuracy/Flash Uniformity

We found the D-360L's optical viewfinder to be rather loose, showing about 83 percent of the final image area in the optical viewfinder (292k) (the smaller image size, 640 x 480, reproduced about 85 percent accuracy). The LCD monitor was only slightly more accurate, showing about 88 percent of the final image area in the LCD Monitor (169k). (As with the optical viewfinder, the percentage was only a little better with the smaller image size, which showed about 89 percent). To give you an idea of what we're looking for, we generally like to see LCD monitors as close to 100 percent accuracy as possible. We also shot at the 2x (101k) digital telephoto setting, which produced very clear results and about 90 percent frame accuracy. However, the image on the LCD display appears very blurry in digital telephoto mode, so accurate framing is a little difficult.

Optical distortion on the D-360L is moderate, with the lens showing am 0.5 percent barrel distortion at wide angle. Chromatic aberration is present but moderate, we caught about two pixels of coloration on each side of the black target lines at the left-hand edge of the resolution target, but barely one pixel on the right-hand edge. Numerically, this would correspond to between 0.16 and 0.08% distortion. (Chromatic aberration is visible as a very slight colored fringe around the objects at the edges of the field of view on the resolution target). Flash coverage is good, with relatively slight fall-off at the corners.

 

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