Olympus Camedia D-40 ZoomSuper-compact 4 megapixel model takes great pictures!
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Camedia D-40 Zoom Sample ImagesReview First Posted: 10/8/2001
|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: (1961 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, and why we don't us a "fill" flash on it. The object is to hold highlight and shadow detail without producing a "flat" picture with muddy colors, and the D40 performed very well. The shot at right has a +0.3 EV exposure compensation adjustment, which brightens the midtones without losing too much highlight detail (though the white shirt collar is quite blown out). We shot with the Auto (2030 k), Daylight (2040 k), and Manual (2029 k) white balance settings, choosing the Auto setting for our main shot despite a slight warm cast. The Daylight setting produced slightly warmer, pinkish results, and the Manual setting produced a very strong magenta cast. Color is good, though the skin tones slightly orange and the blue flowers have faint purple tints at the edges (these blues are often difficult for digicams to reproduce correctly). Resolution is high, with sharp details in the highlights and shadows.
To see the results of a range of exposure settings, see files D40OUTAP0.HTM through D40OUTAP3.HTM on the thumbnail index page. These show a range from +0 to +1.0 EV exposure compensation.
|Closer Portrait: (2092 k)
Results in this close-up shot are similar to the shot above, with the D40's 2.8x zoom lens preventing any distortion of the model's features. As usual, resolution is higher in this shot, with more fine detail visible in the model's face and hair. Skin tones are again slightly orange, but overall color is quite good. Detail looks great in the shadow areas, with only moderate noise present. Our main shot was taken without an exposure adjustment.
To see the results of a range of exposure settings, see files D40FACAP0.HTM through D40FACAP2.HTM on the thumbnail index page. These show a range from +0 to +0.7 EV exposure compensation.
|Indoor Portrait, Flash: (1902 k)
The D40's built-in flash illuminated the subject well, with good intensity and distribution. We first shot with the flash in its normal operating mode, and achieved the best results with a +0.7 EV (1902 k) exposure adjustment. Color looks good here, as does the overall lighting. Next, we switched to the Slow Sync flash mode, and captured the best image with a +0.3 EV (1944 k) exposure adjustment. We liked this shot the best, but felt there wasn't enough evidence of the flash having fired to use it for our main shot for the category, so used the normal flash shot instead.
To see the results of a range of exposure settings, see files D40INFP0.HTM through D40INFP3.HTM (0 to +1.0EV) on the thumbnail index page for examples of normal flash exposure mode, and D40INFSP0 through D40INFSP2 (0 to +0.7 EV) for examples of slow-sync flash mode.
Portrait, No Flash: (1054 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 D40's white balance system produced pretty good results with its various preset white balance settings, and excellent ones using its "tweak" capability for the various preset white balance options. We shot with the Auto (1078 k), Incandescent (1079 k), and Manual (1024 k) settings, each of which produced a slight color cast. We did try "tweaking" each setting with the D40's white balance adjustment tool, with interesting results. (White balance series are below). We never got what we'd consider a "perfect" white balance ("perfect" being very much in the eye of the beholder here), but came up with some very decent-looking color balances. Overall, our favorite was the Auto setting, with a few notches of blue adjustment dialed in.Of the pure preset white balance options (no tweaking), the Incandescent setting because it produced the most natural overall color balance. We liked the Auto WB plus blue tweak a bit better though, because we felt it was a bit more toward yellow rather than red, matching the "mood" of the room lighting better. Despite a slight magenta cast, color looks good (the blue flowers are again purplish, a common problem among digicams, particularly with the warm room lighting)
To see the results of a range of exposure settings on this shot, see files D40INTP0.HTM through D40INTP2.HTM (0 to +1.0EV) on the thumbnail index page for examples of normal flash exposure mode, and D40IN100 through D40IN400 for examples of the D40's various ISO options.
Here's the result of tweaking the white balance settings, in each of the main preset WB modes appropriate to this subject. There are actually no fewer than 7 adjustment steps in either direction (toward red or toward blue) from neutral, we've shown a few examples from along that range, so you can see what the adjustments look like without being inundated by little thumbnails. (As always, clicking on an image will bring up the full-sized version.) In the case of the Manual White balance shots, the default produced a rather greenish photo, so we only tried the adjustments moving in the direction of red...
Auto White Balance Adjustments:
Incandescent White Balance Adjustments:
Manual White Balance Adjustments:
|House Shot: (2542 k)
We chose the Auto (2542 k) white balance setting for our main selection, because of its more accurate color balance. The Daylight (2543 k) setting resulted in a warm cast, which the Manual (2538 k) setting produced a cooler color balance. Resolution is very high, although the details are slightly soft across the front of the house and in the front shrubbery. A very good job overall though.
|Far-Field Test (2533 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.
This is our ultimate "resolution shot," given the infinite range of detail in a natural scene like this. The D40 captured excellent detail throughout the frame, with pretty good sharpness in the corners too. There's some chromatic aberration visible in the upper left-hand corner, but it's average to a bit lower than average overall. We also measure a camera's dynamic range in this shot, and noticed that the bright glare of the sunny bay window tricked the D40 into losing most of the detail there. Only the darkest shadows are visible, and the bright white paint produces a "glow" around the edges. (Slight lens flare.) The shadow areas under the porch and small front tree show slightly more detail, with the brick and shrubbery patterns faintly visible. Below are resolution, ISO, contrast, and sharpness series.
The D40 has a very fine-grained contrast adjustment, with a total of 11 settings. We've skipped intermediate ones in the series below to give you some idea of the range covered. (For the most part, there's an extra step in between the ones we show below.)
Same story on the sharpness settings, lots of steps, here are links to about every other one.
|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, the lens at full 2.8x telephoto, and the lens at full telephoto with digital zoom enabled. The D40's lens covers a range equivalent to a 35-98mm zoom on a 35mm film camera. Following are the results at each zoom setting.
Poster (2653 k)
For this test, we shot with the Auto
(2637 k), Daylight (2653 k), and Manual
(2621 k) white balance settings, choosing the Daylight setting for our
main shot. The Auto setting produced a very warm color balance, with orangish
skin tones. While the Manual setting produced a more accurate overall
color balance, the skin tones were too pale, leading us to choose the
Daylight setting. Color looks good, and the blue of the Oriental model's
robe is about right (this blue is tough for many digicams, and often has
a purplish tint). Resolution is high, with great detail in the embroidery
of the blue robe and throughout the image.
The D40 performed well in the macro category, capturing
a minimum area of 3.18 x 2.38 inches (80.82 x 60.48 millimeters). Color,
resolution, and detail all look great, though we noticed some corner softness
from the lens. The D40's flash (1741 k) had
some trouble throttling down for the macro area, overexposing the image
and losing a lot of detail. Still, overall macro performance is quite
Test Target (1558 k)
We shot samples of this target using the Auto
(1558 k), Daylight (1566 k), and Manual
(1557 k) white balance settings, choosing the Auto setting for our main
shot. The Daylight setting produced a very warm image, while the Manual
white balance resulted in a greenish color cast. Exposure looks about
right, as the Q60 target shows good tonal distribution. Color is excellent,
with good saturation, although the bright yellow block is a little weak.
Detail is very strong in both the shadow and highlight areas, with very
low noise in the shadows. Following is a saturation series. (Saturation
is a bit hard to see on small thumbnails like this, you'll probably have
to download the images to be able to see the differences between them.)
The D40 features full manual exposure control, which allows the camera to capture excellent quality images at very low light levels. In our testing, we captured clear, bright, usable images down to about 1/16 foot-candle (or 0.67 lux) at all three ISO settings. Color is great, even at the very dim 1/16 foot-candle light level. We shot with the camera's Noise Reduction system, which does an excellent (may we say "amazing"?) job of reducing image noise, even at ISO 400. Just for comparison, we also shot at the 1/16 foot-candle setting without Noise Reduction, at the 100 (878 k), 200 (925 k), and 400 (794 k) ISO settings. 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.
|Flash Range Test
In our testing, we found the D40's flash effective all the way out to 14 feet from the test target, with good intensity. Intensity is brightest at the eight foot distance, with flash power decreasing only slightly with each additional foot of distance. Below is our complete flash range series, with distances from eight to 14 feet from the target.
|ISO-12233 (WG-18) Resolution Test (1970 k)
The D40 performed very well on our "laboratory" resolution test chart. It started showing artifacts in the test patterns (albeit extremely subtle ones) at resolutions as low as 800 lines per picture height, in both horizontal and vertical directions. We found "strong detail" out to at least 1,100 lines though. "Extinction" of the target patterns didn't occur until about 1,400 lines. Overall, the resolution test was very "clean".
Optical distortion on the D40 was about average (which is still more than we'd like) at the wide-angle end, where we measured an approximate 0.72 percent barrel distortion. The telephoto end fared much better, as we found only one pixel of barrel distortion. Chromatic aberration was low, showing only about two or three pixels of coloration on either side of the target lines, and the color was fainter than average. (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.) Overall, it looks like the D40 has an excellent lens!
Resolution Series, Wide Angle
Viewfinder Accuracy/Flash Uniformity
The D40's optical viewfinder was a little tight, showing approximately 80 percent frame accuracy at wide angle, and approximately 81 percent accuracy at telephoto. The LCD monitor produced more accurate results, showing about 97 percent at wide angle, and about 98 percent at telephoto. Given that we generally prefer LCD monitors to be as close to 100 percent accuracy as possible, the D40 did an excellent job in this respect. Flash distribution is even in the center of the frame at wide-angle, with some falloff in the corners. At the telephoto lens setting, flash coverage is uniform throughout the frame.