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Digital Cameras - Olympus D-400 Zoom Test Images

Outdoor portrait: (390k) The D-400 Zoom handled the high contrast of this scene very well, producing an image with good tonal balance and contrast, preserving highlight detail in the model's shirt exceptionally well, yet not plugging the shadows too badly either. Color is rich and very well balanced, with natural flesh tones. Blues, reds, and yellows are strong and highly saturated, but the greens in the foliage of the bouquet are a touch muted relative to the other colors. Detail and sharpness are superb. Overall, a very fine performance.
 

Closer portrait: (351k) Again, a superb performance. The camera handles the extremely strong highlights of the shirt with aplomb, yet maintains excellent tonal and color balance in the difficult flesh tones. Detail in the model's hair is very good, with no hint of problems with JPEG compression artifacts.  

Indoor portrait, flash: (353k) We were surprised by how well the flash and ambient illumination interacted with the D-400 Zoom. As do many cameras, the D-400 in flash mode assumes a more or less daylight color balance, which makes any ambient incandescent light appearing in the exposure appear rather yellowish. Surprisingly though, the areas "filled" by the flash didn't show the objectionable blue highlights most cameras create in this situation. The result is an image with a fairly uniform color cast that would be easy to remove in an image-manipulation program. The one thing the flash did do though, was make the colors in the flowers really "pop." We were also pleasantly surprised to find that the exposure-compensation controls affect flash exposures as well. Our main picture here (353K) was shot with the EV compensation set up two steps (1 full EV unit), while this one (358K) was taken with the exposure boosted a total of 1.5 EV. The latter shot is clearly washed-out, but we included it as proof that the exposure compensation's effect does indeed extend to the flash.  

Indoor portrait, no flash: (333k) The D-400's white balance is quite good, leaving just a touch of the coloration from the incandescent room lighting in the image. The default settings and automatic white balance produced a slightly dark picture, shown here (333k), with quite reddish flesh tones. We took two other shots, increasing the exposure by 1.0 EV(333K) and 1.5 EV (373K). While the picture lightened though, the flesh tones remained quite red. Other colors in the image show relatively little evidence of the excessive red so apparent in the model's face. Switching to the preset incandescent white balance setting produced this shot (321K), with a more natural skin tone and relative color values, but a slight greenish tint across the entire image. (Given the time constraints we were operating under with the pre-release demo unit, we unfortunately didn't think to run a full EV-compensation series with the white balance set to incandescent.)  

House shot: (420k) Our standard House poster reveals the extraordinary resolution and detail rendition the D-400 Zoom is capable of: After careful comparison, we judge the D-400 to have resolution and detail rendition equal to or better than any other camera we've tested to date! (11/1/98) Not only is detail very good, but JPEG artifacts are exceptionally low in the SHQ Mode (420k). We shot this image with both automatic and daylight white balance settings. Our main image (420k) was taken with automatic white balance. Here's a version shot with daylight white balance (419k). We found the auto white balance shot to be a little on the pinkish side, while the daylight version was slightly greenish. Both were within acceptable limits though. For comparison, we took shots of the house image in all three resolution modes, with both white balance settings.

AutoWhite
SHQ
(420k)

AutoWhite
HQ
(216k)

AutoWhite
SQ
(63k)

DaylightWhite
SHQ
(419k)

DaylightWhite
HQ
(217k)

DaylightWhite
SQ
(63k)

 
 

Far-Field shot: (406k) 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.

We've generally found the optics on Olympus cameras to be very good, and the D-400 Zoom is no exception! Corner sharpness is very good, chromatic aberration almost non-existent, and detail is exceptional (check the foliage in the trees, and details in the windows and bricks. (Two points to the reader who can correctly identify the object shown in the yellow sign in the upstairs window - I don't think the D-400 is *quite* up to it, but we're getting close.) The rather bluish cast to this picture is almost certainly a result of the intense, clear blue sky the shot was taken under. For this shot, we've also included a link to an uncompressed file. (NOTE that this link is NOT an HTML page, or even a JPEG file, but rather a raw TIFF image: Your browser won't know what to do with it, but should give you the option to just save the file to disk. Note too, that this is a huge, 3.6 megabyte file!)

 

"Musicians" poster: (396k) Again, absolutely superb detail and resolution, very close to the very best we've seen. The main shot (396k) here was taken with the white balance set to "auto", while this one (402k) was shot with white balance set to "daylight." There's less apparent difference between the two white balance settings here than in the House shot, but to our eyes, the color of the "auto" version is a bit more natural. Color in both versions is very good, although slightly on the "cool" side. Again, for reference, we're providing two full sets of shots at all (compressed) quality settings, and with both automatic and daylight white-balance settings.

AutoWhite
SHQ
(396k)

AutoWhite
HQ
(212k)

AutoWhite
SQ
(62k)

DaylightWhite
SHQ
(402k)

DaylightWhite
HQ
(210k)

DaylightWhite
SQ
(63k)
 
Macro shot: (392k) Macro capability is very good, with a minimum coverage area of roughly 2.4 x 3.2 inches (6.0 x 8.0 cm). The 105mm maximum zoom focal length gives a comfortable working distance of 8 inches (20cm), making lighting and subject positioning easier. In macro mode, autofocus works all the way in, as does the flash. We neglected to shoot an example of flash exposure in close-up, but it worked well on all but pure white subjects all the way in to 8 inches.  

"Davebox" test target: (308k) The "Davebox" is always a tough test of camera color accuracy and tonal rendition. The D-400 Zoom did very well here, producing clean, natural colors, holding highlight detail extremely well (this seems to be one of its trademarks), yet still preserving detail far into the shadows. On the difficult pastels of the Q60 target at bottom center, it held color all the way to column "B", yet managed to discriminate the lower end of the large gray scale all the way to the next to the last swatch. Likewise, surprising amounts of detail were preserved in the charcoal bricks. The one weakness we can find in the camera's performance is its handling of greens: The green swatches throughout the image are a bit under-saturated, most noticeably in what should be the bright green swatch at bottom center of the MacBeth target. Other trivial quibbles: The orange MacBeth swatch is a little weak, and the magenta one is a bit purplish. Really though, we're splitting hairs - the color and tonal accuracy are excellent. This target was shot with the white balance set to "auto." As before, we include a full set of images at various resolutions below. For the download masochists among you, here's a link to a raw TIFF file (WARNING - 3.6 Megabytes!) of this shot captured in uncompressed mode. (You'll probably most notice the difference no compression makes in the lack of JPEG artifacts in the deep shadows of the charcoal.)

AutoWhite
SHQ
(308k)

AutoWhite
HQ
(170k)

AutoWhite
SQ
(53k)

 

ISO 12233 ("WG-18") resolution target: (326k) (Technoids only) Visual resolution of ~600 line pairs per picture height both vertically and horizontally is right at the top of the field. (We've claimed higher for some cameras, but are becoming a little more conservative in our reading of these numbers. - The D-400 Zoom has resolution as good as we've seen thus far for under $1,500.) We've again shot all resolution modes, this time at both the telephoto and wide-angle ends of the zoom. (See table below.)

Telephoto

SHQ
(326k)

HQ
(172k)

SQ
(56k)

Wide-Angle

SHQ
(330k)

HQ
(172k)

SQ
(56k)

We also took this shot (53k) with the "digital tele" mode enabled, which produced resolutions of about 300 lp/ph vertically, and 250 lp/ph horizontally.

For the download masochists, here's another link to a raw TIFF file (WARNING - 3.6 Megabytes!) of this shot captured in uncompressed mode, with the lens at the telephoto end of its range.

 
Viewfinder accuracy/flash uniformity target: The D-400 Zoom's optical viewfinder is about typically accurate, showing 88% of the sensor's field of view. With the lens at the wide angle setting (160k), the image is well-centered, but the captured image drifts up as you go toward the telephoto end (163k). The LCD finder shows a consistent 89% of the final image area, and is well-centered for both wide (157k) and tele (159k) lens settings. Flash uniformity is very good across the focal length range, and there is virtually NO geometric distortion to be seen anywhere, at the telephoto end, and very little at the wide-angle end.  

 

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