Digital Cameras - Olympus D-580 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!|
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 D-580 Zoom produced high contrast but good color and not a bad-looking image all around.
The shot at right was taken with a +1.0 EV exposure compensation adjustment, which resulted in well-exposed midtones, but very hot highlights and dark shadows. (The +0.5 EV shot held onto the highlight detail quite well, but was very dark overall.) I chose the Auto white balance setting for the main series, as color was slightly warmer and more natural than with the Daylight option, which was a hint greenish.
Marti's skin tones are pretty good here, albeit slightly pale. The blue flowers in the bouquet are rendered almost perfectly, with just the right hint of purple in their petals. (Many digicams have trouble with this blue, which looks a lot like it does in the D580's picture in real life.) The strong reds and greens are also close to accurate, with appropriate saturation in the reds. Resolution is high, and details are reasonably crisp and well-defined, although some subtle detail is apparently lost due to anti-noise processing. Detail is moderate in the deep shadows, with low image noise. All in all, a good-looking image, apart from the overly-high contrast.
To view the entire exposure series from -1.0 to +1.5 EV, see files D580OUTAM2.HTM
through D580OUTAP3.HTM on the thumbnail index page.
Even stronger detail and resolution. Contrast is high, but the deep shadows still show good detail.
Color and exposure in this close-up shot are similar to the wider shot above, and the D-580 Zoom's 3x optical zoom lens helps prevent any distortion of Marti's features. The shot at right was taken at the default exposure, which produced a well-exposed image, albeit a contrasty one. Despite the high contrast, detail is pretty strong in the shadows, with low noise. Resolution appears much higher in this close-up shot, with more visible fine detail.
To view the entire exposure series from -1.0 to +1.0 EV, see files G50FACAM1.HTM
through G50FACAP3.HTM on the thumbnail
Indoor Portrait, Flash:
Good overall performance, with nearly accurate color and exposure.
The D-580 Zoom's built-in flash illuminated the subject very well at its default exposure setting, producing a bright exposure with good overall color. Given the mixture of flash and incandescent lighting, the flower bouquet looks pretty good. There is a bit of an orange cast on Marti's hair, her white shirt, and background from the incandescent lighting, but it isn't enough to detract significantly from the image.
To view the entire exposure series from -0.5 to 1.5 EV, see files D580INFM1.HTM
through D580INFP3.HTM on the thumbnail index page.
Indoor Portrait, No Flash:
Slight color casts with both white balances, but still good overall color. 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. The D-580 Zoom's Incandescent white balance setting produced a slight yellow cast, while the Auto setting had more of a reddish cast, but both are well within the range of what I'd consider acceptable. In the end, I chose the Auto setting, as overall color looked a little better to me, but others might prefer the color of the Incandescent setting instead. Saturation is good, though the red flowers are just a little oversaturated. The shot at right was taken with a +1.0 EV exposure compensation adjustment, about the amount that's usually required for this shot. Image noise is moderate in the midtones and shadows.
To view the entire exposure series from zero to 1.3 EV, see files D580INAP0.HTM
through D580INAP4.HTM on the thumbnail index page.
High resolution with strong detail, nearly accurate color.
The D-580 Zoom's Auto white balance setting
produced the best overall color here, with the most accurate white value
on the house trim (despite a very slight reddish cast). The Daylight
setting resulted in a strong yellow color cast. Resolution is high, and
detail is strong in the tree limbs, front shrubbery, and house front.
Details are also sharp throughout the center of the frame, though there's
some softness in the right corners, extending a fair ways into the frame.
Excellent resolution and detail, with a slightly limited 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, and the
D-580 Zoom does indeed capture a fair bit detail here, although I'd equate
its performance with the best three-megapixel cameras out there, rather
than the best four-megapixel ones. (This is generally the case, if you
compare an inexpensive current-model point & shoot like the D-580
with a prior-generation higher-end model having the same CCD resolution,
such as Olympus' own C-4000 Zoom. The D-580 holds its own against similarly-priced
models in the current market.) The tree limbs over the roof and fine foliage
in front of the house show strong detail, with good definition in the
leaf patterns. Details are sharp throughout most of the frame, although
all four corners of the frame are somewhat soft (the most so in the lower
left corner). The D-580 manages to hold onto at least some detail in the
bright white paint surrounding the bay window, as well as in the deep
shadows near the front door, although there's more noise than I'd ideally
like to see in the shadows. Color is pretty good, and saturation is good
as well. Overall, not a bad job from a bargain-priced camera. The table
below shows a standard resolution and quality series.
Lens Zoom Range
A normal 3x 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 (3x, in this case), and at full telephoto with the digital zoom enabled. The D-580 Zoom's lens is equivalent to a 35-105mm zoom on a 35mm camera. That corresponds to an average wide angle to a moderate telephoto. Following are the results at each zoom setting.
A warm color cast in response to the predominance of blue in the image, but good resolution and 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 D-580 Zoom's Auto
and Daylight settings produced warm color
balances, though the Daylight setting was the least strong. The blue background
has purplish tints from the warm cast, as do the deep shadows of the blue
robe. Skin tones are a little too warm, but not excessively so. 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 the D-580 Zoom is pretty close to picking up as much detail
as the poster has in it.)
Excellent macro performance, though the flash has some trouble.
The D-580 Zoom did an surprisingly good job here for a budget digicam
(excellent, really), capturing a minimum area of only 2.39 x 1.79 inches
(61 x 45 millimeters) in the normal macro mode. In Super
Macro mode, the camera performed even better, capturing a minimum
area of just 1.07 x 0.80 inches (27 x 20 millimeters). Resolution is very
high, with great detail in the dollar bill, coins, and brooch. (The coins
and brooch are soft in the Super Macro shot due to the very short shooting
distance, but that's just an optical fact of life, and not the fault of
the camera at all.) Some softness is present in all four corners of the
frame, but strongest in the lower left corner. (A very common failing
in digicam macro modes.) The D-580 Zoom's flash
throttles down too well for the macro area, and underexposes the shot.
"Davebox" Test Target
Accurate color with the Auto white balance setting, high exposure and contrast, however.
The D-580 Zoom's Auto white balance setting
produced the most accurate color here, as the Daylight
setting resulted in a strong yellow cast. Exposure is bright and contrast
is high, and the camera only faintly distinguishes the subtle tonal variations
of the Q60 target. Although just slightly washed out, the large color
blocks look pretty good, with only slight oversaturation in the large
red and blue blocks. The shadow area of the charcoal briquettes shows
only moderate detail, with a moderate amount of noise. Apart from the
limited shadow detail, a pretty good performance.
Limited low-light capabilities, just sensitive enough for average city street-lighting at night.
The D-580 Zoom produced clear, bright, usable images only down to the one foot-candle (11 lux) light level. You could arguably use the image taken at 1/2 foot-candle (5.5 lux), but the exposure was a bit dim. Still, this is good enough for city night scenes, since typical street lighting produces a light level of about one foot-candle. Color was pretty good, if slightly warm, and noise was moderately high. 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 one foot-candle corresponds to a normal exposure of two seconds at f/2.8 and ISO 100.)
Flash Range Test
Good flash range, only a little falloff at the 14 foot limit of our test. - A fair bit of "cheating" to get there though, with the results past 10 feet really not usable.
Olympus rates the D-580 Zoom's flash as effective to 11.2 feet (3.4 meters). In my testing though, the flash illuminated the test target quite well all the way out to 14 feet, without only a very slight decrease in intensity. There's a catch though, albeit one that's quite common among low-end digicams: The camera boosts its light sensitivity quite a bit was the range to the subject increases. The result is strongly increasing image noise as the camera gets further from the subject. The images below are noisy at 8 feet, pretty blotchy at 10 feet, and downright ugly (!) at 14. - Stay pretty close to your flash subjects for the best results with the D-580. Below is the flash range series, with distances from eight to 14 feet from the target.
Very high resolution, 1,100 - 1,150 lines of "strong detail." High barrel distortion, though very low pincushion.
The D-580 Zoom performed well on the "laboratory" resolution test chart. It started showing artifacts in the test patterns at resolutions as low as 800 lines per picture height vertically, but around 650 lines horizontally. I found "strong detail" out to at about 1,150 lines vertically, 1,100 lines horizontally. "Extinction" of the target patterns didn't occur until about 1,400 lines.
Optical distortion on the D-580 Zoom is slightly higher than average at the wide-angle end, where I measured approximately 0.9 percent barrel distortion. (Average is 0.8 percent, which is still too high, in my opinion.) The telephoto end fared much better, as I found only one pixel of pincushion distortion (about 0.04 percent). Chromatic aberration is a about average for this class of camera, showing about six or seven pixels of moderate coloration on either side of the target lines. (This distortion is visible as a slight colored fringe around the objects at the edges of the field of view on the resolution target.)
Resolution Series, Wide Angle
Resolution Test, Telephoto
Resolution Test, ~50mm equivalent
Viewfinder Accuracy/Flash Uniformity
A tight optical viewfinder, but very accurate LCD monitor.
The D-580 Zoom's optical viewfinder is quite tight, showing only about 78 percent of the final frame at both wide angle and telephoto zoom settings. The LCD monitor performed much better, showing roughly 99 percent of the final image area at both zoom settings. Given that I like LCD monitors to be as close to 100 percent accuracy as possible, the D-580 Zoom's LCD monitor does an excellent job here, but its optical viewfinder could really use some help. Flash distribution is slightly uneven at wide angle, with falloff at the corners and at the edges of the frame. At telephoto, flash distribution is more uniform, and actually a little brighter.
D-580 Test Images
D-580 "Picky Details"
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