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Digital Cameras - Kodak DC200 Plus Test Images

Outdoor portrait: (212k) The outdoor portrait shot captured by the DC200 Plus shows excellent color, with natural skin tones, and bright, pure primary colors, as seen in the blue, red, and yellow flowers. As is normally the case with this "high key" shot, we used the DC200 Plus' exposure compensation to boost the default exposure here by a full f-stop (EV-value) for the main shot (212k). This resulted in barely-preserved highlight detail, while preserving the shadows as well. Sharpness and detail are a little weak, relative to the camera's resolution level, but we have to emphasize the color: It's nearly perfect, particularly in the strong blues of the flowers and the model's pants, which have caused problems for many much more expensive cameras. Without exposure compensation, the camera produced this shot (204k), which is rather dark, a very typical result for this photo, and an example of why you need an exposure-compensation adjustment on a digital camera. A boost of 1/2 f-stop (0.5 EV) resulted in this shot (212k), which is better, but still a bit too dark for our tastes.)
 

Closer portrait: (196k) With the model's face filling more of the frame, the autoexposure system of the DC200 Plus did a better job here, but still required a half-stop (0.5 EV) exposure boost to produce the desired result. (For comparison, here are samples shot at the default exposure (200k), and with a full stop boost (192k).) The slightly wide-angle lens resulted in some distortion of the model's face (overemphasizing her nose, producing a rather rounded visage overall), meaning that the DC200 Plus probably wouldn't be your first choice for serious digital portraiture. As with standard outdoor portrait shot above though, the color and tonal balance is excellent, upholding the Kodak trademark of great color. Detail is somewhat lacking though, as seen in the somewhat soft appearance of the model's hair. Overall a very pleasing exposure, if a bit soft in the details.  

Indoor portrait, flash: (244k) This shot is very tricky for most digital cameras, due to the vastly different color balance of the flash and household tungsten lighting. The fairly bright incandescent lighting means relatively little flash is needed, which generally results in some odd colors in the final picture. The DC200 Plus responded fairly typically here, producing rather blue highlights wherever the flash illumination dominated, and warmer tones elsewhere. This shot is a little dark: We discovered belatedly that the exposure-compensation adjustment works when the flash is active too, boosting overall brightness (of both the ambient and flash lighting) somewhat, albeit not as strongly as when used with ambient lighting only.  

Indoor portrait, no flash: (252k) This subject is a very tough test of a camera's white-balance capabilities, given the strong yellow cast of the household incandescent lighting it's shot under. We generally find that the cameras' default exposure settings produce rather dark images, as shown in this shot (236k), taken with no exposure compensation adjustment. Here's a series of shots, each taken with a half-stop (0.5 EV) more exposure, or compensation adjustments of +0.5EV (244k), +1.0 EV (240k), +1.5 EV (252k), and +2.0 EV (256k). This shows the value of playing with the exposure compensation adjustment: Of the series, the +1.5 EV sample (252k) is far superior to the rest, and shows really excellent color balance and tonal range. Curiously, the +2.0 EV shot (256k) seemed to "fall off the edge" somehow, with a very strong color cast and poor tonal range. Again, this is one of the great things about digital cameras: You can easily experiment with different settings, without worrying about film or processing costs!  

House shot: (504k) Our standard House poster is one of our strongest tests of detail and resolution. Here, the DC200 Plus responded well, very much on a par with other cameras of similar resolution. Color again was very good, the only fault we could find being a slight over-saturation of the colors. Overall an excellent performance for its resolution and price range.
For this test, we shot a series of images, showing the camera's performance at each of its resolution/image quality settings. The results are arranged in the table below for your perusal.

Large/Best
(504k)

Large/Better
(348k)

Large/Good
(192k)

Small/Best
(196k)

Small/Better
(144k)

Small/Good
(84k)

 
 

Far-Field shot: (356k) 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.
To our eye, the DC200 is somewhat less sharp at infinity than in the studio, but the difference isn't nearly as marked as we've seen in some cameras: While we can see a difference, we suspect most users wouldn't. Do you? Download this image and the "House" picture, print them both out at the same size, and examine the fine details in the house itself. We strongly suspect that images printed at the recommended maximum size of 5x7 inches will show little difference.
As with the House poster shot, we've also taken a series of pictures here, exercising the camera's various resolution and image-quality modes. The results are in the table below.

Large/Best
(356k)

Large/Better
(232k)

Large/Good
(136k)

Small/Best
(156k)

Small/Better
(112k)

Small/Good
(68k)

 

"Musicians" poster: (344k) While this is just a picture of a poster, the color values for the various skin tones are pretty representative of the three ethnic groups represented. Skin tones are tough for digital cameras, both because the Caucasian skin color is so sensitive to over-saturation, and because all of the tones are "memory colors:" People are so familiar with the range of "correct" colors that any deviation is immediately obvious. We felt the DC200 Plus did a really excellent job here, among the best we've seen(!): Skin tones are nicely balanced, yet color saturation in the model's costumes is high, and color overall is very accurate. Excellent job!
Again, we have a full series of resolution/image quality samples available, in the table below.

Large/Best
(344k)

Large/Better
(316k)

(Oops! - Missed Large/Good!)

Small/Best
(160k)

Small/Better
(112k)

Small/Good
(68k)
 
Macro shot: (204k) - Well, with a fixed-focus, somewhat wide­angle lens, it's no surprise that the DC200 Plus isn't a strong performer in the macro arena. The minimum focusing distance of 27 inches (0.7 m) means our macro subject comes out pretty small indeed. On the other hand, the DC200 Plus DOES include 37mm accessory threads on the front of the lens, allowing the use of close-up lenses with it. In this shot (316k), we've attached a stack of Tiffen close-up filters, totaling +6 diopters, which let us get down to only 6.5 inches from the subject, and capture a very passable close-up of the subject. In this usage though, you'll have to focus by actually measuring the distance to the subject, as the LCD screen doesn't have enough resolution to show you when the focal distance is exactly right.  

"Davebox" test target: (248k) Wow! As strange as it may seem, given the DC200 Plus' low price, this shot clearly shows some of the best color-handling we've found in any camera, at any price point! All colors are accurate, strong primaries are clean and well-saturated, yet the subtle pastels of the Q60 target at bottom center are perfectly preserved as well. Highlight detail is excellent, but shadow detail is almost totally lacking. (Although in fairness, the black charcoal bricks are a very tough test for any camera.)
Once more, we have a full resolution/image-quality series for those interested in the camera's performance in other operating modes.

Large/Best
(248k)

Large/Better
(164k)

Large/Good
(100k)

Small/Best
(116k)

Small/Better
(80k)

Small/Good
(56k)


 
 

Low-Light Tests (NEW!)
After a number of requests for a more quantitative measure of cameras' low-light capabilities, we've instituted an official low-light test, using the Davebox target, a single flood, neutral-density gels, and an accurate light meter to test camera performance under a range of dim lighting. (If it sounds like a pain in the neck, that's because it is!)
(This test was added in early 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.)
Low-light performance of the DC200 Plus is moderately good, down to a minimum level of about EV8, if you use the +EV exposure compensation to the maximum level possible. At that level though, some detail is lost, and the shadows are totally plugged. Not bad though, since Kodak's "official" rating based on camera ISO, lens aperture and shutter speed ranges suggest a lower limit of about EV9.5! While not a stellar low-light performer, the DC200 Plus should work fine under even modest lighting in most home and office interiors. Below are a series of exposures under progressively darker lighting conditions, both with and without +2.0EV of manual exposure compensation adjustment.

EV10
(240k)

EV9
(208k)

EV8
(168k)

EV7
(132k)

EV6
(100k)

EV10 +2EV
(248k)

EV9 +2EV
(256k)

EV8 +2EV
(244k)

EV7 +2EV
(204k)

EV6 +2EV
(156k)

 

ISO 12233 ("WG-18") resolution target: (248k) (Technoids only) Visual resolution of the DC200 Plus in this test is a very solid 600 lines per picture height, both horizontally and vertically, better than most cameras we've tested at this resolution level. Our one quibble is actually a feature: Kodak has applied a fairly strong in-camera "sharpening" function to the images, visible as slight white halos around the black letters and other chart elements. This undoubtedly helps when printing pictures at the maximum recommended size of 5x7 inches, but our personal preference is for less in-camera sharpening. On the other hand, few users of this camera are likely to want to spend the time fiddling in Photoshop that we do, so this sharpening is undoubtedly a wise choice, given the camera's place in the market...
Again, we've provided a full resolution/quality series here for those who might be interested:


Large/Best
(248k)

Large/Better
(184k)

Large/Good
(116k)

Small/Best
(120k)

Small/Better
(92k)

Small/Good
(64k)

 

Viewfinder accuracy/flash uniformity target: We were pleased to find the viewfinder on the DC200 Plus as accurate as it was. The optical viewfinder shows a well-centered view of about 90% of the final image area, making it more accurate than most. As with essentially all other Kodak cameras we've tested, the LCD viewfinder is 100% accurate, a real help in some of the critical studio shots we take.

 

Note: We are having some technical difficulties with one of these files that is affecting all of them. Once this is fixed, we will bring these files back on line. Thank you for your patience. (01/10/03)

 

 

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