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Digital Cameras - Fuji DX-10 Zoom Test Images

(Original test posting: 5/17/99)

Outdoor portrait: (272k) Good color and tonal balance, although the default exposure setting (264k) was rather dark, as are most other digicams on this shot. (Most digicams significantly underexpose this high-key subject.) Highlight detail was good in our main image (272k), shot at +0.9EV exposure compensation, although best in this shot (272k), taken at +0.6EV. Detail is very good (particularly considering the 0.8 megapixel sensor resolution), and color is exceptional, with the DX-10 handling even the ever-difficult blues of the model's pants and the blue flowers just right! Color accuracy and saturation is very good, yet skin tones are very natural and not over-saturated at all. A very nice performance!
 

Closer portrait: (276k) This closer shot shows very good detail (surprisingly good for a sub-megapixel camera), and excellent color. With the subject coming closer to filling the frame, less exposure compensation was required, with our main shot (276k) at +0.6EV, but this one (276k) at +0.3EV doing a better job of preserving highlight detail. For reference, here's a shot taken with the default exposure setting (276k). One thing that this shot does show though, is the limitation of the wide-angle lens for portrait shooting: Note how rounded the model's features are. There are some contrast breaks in the shadows under the model's eyes, but interestingly, not as noticeable as those we observed with the DX-10's "big brother," the MX-600Z. Overall a very good performance!  

Indoor portrait, flash: (280k) We were very impressed with how well the on-camera flash of the DX-10 did in this shot: The overall image is just slightly dark (at least for Windows users, less so for Mac folks), but the color balance between the on-board flash and the strong incandescent ambient lighting is unusually good. Most digicams we've tested either produce strong bluish highlights or very yellow shadows on this shot: The DX-10 is among the best-balanced of the cameras we've tested on this particular subject. The DX-10 is also relatively unique in its ability to adjust flash intensity as well as ambient exposure. This shot (284k) was taken with the flash turned-down 0.6 EV units, while the ambient exposure was boosted by 0.9EV. The result, while dark, shows very natural lighting and color balance, difficult to obtain with more conventional on-board flash units.
 

Indoor portrait, no flash: (288k) This shot is a very tough test of cameras' white-balance circuitry. We frequently find that digicams do best on this particular shot using their "auto" white balance setting, as the "incandescent" settings are often more suited to professional lighting than household lamps. Not so the DX-10: The main shot here (288k) was taken with the "incandescent" white-balance setting, and the exposure compensation adjusted up all the way to +1.5EV. Even the default exposure setting (280k) in "incandescent" mode produced a good shot, albeit a rather dark one. There is some remnant yellowish/magenta cast to the image, but we found that it cleaned up remarkably well in Photoshop, using a simple "auto levels" adjustment, as shown here (268k). By contrast, the automatic white balance of the DX-10 produces a very yellowish shot, as seen here (284k), with the exposure compensation set to +0.9EV.  

House shot: (680k) Our standard "House" poster shot is a great test of resolution and detail rendering. The DX-10 did fairly well on this shot (although we blew the framing slightly!), with good color balance, although the exposure was slightly dark overall, and the "normal" sharpness setting produced annoying "checkerboard" artifacts on some of the strong horizontal detail, such as along the ridge line of the roof, and in the grill at the top of the central gable. For this shot, we provide a full set of images (4), showing the camera's performance in both compression modes, at both resolution settings. We also include samples shot with both auto and daylight white balance settings, although there is really very little difference between the two, the daylight being only very slightly cooler in its color balance.

Size/Resolution Variations, Auto WB:

Large/Fine
(288k)

Large/Normal
(144k)

Small/Fine
(92k)

Small/Normal
(64k)


Size/Resolution Variations, Daylight WB:

Large/Fine
(288k)

Large/Normal
(144k)

Small/Fine
(88k)

Small/Normal
(64k)

Sharpness Variations:

Large/Hard
(316k)

Large/Normal
(288k)

Large/Soft
(284k)


This test also provided a significant revelation about the source of the "checkerboard" artifacts we noted above: We've seen these in other cameras from time to time, but in past tests couldn't find any way to avoid them if they appeared. In the case of the DX-10 though, they seem to be almost entirely caused by the camera's sharpening algorithm. When we ran a series of images (see table below) varying the "Sharpness" setting, the artifacts were very aggravated by the "Hard" setting, prominent in the "Normal" setting, but almost completely absent in the "Soft" setting! - This means that you can dramatically improve the DX-10's picture quality (at least for objects with strong horizontal lines in them) by setting the sharpness to "Soft" in the Setup menu, and applying sharpening after the fact in an image-manipulation program. This is very good news indeed, and removes what we had seen as a significant image-quality problem with the camera!

 
 

Far-Field shot: (276k) 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 found that digicam lenses frequently perform differently when focused at infinity than when used at closer distances. Accordingly, we use this shot to test the "infinity" performance, even though the scene content will vary considerably with weather, and particularly the seasons. We were again surprised at how well the DX-10 did here, given the fairly modest resolution of its sensor by current (May, 1999) standards. Detail in the bricks, shingles, and branches against the sky are all quite good. The annoying checkerboard artifact is again present in images shot with the "Normal" and "Hard" sharpness settings, but was almost totally eliminated when the "Soft" setting was used. Overall, a very good performance from a modestly-priced camera.


Size/Resolution Variations:

Large/Fine
(276k)

Large/Normal
(140k)

Small/Fine
(88k)

Small/Normal
(64k)

Sharpness Variations:

Large/Hard
(300k)

Large/Normal
(276k)

Large/Soft
(276k)

 

"Musicians" poster: (276k) Very good color, good detail - really a very good performance on this image! While the DX-10's resolution isn't up to that of the higher-priced 1-to-2 megapixel digicams, it does a surprisingly good job of capturing detail, and the color is very good, with decent saturation, and natural skin tones. We show only "auto" white balance samples here, as we found virtually no difference between auto and daylight settings with this image. The tables below shows samples of images shot at all resolution/compression settings, as well as the range of sharpness settings, taken at high resolution.

Size/Resolution Variations, Auto WB:

Large/Fine
(276k)

Large/Normal
(140k)

Small/Fine
(80k)

Small/Normal
(60k)

Sharpness Variations:

Large/Hard
(288k)

Large/Normal
(276k)

Large/Soft
(272k)

 
Macro shot: (284k) - Despite its somewhat wide-angle lens, the DX-10 did pretty well on the macro test: The one penalty was a rather short working distance of 3.9 inches, which makes it a bit trickier to get adequate light onto the subject. At the minimum focusing distance, the DX-10 captured an area of 2.5 x 3.3 inches (6.3x8.4 cm). With the flash throttled-down by the -0.6 EV maximum, it produced this (288k) surprisingly well-exposed shot. - While the illumination is a bit uneven, due to the very short working distance, it appears the flash is very usable for macro shooting.  

"Davebox" test target: (280k) This test proved a little more challenging to the DX-10, in that its default exposure produced rather dark images. We re-shot with the exposure compensation adjusted upward by +0.6EV, and obtained the results shown in the main shot (272k), and in the table below. The images have a very slightly overall yellow cast, that cleans up well in Photoshop, or by boosting the blue channel a bit in Fuji's EZTouch program. Other than that, color rendition is very good, with well-saturated primaries, yet delicate handling of the pastels on the Q60 target. Overall, a surprisingly good performance for an inexpensive digicam!


Size/Resolution Variations, Auto WB:

Large/Fine
(280k)

Large/Normal
(144k)

Small/Fine
(88k)

Small/Normal
(60k)


Size/Resolution Variations, Daylight WB:

Large/Fine
(280k)

Large/Normal
(144k)

Small/Fine
(88k)

Small/Normal
(60k)

Sharpness Variations:

Large/Hard
(284k)

Large/Normal
(280k)

Large/Soft
(280k)

 
 

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!)
The DX-10's official ISO rating, shutter speed and aperture ranges combine to result in an "official" low-light limit of about EV 10.5. Our own tests confirmed this, with the camera producing a slightly dark image at EV 10, and a much darker one at EV 9. Even as low as EV 8 though, we found the image cleaned up very well in Photoshop with an "auto levelsoperation, although the result was rather noisy. Bottom line, the DX-10 does well with average residential room lighting or in office environments (typical uses), but won't be a camera to use for after-sunset available-light shooting. The table below shows samples from our low-light tests.

 

EV 10
(284k)

EV 9
(280k)

EV 8
(280k)

EV 7
(280k)

 

ISO 12233 ("WG-18") resolution target: (276k) (Technoids only) The DX-10 showed a visual resolution of about 575 lines/picture height in both the horizontal and vertical directions on this test. In some of the tests outlined above, we felt that the "Soft" sharpness setting produced somewhat superior results to those obtained in "Normal" mode, due to the elimination of checkerboard patterns. The resolution target revealed though, that the Soft setting in fact did reduce the resolution markedly, particularly in the horizontal direction. This was surprising, because we didn't feel we saw as much of a decrease in resolution with our other tests when working in Soft mode. Bottom line? We'd probably shoot in Soft mode and sharpen after the fact most of the time. If we wanted an image to print at a larger size, and it had no strong horizontally-oriented elements in it, we'd probably go with the Normal sharpness setting. The tables below show the resolution results with all combinations of image size and compression setting, as well as with the three different sharpness settings at large size.
Size/Resolution Variations

"Normal"
Sharpness

Large/Fine
(276k)

Large/Normal
(136k)

Small/Fine
(88k)

Small/Normal
(64k)

 

Sharpness Variations

Large/Hard
(284k)

Large/Normal
(276k)

Large/Soft
(280k)

 
Viewfinder accuracy/flash uniformity target: We griped somewhat about the DX-10's optical viewfinder in the main review, the viewfinder accuracy test shows what we were talking about: We normally try to align the viewfinder accuracy target using the edges of the viewfinder frame. In the case of the DX-10, we had to really squint and move our eyes around to see the edge of the frame, and as a result ended up seeing a lot larger swatch of the target than the viewfinder is probably intended to reveal. The net of this was that the DX-10's optical viewfinder (300k) was very atypical in our tests, showing MORE of the target than the CCD ultimately captured (about 110%, as near as we can tell), rather than less. We re-shot the test, taking a more "casual" approach to the boundaries of the viewfinder (as a typical user would), with this (144k) result, and found a much-improved result, with the finder showing 96% of the final image area. This is very good, but we still dislike the uncertainty as to just what's being captured... The LCD finder (296k) was much better-behaved, showing 89% of the final image area, about typical for LCD viewfinders we've tested. We also use this test to measure geometric distortion of cameras' lenses, and the DX-10 does quite well in this regard, showing only 0.6% barrel distortion.  

 

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