Sample Images for the
|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!|
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. The object is to hold highlight and shadow detail without producing a "flat" picture with muddy colors, and the DX4900 performed well. The shot at right has a +1.0 EV exposure adjustment, which is actually a bit too bright. Because the DX4900's exposure compensation is limited to one-half-step adjustments, I was stuck with either too dark or too light of an image. Thus, to get the best midtones, I chose the brighter one, but any pros looking at this would turn up their noses at the blown highlights. The Auto white balance resulted in the most accurate overall color, as the Daylight setting was reddish.
The color here looks really good: Skin tones are about right, and the blue flowers look nearly accurate (with just a few purple tints at the edges). This is a difficult blue for many digicams, so the DX4900 does a good job. Resolution is high, with a lot of fine detail visible throughout the frame. Details are also nice and sharp. The shadow areas also show good detail, though noise is higher than average.
To see the full exposure series from zero to +2.0 EV, see files DX49OUTAP0.HTM through DX49OUTAP4.HTM on the thumbnail index page.
Similar results to the shot above, though this time I chose a slightly dark shot rather than an overly bright one. The image at right has a +0.5 EV exposure adjustment, as the +1.0 setting was much too bright. The DX4900's 2x lens helps prevent any strong distortion of the model's features. (For closeup people shots, you really need a zoom lens on your camera to avoid distorting their features.) Resolution is even higher in this shot, with stronger detail in the model's face and hair. The flower petals and leaves also show incredible detail, so much so that you can distinguish the fabric weave. Shadow detail is good, though again with moderately high noise.
To see the full exposure series from -0.5 to +1.5 EV, see files DX49FACM1.HTM through DX49FACP3.HTM on the thumbnail index page.
|Indoor Portrait, Flash:
Excellent (!) performance, with good flash intensity and excellent color.
The DX4900 performed very well here, with the onboard flash illuminating the subject nicely, and excellent color balance between the onboard flash and room lighting. Overall exposure is very good, with vibrant color and good lighting on the model's features. The background incandescent lighting produces a very slight orangish cast on the back wall, but the shot still looks good. To the DX4900's merit, no exposure twiddling was required. Really an unusually good job!
Portrait, No Flash:
Good color and exposure, an unusually good white balance.
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 DX4900 handled the challenge well. Both the Auto and Incandescent white balance settings produced nearly accurate (but slightly warm) results, though I decided the Auto setting had the most accurate color balance. Despite the warm cast, overall color looks good, though the blue flowers in the bouquet are very dark and purplish. The main image has a +0.5 EV exposure adjustment.
To see the full exposure series from zero to +1.0 EV, see files DX49INAP0.HTM through DX49INAP2.HTM on the thumbnail index page.
Great resolution and color.
The Auto white balance setting produced good, accurate color in this shot, while the Daylight setting resulted in a warm, reddish image. Resolution is high, with good detail in the tree limbs above the roof and in the fine foliage in front of the house, although the overall sharpness is just slightly down from the best 4 megapixel cameras I've tested. (Not at all bad though, considering that the DX4900 sells for literally half the price of those highest-rated cameras!) Sharpness is pretty good across the image, I saw only a hint of softness in the corners of the frame.
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. The DX4900 captures a lot of fine detail throughout the frame, with good definition even in the fine foliage in front of the house. The DX4900 captures good color, though the blue sky is a bit oversaturated. Exposure is pretty accurate, as the DX4900 captures some of the fine detail in the bright, white bay window trim, while keeping the midtones bright enough as well. The shadow area above the front door shows hardly any detail at all though, with the brick pattern completely lost in the shadow and noise. The table below shows our standard resolution and quality series, followed by ISO and Sharpness series.
|Lens Zoom Range
A typical 2x zoom range.
I've received a number of requests from readers to take shots showing the lens focal length range of those cameras with zoom lenses. I now routinely include the following series of shots, showing the field of view with the lens at full wide angle, full telephoto, and at full telephoto with the digital zoom enabled. The DX4900's lens is equivalent to a 35-70mm zoom on a 35mm camera. The wide angle end of this is about standard for digicams, the telephoto end shorter than the more common 3x zoom lenses. Following are the results at each zoom setting.
Good color with Auto white balance, with high resolution.
The Auto white balance setting produced nearly dead-on accurate results with this shot, though just slightly warm. Alternatively, the Daylight setting resulted in a reddish color balance. The Oriental model's blue robe looks about right, though the deep shadows have purplish tints. (This is a tough blue for many digicams to get right.) Resolution is high, judging by the embroidery details of the blue robe and the well-defined details of the beaded necklaces. Though some image noise is coming from the camera, resolution is high enough that the film grain on the poster is clear and distinct.
Good macro coverage, though significant corner softness from the lens.
The DX4900 performed well here, capturing a macro area of just 3.1 x 2.0 inches (77 x 52 millimeters), slightly better than average. Resolution is outstanding, with great detail in the coins, brooch, and dollar bill. However, the corners of the image are pretty soft, to the point that you'd really have to make sure that no subject of interest was too close to a corner. The DX4900 does allow you to use optical zoom in Macro mode, but the minimum focus distance increases, meaning you'll need to back off from the subject a little. Color is very good, as is overall exposure. The camera's flash had some trouble throttling down for the macro area, creating a hot spot in the top right of the frame, and a very dark lower left corner.
|"Davebox" Test Target
Excellent color, though a slightly dark exposure loses details in the shadows.
Although there's a slight yellow-green cast, the Auto white balance setting produced the most accurate overall color here, compared to the Daylight setting's reddish cast. Other than the slight cast though, the colors are bright and accurate, with no significant weakness in any part of the spectrum. Exposure is just a shade dark, as the DX4900 distinguishes the subtle tonal distributions of the Q60 chart very well, but none of the whites in the picture come up to full brightness. Shadow detail in the charcoal briquettes is very low, with rather high noise.
Excellent low-light capabilities, with good color.
The DX4900's inclusion of manually adjustable slower shutter speeds gives the camera an edge when shooting in low light. With a maximum exposure time of 16 seconds, the DX4900 can capture usable images at light levels well below average city street lighting at night. The camera captured bright, clear, usable images at light levels as low as 1/16 foot-candle (0.067 lux) at both the 200 and 400 ISO settings. 100 ISO produced bright images down to 1/8 foot-candle, or 0.134 lux, with a slightly dim image at the 1/16 foot-candle level. (For comparison, a city street scene at night under typical street lighting is about 1 foot-candle.) Color is good, but slightly warm and yellowish/greenish at the lower light levels. The ISO 400 shots are pretty noisy, with the 200 and 100 progressively less so. The table below shows the best exposure obtained 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
Good intensity to 14 feet.
The DX4900's flash maintained surprisingly good intensity all the way to 14 feet from the test target. Though the flash power was brightest at eight feet, it decreased only minimally with each additional foot of distance. Below is our flash range series, with distances from eight to 14 feet from the target.
|ISO-12233 (WG-18) Resolution Test
The DX4900 did pretty well on the "laboratory" resolution test chart. It started showing artifacts in the test patterns at resolutions as low as 600 lines per picture height vertically and about 700 lines horizontally. I found "strong detail" out to at least 1,100 lines, while "extinction" of the target patterns occurred at about 1,250 lines. Horizontal detail was pretty sharp and free of artifacts, but in the vertical direction, the camera responded poorly to fine lines stacked atop each other, producing an unusually large amount of color moire in the fine patterns of the test target.
Optical distortion on the DX4900 is very low at the wide-angle end, as I measured only 0.22 percent barrel distortion. The telephoto setting fared even better, without one pixel of barrel or pincushion distortion. Chromatic aberration is moderate, showing about four or five colored pixels on either side of the target lines. (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.) The worst distortion was severe corner softness in Macro mode, although the shots at infinity were very sharp corner to corner.
Resolution Series, Wide Angle
Viewfinder Accuracy/Flash Uniformity
An average optical viewfinder, and almost 100 percent accuracy on the LCD monitor.
The DX4900's optical viewfinder was a little tight, showing a frame accuracy of approximately 87 percent at wide angle, and about 86 percent at telephoto. (This is a pretty typical performance for an optical viewfinder on a digicam - they're all too tight IMHO.) The LCD monitor was much more accurate, almost a little "loose," showing a frame accuracy of approximately 99 percent at wide angle and telephoto. I say "loose" because the images framed with the LCD monitor actually shift upward, cutting off the top of the frame slightly. Since I like to see LCD monitors as close to 100 percent accuracy as possible, the DX4900 did a great job in this respect (just remember to add a little space at the top of the frame when lining up shots with the LCD). Flash distribution at wide angle is somewhat uneven, with a lot of falloff at the corners of the frame. Distribution at telephoto is more even, though some slight falloff in the corners is still visible.
Back to the Main DX4900 Review
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Top 3 photos this month win:
1 Canon PIXMA PRO-100
2 Canon PIXMA MG6320
3 Canon PIXMA MG5420