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Digital Cameras - Kodak EasyShare DX6490 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, 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!

 

Outdoor Portrait:

Great resolution and detail, nearly perfect white balance, and excellent color.

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 DX6490 did a pretty good job.

The shot at right was taken with a +0.3 EV exposure compensation adjustment, less than average for this shot. This left the midtones fairly dark, but left at least some detail in most of the highlights. (The strongest highlights are still blown out though.) I chose the Auto white balance as the most accurate overall, though it was almost identical to the Daylight setting. Overall color balance is about as close as you can get to being dead on, with Marti's white shirt almost perfectly neutral, and her skin tone appearing very natural. The blue flowers in the bouquet are a little darker than in real life, but color overall is really excellent. Resolution is high, with a lot of fine detail visible throughout the frame, although the camera's noise suppression algorithms flatten out detail in Marti's hair. The shadow areas also show good detail, with only moderate noise. Overall, a really excellent performance, although I'd like to see slightly lower contrast.

To view the entire exposure series from zero to +1.3 EV, see files D64OUTAP0.HTM through D64OUTAP4.HTM on the thumbnail index page.



 

Closer Portrait:

Excellent resolution and detail, but contrast is again high.

Exposure is similar to the wider shot above, as the DX6490 again produces rather high contrast. To get a reasonably bright midtone level, I selected a +0.3 EV exposure compensation adjustment, but that left the shadows rather dark and the highlights too bright. The camera's 10x zoom lens helps prevent distortion of Marti's features, and captures sharp details. Resolution is even higher in this closeup shot than in the one above, with great detail and definition in Marti's face and hair. Shadow detail is again good, although there's a little more noise here than in the previous shot. (Still not bad though.)

To view the entire exposure series from -0.3 to +1.0 EV, see files D64FACM1.HTM through D64FACP3.HTM on the thumbnail index page.



 

Indoor Portrait, Flash:
Normal Flash
+0 EV
Normal Flash
+2.0 EV
Night Portrait Mode
+0.3 EV

Good intensity and coverage with the built-in flash, good color as well. Night Portrait mode also performs well.

The DX6490's flash illuminated the subject well here, with a good intensity even at the default exposure setting. The action of the exposure compensation adjustment was very interesting here, as it seemed to increase the background lighting, while leaving the flash exposure more or less constant. (It basically just increased the shutter time.) The result was very pleasing though, as the DX6490's flash is color-balanced to match incandescent room lighting, and the excellent auto white balance system handles the combination beautifully. Overall, I felt that the best exposure was obtained with a +2.0 EV exposure compensation adjustment, higher than average, but resulting in a very nice look to the photo. (I can imagine the emails I'm going to get from readers who'll think that the shot was taken without flash when they see it in the Comparometer.) The default exposure is fine for a flash photo too, as the subject is lit amply and evenly - I just prefer the better balance of the version with the exposure boost. Overall color is very good, although there's just enough of the warm cast from the background illumination to evoke the look of the original scene. I also shot with the camera's Night Portrait mode, which combines the flash with a (even) longer exposure, allowing more ambient light in to balance the lighting. Here, I obtained the best shot with a +0.3 EV exposure compensation adjustment.

The shots below show the results of three different flash exposure settings in the normal flash mode, so you can see the effect of progressive increases in the EV adjustment.

Normal Flash
Default +1.0 EV +2.0

To view the entire exposure series from zero to +1.0 in Night Portrait mode, see files D64INNPP0.HTM through D64INNPP3.HTM on the thumbnail index page.



 

Indoor Portrait, No Flash:
Auto White Balance
Incandescent White Balance

Slight color casts with both white balances tested, but good color overall.

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. While both the Auto and Incandescent white balance settings produced slight color casts, the net result is a pretty good rendition of what the original scene looked like. (I'd actually prefer slightly less color cast left in the shots than we see here, but the overall effect is still pleasing.) The exposure was a little "tweaky" on this shot, in that the +1.0 EV boost used for the shots at right left them a little washed out, while a +0.7 EV boost resulted in images that were a little dark for my tastes. (A judgement call, some people would prefer the darker shots, although inspection in Photoshop(tm) reveals that there's no lost detail in the images at right.)

To view an abbreviated exposure series from +0.7 to +1.3 EV, see files D64INTP2.HTM through D64INTP4.HTM on the thumbnail index page.

ISO Series:
Noise is moderate on the DX6490 in most cases. However, increasing the ISO to 400 jumps the noise level considerably, and the 800 ISO setting results in very high noise as well, despite the lower image resolution the camera forces you to use.

ISO Series
ISO 80
ISO 100
ISO 200
ISO 400 ISO 800



 

House Shot:

Auto White Balance
Daylight White Balance

High resolution, with pretty accurate color.

The DX6490's Auto white balance setting produced similar results to those of the Daylight setting, although with a more accurate white value on the white house trim. Resolution is high, as the tree limbs and shrubbery show a lot of fine detail. (Though, it's important to consider that the DX6490's four-megapixel CCD is likely capable of capturing more detail than the poster actually has in it, even though it was made from a 500MB scan of a 4x5 negative shot with a tack-sharp lens.) Details are sharp, although the detail in the shrubbery lacks fine structure. The corners of the image are just a little soft, as well.



 

Far-Field Test

Overexposure with the default settings, but good resolution and detail. 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 DX6490 performed very well. Detail is excellent in the tree limbs over the roof and fine foliage in front of the house, with pretty good definition in the leaf patterns. In-camera sharpening does a good job here, as details are sharp throughout the frame. There's only the slightest amount of softness in the corners, less than I'm accustomed to seeing in this shot. (This points to the 6490's lens being of higher than average quality.) The DX6490 overexposed the shot a fair amount, and even with a -0.3 EV exposure compensation adjustment, the image is a bit too bright. (Here's a shot at the default exposure setting, for comparison.) Thus, the camera loses most of the detail in the bright white paint surrounding the bay window, a trouble spot for many digicams. While shadow detail is stronger in the area above the front door, it's not as much better as I'd expect, given the overexposure. - This indicates a somewhat limited dynamic range. Overall color looks good, although the slight overexposure decreases saturation. The table below shows a resolution/quality series, followed by ISO, sharpness, and color series.

Resolution Series:

Wide Angle "Fine"
JPEG
2,304 x 1,728
D64FARL
1,656 x 1,242
D64FARM
1,200 x 900
D64FARS


ISO Series:

ISO Series
ISO 80
ISO 100
ISO 200
ISO 400 ISO 800


Sharpness Series:

Sharpness Series
Soft
Normal
Sharp


Color Series:

color Series
Neutral Color
Saturated Color
Black and White
Sepia



 

Lens Zoom Range

Excellent 10x zoom range, with good detail.

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 (10x, in this case), and at full telephoto with the digital zoom enabled. The DX6490's lens is equivalent to a 38-380mm zoom on a 35mm camera. That corresponds to a moderate wide angle to a substantial telephoto. Following are the results at each zoom setting.

Wide Angle
10x Telephoto
3x Digital Telephoto



 

Musicians Poster

Auto White Balance
Daylight White Balance

Slight color casts, though still pretty good color overall. Great detail and resolution.

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 DX6490's Auto white balance setting did an excellent job here, almost entirely avoiding the pitfall of the excessive blue tones. The Daylight setting produced a slightly warm cast, with a reddish tint. The very slight warm tint of the Auto setting gives the blue background faint purplish tints that aren't in the original image, which also show up in the deep shadows of the blue robe. Resolution is very high, with great detail in the embroidery of the blue robe, as well as in the flower garland. (However, since the original data file for this poster was only 20MB, the DX6490 is almost certainly capable of showing more detail than the poster has in it.)



 

Macro Shot
Standard Macro Shot
Macro with Flash

A tiny macro area with great detail. However, the flash is blocked by the lens when shooting up close.

The DX6490 did very well in the macro category, capturing a tiny minimum area of 2.32 x 1.74 inches (59 x 44 millimeters). Resolution was very high, with strong detail in the dollar bill, as well as in the fibers of the gray background. The coins and brooch are soft due to the very short shooting distance. There's more softness in the corners of this shot, extending down the entire left side of the frame. (This is pretty common in super-macro shots with digicams, due to the optical phenomena called "curvature of field.") Because of the close shooting range and the DX6490's long 10x lens, the camera's flash was ineffective in this shot, and underexposed the image a great deal. (Plan on using external illumination for the closest macro shots with the DX6490.)



 

"Davebox" Test Target

Auto White Balance
Daylight White Balance

A slight overexposure, but excellent color.

Though it has a just a slight yellow cast, the DX6490's Auto white balance setting produced the best color here. The Daylight setting produced very good results, though with a stronger warm cast. The image was a bit overexposed, but the DX6490 still managed to distinguish the subtle tonal variations of the Q60 target all the way to the "B" range. The large color blocks are pretty much spot-on, with accurate hue and saturation. The shadow area of the charcoal briquettes shows good detail, with moderate noise. Overall, other than the minor exposure bobble, a really excellent performance.

ISO Series:
The DX6490 shows pretty good noise performance across the board. Noise levels increase somewhat at ISO 400, but not as much as one might expect. - On the other hand, the lower noise at ISO 400 is achieved in part by fairly heavy-handed noise-suppression processing, which diminishes detail in areas of lower contrast. (Not very obvious in this target, which mostly has fairly strongly contrasting elements.)

ISO Series
ISO 80
ISO 100
ISO 200
ISO 400


Saturation Adjustment Example
The DX6490 has a "Saturated Color" option that boost color saturation a little. Unlike the "saturated" settings on a lot of cameras (which often produce absurdly garish results) this option on the DX6490 actually seems to provide a fairly useful amount of saturation boost.

The default saturation setting produced very accurate color, despite the slight overexposure. The camera's Saturated Color setting produces a useful saturation boost, although the large red and blue additive primary color blocks are now a bit oversaturated. Still, good-looking color, and a nice level of saturation boost.



 

Low-Light Tests

Really excellent low-light performance, with good color at all five ISO settings, and usable autofocus down to the lowest light levels I test at.

The DX6490's excellent low light performance was one of the biggest surprises I found while testing the camera. It not only produced excellent color and moderate noise levels, but its viewfinder and autofocus systems worked down to the lowest light levels I test at. Overall, quite impressive, and a performance to shame many of its more expensive competitors. Unlike most of the EasyShare line of digicams, the DX6490 offers full manual exposure control and a maximum exposure time of 16 seconds. In combination with the camera's adjustable ISO option, the DX6490's exposure flexibility provides very capable low-light shooting. In my testing, the camera produced clear, bright, usable images down to the 1/16 foot-candle (0.67 lux) limit of my test, with good color at the 200, 400, and 800 ISO settings. The 80 and 100 ISO images could arguably be used at this light level, although they were rather dark. Still, both produced good results down to 1/8 foot-candle (1.3 lux). Image noise remained low up to about ISO 100, became moderate at ISO 200, and increased to a high level at the 400 and 800 ISO settings. 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.

  1fc
11lux
1/2fc
5.5lux
1/4fc
2.7lux
1/8fc
1.3lux
1/16fc
0.67lx
ISO
80
Click to see D64LL0803.JPG
3 sec
F/2.8
Click to see D64LL0804.JPG
8 sec
F/2.8
Click to see D64LL0805.JPG
16 sec
F/2.8
Click to see D64LL0806.JPG
16 sec
F/2.8
Click to see D64LL0807.JPG
16 sec
F/2.8
ISO
100
Click to see D64LL1003.JPG
2 sec
F/2.8
Click to see D64LL1004.JPG
4 sec
F/2.8
Click to see D64LL1005.JPG
8 sec
F/2.8
Click to see D64LL1006.JPG
16 sec
F/2.8
Click to see D64LL1007.JPG
16 sec
F/2.8
ISO
200
Click to see D64LL2003.JPG
1/1 sec
F/2.8
Click to see D64LL2004.JPG
2 sec
F/2.8
Click to see D64LL2005.JPG
4 sec
F/2.8
Click to see D64LL2006.JPG
8 sec
F/2.8
Click to see D64LL2007.JPG
16 sec
F/2.8
ISO
400
Click to see D64LL4003.JPG
1/2 sec
F/2.8
Click to see D64LL4004.JPG
1/1 sec
F/2.8
Click to see D64LL4005.JPG
2 sec
F/2.8
Click to see D64LL4006.JPG
4 sec
F/2.8
Click to see D64LL4007.JPG
8 sec
F/2.8
ISO
800
Click to see D64LL8003.JPG
1/4 sec
F/2.8
Click to see D64LL8004.JPG
1/2 sec
F/2.8
Click to see D64LL8005.JPG
1/1 sec
F/2.8
Click to see D64LL8006.JPG
2 sec
F/2.8
Click to see D64LL8007.JPG
4 sec
F/2.8

 

How much is a foot-candle?
While foot-candles (and lux) are a standard scientific measurement of light intensity, photographers are used to thinking in terms of f-stops, ISO, and shutter speeds in seconds. For reference then, a light level of one foot-candle would translate into an exposure of 2 seconds at ISO 100 and f/2.8. As noted, this is *roughly* the level of typical city streetlighting at night, but streetlighting will vary a lot from location to location. To get an idea of how cameras I test might perform in specific shooting situations you're interested in, set your light meter to ISO 100 and f/2.8, and then see what shutter speed it tells you to use. If it says 2 seconds, that'll be the same level I call 1 foot-candle in my low-light tests. If your meter says 4 seconds, that'd be a level of 1/2 foot-candle, and if it says 1 second, that'd be 2 foot-candles. And so on...

1 foot-candle = 2 seconds at f/2.8 and ISO 100




 

Flash Range Test

A powerful flash, with only a little falloff at the 14 foot limit of the test.

In my testing, the DX6490's flash illuminated the test target all the way out to 14 feet, without any significant decrease in intensity. Flash power started out a little too bright at the shortest distances, but gradually decreased in intensity with increasing distance, without getting too dim, even at the 14 foot distance. Below is the flash range series, with distances from eight to 14 feet from the target.

8 ft 9 ft 10 ft 11 ft 12 ft 13 ft 14 ft
Click to see D64FL08.JPG

1/90 sec
F/3.2

Click to see D64FL09.JPG

1/90 sec
F/3.2

Click to see D64FL10.JPG

1/125 sec
F/3.2

Click to see D64FL11.JPG

1/125 sec
F/3.2

Click to see D64FL12.JPG

1/125 sec
F/3.2

Click to see D64FL13.JPG

1/125 sec
F/3.2

Click to see D64FL14.JPG

1/125 sec
F/3.2




 

ISO-12233 (WG-18) Resolution Test

Very high resolution, 1,150 lines of "strong detail." Low distortion from the lens.

The DX6490 performed very 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, in both horizontal and vertical directions. I found "strong detail" out to at least 1,150 lines, although you could perhaps argue for as high as 1,200 lines in the horizontal direction. "Extinction" of the target patterns didn't occur until about 1,350 lines.

Optical distortion on the DX6490 is less than average at the wide-angle end, where I measured only about 0.4 percent barrel distortion. (Average is around 0.8 percent.) The telephoto end fared close to the same, as I measured a 0.3 percent barrel distortion. (Overall, this is a pretty low range of geometric distortion to see in such a long-ratio zoom lens.) There's also surprisingly little softening in the corners of the image, and chromatic aberration seems to be quite low as well, with only fairly weak color visible around the edges 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.) Overall, Kodak's claims that the DX6490 has a high-quality lens seem to be well-substantiated.

Resolution Series, Wide Angle
Wide Angle "Fine"
JPEG
2,304 x 1,728
D64RESWLF
1,656 x 1,242
D64RESWMF
1,200 x 900
D64RESWSF

 

Resolution Test, Telephoto
2,304 x 1,728
(Fine, Tele)
D64RESTLF




 

Viewfinder Accuracy/Flash Uniformity

Excellent accuracy from the electronic viewfinder and LCD monitor, although both are very slightly loose.

The DX6490's electronic "optical" viewfinder (EVF) is actually a little "loose," showing just a little more of the image area than what makes it into the final frame. Still, frame accuracy is very close to 100 percent. The LCD monitor produced the same results, since it's the same view on a larger screen. Given that I like LCD monitors to be as close to 100 percent accuracy as possible, the DX6490's LCD monitor performed very well here. Flash distribution is fairly even at wide angle, although there's a little falloff at the corners and edges of the frame. At telephoto, flash distribution is very uniform.


Wide Angle, EVF

Telephoto, EVF

Wide Angle, LCD

Telephoto, LCD



DX6490 Review
DX6490 Test Images
DX6490 Specifications
DX6490 "Picky Details"
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