Epson PhotoPC 3100ZEpson updates their excellent 3 megapixel digicam with a new user interface, and support for PRINT Image Matching!
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E3100 Sample ImagesReview First Posted: 7/10/2001
|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!|
|Outdoor Portrait: (466 k)
The extreme tonal range of this image makes it a tough shot for many digicams, which is precisely why we set it up this way, and why we don't use fill-flash on it. The object is to hold highlight and shadow detail without producing a "flat" picture with muddy colors, and the 3100Z performed nicely. The shot at right has a +0.4 EV exposure compensation adjustment, which produced bright midtones, though the highlights are a little overexposed. We shot this with the Auto (469 k) white balance setting, as it resulted in a more natural color than the Daylight (470 k) and Manual (473 k) white balances. (Daylight produced a warm image and Auto was too cool.) Color looks good, though skin tones are slightly magenta and the blue flowers came out quite purple (for some reason, this is a tough color for digicams to get right, and many give it a purple tinge, albeit not to the extent you see at right). Good detail in the shadows, with moderately low noise. The table below shows an exposure series from zero to +0.8 EV.
Exposure Compensation Settings:
|Closer Portrait: (493 k)
Very similar results to the longer portrait shot above. The 3x zoom lens helps prevent distortion of the model's features, and detail is more evident than in the shot above. Skin tones are slightly magenta, but overall color is very good. Shadow detail is great, with only moderate noise. Our main shot has no exposure adjustment at all, but still borders on overexposing the highlight areas. The table below shows the results of a range of exposure settings from zero to +0.6 EV.
Exposure Compensation Settings:
|Indoor Portrait, Flash: (444 k)
The 3100Z's flash is bright and effective, though the background incandescent lighting causes a strong magenta color cast in some shots. Color is most accurate with the +0.4 EV exposure adjustment in the normal flash mode, as the Slow Sync mode creates a stronger color cast.
|Indoor Portrait, No Flash: (442 k)
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 E3100Z did a great job with it. The Auto white balance setting was very magenta, so we chose the Manual setting because of its more accurate color. (One of our few gripes with the 3100Z is that we'd like to see its Auto white balance be quite a bit more aggressive about killing strong color casts like this. Manual mode works great, but it can be a hassle setting the custom white balance all the time.) We selected a setting of +0.4 EV for our main shot, as anything brighter created splotchy highlights on the white shirt. Though the blue flowers are quite purple, the E3100Z performs well.
Exposure Compensation Settings:
|House Shot: (832 k)
We chose the Auto (832 k) white balance setting for our main selection here, as the overall color balance looked the most natural (the Daylight (836 k) setting appeared warm and the Manual (837 k) setting was too cool). Color is good, with nearly accurate saturation (though the red bricks have a strong magenta tint). Great detail in the tree limbs and house front, though details are just slightly soft throughout the frame (corners are just a hint softer). A nice job overall, with moderately low noise.
|Far-Field Test: (864 k)
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 our ultimate "resolution shot," given the infinite range of detail in a natural scene like this. The 3100Z picks up a lot of fine detail, though details are again slightly soft throughout the frame, with increased softness in the corners. As we've noticed on many digicams, the fine foliage details have less definition than the straighter details of the artificial surfaces (such as the bricks and shingles), though the 3100Z performs better than some in this respect. The extreme tonal range of the image tricks the 3100Z slightly, as the camera loses the finer details of the bright bay window. However, the shadow area under the porch shows great detail. Color looks good throughout, with pretty accurate saturation. (The bricks are just a tad red though.) The table below shows our resolution and quality series, followed by an ISO series. (We also snapped an image at the camera's Hypict, interpolated resolution size.)
Sensitivity (ISO) Series:
|Lens Zoom Range
We've received a number of requests from readers to take shots showing the lens focal length range of those cameras with zoom lenses. Thus, we're happy to present you here with the following series of shots, showing the field of view with the lens at full wide angle, the lens at full 3x telephoto, and the lens at full telephoto with 2x digital zoom enabled. The 3100Z's lens covers a range equivalent to a 34-102mm zoom on a 35mm film camera. Following are the results at each zoom setting.
|Musicians Poster: (842 k)
For this test, we shot with the Auto (522 k), Daylight (519 k), and Manual (518 k) white balance settings, choosing Daylight as the most accurate. The Auto setting had some trouble with the overwhelming blue in the image and produced a slightly warm color balance, while the Manual setting produced a much cooler image with pale, bluish skin tones. Color is good throughout the frame, with a fairly accurate blue value on the Oriental model's robe (this blue has a tendency to go purple, a common problem with digicams, and the 3100Z gives it a greenish tint). Detail is good throughout the frame, with nice clarity as well.
|Macro Shot: (821 k)
The 3100Z performs well in the macro category, capturing a minimum area of just 3.14 x 2.25 inches (79.74 x 59.80 millimeters). Good resolution, with nice detail in the coins and brooch. Details are just slightly soft, and corner softness is again evident. Color looks good. (We also noticed some barrel distortion.) The flash (726 k) has some trouble throttling down for the macro area, overexposing the image a great deal. There's also a shadow in the lower left corner of the frame, where the flash is apparently blocked by the lens.
|"Davebox" Test Target: (394 k)
We shot samples of this target using the Auto (394 k), Manual (394 k), and Daylight (390 k) white balance settings, choosing the Auto setting for our main image. (The Daylight shot was slightly warm, while the Manual shot was cool and bluish.) Exposure looks good, as the overall color fairly bright and there's strong highlight detail. Good detail in the shadows as well, with moderately low noise.
The 3100Z performed very well in the low-light category, capturing bright, useable images at light levels as low as 1/16 foot-candle (0.67 lux) at the 200 and 400 ISO settings. At the 100 ISO setting, images were bright and useable as low as 1/4 foot-candle (2.7 lux), though with an orange color cast. (Interestingly, the 200 ISO setting did not produce a strong orange cast at the 1/16 foot-candle light level.) Noise is low at the 100 ISO setting, increasing only to moderately high at the 400 ISO setting. The table below shows the best exposure we were able to obtain 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
In our testing, we found the 3100Z's flash bright as far as 10 feet from the test target. Intensity decreased incrementally with each additional foot of distance, with the flash becoming very weak at the 15 foot distance. We'd rate the 3100Z's flash range at 10 feet. Below is our flash range series, with distances from eight to 14 feet from the target.
|ISO-12233 (WG-18) Resolution Test: (413 k)
The 3100Z performed well on our "laboratory" resolution test chart. It started showing artifacts in the test patterns at resolutions as low as 700 lines per picture height, in both horizontal and vertical directions. We found "strong detail" out to about 1,050 lines. "Extinction" of the target patterns didn't occur until about 1,250-1,300 lines.
Optical distortion on the 3100Z is about average at the wide angle end, as we measured an approximate 0.7 percent barrel distortion. The telephoto end fared much better, as we found only one pixel of pincushion distortion. Chromatic aberration is low, showing about two pixels of red coloration and about three pixels of green coloration along 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.)
Resolution Series, Wide Angle
Resolution Series, Telephoto
Viewfinder Accuracy/Flash Uniformity
The 3100Z's optical viewfinder is a little tight, showing approximately 84 percent frame accuracy at wide angle, and about 84 percent at telephoto. The LCD monitor fares much better, showing approximately 98 percent of the image area at wide angle, and approximately 99 percent at telephoto. Since we generally like to see LCD monitors as close to 100 percent accuracy as possible, the 3100Z performs very well in this respect. Flash distribution is uneven at the wide angle setting, with the brightest spots in the middle of the target, and falloff along the edges and in the corners. At the telephoto setting, flash distribution is even, though the intensity is dim.
Top 3 photos this month win:
1 Canon PIXMA PRO-100
2 Canon PIXMA MG6320
3 Canon PIXMA MG5420