Digital Cameras - Minolta DiMAGE E323 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, ISOsetting, compression setting, etc. Rather than clutter the page below with *all*that detail, we're posting the Thumber index so only those interested inthe 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, 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 DiMAGE E323 performed quite well.
The shot at right was taken with a +0.3 EV exposure compensation adjustment, which sacrificed some highlight detail in order to obtain reasonably bright midtones. I chose the Auto white balance as the most accurate overall, though the Daylight setting also produced good results.
Marti's skin tones look pretty good, and the blue flowers in the bouquet are quite good as well. (Many digicams have trouble with this blue, often producing a dark, purplish tint. The E323 gets them a little darker than they are in real life, but the color is pretty much dead on.) Color looks good throughout the rest of the frame as well, though the strong reds have a slightly pinkish tint. Resolution is very good for a three-megapixel camera, with a lot of fine detail visible throughout the frame, even in the dark shadows. Noise is fairly low, and details are fairly well-defined.
To view the entire exposure series from zero to +1.0 EV, see
files E323OUTAP0.HTM through E323OUTAP3.HTM on the thumbnail
Excellent resolution and detail.
Color and exposure are similar to the wider shot above, and the E323's 3x zoom lens does a good job preventing any significant distortion of Marti's features. Highlights are a little hot, but midtones look pretty good. The shot at right was taken at the default exposure setting. Resolution is even higher in this shot, with better definition in the details of Marti's face and hair.
To view the entire exposure series from zero to +0.7 EV, see
files E323FACAP0.HTM through E323FACAP2.HTM on the thumbnail
Indoor Portrait, Flash:
Good intensity and coverage with the built-in flash, with a bit of an exposure boost. Good performance with the Night View mode as well.
The E323's built-in flash was a bit dim at the default exposure setting, requiring a +1.0 EV exposure compensation adjustment for the best exposure. (Fairly typical for this shot, among the digicams I've tested.) Color was pretty good overall, though the flash creates a bit of a blue cast on Marti's features. Still, color looks very good in the flower bouquet, and there isn't too much of a color cast from the background incandescent lighting. I also shot with the camera's Night View exposure mode, which combines the flash with a slower shutter speed. I found the best results with a +1.0 EV exposure compensation boost. (Here's a shot at the default exposure.)
To view the entire
exposure series in the normal flash mode from zero to +1.7
EV, see files E323INFP0.HTM through E323INFP5.HTM on the thumbnail
Indoor Portrait, No Flash:
Slight color casts with both white balance settings, but within acceptable limits.
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. Both the E323's Auto and Incandescent white balance settings produced slight color casts in response. I settled on the pink tint of the Auto white balance, as the yellow tint of the Incandescent setting was less appealing to my eye. The shot at right was taken with a +1.3 EV exposure compensation adjustment, which is a bit higher than average for this shot. Still, results are pretty good, and noise is only moderate.
To view the entire exposure series from zero to +1.7 EV, see
files E323INAP0.HTM through E323INAP5.HTM on the thumbnail
Pretty good resolution and detail (though details are soft), and pretty good color as well.
The E323's Auto white balance setting
produced the best overall color here, with the most accurate
white value on the house trim. (The Daylight
setting resulted in a greenish color cast.) Resolution is
pretty good, with a lot of fine detail visible in the tree
limbs above the roof, as well as in the front shrubbery. However,
details are a bit soft throughout the frame, with slightly
increased softness in the lower left corner. Overall, higher-end
3-megapixel cameras do better on this shot, but the results
here are good for an inexpensive camera model.
Sorry - these shots got skipped when
I was testing the camera...
Lens Zoom Range
Sorry - these shots got skipped when I was testing the camera...
Warm color with the Auto white balance, but good detail.
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 E323's Auto
white balance setting produced a very warm-hued image, leading
me to choose the cooler, bluish results produced by the Daylight
setting as the reference shot here. The warm cast affects
the models' skin tones, and gives the blue background a greenish
tint (as well as the blue robe). Resolution is very high,
as the embroidery of the blue robe and red vest show a lot
of fine detail. Details are slightly soft, however.
A very small macro area, with great detail. The flash performs pretty well up close too.
The E323 performed very well in the macro category, capturing
a minimum area of only 1.63 x 1.22 inches (41 x 31 millimeters).
Resolution is very high, with excellent detail in the dollar
bill. The coins and brooch are soft due to the very shallow
depth of field, but that's not the camera's fault. There's
a fair bit of softness in the corners of the macro shots,
a common failing of digcam macro modes. The E323's flash
throttled down fairly well for the macro area, just barely
overexposing the top left corner.
"Davebox" Test Target
A slightly warm color balance, but good overall results.
The E323's Auto white balance setting
did the best job here, despite a slight warm cast. (The Daylight
option had a slight greenish tint.) Exposure is about right,
and the camera has no trouble distinguishing the subtle tonal
variations of the Q60 target. Though warm, the large color
blocks look pretty good. However, the additive primary colors
(red, green, and blue) are a tad oversaturated. Detail is
good in the shadow area of the charcoal briquettes, with only
a moderate level of noise.
Surprisingly good low-light performance for a fully automatic camera, with good color and detail.
The E323 operates under automatic exposure control at all times, but does offer a Night View exposure mode with shutter times as long as two seconds. Surprisingly, the E323 produced bright, usable images down to the 1/8 foot-candle (1.3 lux) light level, though you could arguably use the image taken at the 1/16 foot-candle (0.67 lux) light level. Color is pretty good, without any strong color casts, but image noise is quite high, particularly at the lowest light levels. (The E323 automatically boosts its ISO setting in darker shooting conditions.) 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.
(Note: If you'd like to use a light meter to check light
levels for subjects you might be interested in shooting, a
light level of 1 foot-candle corresponds to a normal exposure
of 2 seconds at F/2.8 and ISO 100. - Although here, the E323
is using an exposure of only 1 second at f/2.8 and ISO 100,
with good results.)
Flash Range Test
Good flash range, with only a little falloff at the 14 foot limit of my test, but a little "ISO cheating" to get there.
In my testing, the E323's flash illuminated the test target all the way out to 14 feet, without any significant decrease in intensity. Looking at the ISO data in the E323's file headers reveals its secret though: As do many other consumer digicams, the E323 "cheats" a little on flash exposures by automatically boosting its ISO setting for more distant shots. The result is increased range, but also increased image noise. Below is the flash range series, with distances from eight to 14 feet from the target.
High resolution, 1,050 lines of "strong detail." Lower than average barrel distortion, and low pincushion as well.
The E323 performed moderately well on the "laboratory" resolution test chart. (The camera has a 3.2-megapixel CCD that interpolates to 6.0 megapixels.) It started showing artifacts in the test patterns at resolutions as low as 600-650 lines per picture height, in both horizontal and vertical directions. I found "strong detail" out to at least 1,050 lines. "Extinction" of the target patterns occurred around 1,250 lines.
Optical distortion on the E323 is lower than average at the wide-angle end, where I measured an approximate 0.4 percent barrel distortion. The telephoto end fared even better, as I measured only a 0.2 percent pincushion distortion. Chromatic aberration is moderately high though, showing a fair bit of coloration 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.)
Resolution Series, Wide Angle
Resolution Test, Telephoto
Viewfinder Accuracy/Flash Uniformity
A tight optical viewfinder, but very accurate LCD monitor.
The E323's optical viewfinder is a bit tight, showing only 81 percent frame accuracy at wide angle, and about 83 percent at telephoto. The LCD monitor proved much more accurate, showing essentially 100 percent of the frame at both zoom settings. Given that I like LCD monitors to be as close to 100 percent accuracy as possible, the E323's LCD monitor is essentially perfect in that regard. Flash distribution is fairly even at wide angle, with just a little falloff at the corners and edges of the frame. At telephoto, flash distribution is more uniform.
E323 Test Images
E323 "Picky Details"
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