Digital Cameras - Fuji FinePix E500 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 E500 handled the challenge fairly well, but lost a lot of highlight detail due to its high native contrast.
The shot at right was taken with a +0.7 EV exposure compensation adjustment, actually a bit less than the average amount required for this shot. However, contrast is very high, with the camera losing most of the detail in the strong highlights of Marti's shirt, while at the same time, producing very dark shadows and midtones on Marti's face. Though overall color is a hint warm, I chose the Auto white balance setting for the main series. (The Daylight setting produced similar results.)
Skin tones here are slightly orange from the warm cast, but are still in the range that I'd consider to be robust and healthy looking. The blue flowers in the bouquet also look pretty good, just slightly darker than in real life. (Many digicams have trouble with this blue, but the E500 does pretty well with it, getting the hue about right, just a bit darker than in reality.) The strong yellows, reds, and greens are also a little dark, but still look pretty good, although the reds in particular look too "hot." Resolution is very high, and a lot of fine detail is present in the flower bouquet, with good definition, although some detail is lost to anti-noise processing, in the subtly contrasting areas of Marti's hair. Shadow detail is pretty good as well, with low to moderate noise.
To view the entire exposure series from zero to +1.3 EV, see files E5OUTAP0.HTM
through E5OUTAP4.HTM on the thumbnail index page.
Contrast is again high, but resolution and detail are very good.
As with the wider shot above, contrast is high and color balance is warm. The midtones show slightly more detail in this close-up shot, and the E500's 3.2x zoom lens prevents any geometric distortion of Marti's features. The shot at right was taken with a +0.3 EV exposure compensation adjustment. Though less than the average amount required here, highlights are almost too bright on Marti's face, and the shadows are very dark. Resolution and detail are much higher in this shot, with great definition of the finer details in Marti's face and hair. (Probably more than she'd prefer to see full screen!)
To view the entire exposure series from zero to +1.3 EV, see files E5OUTFACAP0.HTM
through E5OUTFACAP4.HTM on the thumbnail index page.
Indoor Portrait, Flash:
Good intensity and coverage with the built-in flash, even at its default exposure setting, with good color as well.
The E500's built-in flash illuminated the subject very well at its default exposure setting, with good coverage. However, I preferred the slightly brighter exposure obtained with a +0.3 EV exposure compensation adjustment. Overall color looks very good, with only a slight orange cast from the strong incandescent room lighting on the back wall and in Marti's hair. Though the orange cast increases with the longer exposure time, results were also good with the camera's Slow-Sync flash mode. I also shot with a +0.3 EV exposure compensation adjustment. The longer exposure allows more ambient lighting into the image, which softens the overall exposure (though not all shadows are eliminated on the back wall).
To view the entire exposure series from zero to +0.7 EV, see files E5INFP0.HTM through E5INFP2.HTM on the thumbnail index page.
To view the same exposure series in the Slow-Sync flash mode, see files
E5INFSP0.HTM through E5INFSP2.HTM on the thumbnail
Indoor Portrait, No Flash:
Slight color casts with both white balances, but not too bad, and pretty good exposure as well.
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. The E500's Auto white balance setting produced a slightly reddish color balance here, while the Incandescent setting resulted in a warmer, yellow cast. In the end, I settled on the Auto setting for the main series, as overall color was more pleasing to my eye. The blue flowers are dark and purplish from the warm cast, and skin tones are warm as well, but overall color isn't too bad. The main exposure was taken with a +1.0 EV exposure compensation adjustment (though the Incandescent white balance setting needed only a +0.7 EV exposure compensation adjustment). The highlights on Marti's shirt are a bit bright, but the overall exposure is good. Image noise is only moderate, and color saturation is pretty good.
To view the entire exposure series from zero to +1.7 EV, see files E5INTP0.HTM
through E5INTP5.HTM on the thumbnail index page.
High resolution and a lot of fine detail, though color balance is warm.
Both the E500's Auto and Daylight
white balance settings produced similar, slightly warm color balances
here, so I stuck with the Auto setting for the main shot. Resolution is
very high, with a lot of fine detail visible in the tree limbs and front
shrubbery. Details are slightly soft throughout the frame, but still well
Excellent resolution and detail, though a slightly limited dynamic range. (Partially the result of a slight overexposure.)
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 E500 does an excellent
job with it. Detail is very strong in the tree limbs over the roof, as
well as in the fine foliage in front of the house, with clear, distinct
leaf patterns. The details on the house front are also well-defined. Details
are just slightly soft overall, however, with increasing softness toward
the corners of the frame, but the degree of softening in the corners is
less than I'm accustomed to seeing on the consumer-level digicams I test.
A slight overexposure causes the E500 to lose essentially all detail in
the bright white paint surrounding the bay window, a difficult area for
many digicams. Helped by the slight overexposure, detail is stronger in
the shadow area above the front door, but I'd still say that the E500's
dynamic range is a little limited by its high contrast levels. The Auto
white balance setting does a good job here, producing nearly accurate
color. The table below shows a standard resolution and quality series,
followed by ISO, sharpness, and color series.
Lens Zoom Range
A 3.2x zoom range, with better than average wide-angle capability.
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 (3.2x, in this case), and at full telephoto with the digital zoom enabled. The E500's lens is equivalent to a 28-91mm zoom on a 35mm camera. That corresponds to a pretty wide angle to a moderate telephoto. Following are the results at each zoom setting.
Strong warm casts with both white balances, but great resolution and 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 E500's Auto and Daylight
white balance settings both responded with slightly warm, reddish color
balances, so I chose the Auto setting for the main image. In addition
to warm skin tones, the warm color cast also produces purple tints in
the blue background, as well as in the shadow areas of the blue robe.
Still, overall color isn't too bad, and the blue robe itself isn't too
far off the mark. Resolution is very high, and a lot of fine detail is
visible in areas like the embroidered bird wings on the blue robe, and
in other fabric and accessory details. (The original data file for this
poster was only 20MB though, so cameras like the E500 are capable of showing
more detail than the poster has in it.)
Excellent macro performance, with a lot of fine detail and a tiny macro area in Super mode. Flash is partially blocked by the lens however.
The E500 performed very well in the macro category, capturing a minimum
area of only 2.26 x 1.70 inches (57 x 43 millimeters) at the standard
macro setting, and only 1.09 x 0.81 inches (28 x 21 millimeters) at
the Super Macro setting. Resolution is very
high, and the dollar bill shows a lot of fine detail in both shots. The
coins and brooch also show strong detail in the wider shot, with good
definition. However, in both macro shots, details soften significantly
toward the corners of the frame, a common failing of digicam macro modes.
The E500's flash is partially blocked by the
camera's lens though, which results in a strong shadow in the lower portion
of the frame. (Plan on using external lighting for your closest macro
shots with the E500.)
"Davebox" Test Target
Good overall exposure, though slightly warm color. Pleasing color, but warm colors are oversaturated.
I chose the E500's Auto white balance setting
here, though results weren't much different from the Daylight
setting. Overall color is slightly warm, but the large color blocks still
look pretty good. However, the large red, magenta, and orange color blocks
are all somewhat oversaturated. Exposure looks nearly accurate, and the
E500 distinguishes the subtle tonal variations of the Q60 target well.
The shadow area of the charcoal briquettes shows limited detail, with
Very limited low-light shooting capabilities, not even enough for average city street lighting at night. Poor low-light autofocus as well.
The E500 produced clear, bright, usable images only down to the one foot-candle (11 lux) light level, and even then only at the 400 ISO setting. At ISO 200, the target was fairly bright at the one foot-candle light level, but still a little dim for use. At ISOs 80 and 100, the target is very dark, even at one foot-candle. Given that one foot-candle corresponds to typical city street lighting at night, the E500 really isn't usable under typical urban nighttime conditions. The camera's autofocus system is also quite limited, just barely able to achieve focus at light levels a bit above one foot-candle. Color balance is warm with the Auto white balance setting. Image noise is high at ISO 400, but the grain pattern is fine and tight. Overall, if you plan to shoot outdoors at night very often, the E500 isn't the camera for you. 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 one foot-candle corresponds to a normal exposure of two seconds at f/2.8 and ISO 100.)
Flash Range Test
Flash range less than eight feet.
The E500's flash range is one of its weaker attributes. Fuji states its range as only 6.6 feet with the lens set to maximum telephoto, or 13.5 feet set to maximum wide angle. 13.5 feet isn't bad, but 6.6 feet is very limited.
High resolution, 1,100 lines of "strong detail." Average barrel distortion, and average pincushion as well, but relatively little chromatic aberration, and very good sharpness from corner to corner.
The E500 performed 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 1,100 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 1,300 lines.
Optical distortion on the E500 is about average at the wide-angle end,
where I measured approximately 0.8 percent barrel distortion. The telephoto
end fared a little better, as I measured approximately 0.3 percent pincushion
distortion there. Chromatic aberration is very low at medium and telephoto
focal lengths, showing only about two or three pixels of light coloration
on either side of the target lines. At wide angle focal lengths the distortion
increases slightly, but only to what I'd call a "moderate" level.
(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
E500's corner-to-corner sharpness is very good all focal lengths, unusual
in a consumer-level digicam.
Resolution Series, 50mm
Resolution Test, Zoom Series
Viewfinder Accuracy/Flash Uniformity
A tight optical viewfinder, but pretty accurate LCD monitor.
The E500's optical viewfinder showed about 85 percent of the final frame area at wide angle, and about 79 percent at telephoto. The LCD monitor showed about 98 percent accuracy at wide angle, and about 96 percent at telephoto. Flash distribution is uneven at wide angle, with falloff at the corners and edges of the frame. At telephoto, flash distribution is more uniform, though much dimmer.
E500 Test Images
E500 "Picky Details"
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