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Minolta DiMAGE F100

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DiMAGE F100 Sample Images

Review First Posted: 04/18/2002, Updated: 05/29/2003

I'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, I'm posting the Thumber index so only those interested in the information need wade through it!

 

Outdoor Portrait:

Great color, resolution, and sharpness, slight purple tints in blue flowers.

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 F100 did a good job with it. The shot at right was taken with a +0.7 EV exposure compensation adjustment (about average), which produced nice, bright midtones with only a slight loss of detail in the highlights. I shot with the Auto white balance setting (just slightly warm), though the Daylight setting looked about right as well (just slightly magenta). The Manual white balance setting resulted in very warm color balance. The blue flowers are almost right, but have purplish tints (a common digicam problem on this shot, and the F100 does better than many). Skin tones look good as well. Resolution is very high, with crisp details throughout the frame. Detail is excellent in the shadow areas, with moderately low noise.

To view the entire exposure series in the Daylight white balance setting, from +0.3 to +1.3 EV, see files F10OUTDP1.HTM through F10OUTDP4.HTM on our thumbnail index page.

 

 

Closer Portrait:

Excellent detail without any optical distortion, slightly pink skin tones.

Overall results are similar to the wider shot above, and the F100's 3x zoom lens helps prevent distortion of the model's features. Fine detail increases in Marti's face and hair, with outstanding definition and great sharpness. The shadows are only moderately noisy, and detail is very good. Color balance looks good as well. The main shot was taken with a +0.3 EV exposure compensation adjustment, which produces bright midtones with only a slight loss of detail in the highlight areas.

To view the entire exposure series, from zero to +0.7 EV, see files F10FACAP0.HTM through F10FACAP2.HTM on our thumbnail index page.

 

 

Indoor Portrait, Flash:

Normal Flash +0.0 EV
Normal Flash +1.0 EV

Default setting underexposes quite a bit, but exposure adjustments brightens the shot nicely.

The F100's flash significantly underexposed this shot when left to its default exposure setting. Color balance is warm and yellowish/greenish here, with blue tints on the Marti's blouse from the flash. Increasing the exposure compensation to +1.0 EV brightened the shot quite and dispels some of the warm color cast. The blue tints are again noticeable on Marti's shirt, and the background incandescent lighting results in a slight orange cast on the back wall. Overall color with the brighter exposure looks pretty good though. I also shot at +1.3 and +1.7 EV exposure settings, though these overexposed the image and lost detail in the extreme highlights.

 

 

Indoor Portrait, No Flash:

Auto White Balance
Incandescent White Balance
Manual White Balance

Pretty good results with Incandescent and Manual, but Auto has problems.

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 F100's white balance system had some difficulty interpreting this tough light source, producing color casts at each setting. The Auto setting resulted in a very strong orange cast. The Incandescent and Manual settings produced more subdued color casts, with the Incandescent setting producing a slightly reddish image and the Manual setting a slightly greenish image. The choice of which white balance setting to use is probably a personal one, depending on the "mood" you're trying to achieve. I usually go for a slightly warm cast on this shot, to reflect the feeling of the incandescent lighting in the room. - I thus chose the incandescent white balance example as the main selection for this category. Color-wise, the blue flowers are dark and purplish, a common problem with this shot, but the skin tones look natural. The main shot selection has a +1.0 EV exposure compensation adjustment, which blew out the highlight on the wall in the background, but produced the nicest midtones and skin color. Following are links to an ISO series and to the full exposure series.

To view the entire exposure series from zero to +1.7 EV, see files F10INTP0.HTM through F10INTP5.HTM on the thumbnail index page.

ISO Series
The F100 sports ISO ratings reaching all the way up to 800, but image noise is so high at that level that it's really not much use. Noise overall seems a bit on the high side, becoming noticeable even at ISO 200.

ISO 100
ISO 200
ISO 400
ISO 800

 

 

House Shot:

Auto White Balance
Daylight White Balance
Manual White Balance

Great resolution and color, with good sharpness.

For this shot, the Daylight white balance setting produced the best overall white value, without any strong color casts. Auto white balance, on the other hand, produced a warm image with a strong red tint in the white trim, and Manual white balance resulted in a greenish tint. Overall color looks good with Daylight white balance, with good saturation. Resolution is high, with a lot of fine detail visible in the tree limbs above the roof and in the house trim. The fine foliage details in front of the house also show good detail, though the finer elements are slightly soft. Corner sharpness is better than average, although there's still a little softening there.

 

 
 

 

Far-Field Test

Nice detail with good color, slightly 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 F100 captures a lot of fine detail throughout the frame. The finer details in the tree limbs above the roof and in the shrubbery in front of the house are a little soft, but definition is pretty good. Corner sharpness is even better in this shot than on the house poster above. The image is just slightly underexposed, possibly the camera's response to the very high contrast lighting. Only the strongest detail in the bright white bay window trim is visible, suggesting a limited dynamic range, but the shadow area above the front door shows a lot of detail, suggesting that it's just a slight overexposure, despite the slightly dark midtones. Color is accurate and well-saturated with the Auto white balance setting.

The table below shows a our standard resolution and quality series, followed by ISO, Contrast, Sharpness, and Saturation series. Click here for a sample image in Black & White mode, and in Vivid Color mode. (The F100 offers a lot of creative control over your images.)

Resolution Series:
Large / Uncompressed
Large / Fine
Large / Normal
Large / Economy

Medium / Fine
Medium / Normal
Medium / Economy

Small / Fine
Small / Normal
Small / Economy

 

ISO Series:
ISO 100
ISO 200
ISO 400
ISO 800

 

Contrast Series:
Low
Normal
High

 

Sharpness Series:
Low
Normal
High

 

Saturation Series:
Low
Normal
High


 
 

 

Lens Zoom Range

A typical 3x zoom range, biased slightly toward the telephoto end.

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 (3x, in this case), and at full telephoto with the digital zoom enabled. The F100's lens is equivalent to a 38-114mm zoom on a 35mm camera. Following are the results at each zoom setting.

Wide Angle
3x Telephoto
2.5x Digital Telephoto

 

 
 

 

Musicians Poster

Auto White Balance
Daylight White Balance
Manual White Balance

Great resolution and sharpness, and good color with Manual white balance.

This shot is often a tough one, as the overabundance of blue in the image often tricks white balance systems into producing a warm color balance. The F100's Manual white balance setting thus did a best job here, producing only a slight warm cast, but the most accurate color overall. The Auto setting fell prey to the blue overload, producing a very warm image, with reddish skin tones, while the Daylight setting produced a pinkish cast with strong magenta tints in the skin tones. Skin tones look best under Manual white balance, and despite a greenish background, overall color is best as well. The blue robe is just a hint greenish, but the deep shadows have no purple tints (this is a tough blue for many digicams to get right in many cases). Resolution is high, with a lot of visible fine detail in the embroidery of the blue robe and in the red vest.

 

 

Macro Shot

Standard Macro Shot
Macro with Flash

Excellent macro performance, with good flash coverage.

The F100 did very well in the macro category, capturing a minimum area of only 2.33 x 1.75 inches (59.2 x 44.4 millimeters). Resolution is very high, with sharp details visible on the coins, brooch, and dollar bill. There's also no trace of the extreme softening in the corners so many digicams fall prey to in this shot - I'm once again impressed by the quality of Minolta's optics. Color and exposure both look good as well. The F100 lets you zoom to full telephoto while in macro mode, producing a little pincushion distortion, but it really isn't at all bad. The F100's flash did an unusually good job throttling down for the macro area, though it slightly underexposed the shot. (This is still better than what I'm accustomed to seeing, as many digicam flash units tend to drastically overexpose this shot.)

 

"Davebox" Test Target

Auto White Balance
Daylight White Balance
Manual White Balance

The images look slightly dark, but color is good.

All three white balance settings produced nearly accurate results on this shot, each with just the slightest tint in color balance. The Auto setting has a very slight reddish tint, while Daylight is just a hair yellow. Manual white balance is slightly greenish. Despite the reddish tint, I chose the Auto setting for the main shot. Exposure is just a little dark, making all of the subtle tonal variations of the Q60 target distinctly visible. The large color blocks are nearly accurate, although a bit dark, and the yellow block is rather undersaturated. The shadow area of the charcoal briquettes shows a lot of detail, with very low noise.

 

 

Low-Light Tests

Captures bright images at the lowest light levels, but image noise is a problem at the higher sensitivities.

The F100 has a maximum shutter time of 15 seconds, providing ample exposure for capturing bright images in very low lighting. However, the lack of a Noise Reduction system results in noisy images at the longer exposures. The camera captured bright, clear images at light levels as low as 1/16 foot-candle (0.67 lux), at all four ISO settings. (Actually, the image was just slightly dim at ISO 100, though it could arguably be used. The image was brighter at the 1/8 foot candle setting.) Average city street lighting at night is equivalent to about one foot-candle, or 11 lux, so the F100 ought to easily handle even darker situations. Color was good at all light levels, without any strong color casts. My biggest complaint is about the noise level, which is very high at the 400 and 800 ISO settings, and moderate but very noticeable at 100 and 200 ISO. With the addition of a Noise Reduction system, the F100's low-light performance would be practically flawless. I'd recommend shooting at the lowest sensitivity setting, which produced great results. The table below shows the best exposure we were able to obtain for each of a range of illumination levels, at each ISO setting. Images in this table (like all of our sample photos) are untouched, exactly as they came from the camera.

1fc
11lux
1/2fc
5.5lux
1/4fc
2.7lux
1/8fc
1.31lux
1/16fc
0.67lux
ISO
100
Click to see F10LL103.JPG
2 secs
F2.8
Click to see F10LL104.JPG
4 secs
F2.8
Click to see F10LL105.JPG
8.1 secs
F2.8
Click to see F10LL106.JPG
15 secs
F2.8
Click to see F10LL107.JPG
15 secs
F2.8
ISO
200
Click to see F10LL203.JPG
1 secs
F2.8
Click to see F10LL204.JPG
2 secs
F2.8
Click to see F10LL205.JPG
4 secs
F2.8
Click to see F10LL206.JPG
8.1 secs
F2.8
Click to see F10LL207.JPG
15 secs
F2.8
ISO
400
Click to see F10LL403.JPG
1/ 2 secs
F2.8
Click to see F10LL404.JPG
1 secs
F2.8
Click to see F10LL405.JPG
2 secs
F2.8
Click to see F10LL406.JPG
4 secs
F2.8
Click to see F10LL407.JPG
8.2 secs
F2.8
ISO
800
Click to see F10LL803.JPG
1/ 4 secs
F2.8
Click to see F10LL804.JPG
1/ 2 secs
F2.8
Click to see F10LL805.JPG
1.5 secs
F2.8
Click to see F10LL806.JPG
2 secs
F2.8
Click to see F10LL807.JPG
4 secs
F2.8

 

 

Flash Range Test

Low intensity, even at eight feet from the target.

The F100's flash was very dim, even at the eight foot distance. Intensity gradually decreased from there, becoming very dark at the 14 foot distance, and resulting in a blue color cast. Below is our standard 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 F10FL08.JPG
1/90 secs
F4.7
Click to see F10FL09.JPG
1/90 secs
F4.7
Click to see F10FL10.JPG
1/90 secs
F4.7
Click to see F10FL11.JPG
1/90 secs
F4.7
Click to see F10FL12.JPG
1/90 secs
F4.7
Click to see F10FL13.JPG
1/90 secs
F4.7
Click to see F10FL14.JPG
1/90 secs
F4.7

 

 

ISO-12233 (WG-18) Resolution Test

Great performance, with strong detail to 1,150 lines/picture height.

The F100 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, but I found "strong detail" out to at least 1,150 lines. "Extinction" of the target patterns occurred at about 1,350~1,400 lines.

Optical distortion on the F100 is higher than average at the wide-angle end, where I measured a 1.31 percent barrel distortion. The telephoto end showed only very slight distortion, with about one pixel of pincushion distortion in the very center of the target. Chromatic aberration is low, showing about three or four pixels of very light 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
Large / Fine
Large / Normal
Large / Economy
Medium / Fine
Medium / Normal
Medium / Economy
Small / Fine
Small / Normal
Small / Economy
Tiny / Fine
Tiny / Normal
Tiny / Economy

 

Telephoto
Large / Fine

 

 

 

Viewfinder Accuracy/Flash Uniformity

A tight optical viewfinder, but very accurate LCD monitor.

The F100's optical viewfinder is a bit tighter than average at both ends of the zoom range. At wide angle, the viewfinder showed approximately 81 percent frame accuracy. This is less accurate than the "standard" in the industry of 85% frame coverage, a level I personally feel is too tight to begin with. At telephoto, frame accuracy was about 80 percent. The LCD monitor fared much better, as I measured about 98 percent frame accuracy at wide angle, and about 99 percent at telephoto. Given that I prefer LCD monitors to be as close to 100 percent accuracy as possible, the F100 does an excellent job here. Flash illumination at wide angle is a little dim, with moderate falloff in the corners of the frame. At telephoto, flash distribution is more even, yet still dim. 

Wide Angle, Optical

Telephoto, Optical

Wide Angle, LCD

Telephoto, LCD

 

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