Digital Cameras - Hewlett Packard PhotoSmart 945 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 PhotoSmart 945 had a little trouble with the high-key lighting.
The shot at right was taken with a +0.7 EV exposure compensation adjustment, which produced slightly flat color and high contrast. Midtones are reasonably bright, despite the contrasty tone curve, and highlight detail is limited. I also shot with the camera's Low Contrast setting, which decreased overall contrast but in the process flattened color even more. The 945's Digital Flash mode attempts to balance out high-contrast lighting like this, and did produce the best overall results, though it increased image noise in the deep shadows (see the side-by-side comparison images below). I chose the Auto white balance as the most accurate overall (despite a slight yellow cast), though the Daylight setting produced similar results (just a hint cooler). The Manual white balance resulted in a slight warm cast.
Marti's skin tones are pretty good here, just slightly pale, and the blue flowers in the bouquet are pretty good as well, although they actually have a slightly greenish tinge to them. (Many digicams have trouble with this blue, but the usual problem is to show a lot of purple. The actual color is a light navy, with just a hint of purple to it.) The strong reds and greens look pretty good as well, if a hint dark. Resolution is high, and detail is strong in the flower bouquet. However, fine edges are pixilated, mainly noticeable on the red flowers and on some of the greenery. Shadow detail is moderate, and image noise is high.
To view the entire exposure series from +0.3 to +1.3 EV, see files 945OUTAP1.HTM
through 945OUTAP4.HTM on the thumbnail index
High resolution and detail, but tough getting the right exposure.
Color and exposure are similar to the wider shot above, and the 945's 8x optical zoom lens does an excellent job of preventing geometric distortion on Marti's features. The shot at right was taken with a +0.7 EV exposure compensation adjustment, which is a little dark overall, but the +1.0 EV shot was much too bright, though the midtones looked a little better. Detail is very strong in Marti's face and hair, although the in-cameras sharpening gives some of the hair strands a slightly pixilated appearance. Image noise also interferes with some of the finer details, but not to an excessive degree.
To view the entire exposure series from -0.3 to +1.3 EV, see files 945FACM1.HTM
through 945FACP4.HTM on the thumbnail index
Indoor Portrait, Flash:
A bright flash, with good intensity and coverage at the default setting. Digital Flash mode improves both highlight and shadow detail, but the Slow-Sync setting increases the pink cast.
The PhotoSmart 945's built-in flash illuminated the subject well at its default exposure setting, with good intensity and coverage. Overall color is pinkish, with noticeably strong pink tints in Marti's face, and colors are dark in the flower bouquet. The background incandescent lighting creates faint orange tints in the shadows as well. Though flash performance is pretty good here, the bright flash washes out some of Marti's features slightly. To compensate, I shot an image with the camera's Digital Flash option enabled, along with the internal flash, and an exposure compensation adjustment of +0.3 EV. I was surprised by the extent to which Digital Flash toned down the highlights, while preserving detail in the shadow areas - A very nice job, so much so that I chose it as the main example for this test. I also shot with the camera's Slow-Sync flash mode, at +0.3 EV, which resulted in a much stronger pink cast, though less harsh of an exposure.
To view the entire flash series in the normal mode from zero to +1.0
EV, see files 945INFP0.HTM through 945INFP3.HTM on the thumbnail
Indoor Portrait, No Flash:
Good color from all three white balance settings tested. 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. Surprisingly, the PhotoSmart 945's Auto, Incandescent, and Manual white balance settings all produced similar results here, with just very slight color casts. I stuck with the Auto setting for the main image, as the Incandescent setting was just slightly too red, and the Manual setting just slightly too cool. (But the differences were pretty minor, and all were excellent.) The main exposure was captured with a +0.3 EV exposure compensation adjustment, which results in a nice, even exposure. Color is very good, though the blue flowers are dark and purplish, a common issue, given the very warm-hued light this is shot under. The red flowers are a little oversaturated, and skin tones are a bit pink, but the results are really excellent, given the very difficult light source.
To view the entire exposure series from zero to +1.3 EV, see files 945INAP0.HTM
through 945INAP4.HTM on the thumbnail index
High resolution and detail, with very good color from the Manual white balance setting.
Both the 945's Auto and Daylight
white balance settings produced slightly warm, reddish color casts here,
while the Manual setting resulted in nearly
accurate color. Resolution is very high, with a lot of fine detail visible
in the tree limbs and front shrubbery. (The 945's 5.26-megapixel CCD stretches
the limits of this poster as a test target, even though it was made from
a 500MB scan of a 4x5 negative shot with a tack-sharp lens.) There's a
little softness in the lower left and upper right corners of the frame,
but details are clear throughout the rest of the frame. A good job overall.
High resolution with a lot of fine detail. Good highlight detail, noisy shadows.
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 PhotoSmart 945 does a pretty good job with it. The tree limbs over the roof and fine foliage in front of the house show strong detail, as does the house front. The two lower corners and the upper right corner are slightly soft, but the softness doesn't extend very far into the frame at all. The camera does a very good job of maintaining detail in the strong highlight of the bay window, but the shadow area above the front door is rather muddy and noisy. Overall color looks good, with a good white value in the house trim. The table below shows a standard resolution and quality series, followed by ISO, sharpness, saturation, and contrast series.
Lens Zoom Range
Excellent 8x zoom range.
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 (8x,
in this case), and at full telephoto with the digital zoom enabled (up
to a whopping 56x on the 945, albeit with the extreme loss of sharpness
and detail that "digital telephoto" implies). The PhotoSmart
945's lens is equivalent to a 37-300mm zoom on a 35mm camera. That corresponds
to a moderate wide angle to a pretty substantial telephoto. Following
are the results at each zoom setting.
Strong color casts and high contrast. Good resolution though.
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, and the HP 945 apparently fell prey to this pitfall.
I chose the PhotoSmart 945's Manual white
balance for the main shot, despite the pronounced blue cast and magenta
skin tones. The Auto and Daylight
settings produced such strong warm casts, that I preferred the cooler
color balance of the Manual setting. The magenta tint results in purplish
areas on the blue background, which aren't in the original image. The
blue robe looks nearly right, though dark overall. Resolution is high,
showing a lot of fine detail in the embroidery on the blue robe. Contrast
is high, which aids in detail definition. Though details are fairly sharp,
I noticed a pixilated effect in the fine lines, such as along the edge
of the collar on the blue robe. Overall, a worse performance than the
camera turned in on my other test shots.
PhotoSmart 945 performed pretty well in the macro category, capturing
a minimum area of 3.03 x 2.27 inches (77 x 58 millimeters). Resolution
is very high, and detail is very strong in the dollar bill, coins, and
brooch. There's a little softness in all four corners of the frame but
not bad, and details are fairly sharp elsewhere. The Auto white balance
produces a warm cast as well. The 945's flash
is partially blocked by the lens, causing a shadow in the lower portion
of the frame, and overexposes the top portion with a bright glare on the
"Davebox" Test Target
Good color with the Manual white balance, but somewhat high contrast.
The PhotoSmart 945's Auto and Daylight
white balance settings both produced warm color balances here, though
the Manual setting resulted in more accurate
color. Exposure is a little bright, with slightly high contrast, but the
945 still manages to distinguish the subtle tonal variations of the Q60
target. The large color blocks are a little undersaturated, but pretty
accurate overall. However, the large red and blue additive primary color
blocks are somewhat oversaturated. Detail is limited in the shadow area
of the charcoal briquettes, and image noise is higher than average.
Pretty good low-light performance, with usable results all the way to the lowest light level of the test.
The PhotoSmart 945 produced clear, reasonably bright, usable images down to the 1/16 foot-candle (0.67 lux) limit of my test, at all three ISO settings. Exposures were just a little dim at the darkest level at the 100 and 200 ISO settings, but the images were still within a range that I'd consider usable. Image noise was low to moderate at the 100 and 200 ISO equivalents, but increased quite a bit at ISO 400, with a strong grain pattern that detracts from both color and detail. 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 our 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
A tendency to underexpose, but consistent results to the 14 foot distance.
In my testing, the HP 945's flash illuminated the test target all the way out to 14 feet, but consistently underexposed the shot. It was at least consistent in its behavior though, from eight to 14 feet. Below is the flash range series, with distances from eight to 14 feet from the target.
Very high resolution, 1,300 lines of "strong detail." High barrel distortion, slightly higher than average pincushion.
The PhotoSmart 945 performed well on the "laboratory" resolution test chart. It started showing artifacts in the test patterns at resolutions as low as 800-850 lines per picture height. I found "strong detail" out to at least 1,300 lines. "Extinction" of the target patterns didn't occur until about 1,700 lines.
Optical distortion on the 945 is higher than average at the wide-angle end, where I measured approximately 1.0 percent barrel distortion. The telephoto end fared a bit better, as I measured a 0.4 percent pincushion distortion. (Typical numbers are 0.8% barrel at wide angle and zero to 0.3% at telephoto.) Chromatic aberration is moderate, showing about eight or nine pixels of relatively 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.) There's some softness in the corners of the frame, particularly the lower left, but it doesn't extend very far into the image.
Resolution Series, Wide Angle
Resolution Test, Telephoto
Viewfinder Accuracy/Flash Uniformity
Good accuracy with the electronic viewfinder.
The PhotoSmart 945's electronic "optical" viewfinder (EVF) is very accurate, showing approximately 99 percent frame accuracy at both wide angle and telephoto zoom settings. The final frame is shifted upward slightly, however, just cutting off my top measurement lines. The LCD monitor is also very accurate, since it just shows the same view on a larger screen. Given that I like LCD monitors to be as close to 100 percent accuracy as possible, the 945's LCD is nearly perfect. Flash distribution is fairly even at wide angle, with only faint falloff at the corners of the frame. At telephoto, flash distribution is more uniform, though with a few reflections on the target lines.
Photosmart 945 Test Images
Photosmart 945 Specifications
Photosmart 945 "Picky Details"
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