Digital Cameras - Kodak EasyShare LS743 Zoom 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 EasyShare LS743 Zoom did a pretty good job.
The shot at right was taken with a +0.5 EV exposure compensation adjustment, which held onto the highlight detail very well, albeit at the cost of slightly dark midtones. (The LS743 Zoom's exposure compensation is only adjustable in half-step increments, which really isn't fine enough to deal high-contrast lighting like this, but the exposure happened to turn out OK in this case.) I chose the Auto white balance setting for the main shot, though the Daylight setting produced similar results.
The image here has a somewhat reddish cast (and did with both available white balance options), making Marti's skin tones more pink than in reality, and the house siding in the background looks much more pink than it actually is. However, the blue flowers in the bouquet look pretty good, with only moderate purplish tints in the petals. (This is a difficult blue for many digicams to get right.) The red flowers are also a little overly bright, with high saturation. Resolution is high, and detail is strong in the flower bouquet, but subtle detail is lost in Marti's hair and features, due to strong anti-noise processing. Shadow detail is moderate, and noise there is fairly low, but as just noted, once again at the cost of subtle detail.
To view the entire exposure series from -0.5 to +1.5 EV, see files 743OUTAM1.HTM
through 743OUTAP3.HTM on the thumbnail index page.
Difficulty getting the right exposure, but good detail and resolution.
As was the case with most high-contrast subjects I attempted, I found the LS743 Zoom's half-step exposure compensation increments too coarse for a shot like this. The pair of shots at right illustrate the problem: The version with no exposure compensation adjustment is too dark, while the version with +0.5 EV adjustment is a bit too bright. Resolution is higher in this close-up shot, with strong detail in Marti's face and hair, and in this case the softening produced by the anti-noise processing is actually a bit more flattering to Marti than a crisper image would be. Image noise is again relatively subdued in the shadows, but at the cost of some subject detail. The LS743 Zoom's 2.8x optical zoom lens does a good job preventing geometric distortion. (A zoom lens is essential to avoid the "chipmunk look" in close portrait shots like this one.)
To view the entire exposure series from -0.5 to +1.5 EV, see files 743FACAM1.HTM
through 743FACAP2.HTM on the thumbnail index page.
Indoor Portrait, Flash:
The LS743 Zoom's built-in flash underexposed this shot a fair bit at the default exposure setting, requiring a hefty +2.0 EV exposure compensation adjustment to get the best results. The way the exposure compensation worked in this image is interesting though, as it didn't so much brighten the flash exposure as it did bring up the room exposure underneath it. (Overall, I have to say that I like the effect.) The background incandescent lighting creates an orange cast on the back wall, which spills onto Marti's features as well as her white shirt. Despite the orange cast, overall color is pretty good, though the blue flowers in the bouquet are a bit dark and purplish.
To view the entire exposure series from zero to +2.0 EV, see files 743INFP0.HTM
through 743INFP4.HTM on the thumbnail index page.
Indoor Portrait, No Flash:
Good color with both Auto and Incandescent white balance settings, and a good exposure.
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 LS743 Zoom's Auto
white balance setting produced a slightly reddish color balance, while
the Incandescent setting produced more accurate
results (though just a hint yellow), but both results were quite acceptable.
Skin tones look pretty good, but the blue flowers are dark and purplish
(a common problem with this shot, due to the very warm-hued lighting).
Saturation is good, although the red flowers are pretty strong. A good
result overall. The main exposure was taken with a +0.5 EV exposure compensation
Pretty good resolution, but some loss of subtle details. Good overall color.
Though slightly yellow, the LS743 Zoom's Auto
white balance setting produced the best overall results here, as the Daylight
setting had a warmer, red tint. Resolution is fairly high, but the finest
details look a little blocky and coarse, and the anti-noise system makes
a hash of detail in the shadowed bricks on the right side of the house.
Still, the tree limbs and front shrubbery show pretty good detail. Details
are slightly soft throughout the frame, with a little extra softness in
the corners. (The pine needles in the top left corner almost look like
High resolution and detail, though some artifacts. Slightly limited dynamic range from the bright exposure.
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. The LS743 Zoom captures a lot of detail throughout the frame, with pretty good clarity in the brick pattern, as well as in the tree limbs and front shrubbery. Leaf patterns are distinct, even in the more subtle shading. There's a little softness in all four corners, but not too bad, as well as a little flare around the blue patches of sky. The camera picks up moderate detail in the bright white paint surrounding the bay window, and slightly more limited detail in the shadow area above the front door, but generally does well at both ends of the tone scale. Color looks about right with the Auto white balance, although the shot is slightly overexposed as a whole. The table below shows a standard resolution series, followed by ISO and color series.
Lens Zoom Range
A good 2.8x 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 (2.8x, in this case), and at full telephoto with the digital zoom enabled. The LS743 Zoom's lens is equivalent to a 36-100mm zoom on a 35mm camera. That corresponds to a moderate wide angle to a moderate telephoto. Following are the results at each zoom setting.
A slight yellow color cast, but good 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. Though the LS743 Zoom's Auto
white balance setting resulted in a slightly yellow color balance, it
looked better than the results from most cameras' auto modes, and was
also a bit more accurate than the Daylight
setting, which was reddish. The blue robe looks about right, though a
hint greenish, and skin tones are believable. Resolution is high, evidenced
by the detail in the bird wings on the blue robe. Noise-suppression artifacts
are noticeable in the blue background, and in areas of solid color. Still,
detail is strong in the beaded necklaces, flower garland, and instruments.
A very small macro area, with great detail. Flash has trouble up close though.
The LS743 Zoom performed well in the macro category, capturing a minimum
area of only 1.76 x 1.32 inches (45 x 33 millimeters). Resolution is high
(though again with a lot of artifacts), with good detail in the dollar
bill, though the coins and brooch are soft due to the very short shooting
distance. (An optical fact of life, not the camera's fault.) As is the
case with most cameras' ultra-macro modes, the corners of the frame are
soft, but only about as much as is commonly the case. The camera's flash
almost throttles down for the macro shot, but is located too far to the
upper right for an even exposure.
"Davebox" Test Target
Good overall exposure, but a slight yellow color cast and high saturation.
The LS743 Zoom's Auto white balance setting
produced the best overall results here, despite a warm, yellow cast. (The
Daylight setting resulted in a warmer, reddish
color balance.) Exposure is good, although the image is a little contrasty.
The camera distinguishes the subtle tonal variations of the Q60 target
fairly well, however. Despite the yellow cast, the large color blocks
look nearly accurate, although they verge on being oversaturated. Detail
is very low in the shadow area of the charcoal briquettes, with high noise.
Good low-light performance, with pretty good color and low image noise.
Thanks to its "Long Time" exposure mode, the LS743 Zoom produced clear, bright, usable images down to the 1/8 foot-candle (1.3 lux) light level, with pretty good color. The exposure is just slightly dim at the 1/8 foot-candle light level, but still usable. The test target is visible at the 1/16 foot-candle (0.67 lux) light level, but the image is too dark for use. Noise is surprisingly low, although as we saw at brighter light levels, subtle detail suffers at the hands of the anti-noise algorithms. While the LS743 doesn't report the ISO level it automatically sets in Long Time exposure mode, the exposure levels below suggest that it's using an ISO equivalent of 100. The LS743's autofocus system also worked pretty well under dim lighting, able to focus to light levels just slightly darker than 1/4 foot-candle. Given that city street lighting at night generally produces a light level of roughly one foot-candle, the LS743 should do fine for typical night photography in "civilized" areas. 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
A somewhat underpowered flash, with decreasing brightness from 8 feet on.
In my testing, the LS743 Zoom's flash slightly underexposed the target at the minimum test distance of 8 feet, and showed a steady decrease in intensity with each additional foot of distance from the target. This is consistent with Kodak's own rating of the 743's flash, which is given as 10 feet at the lens' widest angle setting, decreasing to 6 feet at the telephoto end of the lens' range. Below is the flash range series, with distances from eight to 14 feet from the target.
High resolution, 1,100+ lines of "strong detail." High barrel distortion, but no pincushion. Very low chromatic aberration.
The LS743 Zoom performed well on the laboratory resolution test chart. Test patterns were clean at resolutions as high as 600 lines per picture height, in both horizontal and vertical directions. I found "strong detail" out to at least 1,100 lines, slightly higher in the horizontal direction. "Extinction" of the target patterns didn't occur until 1,350 - 1,400 lines.
Optical distortion on the LS743 Zoom is high at the wide-angle end, where
I found approximately 1.00 percent barrel distortion. The telephoto end
fared much better, as I couldn't find any geometric distortion at all.
There appears to be a little "coma" in the corners of the image,
producing a little blurring of target elements there, but chromatic aberration
is quite low, showing only very faint 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
Resolution Series, 50mm
Resolution Test, Wide Angle and Telephoto Zoom Settings
Viewfinder Accuracy/Flash Uniformity
A tight optical viewfinder, but nearly perfect LCD monitor.
The LS743 Zoom's optical viewfinder is quite tight, showing only about 82 percent of the final image area at wide angle, and about 81 percent at telephoto. The LCD monitor proved to be much more accurate, showing 99+ percent frame accuracy. (Actually, the lower measurement lines were just cut off in the wide angle shot.) Given that I like LCD monitors to be as close to 100 percent accuracy as possible, the LS743 Zoom's LCD monitor performed well here, but I'd really like to see a more accurate optical viewfinder. (Particularly in light of how much the LS743's battery life is extended with the LCD turned off.) Flash distribution is fairly even at wide angle, with falloff at the corners and edges of the frame. At telephoto, flash distribution is more uniform, and a little brighter.
LS743 Test Images
LS743 "Picky Details"
Up to Imaging Resource digital cameras area
Questions, comments or controversy on this article? Click this link to see what other Imaging Resource readers have had to say about Kodak EasyShare LS743, or add comments of your own!
1 $300 Adorama Gift Certificate
2 $200 Adorama Gift Certificate
3 $100 Adorama Gift Certificate