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Toshiba PDR-M70

Toshiba brings true photographic features to their new 3 flagship model!

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M70 Sample Images

Review First Posted: 8/17/2000

We'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, we're posting the Thumber index so only those interested in the information need wade through it! ;)


Outdoor portrait: (1128k)
The extreme tonal range of this image makes it a tough shot for many digicams, which is precisely why we set it up this way. The object is to hold highlight and shadow detail without producing a "flat" picture with muddy colors. The PDR-M70 did fairly well with it, but did lose some detail in the highlights. We shot this image in both daylight (272k) and automatic (277k) white balance modes, selecting automatic for our main series. The daylight setting resulted in just a slightly warmer image. Color balance is pretty good overall, but the blue flowers have some of the purple cast that many digicams tend to give them. (For some reason, this particular shade of dark blue is very hard for digicams to reproduce. A few cameras manage to get it right, many have the purplish tint seen here, to varying degrees.) There's just a hint of a magenta cast in some of the highlight areas as well. Resolution looks reasonably good, but there's a slight softness to the picture as a whole. Shadow detail is excellent, with only a minor amount of noise. Our main image was taken with a +0.3 EV exposure adjustment to get the best exposure on the face without losing too much detail in the highlight areas (although some of the highlight areas do appear a little blown out, we felt that using a zero EV adjustment made the shadow areas too dark). The table below shows the results of a range of exposure settings from zero to +1.5 EV in the automatic white balance mode.

Exposure Compensation Settings:
0 EV
Shutter: 1/800
Aperture: F4.4
(1139k)
0.3 EV
Shutter: 1/800
Aperture: F4.4
(1128k)
0.6 EV
Shutter: 1/700
Aperture: F4.4
(1080k)
0.9 EV
Shutter: 1/550
Aperture: F4.4
(1166k)
1.2 EV
Shutter: 1/450
Aperture: F4.4
(1168k)
1.5 EV
Shutter: 1/370
Aperture: F4.4
(1159k)



 
Closer portrait: (1164k)
This time, we shot with the daylight white balance setting, and our main shot again required a +0.3 EV adjustment. This is a little surprising, since this shot usually requires less exposure compensation than the Outdoor Portrait. Resolution and detail look very good, the image is very crisp and clear in this close-up shot, and noise is at a minimum. We did notice that the highlight areas have a slightly pinkish cast to them, and the skin tones are borderline on being too pink. Overall, though, great detail - especially in the strands of hair. The table below shows the results of a range of exposure settings from zero to +1.5 EV.

Exposure Compensation Settings:
0 EV
Shutter: 1/500
Aperture: F6.9
(1064k)
0.3 EV
Shutter: 1/340
Aperture: F6.9
(1164k)
0.6 EV
Shutter: 1/280
Aperture: F6.9
(1131k)
0.9 EV
Shutter: 1/220
Aperture: F6.9
(1166k)
1.2 EV
Shutter: 1/180
Aperture: F6.9
(1129k)
1.5 EV
Shutter: 1/150
Aperture: F6.9
(1139k)



 
Indoor Portrait, Flash: (1081k)
The PDR-M70's built-in flash does a decent job illuminating the subject and also allowing just a little ambient light to brighten the image, but getting the best results required a bit of experimentation. In our first shot, we simply pointed the internal flash at the subject and added a +0.3 EV exposure adjustment, producing this shot (1187k). This was a little dark, and exposure compensation really didn't seem to make any difference. (We tried the full range from 0 to +2.0EV.) Switching to "Av" (Aperture Value) shooting mode with an aperture of f/2.0 and an exposure compensation of +0.3EV again produced a much brighter image, with much more of the room light contributing, as seen here (1081k). (We chose this one for our main shot for this category.) In Av shooting mode, the exposure compensation control did have an effect, evidently adjusting the shutter time in response to the room lighting and the EV setting. We also tried a shot in "Tv" (Time Value) mode, with a shutter speed of 1/30 of a second, with this result (1108k). In TV shooting mode, exposure compensation didn't have any effect, as the camera was already setting the lens to its maximum aperture, but we could vary the overall exposure by letting in more or less ambient light with longer or shorter exposure times. Finally, we switched the white balance to daylight, set the aperture to f/2.8, and plugged in our little Sunpak external flash unit. Bouncing the light off the ceiling, we got this shot (1103k), by far the best-lit of any we took in this setting, once again demonstrating the value of having an external flash sync connector on your digicam!


 
Indoor portrait, no flash: (1107k)
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, and the PDR-M70's white balance system struggled a little with this difficult light source. We tested both the automatic (1052k) and incandescent (1107k) white balance settings. We decided on the incandescent setting for our main series, because it looked much more accurate than the automatic setting, which was very warm with an orange cast. In the incandescent setting, the entire image has a rather magenta cast, that didn't seem to be affected by adjusting the exposure compensation. For our main shot (1107k), we chose a +0.6 EV adjustment. We also tested the camera's ISO settings, shooting at 100 (1104k), 200 (1130k) and 400 (1132k) (all of which have a +0.6 EV exposure adjustment). Of the three, the ISO 100 setting produced the best looking results. The 200 and 400 did brighten the image somewhat while also shortening the exposure time and minutely lose some of the magenta cast, but the noise level also increased. Still, the amount of noise at ISO 400 is quite low compared to other 3 megapixel digicams we've tested at that rating. The table below shows a range of exposure adjustments from zero to +1.5 EV using the incandescent white balance setting.

Exposure Compensation Settings:
0 EV
Shutter: 1/17
Aperture: F2
(1135k)
0.3 EV
Shutter: 1/14
Aperture: F2
(1122k)
0.6 EV
Shutter: 1/11
Aperture: F2
(1107k)
0.9 EV
Shutter: 1/9
Aperture: F2
(1092k)
1.2 EV
Shutter: 1/7
Aperture: F2
(1044k)
1.5 EV
Shutter: 1/6
Aperture: F2
(951k)



 
House shot: (1179k)
NOTE that this is the "new" house shot, a much higher-resolution poster than we first used in our tests. To compare the image of the PDR-M70 with previously tested cameras, here's a shot of the original house poster in the automatic (1187k) white balance setting.

For this test, we shot a sample image with each of the camera's white balance settings: automatic (91k), daylight (91k), cloudy (92k), bluish fluorescent (92k), reddish fluorescent (91k) and incandescent (91k) (just for kicks!). We ultimately selected the automatic setting for our main series, because it produced the most accurate white value and color balance, although we still noticed the slightest magenta tinge. The daylight and cloudy settings both resulted in very warm images, while incandescent produced a very blue image. Both of the fluorescent settings were very close to the automatic results, with the bluish fluorescent setting producing only slightly pink results and the reddish fluorescent setting producing slightly blue results. Resolution looks good in the tree limbs, but appears just a little bit soft around the hard edges in the image. Only a moderate amount of noise is evident in the roof shingles, and the in-camera sharpening is only slightly apparent (noticeable as a tiny halo effect around the light and dark edges of the white trim along the roof line). Overall, we feel that the M70's in-camera sharpening could stand to be a bit stronger, but applied over a smaller radius. (We were able to significantly sharpen the image in Photoshop(tm) using unsharp masking with a radius of 0.3 to 0.4 pixels, without introducing undue artifacts.) We shot this test in the Aperture Priority exposure mode, with an aperture of f/4.0. Whereas we usually don't require any exposure compensation for this test, we actually had to lower the adjustment to -0.6 EV to get a clear image. Anything above that produced slightly washed out results. While the -0.6 EV adjustment gave this shot a good exposure, we again see the slightly magenta cast in the highlights. When taking this shot, we discovered that the histogram exposure function (which we like quite a bit) can be misleading on an image like this one that has relatively small areas of a strong highlight. The histogram for the 0EV exposure setting looked about right, the peak due to the bright white trim being invisible because that detail represents such a small area of the total picture. We also shot with the camera's black and white,(1199k) sepia (1153k) and vivid color (1149k) modes. Both of the monotone modes produce about what you'd expect, and the vivid color gave a nice, well-controlled boost to the color saturation. (We think this is a great feature that will be popular with many users.) The table below shows the full range of resolution and quality settings for the PDR-M70 in the automatic white balance mode.

Resolution/Quality series
Large/Fine
Shutter: 1/30
Aperture: F4.4
(1179k)
Large/Normal
Shutter: 1/30
Aperture: F4.4
(782k)
Large/Economy
Shutter: 1/30
Aperture: F4.4
(382k)
Small/Fine
Shutter: 1/30
Aperture: F4.4
(281k)
Small/Normal
Shutter: 1/30
Aperture: F4.4
(186k)
Small/Economy
Shutter: 1/35
Aperture: F4.4
(91k)


Sharpness Series
We shot a series with the PDR-M70's variable sharpness setting, which produces fairly subtle results. The "Sharp" setting did sharpen things up a bit, but also produced more of a noticeable halo along strongly contrasting edges. Again, we felt that a sharpening algorithm that acted more strongly but over a smaller area would significantly improve the camera's apparent resolution. For comparison, look at this image (1118k), which was shot at the "Soft" sharpness setting, then had strong unsharp masking applied in Photoshop (0.3 pixel radius, 170%). We felt this brought out a lot of fine detail without introducing any significant artifacts. (Perhaps a good thing to program into a Photoshop "action", and then just batch-apply it to all your photos?)

Sharp
Shutter: 1/30
Aperture: F4.4
(1160k)
Normal
Shutter: 1/30
Aperture: F4.4
(1190k)
Soft
Shutter: 1/30
Aperture: F4.4
(1152k)
Soft plus Photoshop USM
(1118k)


Contrast Series
We shot another series with the camera's adjustable contrast setting, which like the sharpness option, produces a fairly subtle difference. The high contrast setting doesn't get too extreme, neither does the low setting. Like the sharpening and color saturation adjustments the M70 offers, we think these relatively subtle effects could be very useful in the hands of a photographer well-familiar with the camera.

Sharp
Shutter: 1/30
Aperture: F4.4
(1188k)
Normal
Shutter: 1/30
Aperture: F4.4
(1183k)
Soft
Shutter: 1/30
Aperture: F4.4
(1152k)



 
 
Far-Field Test (1193k)
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.

For this test, we shot with the automatic, daylight and cloudy white balance modes, choosing automatic as the most accurate. Both daylight and cloudy produced similar results to automatic, but daylight seemed a little dim and cloudy appeared just a hair too warm. This is the strongest test of detail of any that we do, since the bright white of the central bay window often tricks digicams into losing detail in the highlight areas. The PDR-M70 is somewhat fooled by the bright paint, as only a little detail is visible on the window trim. For some reason, the M70 really wanted to overexpose this image, and we shot all of our tests at an exposure compensation setting of -0.6EV. Resolution and detail look pretty good, as does the color balance (although the greens seem a bit bright). The shingles show a very minimal amount of noise. As with the House test, we shot with the black and white, sepia and vivid color modes, with very nice results. The table below shows the full resolution and quality series in the automatic white balance setting.

Resolution/Quality series
Large/Fine
Shutter: 1/125
Aperture: F6.2
(1193k)
Large/Normal
Shutter: 1/125
Aperture: F6.2
(763k)
Large/Economy
Shutter: 1/125
Aperture: F6.2
(385k)
Small/Fine
Shutter: 1/125
Aperture: F6.2
(281k)
Small/Normal
Shutter: 1/125
Aperture: F6.2
(189k)
Small/Economy
Shutter: 1/125
Aperture: F6.2
(91k)


Sharpness Series
We again shot with the PDR-M70's variable sharpness settings, with the results below. As we observed in the House poster test above, the M70's in-camera sharpening seems to take in a bit too wide an area, yet not go quite far enough in the amount of sharpening it applies. The "Soft plus Photoshop USM" link below shows the results of the same unsharp masking treatment as we applied to the House poster, which again helped the overall crispness of the image substantially, without introducing unwanted artifacts.

Sharp
Shutter: 1/125
Aperture: F6.2
(1143k)
Normal
Shutter: 1/125
Aperture: F6.2
(1167k)
Soft
Shutter: 1/125
Aperture: F6.2
(1186k)
Soft plus Photoshop USM
(1145k)


Contrast Series
We also snapped samples of the camera's high, low and normal contrast settings. The effect of the contrast adjustment was again fairly subtle, appearing mainly to affect the depth of the shadows. (The high contrast setting produced darker shadows than the low contrast one.) In all cases, the highlights continued to be too bright and washed out. If we'd been more familiar with the camera (as a frequent user would be), we would have further dropped the exposure compensation to -0.9 or even -1.2 EV, and used the low contrast setting on this scene. We're pretty confident that this would have preserved detail in the strong highlights without overly plugging the shadows.

Sharp
Shutter: 1/125
Aperture: F6.2
(1175k)
Normal
Shutter: 1/125
Aperture: F6.2
(1198k)
Soft
Shutter: 1/125
Aperture: F6.2
(1151k)



 
 
Lens Zoom Range
We've received a number of requests from readers to take shots showing the lens focal length range of those cameras with zoom lenses. Thus, we're happy to present you here with the following series of shots, showing the field of view with the lens at full wide-angle, the lens at full 3x telephoto and the lens at full telephoto with 2x digital telephoto enabled. The PDR-M70 captures a very wide angle, without too much barrel distortion visible along the street curb. As digicams get higher and higher resolution CCDs, the "digital telephoto" function may actually start to become more useful. So-called digital telephoto just crops out the central portion of the CCD sensor, and saves the resulting image as a separate file. In the case of the PDR-M70, this cropped-down image is still a healthy 1024 x 768 pixels in size (0.8 megapixels), making these images very useful for web work, and even marginally so for printed output in smaller sizes. - We may come to like digital telephoto yet!

Wide
Shutter: 1/250
Aperture: F5.6
(92k)
Tele
Shutter: 1/190
Aperture: F6.9
(91k)
2x Digital Telephoto
Shutter: 1/220
Aperture: F6.9
(92k)



 
 
Musicians Poster (1175k)
For this test, we shot with the automatic (91k), daylight (92k), cloudy (92k), reddish fluorescent (91k), bluish fluorescent (91k) and incandescent (92k) white balance settings. We eventually chose the automatic setting four our main series, because it produced the most accurate skin tones and overall color balance -- although there's still a rather warm cast to the image, sort of a reddish haze over everything. This observation was supported by our examination of the image using Photoshop's "Levels" control, which revealed that the red-channel histogram was all clumped up into the top two thirds of the available range. Literally just a few moments with the Levels control provided this (1175k) image, which has dramatically improved color. We found this puzzling because we didn't see this tendency in other pictures we shot, and also because this sort of channel-selective exposure control should really be handled by the camera's exposure and white balance circuitry. The good news is we managed to get very nice color out of the PDR-M70, the bad news is that it took a little work sometimes. The daylight and cloudy white balance modes both produced very warm results, and the incandescent resulted in a very blue image. The bluish fluorescent setting produced nearly accurate results, but with a slight magenta cast. Reddish fluorescent also looked almost right, but seemed a little cool. Resolution appears a little soft, but quite honestly, this poster isn't sharp enough itself to provide a very good basis for evaluating resolution on the 3 megapixel digicams. A very moderate level of noise exists throughout the image, most noticeable in the background. We again shot sample images with the black and white (1155k), sepia (1188k) and vivid color (1185k) modes. Below is our standard resolution and quality series in the automatic white balance setting.

Resolution/Quality series
Large/Fine
Shutter: 1/24
Aperture: F4.4
(1175k)
Large/Normal
Shutter: 1/24
Aperture: F4.4
(783k)
Large/Economy
Shutter: 1/24
Aperture: F4.4
(384k)
Small/Fine
Shutter: 1/24
Aperture: F4.4
(285k)
Small/Normal
Shutter: 1/24
Aperture: F4.4
(188k)
Small/Economy
Shutter: 1/24
Aperture: F4.4
(91k)


Sharpness Series
Sharp
Shutter: 1/24
Aperture: F4.4
(1176k)
Normal
Shutter: 1/24
Aperture: F4.4
(1164k)
Soft
Shutter: 1/24
Aperture: F4.4
(1191k)


Contrast Series
Sharp
Shutter: 1/24
Aperture: F4.4
(1198k)
Normal
Shutter: 1/24
Aperture: F4.4
(1163k)
Soft
Shutter: 1/24
Aperture: F4.4
(1174k)



 
Macro Shot (1186k)
The PDR-M70 is about average in the macro category, capturing a minimum area of 4.37 x 3.28 inches (111.02 x 83.26 mm). Great color and detail, although resolution still appears a little soft. (The softness of the brooch though, is almost certainly a result of the limited depth of field when shooting this close.) We also noticed a significant barrel distortion from the lens. The PDR-M70's built-in flash (1190k) does a reasonably good job of throttling down, there's a pretty substantial reflection from the large, silver coin.


"Davebox" Test Target (1151k)
We shot this test target with the automatic (164k), daylight (166k), cloudy (172k), reddish fluorescent (171k), bluish fluorescent (165k) and incandescent (179k) white balance settings. Both daylight and cloudy produced very warm images, and incandescent resulted in a very blue image, as you might expect. Reddish fluorescent resulted in a nearly accurate color balance, but with a slightly bluish/pinkish cast. Likewise, the bluish fluorescent setting had a slight magenta cast. We chose the automatic setting for our main series, since the white of the mini resolution target was the most accurate overall. The large cyan, magenta and yellow color blocks on the left side of the target look just slightly weak, as do a few of the other colors - almost as if there's a 'haze' throughout the image. Checking the histogram as we did for the Musicians shot above though, revealed a nearly perfect overall exposure. (Except that the highlights were slightly blown out.) The PDR-M70 does manage to differentiate the red and magenta color blocks on the middle, horizontal color chart, although these squares also appear a little washed out (many digicams try to blend the two colors into one). The subtle tonal variations of the Q60 chart are only visible up to the "D" range, and even there, not all the color blocks are distinct. There's a nice amount of detail in the shadow area of the briquettes, with just a minimal amount of noise. However, the details in the highlights of the white cheesecloth are completely blown out. Overall, it looks like the M70 simply overexposed this shot a bit. Resolution also seems a little soft here as well. As with the House poster, we shot at f/4.0 in the aperture priority exposure mode. We also shot in the black and white (803k), sepia (1014k) and vivid color (1178k) modes. The vivid color mode does brighten the color balance somewhat, but some of the color blocks still appear a little weak. Below is our standard resolution and quality series.

Resolution/Quality series
Large/Fine
Shutter: 1/21
Aperture: F4.4
(1151k)
Large/Normal
Shutter: 1/21
Aperture: F4.4
(745k)
Large/Economy
Shutter: 1/21
Aperture: F4.4
(368k)
Small/Fine
Shutter: 1/21
Aperture: F4.4
(269k)
Small/Normal
Shutter: 1/21
Aperture: F4.4
(164k)
Small/Economy
Shutter: 1/21
Aperture: F4.4
(85k)


Sharpness Series
Sharp
Shutter: 1/20
Aperture: F4.4
(1155k)
Normal
Shutter: 1/20
Aperture: F4.4
(1145k)
Soft
Shutter: 1/20
Aperture: F4.4
(1138k)


Contrast Series
Sharp
Shutter: 1/20
Aperture: F4.4
(1144k)
Normal
Shutter: 1/20
Aperture: F4.4
(1146k)
Soft
Shutter: 1/20
Aperture: F4.4
(1197k)



 
Low-Light Tests
The PDR-M70 does a pretty good job in the low-light category, but takes a little twiddling to get a good exposure. In our testing, we found that the camera's autofocus mechanism worked as low as EV 7 (1 foot candle), and after that, we were forced to raise the light level to focus, and then take the lights back down for the exposure. (The M70 does have a manual focus preset for infinity focus, which would help with outdoor low-light shooting, but at the lowest light levels indoors, you'd need to either use our trick with the lights, or auxiliary lenses of some sort.) We shot with all three ISO settings, and observed an odd green tint at the top of the ISO 200 and 400 images at all light levels that did not appear in the ISO 100 images. For exposure, the Automatic mode produced good results as low as 1 foot candle (11 lux), at which point we had to switch over to the Shutter Priority mode, using the incandescent white balance setting and a +1.5 EV exposure adjustment. (This happened to be the setting the camera was left at while shooting, but practically, we don't think the +1.5 EV really made any difference, since the lens should have been wide open anyway, and shutter time was set manually. We were somewhat surprised though, to find that the lens aperture did in fact change in response to the light level, shutter speed, and ISO setting.) As usual with digicams we test, we observed increased noise levels with the 200 and 400 ISO settings, and even a moderately high noise level at 1/16 foot candles (0.63 lux) with the 100 ISO setting. (This last isn't too surprising, 8 seconds is a very long exposure by consumer-level digicam standards.) The table below shows the best exposure we were able to obtain for each of a range of illumination levels, at all three ISO settings. Images in this table (like all our sample photos) are untouched, exactly as they came from the camera.

ISO 100
8 fc
10 EV
88 lux
Shutter: 1/5
Aperture: F2
(759k)
4 fc
9 EV
44 lux
Shutter: 1/3
Aperture: F2
(778k)
2 fc
8 EV
22 lux
Shutter: 1/2
Aperture: F2
(772k)
1 fc
7 EV
11 lux
Shutter: 1/2
Aperture: F2
(794k)
1/2 fc
6 EV
5.5 lux
Shutter: 8
Aperture: F2.8
(763k)
1/4 fc
5 EV
2.7 lux
Shutter: 8
Aperture: F2.8
(781k)
1/8 fc
4 EV
1.3 lux
Shutter: 8
Aperture: F2.8
(771k)
1/16 fc
3 EV
0.67 lux
Shutter: 8
Aperture: F2.8
(758k)
ISO 200
8 fc
10 EV
88 lux
Shutter: 1/9
Aperture: F2
(784k)
4 fc
9 EV
44 lux
Shutter: 1/8
Aperture: F2
(761k)
2 fc
8 EV
22 lux
Shutter: 1/3
Aperture: F2
(779k)
1 fc
7 EV
11 lux
Shutter: 1/2
Aperture: F2
(773k)
1/2 fc
6 EV
5.5 lux
Shutter: 8
Aperture: F4
(800k)
1/4 fc
5 EV
2.7 lux
Shutter: 8
Aperture: F4
(798k)
1/8 fc
4 EV
1.3 lux
Shutter: 8
Aperture: F4
(768k)
1/16 fc
3 EV
0.67 lux
Shutter: 8
Aperture: F4
(780k)
ISO 400
8 fc
10 EV
88 lux
Shutter:1/11
Aperture: F2
(792k)
4 fc
9 EV
44 lux
Shutter:1/18
Aperture: F2
(798k)
2 fc
8 EV
22 lux
Shutter: 1/6
Aperture: F2
(776k)
1 fc
7 EV
11 lux
Shutter: 1/2
Aperture: F2
(788k)
1/2 fc
6 EV
5.5 lux
Shutter: 8
Aperture: F5.6
(796k)
1/4 fc
5 EV
2.7 lux
Shutter: 8
Aperture: F5.6
(762k)
1/8 fc
4 EV
1.3 lux
Shutter: 8
Aperture: F5.6
(792k)
1/16 fc
3 EV
0.67 lux
Shutter: 8
Aperture: F5.6
(790k)



 
Flash Range Test (New)
(This test was added in August 1999, so cameras tested before that time won't have comparison pictures available. As we go forward though, all the new models will have similar tests available). Toshiba reports the PDR-M70's flash range as effective from 2.6 to 13 feet (0.8 to 4.0 m) in the wide angle setting. In our testing, we found the PDR-M70's flash to be reasonably effective all the way out to 14 feet. A slight magenta cast appears at eight feet and slowly increases with the distance, so that by the 14 foot mark, the color cast is fairly pronounced. The table below shows results obtained at a range of distances from eight to 14 feet.

8 ft
Shutter: 1/180
Aperture: F2.6
(190k)
9 ft
Shutter: 1/180
Aperture: F2.6
(186k)
10 ft
Shutter: 1/180
Aperture: F2.6
(187k)
11 ft
Shutter: 1/180
Aperture: F2.6
(186k)
12 ft
Shutter: 1/180
Aperture: F2.6
(180k)
13 ft
Shutter: 1/180
Aperture: F2.6
(175k)
14 ft
Shutter: 1/180
Aperture: F2.6
(173k)



 
ISO-12233 (WG-18) Resolution Test (879k)
The PDR-M70 did quite well on the laboratory resolution test, supporting our earlier surmise that it actually had more raw resolution available than appeared in some of our test shots, due to insufficient in-camera sharpening. On this laboratory target, we "called" the horizontal visual resolution as 850-900 lines per picture height, although there was some slight aliasing apparent as early as 650-700 lines, and good detail was visible all the way to 1000 lines, with color artifacts appearing at about 1100 lines per picture height. In the vertical direction, we again saw slight aliasing as early as 650 lines per picture height, called the visual resolution as 800 lines, saw good detail all the way to 900, and color artifacts beginning at about 950 or so. Overall a very good performance, easily among the top three-megapixel performers in this particular test.

Resolution Series, Wide Angle
Large/Fine
Shutter: 1/35
Aperture: F4
(973k)
Large/Normal
Shutter: 1/35
Aperture: F4
(622k)
Large/Economy
Shutter: 1/35
Aperture: F4
(357k)
Small/Fine
Shutter: 1/35
Aperture: F4
(258k)
Small/Normal
Shutter: 1/35
Aperture: F4
(171k)
Small/Economy
Shutter: 1/35
Aperture: F4
(93k)


Resolution Series, Telephoto
Large/Fine
Shutter: 1/24
Aperture: F5
(879k)
Large/Normal
Shutter: 1/24
Aperture: F5
(590k)
Large/Economy
Shutter: 1/24
Aperture: F5
(344k)
Small/Fine
Shutter: 1/24
Aperture: F5
(248k)
Small/Normal
Shutter: 1/24
Aperture: F5
(163k)
Small/Economy
Shutter: 1/24
Aperture: F5
(94k)


Resolution Series, Digital Telephoto
Small/Fine
Shutter: 1/28
Aperture: F5
(234k)
Small/Normal
Shutter: 1/28
Aperture: F5
(153k)
Small/Economy
Shutter: 1/28
Aperture: F5
(93k)


Sharpness Series,Wide Angle
Sharp
Shutter: 1/40
Aperture: F4
(1067k)
Normal
Shutter: 1/40
Aperture: F4
(1058k)
Soft
Shutter: 1/40
Aperture: F4
(1036k)


Sharpness Series,Telephoto
Sharp
Shutter: 1/24
Aperture: F5
(903k)
Normal
Shutter: 1/24
Aperture: F5
(902k)
Soft
Shutter: 1/24
Aperture: F5
(873k)


Sharpness Series,Digital Telephoto
Sharp
Shutter: 1/28
Aperture: F5
(237k)
Normal
Shutter: 1/28
Aperture: F5
(236k)
Soft
Shutter: 1/28
Aperture: F5
(232k)



 
Viewfinder Accuracy/Flash Uniformity
We found the PDR-M70's optical viewfinder to be a little tight (a change in our nomenclature, we previously referred to this behavior as "loose", showing only about 88 percent of the final image area at wide-angle (292k) and about 84 percent at telephoto (290k). The LCD monitor a bit more accurate, showing 89 percent of the final image area at wide-angle (289k) and 91 percent at telephoto (282k). To give you an idea of what we're looking for, we really prefer to see LCD monitors as close to 100 percent accuracy as possible. There is an argument to be made though, for having the LCD and optical viewfinders basically agree with other, which is that having consistent viewfinder coverage avoids confusion when switching between the two. We found the same accuracies at both the 2048 x 1536 and 1024 x 768 image sizes, with both viewfinders. Images framed with the optical viewfinder are shifted towards the lower right corner, while the LCD framing appears to be relatively square. We should note here that during our testing, we found it a little difficult to frame images in the LCD, because of the ever-present information display. We also shot with the 2x digital telephoto (76k), which resulted in about 88 percent frame accuracy. The much softer resolution of the digital zoom makes framing very difficult and the distance between the camera and the target makes the flash practically ineffective.

Optical distortion on the PDR-M70 is moderate to high on the wide-angle end of the lens' range, as we measured a 0.7 percent barrel distortion at that setting. By contrast, the telephoto end showed virtually no distortion at all, the most we could see was about one pixel of pincushion distortion. Chromatic aberration was quite low, showing about one and a half to two pixels of coloration on each side of the black target lines at wide angle, and almost none at all at the telephoto setting. (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.) Overall, we have to say that the PDR-M70's lens appears to be of fairly high quality, as the total amount of geometric distortion is fairly low across the focal length range, and the chromatic aberration is also lower than average.

Flash distribution looks pretty good at the wide angle end, with just a small amount of fall off around the corners. Oddly, we noticed that the telephoto images were distinctly magenta, which was also a factor with our Flash Range test shots and the Indoor Portrait with Flash. This was a fairly minor effect and one for which we have no explanation, but felt compelled to point it out to our readers.

 

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<<Reference: Datasheet | Print-Friendly Review Version>>

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