Olympus C-5000 ZoomThe latest "bargain" enthusiast model from Olympus delivers great pictures at a great price.
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C-5000 Test ImagesReview First Posted: 11/04/2003
Digital Cameras - Olympus C-5000 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, 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!|
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 C-5000 Zoom handled the harsh lighting fairly well, although its high contrast resulted in some loss of highlight detail, and rather dark shadows.
The shot at right was taken with a +0.3 EV exposure compensation adjustment, less than I usually employ on this test, and with the variable contrast setting dialed down to -1, and the saturation boosted slightly (+1) to compensate for the reduced contrast. Even with this small adjustment, and the reduction in contrast, the bright highlights show little detail. Midtones are reasonably bright, however. (See below for a side-by-side comparison between the default settings and the contrast cut used above. - In hindsight, cutting the contrast to -2 might have held onto more highlight detail, while not affecting the saturation too severely.) I chose the Daylight white balance for the main series, though it produced nearly identical results as the Auto setting, and both were slightly cool. The Manual setting was a bit too warm to my eye.
Skin tones are a little pink, but not too bad-looking, while the blue flowers in the bouquet have a strong purple tint. (This is a difficult blue for many digicams to get right, there should be only a hint of purple there.) Overall color and saturation are good, though the red flowers in the bouquet are oversaturated. Resolution is very high, with a lot of fine detail visible throughout the frame, even in the dark shadows. Image noise in the shadows is surprisingly low for a five-megapixel camera, with a fine grain pattern.
To view the entire exposure series from zero to +0.7 EV, see files C50OUTDP0.HTM through C50OUTDP2.HTM on the thumbnail index page.
Excellent resolution and detail, but contrast is again very high.
Contrast is again high with this shot, resulting in a significant loss of detail in the white shirt collar, but good midtones. (I chose not to use the low-contrast option for this image, preferring to just let the highlights in the collar blow out.) The camera's 3x zoom lens helps prevent distortion of Marti's features, an important consideration in close-up portraits like this. The shot at right was taken with a +0.3 EV exposure compensation adjustment. Marti's face and hair show a lot of fine detail, even in the deep shadows. A good job overall, but I'd really like to see lower default contrast on the C5000.
To view the entire exposure series from zero to +1.0 EV, see files C50FACAP0.HTM
through C50FACAP2.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. (An excellent job.)
The C-5000 Zoom's built-in flash illuminated the subject very well at its default exposure setting, although I preferred the slightly brighter exposure of the +0.3 EV exposure compensation setting. The flash is bright and powerful, and produces better than average color here. The background incandescent lighting creates an orange cast on the back wall, some of which spills onto Marti's features, but overall color is still very good. I also shot with the camera's Slow-Sync flash mode, which resulted in a more balanced exposure, but a blue tint on Marti's face and the white shirt. All in all, a much better than average performance on this test.
To view the entire exposure series from zero to +0.7 EV, see files C50INFP0.HTM
trough C50INFP2.HTM on the thumbnail index
Indoor Portrait, No Flash:
Good color with the Manual white balance setting, 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 C-5000 Zoom's Manual white balance setting did the best job here, producing very natural-looking color. Both the Auto
and Incandescent settings resulted in slightly warm color balances, but even those shots fell into what I'd consider a usable range. The main shot was taken with a +1.0 EV exposure compensation adjustment, which produced a balanced exposure. (Here's an example at the default exposure setting. A +1.0EV adjustment is fairly typical for this shot.) Overall color looks good, although the blue flowers are dark and purplish (a common problem with this shot, due to the very warm-toned room lighting).
Good color with the Manual white balance setting. Resolution is high, though details are slightly soft overall.
Both the C-5000 Zoom's Auto
white balance settings produced warm color balances here, while the Manual setting resulted in a more accurate white value on the house trim. Although the image looks just a little soft, the camera still resolves a lot of fine detail. The tree limbs above the roof and shrubbery in front of the house show a lot of detail, with a lot of fine detail visible in the leaf patterns. The top two corners of the frame are just a bit softer, but overall results are quite good.
Excellent resolution and detail, but a slight overexposure limits the camera's 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 C-5000 Zoom picks up a lot of fine detail. Leaf patterns are well-defined in the tree limbs over the roof, as well as in the fine foliage in front of the house. Details are fairly sharp in the house front, although the fine foliage is slightly softer. Slight corner softness is again noticeable in the top corners of the frame. The camera overexposed the shot slightly, which added to the trouble it had with the bright white paint surrounding the bay window, where it lost practically all detail in the white trim. (This is a trouble spot for many digicams.) Detail is stronger in the shadow area above the front door, however. Overall color looks good, although the red bricks are a bit washed out from overexposure. The table below shows a standard resolution and quality series, followed by ISO, sharpness, contrast, and saturation series.
Lens Zoom Range
A fairly typical 3x 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 (3x, in this case), and at full telephoto with the digital zoom enabled. The C-5000 Zoom's lens is equivalent to a 38-114mm zoom on a 35mm camera. That corresponds to a moderate wide angle to a good telephoto, slightly biased toward the wide-angle end, relative to the more common 35-105mm zooms. Following are the results at each zoom setting.
The blue background tricks the auto white balance slightly, but the Manual white balance option does well. Detail and resolution are very good.
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 C-5000 Zoom's Auto and Daylight settings fell victim to this trap, producing warm images. Although just slightly magenta, the Manual setting actually produced the best overall results. The reddish cast results in purplish tints in the blue background, as well as in the shadow areas of the blue robe. Likewise, the models' skin tones are just a little pink. Resolution, however, is very good, with great detail in the embroidered birds of the blue robe. There's some softness again in the top two corners, but the effect isn't too pronounced.
About average macro performance at the normal setting, but Super Macro mode does an excellent job.
The C-5000 Zoom's normal macro setting captured a slightly large minimum area in the normal Macro mode, at 6.64 x 4.98 inches (169 x 126 millimeters). (Not surprising since the closest focal distance is 7.9 inches.) In Super Macro mode, however, it captured a very tiny minimum area of just 1.84 x 1.38 inches (47 x 35 millimeters). Detail is good in the normal Macro shot, but much better in Super Macro mode. (You can even see tiny specs of dust on top edge of the smaller coin.) As is often the case with digicam macro shots, the corners of both images are fairly soft, particularly in the top corners of the frame. The C-5000 Zoom's flash throttles down well for the normal macro area, but would be ineffective at the closer Super Macro mode.
"Davebox" Test Target
Slightly bright exposure and high contrast, but good color.
The C-5000 Zoom's Auto
white balance settings produced similar, warm images, while the Manual setting produced pretty accurate results. Contrast is high, and exposure is a little bright, but the camera picks up the subtle tonal variations of the Q60 target well. The large color blocks are very bright and vibrant, albeit just slightly oversaturated. The shadow area of the charcoal briquettes shows good detail, with low noise. All in all, a very good performance.
Great low-light shooting capabilities, even at the lowest ISO setting, but an AF-assist light would be a big help.
The C-5000 Zoom offers full manual exposure control, an adjustable ISO setting, and a maximum exposure time of 16 seconds. As a result, the camera performs well at low light levels. In my testing, the C-5000 Zoom produced clear, bright, usable images down to the 1/16 foot-candle (0.67 lux) limit of my test, at the 80, 160, and 320 ISO settings. At ISO 50, images were usable down to the 1/8 foot-candle light level (1.3 lux). Color balance is slightly warm in the dim lighting, but improves in the brighter shots. The C-5000 Zoom also has an optional Noise Reduction mode, which does a good job of eliminating image noise. Here are sample shots without Noise Reduction, at the lowest light level, at ISOs 50,
and 320. The biggest limitation of the C-5000 for low light shooting is its autofocus system, which only operates reliably down to a bit below 1 foot-candle, or about the level of typical city street lighting at night. (An AF-assist illuminator would be very welcome here.) 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.
Flash Range Test
Good flash brightness all the way to 14 feet, but the camera "cheats" a little by boosting the ISO.
In my testing, the C-5000 Zoom's flash illuminated the test target all the way out to 14 feet, without any significant decrease in intensity. Flash power remained bright and strong, and color balance was good throughout the series. Like an increasing number of digicams these days though, the C-5000 "cheats" a bit, by boosting its ISO to achieve the greater flash range. The result is higher image noise in more distant subjects when using flash. Below is the flash range series, with distances from eight to 14 feet from the target.
Very high resolution, 1,200-1,300 lines of "strong detail". Slightly high barrel distortion at wide angle.
The C-5000 Zoom performed well on the "laboratory" resolution test chart. It started showing artifacts in the test patterns at resolutions as low as 900 lines per picture height horizontally, and about 1,000 lines vertically. I found "strong detail" out to at least 1,300 lines horizontally, and 1,200 lines in the vertical direction. (The detail in the fine lines of the res target was also unusually "clean," with very little aliasing or jaggedness.) "Extinction" of the target patterns didn't occur until about 1,600 lines.
Optical distortion on the C-5000 Zoom is slightly high at the wide-angle end, where I measured approximately 0.9 percent barrel distortion. The telephoto end fared much better, where I found only one pixel of barrel distortion. Chromatic aberration is moderate, showing a maximum of about five or six pixels of coloration on either side of the target lines, and a moderate amount of color. (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.) Apart from the somewhat high barrel distortion, the only other distortion I noticed was some softness in the top two corners of the frame.
Resolution Series, Wide Angle
Resolution Test, Telephoto
Viewfinder Accuracy/Flash Uniformity
Great accuracy from the LCD monitor, and pretty good results with the optical viewfinder as well.
The C-5000 Zoom's optical viewfinder is a little tight, but the results actually were not too bad. The optical viewfinder shows about 91 percent frame accuracy at wide angle, and about 89 percent at telephoto. The LCD monitor proved to be more accurate, showing about 97 frame accuracy at wide angle, and about 98 percent at telephoto. Given that I like LCD monitors to be as close to 100 percent accuracy as possible, the C-5000 Zoom's LCD monitor does a good job here, and even the optical viewfinder is better than average. Flash distribution is fairly even at wide angle, with only a little falloff at the corners of the frame. At telephoto, flash distribution is even more uniform.