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Digital Cameras - Pentax Optio 330 GS 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!

 

 

Outdoor Portrait:

Slightly warm color, but resolution and exposure are good.

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 up the shadows. The object is to hold both highlight and shadow detail without producing a "flat" picture with muddy colors, and the Optio 330 GS performed pretty well.

The shot at right was taken with a +0.3 EV exposure compensation adjustment, which maintains midtone details without losing too much highlight detail. Color balance was slightly warm and yellow with both the Auto and Daylight white balance settings, though the Auto setting had the strongest cast.

Marti's skin tones are pretty good here, but just slightly "flat," and the blue flowers in the bouquet are rather dark and purplish. (This is a very difficult blue for many digicams to get right. For reference, the flowers are a fairly pure light navy blue, with just a hint of magenta in them.) The color looks pretty good throughout the rest of the flower bouquet, although the yellow flowers look a little undersaturated, and the red flowers are on the verge of being too bright.

Resolution is high, with good detail in the flower bouquet and in Marti's features. The shadow areas also show good detail, although there's a moderate amount of noise present.

To view the entire exposure series from zero to +1.3 EV, see files P33OUTDP0.HTM through P33OUTDP4.HTM on the thumbnail index page.


 

Closer Portrait:

Good overall exposure, with excellent resolution and detail.

Overall results are similar to the wider shot above, and the Optio 300 GS' 3x zoom lens helps prevent distortion of Marti's features. The level of fine detail visible is excellent, with sharp details in Marti's face and hair. The texture of the house siding is also quite clear. The shot at right was taken with a +0.3 EV exposure compensation adjustment, which produced a nicely-balanced exposure. The brightest highlight details of Marti's shirt are lost, but the overall exposure looks good. Detail is strong in the shadow areas, with moderately low noise.

To view the entire exposure series from -0.3 to +1.0 EV, see files P33FACDM1.HTM through P33FACDP3.HTM on the thumbnail index page.


 

Indoor Portrait, Flash:
+0.7 EV
+1`.0 EV

A little tint from the room lighting, but very uneven response to exposure compensation adjustment, resulting in an incorrect exposure.

The 330GS had some trouble with this shot. I liked that its exposure compensation adjustment controlled the exposure on both flash and normal non-flash shots. What I didn't like though, was the way the exposure took such a dramatic jump between +0.7 and +1.0 EV, as seen at right. I ended up choosing the shot exposed at +0.7 EV as the main example for this test, but it was really noticeably underexposed. - The problem was, the shot at +1.0 EV looked worse, with all detail lost in Marti's shirt.


 

Indoor Portrait, No Flash:
Incandescent White Balance
Manual White Balance

Good color with incandescent and manual white balance, but lots of exposure compensation needed.

The Optio 330GS did a pretty good job here with both the Incandescent and Manual white balance settings. Neither was perfect, with the Incandescent option leaving a bit of a pinkish cast, and the Manual option producing a slight greenish tinge, but both were well within the acceptable range. (I apparently grabbed a test shot here using the Auto white balance setting, but the results were so extremely yellow that I didn't bother snapping a "live" one of Marti. - Trust me, you'll definitely need to use either Incandescent or Manual white balance when shooting under household incandescent lighting.) I chose the Incandescent shot as being the most faithful to the original scene, the slight warmth conveying the warmth of the light in the room, without overpowering the colors in the subject.

The 330GS required quite a lot of exposure compensation here, and its LCD screen made it very hard to judge the correct exposure. Snapping my usual very wide exposure bracketing series, I stopped when I got to +1.3 EV because the images looked *so* blown out. As it turned out, +1.3 EV (seen in the shots at right) was just barely enough.


 

House Shot:
Auto White Balance
Daylight White Balance
Manual White Balance

Good overall color and resolution.

On this shot, the Optio 330 GS' Auto setting produced the best overall results here, judging by the white trim on the house. Both the Daylight and Manual white balances produced warm, though very slight, yellow-green casts. Though the Auto setting is just a hint reddish, overall color looks best. Resolution is good, as detail in the tree limbs and shrubbery is fairly strong. Details are slightly soft, however, defined more by contrast than the in-camera sharpening. Details also appeared to be softer in the corners of the frame, but the effect is very slight.


 

Far-Field Test

Great resolution and detail, though dynamic range is limited.

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 Optio 330 GS did a nice job. The tree limbs over the roof and fine foliage in front of the house show strong detail, with good definition for the most part. Details are reasonably sharp in the fine foliage in front of the house, though quite soft in the tree limbs above the roof (mainly on the right side of the frame, which could in part be explained by corner softness, a frequent plague of compact digicams). The bright sunshine tricks the camera into losing all detail in the white paint around the bay window, which is a trouble spot for many digicams. However, detail is stronger in the shadow area above the front door. Still, the complete loss of detail in the strong highlight shows the Optio 330 GS' dynamic range to be quite limited. Overall color is good, although the exposure is a little bright. The table below shows a standard resolution and quality series, followed by ISO, contrast, sharpness, saturation, and color series.

Resolution Series:

Wide Angle "Fine"
JPEG
"Normal"
JPEG
"Economy"
JPEG
2,048 x 1,536
P33FARLF
P33FARLN
P33FARLE
1,600 x 1,200
P33FARMF
P33FARMN
P33FARME
1,024 x 768
P33FARSF
P33FARSN
P33FARSE
640 x 480
P33FARTF
P33FARTN
P33FARTE

ISO Series:

ISO Series
ISO 100
ISO 200
ISO 400

Contrast Series:

Contrast Series
Low
Normal
High

Sharpness Series:

Sharpness Series
Low
Normal
High

Saturation Series:

Saturation Series
Low
Normal
High

"Color" Series:
The Optio 330 GS also offers a couple of special color options, for more creative shooting.

Color Series
Black & White
Sepia




 

Lens Zoom Range

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 Optio 330 GS' lens is equivalent to a 38-114mm zoom on a 35mm camera. That corresponds to a moderate wide angle to a moderate telephoto. Following are the results at each zoom setting.

Wide Angle
3x Telephoto
2.7x Digital Telephoto


 

Musicians Poster
Auto White Balance
Daylight White Balance
Manual White Balance

Despite very slight color casts, color is good at all three white balance settings, although saturation is slightly low. Detail and resolution are also 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 Optio 330 GS performed well here, with fairly accurate color at all three white balance settings tested. That said, I noticed a slight greenish cast with the Auto setting, and the Daylight setting was just a bit too warm. Though I chose the Manual setting as the most accurate, it had a slight red tint. Still, skin tones look pretty good, and the blue robe is about right. The shadow areas of the blue robe do show faint purple tints, a common problem with this shot. Resolution is high, with strong detail in the embroidery of the blue robe.


 

Macro Shot
Standard Macro Shot
Macro with Flash

Average to a bit better than average macro performance, with good resolution and color.

The Optio 330 GS performed well in the macro category, capturing a minimum area of 2.01 x 1.5 inches (51 x 38 millimeters). Resolution is very high, with excellent detail in the dollar bill, coins, and brooch. All four corners of the frame are somewhat soft though, with the upper and lower left the softest of the lot. The camera's flash had a little trouble throttling down for the macro area, overexposing the shot a fair bit.


 

"Davebox" Test Target
Auto White Balance
Daylight White Balance
Manual White Balance

Slight underexposure, and a slight color cast, but results are good.

I was a little surprised by this test: Most of the other shots looked a little undersaturated to my eye, but the strong colors in the MacBeth chart here were pretty much right on. The Optio 330 GS' Manual white balance setting produced the most accurate results here, despite a very slight red tint in the white values. The Auto setting was just a hint yellow, and Daylight white balance produced a stronger warm cast. Overall color looks pretty good with the manual white balance setting (though a touch warm), though the large color blocks are slightly dark. The large red and blue color blocks are just a bit oversaturated, but saturation is about right everywhere else. Exposure is slightly low, so the Optio 330 GS has no trouble distinguishing the subtle pastels of the Q60 target. Detail is moderate in the shadow area of the charcoal briquettes, with fairly low image noise.



 

Low-Light Tests

Overall good low-light performance, though noise is fairly high at the highest sensitivity setting.

The Optio 330 GS has a maximum shutter speed of four seconds, which provides pretty good low-light shooting when combined with the available ISO adjustment. In my testing, the camera produced bright exposures as low as 1/4 foot-candle (2.7 lux) at ISO 400, and to about 1/2 foot-candle (5.5 lux) at ISO 200. At ISO 100, images were bright as low as one foot-candle (11 lux), about equivalent to average city street lighting at night. That said, at each ISO setting, images were just dim but could be considered usable about one stop lower than the limits just mentioned. Noise was moderately high at ISO 400, but fairly low at ISO 200 and 100. 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 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
1.3lux
1/16fc
0.67lx
ISO
100
Click to see P33LL103.JPG
2 secs
F2.6

Click to see P33LL104.JPG
4 secs
F2.6

Click to see P33LL105.JPG
4 secs
F2.6

Click to see P33LL106.JPG
4 secs
F2.6

Click to see P33LL107.JPG
4 secs
F2.6

ISO
200
Click to see P33LL203.JPG
1/1 secs
F2.6

Click to see P33LL204.JPG
2 secs
F2.6

Click to see P33LL205.JPG
4 secs
F2.6

Click to see P33LL206.JPG
4 secs
F2.6

Click to see P33LL207.JPG
4 secs
F2.6

ISO
400
Click to see P33LL403.JPG
1/ 2 secs
F2.6

Click to see P33LL404.JPG
1/1 secs
F2.6

Click to see P33LL405.JPG
2 secs
F2.6

Click to see P33LL406.JPG
2.5 secs
F2.6

Click to see P33LL407.JPG
3 secs
F2.6



 

Flash Range Test

Good intensity all the way to 14 feet.

Pentax rates the Optio 330 GS' flash as effective to 16 feet, which falls in line with my own test results. In my testing, the flash illuminated the test target all the way out to 14 feet, without any significant decrease in intensity. In fact, intensity increased slightly with the increase in distance. (Perhaps because the lighter target took up progressively less of the total frame area.) Below is the 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 P33FL08.JPG
1/125 secs
F5
ISO: 100
Click to see P33FL09.JPG
1/125 secs
F5
ISO: 100
Click to see P33FL10.JPG
1/125 secs
F5
ISO: 100
Click to see P33FL11.JPG
1/125 secs
F5
ISO: 100
Click to see P33FL12.JPG
1/125 secs
F5
ISO: 100
Click to see P33FL13.JPG
1/125 secs
F5
ISO: 100
Click to see P33FL14.JPG
1/125 secs
F5
ISO: 100


 

ISO-12233 (WG-18) Resolution Test

Good resolution, with 1,000 lines of "strong detail."

The Optio 330 GS performed well on our "laboratory" resolution test chart. It started showing artifacts in the test patterns at resolutions as low as 600 lines per picture height in both vertical and horizontal directions. I found "strong detail" out to roughly 1,050 lines horizontally and 950 lines vertically, but the image looked rather soft overall. "Extinction" of the target patterns occurred at about 1,200 lines.

Optical distortion on the Optio 330 GS is a bit higher than average at the wide-angle end, where I measured approximately 0.9 percent barrel distortion. The telephoto end fared a little better, as I measured roughly 0.2 percent barrel distortion. Chromatic aberration has a fairly broad extent, showing about five or six pixels of coloration on either side of the target lines, but the coloration is fairly weak, so it probably won't be too noticeable in actual photos. (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.) On the other hand, there's a lot of coma at the corners of the image, also seen to a lesser extend in the outdoor far-field shot. Overall, not the best lens I've seen, but perhaps no surprise in an entry-level camera.

Resolution Series, Wide Angle

Wide Angle "Fine"
JPEG
"Normal"
JPEG
"Economy"
JPEG
2,048 x 1,536
P33RESWLF
P33RESWLN
P33RESWLE
1,600 x 1,200
P33RESWMF
 
1,024 x 768
P33RESWSF
   
640 x 480
P33RESWTF
   

 

Resolution Test, Telephoto
2,048 x 1,536
(Fine, Tele)
P33RESTLF



 

Viewfinder Accuracy/Flash Uniformity

Optical viewfinder is a little tight, the LCD monitor is slightly better.

The Optio 330 GS' optical viewfinder was a little tight, showing approximately 92 percent of the frame at wide angle, and 95 percent at telephoto. Good numbers for an optical viewfinder, as most are closer to 85 percent accurate. The LCD monitor fared only a little better, showing approximately 96 percent frame accuracy at wide angle and telephoto. (At telephoto, the top edge of the measurement frame was just cut off, cut accuracy was close to the wide angle setting.) Given that I like LCD monitors to be as close to 100 percent accuracy as possible, the Optio 330 GS' LCD monitor falls just a little short. Flash distribution is uneven at wide angle, with strong falloff at the corners of the frame. At telephoto, flash distribution is more uniform but dim.


Wide Angle, Optical

Telephoto, Optical

Wide Angle, LCD

Telephoto, LCD


 

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