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Digital Cameras - Casio QV-8000 Test Images

(Original test posting: 1/16/2000)

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: (536k) This is a tough shot for many digicams, due to the extreme tonal range. (Which is why we set it up this way!). The trick is to hold highlight and shadow detail without producing a "flat" picture with muddy colors. We shot this image using both the automatic (556k) and daylight (536k) white balance settings. The automatic version resulted in a slightly warm cast, so we chose the daylight setting for our main shot (536k). Color balance on the QV-8000 is very good in this shot, particularly in the very difficult blues of the flowers and the model's pants. Many digicams have a tendency to reproduce these blues with a more purple hue, so the QV-8000's performance is commendable. Detail in the shadow areas turned out nicely as well. Surprisingly, we didn't require any exposure compensation on this shot for our main image, even the smallest adjustment blew the highlights on the shirt and flowers. (The digicams we test almost always underexpose this shot, so the QV-8000's exposure accuracy was surprising.) The table below shows the results of a range of exposure settings from zero to +1.25 EV. (Sorry, we didn't think to shoot versions of this test using the manual white-balance option.)

Exposure Variations:
0.0 EV
Shutter: 1/746
Aperture: F4.8
(536k)
+0.25EV
Shutter: 1/649
Aperture: F4.8
(538k)
+0.5 EV
Shutter: 1/541
Aperture: F4.8
(534k)
+0.75 EV
Shutter: 1/459
Aperture: F4.8
(523k)
1.0 EV
Shutter: 1/370
Aperture: F4.8
(525k)
1.25 EV
Shutter: 1/312
Aperture: F4.8
(508k)


 
Closer portrait: (575k) The QV-8000 does a good job with this "portrait" shot, due to its 8x zoom lens. (Shorter focal length lenses tend to distort facial features in close-up shots like this. The availability of longer focal lengths is a key feature if you're going to be shooting close-up people shots.). In this test, we used +0.25 EV of exposure compensation for our main shot (575k), choosing to let the shirt highlights blow out a bit in exchange for better skin tones. Sharpness and detail are good in both the highlight and shadow areas, with just a little noise in the shadows. The table below shows the results of a range of exposure settings from zero to +1.0 EV.

Exposure Variations:
0.0 EV
Shutter: 1/313
Aperture: F8
(565k)
+0.25 EV
Shutter: 1/725
Aperture: F4.8
(575k)
+0.5 EV
Shutter: 1/610
Aperture: F4.8
(563k)
+0.75 EV
Shutter: 1/510
Aperture: F4.8
(525k)
+1.0 EV
Shutter: 1/417
Aperture: F4.8
(547k)


 
Indoor portrait, flash: (531k) This shot is always tricky because of the potential differences between the color balance of the flash and the bright room lighting. Many cameras produce odd bluish highlights here, which the QV-8000 justly avoided. Instead, it produced a slight magenta tinge in the highlight areas, possibly due to the bright incandescent lighting. The default flash exposure setting (531k) did the best job of illuminating both foreground and background without over-blowing the highlights. We played with the flash intensity options, snapping these images on the low (555k) and high (516k) settings. A nice feature that we greatly appreciated on the QV-8000 is the ability to change the flash intensity while in manual exposure mode. We achieved better color balance on the model (although slightly warm) by combining a 1/10 second shutter speed and F/4.8 aperture with the flash's weak intensity setting for this (527k) shot. We also shot at a 1/20 second shutter speed with the same aperture and flash settings in this (562k) slightly darker but somewhat better color-balanced shot.

 
Indoor portrait, no flash: (458k) This shot is a very tough test of a camera's white balance capabilities, thanks to the strong yellowish cast of the household incandescent lighting it's shot under. The QV-8000 did well with this difficult light source, with the best results achieved in manual white balance mode (458k). The auto white balance setting (482k) produced a very cool result, much different from the incandescent white balance option (486k), which appears to be balanced for professional tungsten lighting and thus left a rather warm cast in the resulting image.

The table below shows the results of various exposure compensation settings in the manual white balance setting. (The main shot was taken with an exposure compensation of +1.0 EV units).

Exposure Series:
0.0 EV
Shutter: 1/12
Aperture: F3.2
(522k)
+0.25EV
Shutter: 1/10
Aperture: F3.2
(510k)
+0.5 EV
Shutter: 1/8
Aperture: F3.2
(487k)
+0.75 EV
Shutter: 1/7
Aperture: F3.2
(474k)
1.0 EV
Shutter: 1/6
Aperture: F3.2
(458k)
1.25 EV
Shutter: 1/5
Aperture: F3.2
(446k)
1.5 EV
Shutter: 1/4
Aperture: F3.2
(444k)


 
House shot: (543k) 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 QV-8000 with previously-tested cameras, here's a shot of the original house poster (577k). The QV-8000 turned in a pretty good performance here: Color balance was very good, and it captured the detail of the subject well for a 1.3 megapixel camera. We felt the images were slightly soft, but discovered (as is often the case) that shooting in "soft" mode and sharpening after the fact in Photoshop yielded significant improvements. We chose the automatic white balance for this shot, as the daylight setting (150k) gave a rather yellowish cast. The table below shows our usual resolution/quality series. (Low-resolution images captured by the QV-8000 were very clean and sharp, not always a given with high-resolution cameras.)

Resolution/Quality series:
Large/Fine
Shutter: 1/60
Aperture: F3.2
(543k)
Large/Normal
Shutter: 1/60
Aperture: F3.2
(395k)
Large/Economy
Shutter: 1/60
Aperture: F3.2
(234k)
Small/Fine
Shutter: 1/60
Aperture: F3.2
(152k)
Small/Normal
Shutter: 1/60
Aperture: F3.2
(123k)
Small/Economy
Shutter: 1/60
Aperture: F3.2
(81k)


We experimented with the QV-8000's sharpness options on this shot... As noted above, we felt that the default sharpening left a little to be desired, while the "Hard" setting left visible "halos" around objects. As is often the case with digicams we test, we found we could significantly improve the apparent detail and resolution by shooting in "Soft" (unsharpened) mode, and then applying strong unsharp masking in Photoshop after the fact. (Unsharp masking radius of 0.7 pixels, 280%) The table below shows the results of various sharpening settings.

Sharpening Variations:
Soft
Shutter: 1/60
Aperture: F3.2
(553k)
Normal
Shutter: 1/60
Aperture: F3.2
(543k)
Hard
Shutter: 1/60
Aperture: F3.2
(557k)
Soft/Photoshop
(782k)


 
 
Far-Field shot: (566k) 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

Overall, this shot looks really good. The roof shingles aren't too noisy and detail is about average. The QV-8000 had a little trouble with the highlight details in the white paint area of the bay window (a tough area for many digicams since the area was painted with a bright white paint that makes tonal handling very difficult). The in-camera sharpening does a good job, as we don't notice any strong halos between the light and dark areas. The table below shows the full resolution/quality series.

Resolution/Quality series:
Large/Fine
Shutter: 1/746
Aperture: F4.8
(506k)
Large/Normal
Shutter: 1/746
Aperture: F4.8
(466k)
Large/Economy
Shutter: 1/746
Aperture: F4.8
(229k)
Small/Fine
Shutter: 1/746
Aperture: F4.8
(154k)
Small/Normal
Shutter: 1/746
Aperture: F4.8
(125k)
Small/Economy
Shutter: 1/746
Aperture: F4.8
(86k)


We ran a range of sharpness variations on this shot, with the results shown in the table below. As before, strong sharpening in Photoshop, applied to the "Soft" version of the image produced superior results.

Sharpness Variations:
Soft
Shutter: 1/752
Aperture: F4.8
(565k)
Normal
Shutter: 1/752
Aperture: F4.8
(560k)
Hard
Shutter: 1/752
Aperture: F4.8
(565k)
Soft/Photoshop
(870k)


We also ran a range of contrast variations on this shot, with the results shown in the table below. The contrast adjustment seemed to work by opening the shadows, leaving the highlight exposure as it was (blown out, in this shot). To get the best exposure here, we'd have done best by using the low contrast setting, and then decreasing the overall exposure somewhat.

Contrast Variations:
Low
Shutter: 1/556
Aperture: F4.8
(156k)
Normal
Shutter: 1/714
Aperture: F4.8
(142k)
High
Shutter: 1/617
Aperture: F4.8
(148k)


Additionally, we shot a range of saturation variations, with the results shown in the table below.

Saturation Variations:
Low
Shutter: 1/685
Aperture: F4.8
(153k)
Normal
Shutter: 1/685
Aperture: F4.8
(150k)
High
Shutter: 1/685
Aperture: F4.8
(152k)


 
Lens Zoom Range (new):
(Love that 8x zoom!) 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 respectively, the lens at full wide-angle, the lens at full telephoto, and the lens at full telephoto with 2x and 4x "digital telephoto" enabled. Note that the digital tele is restricted to the smaller 640 x 480 image dimensions. Overall, with a 8x optical zoom lens, the QV-8000's performance here is very nice. (We love long-ratio zoom lenses - other manufacturers take note!)

Wide
(566k)
Shutter: 1/ 654
Aperture: F4.8
Tele
(580k)
Shutter: 1/ 500
Aperture: F8
Digital Tele 2x
(124k)
Shutter: 1/ 424
Aperture: F8
Digital Tele 4x
(109k)
Shutter: 1/ 775
Aperture: F8


"Musicians" poster: (570k) We shot samples of this using both auto (147k) and daylight (149k) white balance options. We chose the daylight setting for our main shot (570k). Although it has a rather warm cast, we found that it cleaned up (594k) very well in Photoshop. Color saturation on this one looked just a hair low, but as we said, the skin tones seem right and the blue on the Oriental model's robe is pretty close. Resolution looks pretty good as well, judging by the detail of the bird?s wings and the small silver threads on the Oriental model?s robe. The table below carries links to our standard resolution/quality series.

Resolution/Quality series:
Large/Fine
Shutter: 1/44
Aperture: F3.2
(570k)
Large/Normal
Shutter: 1/44
Aperture: F3.2
(393k)
Large/Economy
Shutter: 1/44
Aperture: F3.2
(223k)
Small/Fine
Shutter: 1/44
Aperture: F3.2
(149k)
Small/Normal
Shutter: 1/44
Aperture: F3.2
(125k)
Small/Economy
Shutter: 1/44
Aperture: F3.2
(93k)


We again ran a range of sharpness variations on this shot, with the results shown in the table below.

Sharpness Variations:
Soft
Shutter: 1/44
Aperture: F3.2
(539k)
Normal
Shutter: 1/44
Aperture: F3.2
(570k)
Hard
Shutter: 1/44
Aperture: F3.2
(596k)


 
Macro shot: (576k) The 1cm minimum focusing distance in Macro mode can produce some really amazing close-ups. The zoom lens seems to have a much more limited range of focal lengths in macro mode (we'd guess it's only about a 1.2x zoom at that setting), but the detail the camera can capture is incredible: The minimum capture area is an amazing 0.71 x 0.95 inches (18 x 24 mm). The only limitation we found with this incredible macro capability is that the width of the lens itself can make it difficult to get adequate light into the subject: You may find it helpful to make a conical "light tent" out of a piece of white paper or diffusion material, as shown at right. With this sort of arrangement, you can shine lights onto the diffusion material from multiple angles, and obtain very even illumination, despite the extremely short working distance. You do pay one price for the extraordinary macro capability: At the shortest focusing distances, the lens appears to suffer from considerable "curvature of field", which means that the corners of the image will be out of focus when the center is sharp. This effect is most noticeable at the 1cm focusing distance, decreasing as you move out to greater distances. Given the incredibly short distance between the lens and the subject, and the width of the lens itself, there's no chance of using the flash up that close...

 
"Davebox" test target: (502k) The QV-8000 produced overall excellent color and tonal results on this test. The only minor criticism we have is that the magenta, yellow and cyan seem just a bit weak. But other than that, we have no complaints. The QV-8000 reproduced the subtle tonal variations very well and caught up to the "C" pastel range in the Q60 chart (you can see the distinctions in the "B" range, but not extremely well). The camera also did a really good job with the shadow area on the briquettes. In this shot, the daylight (136k) white balance setting produced a very warm cast, while the auto (134k) and manual (132k) settings came out virtually identical. We chose the auto setting for our main shot (502k). The table below shows the usual range of resolution/quality settings.

Resolution/Quality series:
Large/Fine
Shutter: 1/39
Aperture: F3.2
(502k)
Large/Normal
Shutter: 1/39
Aperture: F3.2
(346k)
Large/Economy
Shutter: 1/39
Aperture: F3.2
(190k)
Small/Fine
Shutter: 1/39
Aperture: F3.2
(134k)
Small/Normal
Shutter: 1/39
Aperture: F3.2
(116k)
Small/Economy
Shutter: 1/39
Aperture: F3.2
(86k)


 
 
Low-Light Tests 
Zounds! This was definitely the biggest surprise with this camera: The specs showed a 64-second exposure time, to which we initially said "Yeah, right!" Our past experience (December, 1999) suggested that any shots taken with this long an exposure would be completely obliterated by noise. Boy, were we wrong - the QV-8000SX showed low-light capabilities that were little short of incredible! In fact, it produced a more usable image at a lower light level than any camera we've tested to date. (January, 2000).

In automatic exposure modes, low-light capability is somewhat limited, reaching a lower limit of roughly 4 foot-candles (44 lux), with a 1/4 second maximum exposure time, while the "night" mode provides usable results down to about 1 foot-candle (11 lux), by extending the maximum exposure time to 0.9 seconds. We did notice a distinct difference in color balance between the two modes though, as "night" mode introduced a rather warm cast to the images. The table below shows examples of both normal and night-mode automatic exposures shot at light levels ranging from 8 to 1/2 foot-candles.

Low-light series, automatic exposure:
8fc (10EV)
Normal Mode
Shutter: 1/4
Aperture: F3.2
(434k)
4fc (9EV)
Normal Mode
Shutter: 1/4
Aperture: F3.2
(515k)
2fc (8EV)
Normal Mode
Shutter: 1/4
Aperture: F3.2
(458k)
1fc (7EV)
Normal Mode
Shutter: 1/4
Aperture: F3.2
(395k)
0.5fc (6EV)
Normal Mode
Shutter: 1/4
Aperture: F3.2
(248k)
8fc (10EV)
Night Mode
Shutter: 1/4
Aperture: F3.2
(423k)
4fc (9EV)
Night Mode
Shutter: 1/4
Aperture: F3.2
(484k)
2fc (8EV)
Night Mode
Shutter: 1/2
Aperture: F3.2
(498k)
1fc (7EV)
Night Mode
Shutter: 1/1
Aperture: F3.2
(496k)
0.5fc (6EV)
Night Mode
Shutter: 1/1
Aperture: F3.2
(379k)


The really amazing low-light ability comes in manual exposure mode, taking advantage of the long time exposures the camera is capable of. We produced very usable images in light levels as low as 1/16 foot-candle (0.7 lux), with almost no image noise. (How'd they DO that?) As with the "night mode" shots above, these long time exposures had a rather yellowish cast, but we found that to be easily removed in Photoshop(tm). Here's a sample from the 1/16 foot-candle test (a 48-second exposure!), first as it came from the camera (590k), and then after Photoshop manipulation (522k). (That's amazing!) See the table below for time-exposure examples ranging from 1/2 to 1/16 foot-candles.

Manual exposure low-light results:
1/2fc (6EV)
Shutter: 4
Aperture: F3.2
(548k)
1/4fc (5EV)
Shutter: 24
Aperture: F3.2
(588k)
1/8fc (4EV)
Shutter: 32
Aperture: F3.2
(596k)
1/16fc (3EV)
Shutter: 48
Aperture: F3.2
(592k)


 
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). Casio rates the QV-8000's flash out to a maximum of 8.2 feet (2.5m) in normal, wide angle mode. We found that it was still relatively effective as far out as 14 feet, although color balance tended to get cooler from about 11 feet on, and the light did definitely drop off some. (Not as rapidly as we've frequently seen though...) The table below shows results obtained at a range of distances from eight to 14 feet.

Flash Range/Distance: 
8 ft
Shutter: 1/40
Aperture: F3.2
(358k)
9 ft
Shutter: 1/45
Aperture: F3.2
(379K)
10 ft
Shutter: 1/40
Aperture: F3.2
(377k)
11 ft
Shutter: 1/46
Aperture: F3.2
(369k)
12 ft
Shutter: 1/48
Aperture: F3.2
(373k)
13 ft
Shutter: 1/40
Aperture: F3.2
(380k)
14 ft
Shutter: 1/44
Aperture: F3.2
(372k)


ISO 12233 ("WG-18") resolution target: (417k) Resolution is really the only area in which the QV-8000's performance suffered relative to competing 1.3-1.5 megapixel cameras. Even here though, it's performance was at least average, just not up to the very top of the field. We called the visual resolution as being about 600 lines per picture height in both horizontal and vertical directions. Our trick of shooting in "soft" mode and applying strong sharpening in Photoshop after the fact yielded this shot (496k), which is crisper, but doesn't fundamentally show more detail. Overall, a good if not excellent performance. The tables below show the full range of resolution/image quality samples, at both wide angle and telephoto settings.

Wide Angle Resolution/Quality series:
Large/Fine
Shutter: 1/76
Aperture: F3.2
(417k)
Large/Normal
Shutter: 1/81
Aperture: F3.2
(259k)
Large/Economy
Shutter: 1/81
Aperture: F3.2
(163k)
Small/Fine
Shutter: 1/76
Aperture: F3.2
(165k)
Small/Normal
Shutter: 1/81
Aperture: F3.2
(98k)
Small/Economy
Shutter: 1/81
Aperture: F3.2
(77k)


Telephoto Resolution/Quality series:
Large/Fine
Shutter: 1/78
Aperture: F3.2
(412k)
Large/Normal
Shutter: 1/78
Aperture: F3.2
(284k)
Large/Economy
Shutter: 1/78
Aperture: F3.2
(159k)
Small/Fine
Shutter: 1/78
Aperture: F3.2
(124k)
Small/Normal
Shutter: 1/78
Aperture: F3.2
(102k)
Small/Economy
Shutter: 1/78
Aperture: F3.2
(77k)


 
Viewfinder accuracy/flash uniformity target: We found the QV-8000's LCD monitor (there is no optical viewfinder) to be a bit loose, showing about 89 percent of the final image area in wide angle (86k) and about 92 percent in telephoto (170k). We generally like to see LCD monitors as close to 100 percent accuracy as possible. Both the 2x (78k) and 4x (65k) showed about the same accuracy as the wide angle, at 89 and 90 percentage, respectively. However, viewfinder sharpness in the 4x digital telephoto mode is significantly worse than the others, which also made it difficult to frame properly.

Optical distortion on the QV-8000 is about average, with the lens showing a 0.9 percent barrel distortion at wide angle. At the telephoto end of the lens' range, we measured about 0.6 percent pincushion distortion. (A pretty good performance, given the long focal-length ratio of the lens.) Chromatic aberration is practically non-existent, we couldn't a trace of it in wide-angle mode, and only the barest hint of it at the telephoto setting. This distortion is hard to quantify, but the amount we saw at the telephoto setting would be less than the 1/4 pixel guesstimate that represents the minimum we'd normall call. (This distortion is usually visible as a very slight colored fringe around the objects at the edges of the field of view on the resolution target). An unusually good performance in this respect! Flash uniformity is quite good at the telephoto end of the lens range (although a little dark), showing just a little fall-off in the corners at the widest angle setting.

 

 

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