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Digital Cameras - Ricoh RDC-5000 Zoom Test Images

(Original test posting: 6/1/99)

Outdoor portrait: (Images could not be taken due to inclement weather when the test unit was available.)
 

Closer portrait: (Images could not be taken due to inclement weather when the test unit was available.)  

Indoor portrait, flash: (Images could not be taken due to inclement weather when the test unit was available.)
 

Indoor portrait, no flash: (Images could not be taken due to inclement weather when the test unit was available.)  

House shot: (680k) The RDC-5000 did an excellent job on this shot, showing very good detail, and good, natural color. There's a slight yellowish cast to the midtones, but overall color is very good. In this and other images, we noticed a slight pattern in areas of flat color, apparently an image-compression artifact. The effect is slight though, and we suspect wouldn't be visible on all but the highest-resolution printers. In the highest-quality image, here are almost none of the typical JPEG artifacts along the edges of the central gable of the house, a common occurrence on other cameras we've tested. Overall, a very good performance. All of the shots below were taken with the white balance set to "Auto." Here's a sample (240K) taken with the white balance set to "daylight", producing a rather yellowish cast with our standard "daylight" lighting. As has become our custom on this test, we've prepared a matrix of shots, showing the various combinations of image size and compression ratio the RDC-5000 is capable of:

Size/Resolution Variations:

Large/Fine
(756k)

Large/Normal
(376k)

Large/Basic
(204k)

Small/Fine
(240k)

Small/Normal
(136k)

Small/Basic
(72k)

 
 

Far-Field shot: 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.
(Images could not be taken due to inclement weather when the test unit was available.)
 

"Musicians" poster: (692k) Good color, really excellent detail! (Check the detail in the Oriental model's robe, on the shoulder, and in the flowers of the Caucasian's hair.) Color is a trifle reddish in our main shot (692k), which was taken with the "daylight" white balance setting. The auto white balance setting resulted in very cool hues, as seen in this smaller image (236k). Overall, a very strong performance, easily on a par with other 2+ megapixel units we've tested thus far! (June, 1999)

Size/Resolution Variations, Daylight WB:

Large/Fine
(692k)

Large/Normal
(388k)

Large/Basic
(180k)

Small/Fine
(236k)

Small/Normal
(124k)

Small/Basic
(68k)


White Balance Variations:

Automatic
(236k)

Cloudy
(236k)

Daylight
(236k)

 
Macro shot: (692k) - Ricoh's digicams have always sported very close macro focusing, and the RDC-5000 is no exception. Even though it's closest focusing occurs with the optical zoom set to its closest setting, the minimum area is a fairly small 2.31 x 1.54 inches (59 x 39 mm). While not the "microscopic" levels achieved by some digicams, this is at the smaller end of minimum field-of-view ratings of the cameras we've tested. (At the telephoto end of the lens' range, the minimum focusing distance is 40 cm.) Unfortunately, at the very close 4 cm minimum focusing distance of the camera, the lighting from the onboard flash is simply too uneven to be useful, as shown in this shot (676k), in which we used a diffuser to try to spread the light a little more.  

"Davebox" test target: (628k) Another excellent performance, with very good color and tonal range. Most digicams seem to have problems with the very bright yellow in the MacBeth(tm) chart, but the RDC-5000 handles it well. Saturation and color accuracy is very good, as is tonal range. Color and tone is very much in the running with other top-flight 2-megapixel digicams. We did see some image softness, particularly in the corners, apparently a case of "coma". If so, this would be more likely to appear in our studio settings much more so than the outdoor shots, since the lens generally needs to run wide open with our studio lighting. As before, we've provided a full range of size/quality variations so you can see how the camera performs in other than highest-resolution mode. We've also included samples of Daylight and Cloudy white balance settings.


Size/Resolution Variations, Auto WB:

Large/Fine
(628k)

Large/Normal
(356k)

Large/Basic
(200k)

Small/Fine
(256k)

Small/Normal
(128k)

Small/Basic
(72k)

White Balance Variations:

Automatic
(256k)

Cloudy
(268k)

Daylight
(268k)

 
 

Low-Light Tests (NEW!)
After a number of requests for a more quantitative measure of cameras' low-light capabilities, we've instituted an official low-light test, using the Davebox target, a single flood, neutral-density gels, and an accurate light meter to test camera performance under a range of dim lighting. (If it sounds like a pain in the neck, that's because it is!)

(Images could not be taken due to inclement weather when the test unit was available.)

 

ISO 12233 ("WG-18") resolution target: (656k) (Technoids only) Here again, the RDC_5000 did very well indeed, with a visual resolution of roughly 800-850 lines per picture height in the horizontal direction, and 780-800 vertically. The camera also sports a "text" mode, which apparently enhances contrast. Here are samples showing this mode operating on this target in telephoto (728k) and wide-angle (712k) modes. At first glance, it looks like the resolution is actually increased, but closer inspection reveals it's just a contrast boost. Of course, this is exactly the intent here: To provide improved apparent resolution on high-contrast subjects! Overall, a very strong performance!
As always, we've included images shot with the full range of resolution and image-quality settings in the matrix below.
Telephoto

Large/Fine
(660k)

Large/Normal
(396k)

Large/Basic
(184k)

Small/Fine
(244k)

Small/Normal
(128k)

Small/Basic
(64k)

 

Wide-Angle

Large/Fine
(656k)

Large/Normal
(384k)

Large/Basic
(184k)

Small/Fine
(248k)

Small/Normal
(128k)

Small/Basic
(64k)

 

We've recently begun quantifying digicam lens distortions, using this and the Viewfinder Accuracy target below. (Note that previously-tested cameras won't have these figures associated with them - This doesn't mean that they're distortion-free, only that we haven't measure them. The RDC-5000 showed moderate barrel distortion (1.3%) at the wide-angle setting, and very slight pincushion distortion (0.3%) at the telephoto end. Chromatic aberration is almost non-existent, but the aforementioned "coma" is visible as slightly lighter edges on the inner sides of target elements at the edges of the frame. The effect appears to reach a maximum of about 2-3 pixels, far from the worst we've seen. We also noticed an odd pattern in the white background of this target, as well as on flat color swatches in some of the other test images. It's so subtle that we almost didn't mention it, but it's there for the sharp-eyed observer. (More evident if you play with contrast/brightness in an image-editing program.)

 

Viewfinder accuracy/flash uniformity target: The RDC-5000's optical viewfinder is about typically accurate amongst digicams we've tested, ranging from 85% coverage of the final frame at the wide-angle (156k) end of the lens' range to 87.5% at the telephoto end. (144k) By contrast, the LCD viewfinder was very accurate, showing just under 100% in both telephoto (148k) and wide-angle (136k) modes, but having a slight bias toward the top of the frame (about 1.5%).

Flash uniformity was very good at the telephoto end of the lens' range, but fell off somewhat in the corners at the wide angle setting. (Some of this last may be due to a slight but general vignetting we observed in most shots taken at the far wide-angle end of the lens' range: This wasn't too noticeable in natural scenes, but would be more evident when photographing objects with a fairly flat tonal rendition across the frame.)

 

 

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