Digital Cameras - Kyocera Finecam SL300R 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, ISOsetting, compression setting, etc. Rather than clutter the page below with *all*that detail, we're posting the Thumber index so only those interested inthe 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 Finecam SL300R had a fair bit of trouble here.
The shot at right was taken with a +0.3 EV exposure compensation adjustment, which resulted in very dark shadows, with very bright highlights, and almost no midtones. Detail is all but completely lost in the brightest highlights, though the deep shadows do manage to hold onto a moderate amount. (Here's a shot at the default exposure, which is very dark.) I chose the Daylight white balance setting, though it produced slightly cool results similar to the Manual option. The Auto setting was warmer, but too warm for my taste.
The cool cast and high contrast result in pale skin tones, and the blue
flowers in the bouquet are quite dark. (Many digicams have trouble with
this blue. The SL300R renders them quite dark, but gets the color more
or less correct.) The red flowers are oversaturated (as is the case with
so many digicams I test), and so bright that detail is limited in the
highlights. Resolution is fairly good for a 3-megapixel camera, although
details are just slightly soft throughout the frame. In some areas, such
as along the edges of the red flowers, detail appears a bit pixilated.
Image noise is moderately high in the midtones and shadows, obscuring
details here also.
Higher resolution with stronger detail, but contrast is again very high.
Here again, the SL300R once again had trouble with the harsh lighting, and produced a very high contrast shot with limited highlight detail. The lower midtones are quite dark as well. The shot at right was taken with a +0.3 EV exposure compensation adjustment, as anything lower was just too dark overall. The SL300R's 3x zoom lens helps prevent strong distortion of Marti's features, though a small amount is noticeable. Detail and resolution are stronger in this shot, with better definition, though details are still a bit soft. Image noise is again moderately high in the shadows and midtones.
To view the entire exposure series from -0.3 to +0.3 EV, see files SL3FACM1.HTM
through SL3FACP1.HTM on the thumbnail index page.
Indoor Portrait, Flash:
A bright, powerful flash (almost too powerful), though good color.
The SL300R's built-in flash was very bright in this portrait, even at
its default exposure setting, which I ended
up choosing for the main shot, even though I felt it fell just slightly
short of the ideal exposure. (The shot at +0.3
EV just seemed too bright to me, even though Marti's face was better
illuminated in it. In a case like this, the best results may actually
be obtained post-capture, using image editing software.) Overall color
is nearly accurate, with only a minor orange cast from the bright incandescent
room lighting on Marti's hair and the rear wall.
Indoor Portrait, No Flash:
Warm color balance from the incandescent lighting with all white balance settings, high contrast as well. Image noise is also quite high.
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 SL300R had a tough time here, and produced
warm color balances with both the Auto and Incandescent
white balance options. The Manual setting also
produced a warm cast, but with more of a red tint. The shots at right
were taken with +0.7 EV exposure compensation adjustment, brought the
midtones up to where they needed to be, but lost some detail in the highlights.
Good resolution, but a slightly warm color balance.
Though slightly warm and yellowish, the SL300R's Auto
white balance produced the best overall color here, though results weren't
much different from the Manual setting.
(The Daylight setting also produced similar
results, but with a stronger yellow-green cast.) Resolution is pretty
good, with reasonable detail visible in the tree limbs and front shrubbery,
though details are slightly pixilated in appearance. There's quite a bit
of softness in the two left corners of the frame, though.
Moderately high resolution and detail, though exposure is contrasty and 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 SL300R performed pretty well, relative to its 3-megapixel class. The tree limbs over the roof and fine foliage in front of the house show pretty good detail, with fairly good definition in the leaf patterns. Details are slightly soft throughout the frame, with increased softness in the two left corners, but the overall result isn't too bad. The camera loses practically all detail in the bright white paint surrounding the bay window, a trouble spot for many digicams, although the SL300R does worse than most with it. Detail is also low in the shadow area above the front door, further evidence of a limited dynamic range, doubtless due at least in part to the camera's high native contrast. Exposure is a bit bright, with high contrast. The camera's Auto white balance setting produced pretty good color, but with a slight greenish cast. The table below shows a standard resolution and quality series, followed by ISO, sharpness, saturation, and color 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 SL300R's lens is equivalent to a 38-115mm zoom on a 35mm camera. That corresponds to a moderate wide angle to a moderate telephoto, slightly biased toward the telephoto end, relative to the 35-105mm range that's most common with 3x zoom point & shoot digicams. Following are the results at each zoom setting.
Slightly green, pale color, but good resolution and detail.
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. However, the SL300R's Auto
and Daylight white balance settings produced
slightly greenish color balances, while the Manual
setting took on more of a reddish tint (particularly noticeable in the
skin tones). Though skin tones are slightly pale with the Daylight setting,
I preferred it over the very red skin tones of the Manual shot. Despite
the green cast, overall color is actually pretty good. Resolution is high,
with a lot of fine detail visible in the embroidered birds of the blue
robe, as well as in the beaded necklaces.
A very large macro area, though detail is good. Flash throttles down pretty well, though with some falloff.
Macro shooting isn't the SL300R's strong suit, as it captured a rather
large minimum area, measuring 7.07 x 5.31 inches (180 x 135 millimeters).
Resolution is high, with good detail in the dollar bill, coins, and brooch.
Color is pretty good, though slightly reddish in the gray background,
and exposure looks good as well. The SL300R's flash
throttled down pretty well for the macro area, though with some significant
falloff at the corners and edges of the frame.
"Davebox" Test Target
A slightly bright exposure and high contrast, but fairly accurate color.
Results were similar with the Auto and Manual
white balance settings, but I settled on the Manual as the most pleasing
overall. (The Daylight setting produced a warmer
color balance.) Exposure is bright and high contrast, but the SL300R distinguishes
the subtle tonal variations of the Q60 target pretty well. Colors are
bright and vibrant in the large color blocks, though the additive primaries
(red, blue, and green) are a bit too saturated. Shadow detail is limited
in the charcoal briquettes, and image noise is moderate.
Decent low-light performance, but autofocus system has trouble in the dim lighting and noise is high at the higher ISOs, but good color and exposure overall. Ultimately, only just usable under average city street-lighting at night.
The SL300R produced bright, usable images down to the 1/16 foot-candle (0.67 lux) limit of my test, with good color at the 400 and 800 ISO settings. You could arguably use the images shot at this light level with the 100 and 200 ISO settings, but the overall exposure was slightly dim. With both ISOs, better images were captured at the 1/4 foot-candle (2.7 lux) light level. Color was pretty good overall, though the dimmer shots had a reddish cast. Noise was moderately high at the ISO 200 setting, and climbed to a very high level at ISO 400 and 800. However, at ISO 100, noise was fairly low. The camera's autofocus system had some trouble in the low lighting though, resulting in soft focus at light levels lower than one foot-candle (11 lux). 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.
(Note: If you'd like to use a light meter to check light levels for subjects you might be interested in shooting, a light level of one foot-candle corresponds to a normal exposure of two seconds at f/2.8 and ISO 100.)
Flash Range Test
An underpowered flash, with significant falloff throughout the test series.
In my testing, the SL300R's flash just barely illuminated the test target at 14 feet, and underexposed the target somewhat even at the eight foot distance, and continued to decrease in intensity from that point on. Kyocera doesn't seem to give the SL300R's flash a distance rating in the manual, but based on these results, I'd have to say it's probably somewhere on the order of 6 feet or less. Below is the flash range series, with distances from eight to 14 feet from the target.
Good resolution for a 3MP model, 1,000+ lines of "strong detail." High barrel distortion at wide angle, and a small amount at telephoto.
The SL300R performed about average on the "laboratory" resolution test chart. It started showing artifacts in the test patterns at resolutions as low as 600 lines per picture height, in both horizontal and vertical directions. I found "strong detail" out to a bit over 1,000 lines, although you could perhaps argue for as high as 1,100 lines in the horizontal direction. "Extinction" of the target patterns didn't occur until about 1,350 lines.
Optical distortion on the SL300R is higher than average at the wide-angle end, where I measured an approximate 0.9 percent barrel distortion. The telephoto end fared much better, as I measured a 0.2 percent barrel distortion, although cameras that I test with 3x zoom lenses show little or no distortion at the telephoto ends of their zoom ranges. Chromatic aberration is quite amazingly low though, showing only about two or three pixels of very faint coloration on either side of the target lines. (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.)
Resolution Series, Wide Angle
Resolution Test, Telephoto
Viewfinder Accuracy/Flash Uniformity
A pretty accurate LCD monitor, but just a little tight.
The SL300R offers a 1.5-inch LCD monitor as its viewfinder, and it's pretty accurate, although a little tight. The monitor showed about 95 percent frame accuracy at wide angle, and about 94 percent at telephoto. Given that I like LCD monitors to be as close to 100 percent accuracy as possible, the SL300R's LCD monitor has a little room for improvement here, but doesn't do too badly overall. Flash distribution is fairly uneven at wide angle, with a hot spot in the center of the frame and falloff along the edges and in the corners. At telephoto, flash distribution is more uniform but dimmer.
SL300 Test Images
SL300 "Picky Details"
Up to Imaging Resource digital cameras area
Questions, comments or controversy on this article? Click this link to see what other Imaging Resource readers have had to say about Kyocera Finecam SL300R, or add comments of your own!