Digital Cameras - Sony DSC-T1 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 DSC-T1 performed pretty well, albeit with a rather high-contrast image.
The shot at right was taken with no exposure compensation adjustment at all, very unusual for this shot among the cameras I've tested. Midtone values are about where they should be, but the strongest highlights are pretty blown out, and the shadows are still somewhat dark, a result of the harsh lighting and what appears to be a rather contrasty tone curve. I chose the Auto white balance as the most accurate overall, though the Daylight setting also produced good results.
Skin tones are pretty good, though slightly yellow, and the blue flowers in the bouquet are just about right. (Many digicams have trouble with this blue, but the T1 gets the hue about right.) Color looks good throughout the rest of the frame as well, although the red flowers look a little oversaturated.
Resolution is very high, with a lot of fine detail visible in regions of high contrast and surprisingly good sharpness from the tiny lens. Unfortunately though, it looks like the T1 is applying some pretty heavy-handed noise suppression, as details in Marti's hair and other areas of subtle contrast are flattened out to a uniform blur.
To view the entire exposure series from -0.3 to +0.7 EV, see
files T1OUTAM1.HTM through T1OUTAP2.HTM on the thumbnail
Excellent resolution and detail, though once again high contrast.
Overall results are similar to the wider
shot above in terms of color and exposure, again with rather
high contrast. Midtone detail is good, though the highlights
are a bit bright. The shot at right was taken with -0.3 EV
of exposure compensation, as the default
exposure left the highlights on Marti's face much too
bright. The T1's 3x zoom lens helps prevent strong distortion
of Marti's features, a valuable asset in close-up shots like
this. Resolution and detail are much higher in this shot,
with stronger definition in Marti's face and hair, but they're
not as crisp as you might find on a full-sized 5-megapixel
camera, and the noise suppression still causes some loss of
detail in Marti's hair.
To view the entire exposure series from -0.3 to +0.7 EV, see
files T1FACAM1.HTM through T1FACAP2.HTM on the thumbnail
Indoor Portrait, Flash:
Good intensity and coverage with the built-in flash, but high intensity setting was needed to deliver a proper exposure.
The T1's built-in flash illuminated the subject well, but required
the High intensity setting for the
best results. Color is good, though
just slightly washed out from the high flash setting. (Here
are sample images at the Normal
and Low intensity settings.) I also
snapped images with the Slow-Sync
and Night Portrait modes, which
both produced warmer results, due to the warm-hued room lighting.
(Again, the High intensity setting produced the best results.)
The Night Portrait mode did a fairly good job of blending
the light from the flash and the room lights, producing less
yellow cast than the basic slow-sync flash mode did.
Indoor Portrait, No Flash:
A too-warm color balance, but good overall exposure.
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 T1's Auto white balance had just a little trouble here, and produced a strong, warm color cast. The Incandescent setting produced better results, though it too was just a little warmer looking than I'd personally prefer. Despite the warm cast, color is pretty good, although the blue flowers of the bouquet are dark and purplish. (Not uncommon in this shot, due to the very warm-hued room lighting.) The shot at right was taken with a +0.7 EV exposure compensation adjustment.
To view the entire exposure series from zero to +1.3 EV, see
files T1INTP0.HTM through T1INTP4.HTM on the thumbnail
High resolution and detail, but a slightly warm color balance.
The T1's Auto white balance option
produced the best overall color here, though the Daylight
setting resulted in a similar image (just a bit warmer still).
Overall color is good, though a bit warm, even with the Auto
white balance. Resolution is high, with a lot of fine detail
visible in the tree limbs and front shrubbery. Details are
slightly soft overall, but consistent from corner to corner,
with little of the softness in the corners that I've come
to expect from digicam lenses, particularly those on subcompact
models like the T1.
Excellent resolution and detail, with a moderate 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 DSC-T1 performed fairly well. The tree limbs over the roof and fine foliage in front of the house show a lot of fine detail, with pretty good definition, but there's clearly not as much detail present here as you'd find with the bet full-sized 5-megapixel cameras. Details are surprisingly sharp across the frame, although there's just a little blurring in the upper left corner. The camera lost most of the detail in the bright white paint surrounding the bay window, a trouble spot for many digicams, but does hold onto a fair bit of detail in the shadow area above the front door, with relatively low noise as well. Overall color looks good, despite the slightly bright exposure. The table below shows a standard resolution and quality series, followed by ISO, contrast, saturation, and sharpness series.
Lens Zoom Range
A 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 DSC-T1's lens is equivalent to a 38-114mm zoom on a 35mm camera. That corresponds to a moderate wide angle to a pretty good telephoto, and is just slightly biased toward the telephoto end relative to the 35-105mm range that is most common on consumer digicams. Following are the results at each zoom setting.
Slightly warm color, but excellent 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. Both the T1's
Auto and Daylight settings produced
slightly warm color balances, though the Auto setting was
the most neutral, and the color overall was better than most
cameras manage on this test. The slight color cast produces
purplish tints in the blue background, as well as in the shadow
areas of the blue robe. Resolution is very high, with great
detail in the embroidery of the blue robe and on the red vest.
(The original data file for this poster was only 20MB though,
so cameras like the T1 are definitely capable of showing more
detail than the poster has in it.)
A small macro area, but with soft details and softer corners. Flash has trouble throttling down.
The T1 performed pretty well in the macro category, capturing
a very small minimum area of only 1.82 x 1.36 inches (46 x
35 millimeters). Resolution was high, with a lot of fine detail
in the dollar bill, but details were rather soft throughout
the frame, especially in the corners. Color looks good though,
and the exposure is about right. The T1's flash
had a little trouble throttling down for the macro area, and
overexposed the shot. - Plan on using external illumination
for the closest macro shots.
"Davebox" Test Target
Good overall exposure, good color, but a slightly warm color balance.
The T1's Auto and Daylight
settings produced similar, warm images, so I chose the Auto
setting for the main shot as it had a slightly lesser cast.
Exposure is just a hint bright, but the T1 still distinguishes
the subtle tonal variations of the Q60 target well. The large
color blocks are a bit warm, and slightly oversaturated, but
otherwise hue-accurate. The shadow area of the charcoal briquettes
has moderate detail, with moderate noise.
Limited low-light capabilities, enough for city street scenes at night (just), but fairly clean-looking images.
The T1 operates under automatic exposure control, though you can manually adjust the ISO setting. Still, low-light shooting is a bit limited. The T1 produced usable images only down to the 1 foot-candle (11 lux) light level at ISO 400, and in Twilight mode, the images at that level were darker than I'd consider acceptable. Color balance was pretty good though, just slightly blue. Sony's noise-suppression processing works hard here, but generally does a good job, with the final images a fair bit less noisy than I suspect the original sensor data was. (The flat tint blocks of the MacBeth(tm) target are pretty clean-looking, but you can see a lot of noise around their edges, and in areas where there's a lot of higher-contrast detail, such as the min-res target.) 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 my sample photos) are untouched, exactly as they came from the camera.
Flash Range Test
A tendency to underexpose flash shots, with limited range as well.
In my testing, the T1's flash started out rather dim, and decreased steadily out to the 14 feet limit of this test. (Not the camera to use, if you need to shoot large groups of people at moderate distances at night, but fine for indoor shooting at close range, or for a fill-flash with a subject in the foreground.) Below is the flash range series, with distances from eight to 14 feet from the target.
Very high resolution, 1,350 lines of "strong detail." Average barrel distortion, higher than average pincushion.
The T1 performed well on the "laboratory" resolution test chart. It started showing artifacts in the test patterns at resolutions as low as 1,000 lines per picture height, in both horizontal and vertical directions. I found "strong detail" out to about 1,350 lines. "Extinction" of the target patterns didn't occur until about 1,600-1,650 lines.
Optical distortion on the T1 is average at the wide-angle end, where I measured approximately 0.8 percent barrel distortion. The telephoto end did only slightly better, as I measured 0.6 percent pincushion distortion there. The 0.8% barrel distortion at wide angle is average among the cameras I've tested, although I personally feel that that level is too high. At the telephoto end, 0.6% pincushion is quite a bit higher than average. Chromatic aberration is moderate, showing about six pixels of 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.) Although I saw a little softening in some images, most of my shots from the T1 showed relatively little of the softness in their corners that I've come to expect from subcompact digicam models.
Resolution Series, Wide Angle
Resolution Test, Telephoto
Viewfinder Accuracy/Flash Uniformity
Very good accuracy from the LCD monitor.
The T1 offers an unusually large, 2.5-inch LCD monitor for framing, which proved to be nearly 100 percent accurate at both wide angle and telephoto settings. In both shots, the measurement lines were just barely out of frame (particularly at the bottom), so I'd add a little extra space when framing is important. Given that I like LCD monitors to be as close to 100 percent accuracy as possible, the T1's LCD monitor does very well. Flash distribution is a little uneven at wide angle, with some falloff at the corners and edges of the frame. At telephoto, flash distribution is more uniform, though still with slight falloff in the corners.
T1 Test Images
T1 "Picky Details"
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Top 3 photos this month win:
1 Canon PIXMA PRO-100
2 Canon PIXMA MG6320
3 Canon PIXMA MG5420