Olympus Stylus 1 Image Quality


Color: The Olympus Stylus 1 produces realistic colors with fairly accurate saturation in most colors, though bright reds are noticeably pumped. Mean saturation is 105% or just 5% oversaturated. That's lower than the average of about 10% oversaturation, but still not too drab looking. In terms of hue accuracy, the Stylus 1 is pretty accurate, without only minor shifts in colors. The camera's average "delta-C" color error after correction for saturation is 4.41 at base ISO, which is better than average. When it comes to skin tones, darker skin tones show a slight push toward orange, and lighter skin tones are only a hint pink. Overall, pretty realistic and pleasing color performance.


Auto WB:
Close, slightly magenta
Incandescent WB:
A bit too warm
Manual WB:
Good, slightly cool

Incandescent: The Olympus Stylus 1's Auto white balance setting handled our household incandescent lighting fairly well, but with a slight magenta cast. Still, it performed better than average. The Incandescent setting is a bit too warm, with an orange cast. Switching to Manual white balance yielded the most accurate color performance, though perhaps just slightly on the cool side.


Gradation Setting
in Aperture Priority mode
Low

Sunlit: Similar to dynamic range optimization systems from other manufacturers, the Olympus Stylus 1's Gradation setting applies local contrast adjustments in an attempt to preserve shadow detail and prevent highlight clipping with the Auto setting. To the right are examples of the Normal (default), Auto, Low Key and High Key settings applied to our "Sunlit" Portrait shot. Mouse over the links to load the associated thumbnail, and click on the links to access full resolution images.

As you can see, the Low Key setting applies Gradation for making subjects darker, while the High Key setting does the opposite, for brighter subjects. The Auto setting did a good job toning down highlights while boosting shadows and darker midtones without making the image too flat-looking or washed-out, though overall exposure is a bit dim.


Horizontal: 2,050 lines
Vertical: 2,000 lines

Resolution: Our laboratory resolution chart reveal sharp, distinct line patterns down to about 2,050 lines per picture height horizontally and about 2,000 lines vertically, which is good for a 12-megapixel sensor. Extinction of the pattern occurred around 2,600 lines per picture height.


Range: Auto ISO
Good at 33.8 feet
Range: ISO 200
Bright at 12 feet
Auto Flash
Coverage: Wide Angle

Flash: Manufacturer-specified testing with Auto ISO resulted in a good, just slightly dim exposure at 33.8 feet, and the Stylus 1 boosted ISO to 1600 to achieve this. Our standard test at ISO 200 shows good brightness out to about 12 feet. And since the lens maintains the same maximum aperture of f/2.8 across its zoom range, flash range theoretically won't vary with focal length. This is good flash range performance for the type of camera.

Auto flash produced bright results in our indoor portrait scene, selecting f/2.8 and ISO 800, with a 1/60s shutter speed, though white balance is very warm from the ambient lighting. The relatively fast shutter should be sufficient at preventing blur from subject motion in typical portraits, and the Stylus 1's optical image stabilization will help avoid camera shake-induced blur. Shot taken at ~5 feet (~1.5m) on a stable tripod. Coverage is a little narrow at wide angle in our test, but that's to be expected and not as uneven as some. Coverage at telephoto is more even.


  1 fc
11 lux
1/2 fc
5.5 lux
1/4 fc
2.7 lux
1/8 fc
1.3 lux
1/16 fc
0.67 lux
1/16 fc
No NR
ISO
100
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2 s
f2.8
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4 s
f2.8
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8 s
f2.8
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15 s
f2.8
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30 s
f2.8
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30 s
f2.8
ISO
200
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1 s
f2.8
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2 s
f2.8
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4 s
f2.8
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8 s
f2.8
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15 s
f2.8
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15 s
f2.8
ISO
400
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0.5 s
f2.8
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1 s
f2.8
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2 s
f2.8
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4 s
f2.8
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8 s
f2.8
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8 s
f2.8
ISO
800
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1/4 s
f2.8
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0.5 s
f2.8
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1 s
f2.8
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2 s
f2.8
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4 s
f2.8
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4 s
f2.8
ISO
1600
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1/8 s
f2.8
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1/4 s
f2.8
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0.5 s
f2.8
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1 s
f2.8
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2 s
f2.8
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2 s
f2.8
ISO
3200
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1/15 s
f2.8
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1/8 s
f2.8
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1/4 s
f2.8
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0.5 s
f2.8
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1 s
f2.8
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1 s
f2.8
ISO
6400
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1/30 s
f2.8
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1/15 s
f2.8
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1/8 s
f2.8
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1/4 s
f2.8
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0.5 s
f2.8
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0.5 s
f2.8
ISO
12800
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1/60 s
f2.8
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1/30 s
f2.8
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1/15 s
f2.8
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1/8 s
f2.8
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1/4 s
f2.8
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1/4 s
f2.8

Low light: The Olympus Stylus 1 was able to capture a bright image at the lowest light level we test at (1/16 foot-candle) using its lowest ISO setting. Noise is relatively low, and Auto WB did a good job with color, just slightly on the cool side.

The camera's AF system was only able to focus down to the 1/4 foot-candle light level without AF assist enabled, but in complete darkness with the AF assist lamp enabled. Decent results here, but we had hoped low-light focusing without AF assist was a little better.

With its fast f/2.8 lens, optical image stabilization and larger than average (for a long zoom) 1/1.7"-type sensor, the Stylus 1 does quite well in low light for its class, though autofocus can struggle at lower light levels. Shots taken on a stable tripod.


100
200
400
800
1600
3200
6400
12,800

ISO: Noise and Detail: Fine detail is very good at ISOs 100 through 400, though both luma and chroma noise increase progressively from base ISO. ISO 800 shows a fair amount of fine detail, but smudging caused by default noise reduction is taking its toll. ISO 1600 comes with much stronger luminance noise giving images a much grainier look, while detail is further reduced. Image quality drops off rapidly from there with increasing noise and blurring from stronger noise reduction. Along with almost no fine detail, there's quite a bit of chroma noise and color bleeding at ISOs 6400 and 12,800 as the camera attempts to keep noise under control.

Still, as expected, the Stylus 1 performs slightly better than typical long-zooms using smaller 1/2.3" sensors at low to moderate ISOs, but its default noise reduction is a little heavy-handed at higher ISOs. It's also no surprise that it doesn't perform as well as Sony RX10 with its 1-inch type sensor, particularly at moderate to high ISOs. See Printed results below for more on how this affects prints.


Print Quality: Good 20 x 30 inch prints at ISO 100; a nice 8 x 10 at ISO 800; a good 4 x 6 at ISO 3200.

Canon PRO-1000 Printer ImageISO 100 prints are good at 20 x 30 inches, which is on the larger size for this type sensor. There is mild softness in our target red-leaf swatch, typical for most smaller sensors, but the prints are otherwise nice and crisp with good detail and color.

ISO 200 images look good at 16 x 20 inches, with only minor noise in a few flatter areas and the previously mentioned softness in our tricky red swatch.

ISO 400 shots are fairly good at 13 x 19 inches, with minor issues similar to the 16 x 20 at ISO 200.

ISO 800 prints an 11 x 14 that almost passes our "good" standard, and will be more than adequate for less critical applications, but there's a bit too much noise overall to merit our good rating. A reduction in size to 8 x 10 inches resolves most of the issues.

ISO 1600 yields a nice 5 x 7 inch print. 8 x 10's are too noisy in some areas and too soft in others to call good.

ISO 3200 produces a 5 x 7 inch print that will pass for most situations, but we'll reserve our "good" ranking for the 4 x 6 inch print here.

ISOs 6400 and 12,800 do not make good prints and are best avoided.

For a camera with a 1/1.7"-type sensor, the Olympus Stylus 1 does a good job in the print quality department. 20 x 30 inches at base ISO is great for this sensor, as many other cameras we've tested with a 1/1.7 sensor (the Olympus XZ2 and Canon G16 for example) remain at 16 x 20 inches, and you can print a good 8 x 10 all the way to ISO 800. After that, the adverse effects at higher ISOs from smaller sensors takes its usual toll, so if you can remain at ISO 800 and below you will be in better shape if you intend to enlarge your prints.

About our print-quality testing: Our "Reference Printer"

Canon PRO-1000 Printer ImageTesting hundreds of digital cameras, we've found that you can only tell so much about a camera's image quality by viewing its images on-screen. Ultimately, there's no substitute for printing a lot of images and examining them closely. For this reason, we routinely print sample images from the cameras we test on our Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 printer, which we named our "Printer of the Year" in our 2015 COTY awards.

The Canon PRO-1000 has a lot of characteristics that make it a natural to use for our "reference printer." When it comes to judging how well a camera's photos print, resolution and precise rendering are paramount. The PRO-1000's more than 18,000 individual nozzles combine with an air feeding system that provides exceptional droplet-placement accuracy. Its 11-color LUCIA PRO ink system delivers a wide color gamut and dense blacks, giving us a true sense of the cameras' image quality. To best see fine details, we've always printed on glossy paper, so the PRO-1000's "Chroma Optimizer" overcoat that minimizes "bronzing" or gloss differential is important to us. (Prior to the PRO-1000, we've always used dye-based printers, in part to avoid the bronzing problems with pigment-based inks.) Finally, we just don't have time to deal with clogged inkjet heads, and the PRO-1000 does better in that respect than any printer we've ever used. If you don't run them every day or two, inkjet printers tend to clog. Canon's thermal-inkjet technology is inherently less clog-prone than other approaches, but the PRO-1000 takes this a step further, with sensors that monitor every inkjet nozzle. If one clogs, it will assign another to take over its duties. In exchange for a tiny amount of print speed, this lets you defer cleaning cycles, which translates into significant ink savings. In our normal workflow, we'll often crank out a hundred or more letter-size prints in a session, but then leave the printer to sit for anywhere from days to weeks before the next camera comes along. In over a year of use, we've never had to run a nozzle-cleaning cycle on our PRO-1000.

See our Canon PRO-1000 review for a full overview of the printer from the viewpoint of a fine-art photographer.

*Disclosure: Canon provided us with the PRO-1000 and a supply of ink to use in our testing, and we receive advertising consideration for including this mention when we talk about camera print quality. Our decision to use the PRO-1000 was driven by the printer itself, though, prior to any discussion with Canon on the topic. (We'd actually been using an old Pixma PRO 9500II dye-based printer for years previously, and paying for our own ink, until we decided that the PRO-1000 was the next-generation printer we'd been waiting for.)


 

The images above were taken from our standardized test shots. For a collection of more pictorial photos, see our Olympus Stylus 1 Photo Gallery .

Not sure which camera to buy? Let your eyes be the ultimate judge! Visit our Comparometer(tm) to compare images from the Olympus Stylus 1 with those from other cameras you may be considering. The proof is in the pictures, so let your own eyes decide which you like best!



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