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Digital Cameras - Olympus D-560 Zoom 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, 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:

Great job, despite a slight magenta cast, with good resolution and detail.

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 D-560 Zoom performed pretty well in this respect.

The shot at right was taken with a +0.5 EV exposure compensation adjustment, which brightened the midtones at the expense of some highlight detail. (It was a bit of a toss-up whether to go with this shot or the one at +1.0 EV, but I settled for this one as it didn't lose as much of the highlights.) I chose the Daylight white balance, despite a slight magenta cast. The Auto produced slightly greenish results. (Both were well within acceptable limits.)

Skin tones are slightly magenta, and the blue flowers in the bouquet are a little dark, but the 560 still did quite a bit better than most cameras on this shot. (This is a very difficult blue for many digicams to get right. For reference, the flowers are a light navy blue.) The camera handles the strong reds and greens in the bouquet pretty well, with just a hint of oversaturation in the red highlights.

Resolution is high, with a lot of fine detail visible throughout the frame, even in the shadows. The contrast is a little high for my taste, but the D560's bright, snappy photos will be appealing to most consumers. Details are also sharp, and image noise the shadows is low. An excellent job all around.

To view the entire exposure series from zero to +1.0 EV, see files D56OUTDP0.HTM through D56OUTDP3.HTM on the thumbnail index page.


Closer Portrait:

Excellent resolution and detail.

Overall color is similar to the wider shot above, and the D-560 Zoom's 3x zoom lens helps prevent strong distortion of Marti's features. Detail is excellent, as Marti's face and hair show a lot of fine detail. (So much detail, in fact, that I won't show this to Marti at full-size.) The shot at right was taken at the default exposure setting, which produced a nicely balanced exposure with only the strongest highlights blown out. Shadow detail is again strong, with very low noise.

To view the entire exposure series from zero to +0.7 EV, see files D56FACDP0.HTM through D56FACDP2.HTM on the thumbnail index page.

Indoor Portrait, Flash:
Normal Flash
+1.5 EV

Underexposed with default setting, but exposure compensation fixed it - good overall color.

The D-560 Zoom's built-in flash was a little dim at the default exposure setting, requiring a +1.5 EV exposure compensation adjustment to get a brighter exposure. This is slightly more exposure compensation than that required by most cameras on this shot, but the overall color is pretty good, with only a faint orange/magenta cast on the back wall from the background incandescent lighting. Marti's white shirt is almost too bright, but decreasing the exposure compensation resulted in a blue cast on her features.

To view the entire exposure series, from zero to +1.3 EV, see files D56INFP0.HTM through D56INFP4.HTM on the thumbnail index page.


Indoor Portrait, No Flash:
Auto White Balance
Incandescent White Balance

Slight color casts with both Auto and Incandescent settings, but better than average results overall.

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 D-560 Zoom did very well here, with its Auto white balance setting producing a slight pink cast, and the Incandescent setting yielding a slightly green image. I chose the pink tone of the Auto setting for the main series, finding it the more pleasing of the two, and conveying some of the warmth of the room lighting. The pink cast does color Marti's skin tone, almost like a mild sunburn, but the overall color is still quite good for auto white balance on this shot. The blue flowers came out quite dark and purplish, probably to be expected, though, considering the light source. The shot at right has a +1.0 EV exposure compensation adjustment, which results in a good overall exposure.

To view the entire exposure series from zero to +1.0 EV, see files D56INAP0.HTM through D56INAP3.HTM on the thumbnail index page.


House Shot:
Auto White Balance
Daylight White Balance

Slight color casts with both white balances, but great resolution and detail.

Though slightly yellow, the D-560 Zoom's Daylight white balance setting produced the best color here. The Auto setting resulted in a strong red cast, and a slightly magenta sky. Resolution is high, with great detail in the tree limbs above the roof, as well as the shrubbery in front of the house. Details are just a hint soft, with slightly increased softness in all four corners of the frame. Very good overall though.


Far-Field Test

Great resolution and detail, with good 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 D-560 Zoom performs well. Detail is strong in the tree limbs over the roof and fine foliage in front of the house, with good definition in the larger leaf patterns and in the tree bark. In-camera sharpening does a good job here, as details are pretty sharp throughout the frame. However, the two right corners of the frame are just slightly soft. The camera picks up the stronger details in the bright white paint surrounding the bay window, which is a trouble spot for many digicams. Detail is also good in the brick pattern of the shadow area above the front door, evidence of a pretty good dynamic range. Overall color is slightly reddish, and the overall exposure is slightly dark. A good job overall though. The table below shows a standard resolution and quality series.

Resolution Series:

Wide Angle "Fine"
2,048 x 1,536
1,024 x 768  
640 x 480  


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 D-560 Zoom's lens is equivalent to a 35-105mm zoom on a 35mm camera. That corresponds to an average wide angle to a moderate substantial telephoto. Following are the results at each zoom setting.

Wide Angle
3x Telephoto
3.3x Digital Telephoto


Musicians Poster
Auto White Balance
Daylight White Balance

Slightly magenta, but still pretty good color, good 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 Auto and Daylight white balance settings produced moderate color casts here, though I chose the Daylight setting for the main image. (The Auto setting was much too warm.) The slight magenta cast of the Daylight setting results in purplish tints in the blue background, as well as in the deep shadows of the blue robe. Resolution is high, with great detail in the embroidery of the blue robe. Likewise, the beaded necklaces and the flower garland show good definition.


Macro Shot
Standard Macro Shot
Macro with Flash

A very large macro area, though good detail and color.

The D-560 Zoom captured a fairly large macro area, measuring 7.71 x 5.78 inches (196 x 147 millimeters). Resolution is moderately high, with good detail in the dollar bill, coins, and brooch. Corner softness is present, but barely noticeable. The D-560 Zoom's flash almost throttles down too much for the macro area, with strong falloff in the corners of the frame. (Overall, the D-560 wouldn't be your first choice if you had a lot of macro shooting to do.)


"Davebox" Test Target
Auto White Balance
Daylight White Balance

Moderate color casts with both white balances, but nearly accurate exposure and saturation.

The D-560 Zoom's Auto white balance again produced a reddish color cast, giving the large white color block a pink tint. The Daylight setting produced more of a warm, yellow cast. The shot is just slightly underexposed, and the D-560 Zoom has no trouble distinguishing the subtle tonal variations of the Q60 target. Though reddish, colors are bright and vibrant in the large color blocks, although I found the additive primary colors (red, green, and blue) a tad oversaturated. The shadow area of the charcoal briquettes shows pretty good detail, with low noise. Apart from the slight color casts, an excellent job.


Low-Light Tests

Just sensitive enough for average city street lighting at night.

The D-560 Zoom has a maximum, two-second exposure time, accessible through the camera's Night Scene exposure mode. (The longer exposures are only available in Night Scene mode.) Even in this mode, the camera captured bright, usable images only as low as one foot-candle (11 lux), about the equivalent of city street lighting at night. Color balance was slightly warm and reddish with the Auto white balance, going to a pinkish cast in the darker images. Image noise is low. Based on information in the EXIF headers of the JPEG files, it seems that the D-560 boosts its ISO setting automatically at low light levels, but this effect didn't seem to kick in quite as early as it should have. (If the ISO had been boosted a bit more, the photo at 1/2 foot-candle would have been perfectly acceptable.) The table below shows the best exposure we were able to obtain for each of a range of illumination levels. Images in this table (like all of our sample photos) are untouched, exactly as they came from the camera.

Click to see D56LLN03.JPG
1.6 secs
ISO: 64
Click to see D56LLN04.JPG
2 secs
ISO: 85
Click to see D56LLN05.JPG
2 secs
ISO: 130
Click to see D56LLN06.JPG
2 secs
ISO: 156
Click to see D56LLN07.JPG
2 secs
ISO: 167


Flash Range Test

A powerful flash, with only a little falloff at the 14 foot limit of the test. High image noise at greater distances though.

In my testing, the D-560 Zoom's flash illuminated the test target all the way out to 14 feet quite well, without any significant decrease in intensity. To achieve this impressive performance though, the D-560 boosts its ISO quite a bit, ending up at ISO 400 at the 14-foot distance. This results in quite a bit of image noise in the shots at greater range. Not a bad tradeoff for most people, I suspect, but something to be aware of. Below is the flash range series, with distances from eight to 14 feet from the target.


8 ft 9 ft 10 ft 11 ft 12 ft 13 ft 14 ft
Click to see D56FL08.JPG
1/ 60 secs
ISO: 106
Click to see D56FL09.JPG
1/ 60 secs
ISO: 121
Click to see D56FL10.JPG
1/ 100 secs
ISO: 186
Click to see D56FL11.JPG
1/ 100 secs
ISO: 210
Click to see D56FL12.JPG
1/ 100 secs
ISO: 265
Click to see D56FL13.JPG
1/ 100 secs
ISO: 334
Click to see D56FL14.JPG
1/ 100 secs
ISO: 400


ISO-12233 (WG-18) Resolution Test

Good resolution, 1,000 lines of "strong detail." Slightly higher than average barrel distortion, but virtually no pincushion.

The D-560 Zoom performed well on the "laboratory" resolution test chart. It started showing artifacts in the test patterns at resolutions as low as 700 lines per picture height vertically, and around 600 lines horizontally. I found "strong detail" out to at least 1,000 lines in the vertical direction, and as high as 1,050 lines in the horizontal direction. "Extinction" of the target patterns didn't occur until about 1,200 lines.

Optical distortion on the D-560 Zoom is slightly 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 found only about a half-pixel of pincushion distortion. (That'd be about 0.03 percent pincushion.) Chromatic aberration is pretty good: There's as much as 5-6 pixels of blurring in the corners of the frame, but the color from the chromatic aberration is pretty weak. (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.) The only other distortion I noticed was some fairly slight corner softness in a number of my test photos.

Resolution Series, Wide Angle
Wide Angle "Fine"
2,048 x 1,536
1,024 x 768
640 x 480


Resolution Test, Telephoto
2,048 x 1,536
(Fine, Tele)


Viewfinder Accuracy/Flash Uniformity

A very tight optical viewfinder, but the LCD monitor is near perfect.

The D560 Zoom's optical viewfinder is very tight, showing only about 74 percent of the final frame at wide angle, and approximately 78 percent at telephoto. The LCD monitor fared much better, showing approximately 97 percent frame accuracy at wide angle, and approximately 98 percent at telephoto. Given that I like LCD monitors to be as close to 100 percent accuracy as possible, the D-560 Zoom's LCD monitor performed well in that regard, but I'd really like to see a more accurate optical viewfinder. Flash distribution is fairly even at wide angle, with just a little falloff at the corners of the frame. At telephoto, flash distribution is more uniform, but dimmer.

Wide Angle, Optical

Telephoto, Optical

Wide Angle, LCD

Telephoto, LCD

D-560 Review
D-560 Test Images
D-560 Specifications
D-560 "Picky Details"
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