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Compared to Nikon Coolpix 990 and Sony DSC-F505V

As usual I chose the Nikon Coolpix 990 as the benchmark 3 megapixel digital camera, but as a consequence of my comments in the F505V review I thought it would be useful to compare the PhotoPC 3000Z to the F505V as well. As with all my reviews I try to present a comparison with other digital cameras. In these sets of sample images the cameras were setup in exactly the same manner, had the same subjects, lighting and camera settings (as close as possible) and shots taken within minutes of each other. For comparison with other digital cameras use the resolution charts and colour patches now available through the camera specification database.

Scene Comparison One

Epson PhotoPC 3000Z
 
Nikon Coolpix 990
 
Sony DSC-F505V

As we'd expect the F505V exhibits the best colour and colour saturation, it also just pips the 990 and 3000Z for sharpness (especially considering resolution). That said the 3000Z isn't far behind the 990, although you can see images are softer with less detail definition. But on the whole there's not a HUGE AMOUNT between them.

Colour Chart Comparison

Shot in daylight, Auto White Balance, EV compensation +0.3 (all cameras), measured light ~10 EV.

Epson PhotoPC 3000Z Nikon Coolpix 990
 
Sony DSC-F505V  

Very very little between the 3000Z and Coolpix 990 from a colour point of view, you can see the F505V's better colour in the rendition of blue and magenta. The 3000Z's blue was particularly weak.

We're only measuring colour below. RGB values below were taken from a VGA reduced image (to average colours and eliminate JPEG artifacts) using the Eyedropper tool in Photoshop with a 5 by 5 Average Sample Size.

  Epson PhotoPC 3000Z Nikon Coolpix 990 Sony DSC-F505V
 
Patch White 196,196,196 201,201,201 178,182,182
     
Middle Gray 90,90,90 104,104,104 79,81,87
     
Patch Red 198,30,45 223,52,58 187,15,32
     
Patch Green 0,138,61 5,149,63 3,135,41
     
Patch Blue 44,32,82 60,50,112 40,25,123
     

Resolution Comparison

Shots here are of the PIMA/ISO 12233 standard resolution test chart (more available for comparison in our comparison database). Studio light, cameras set to auto, Exposure compensation +0.7 EV for all cameras. How to read the charts: All values are 1/100 th lines/picture height/width. So the "10" value equates to 1000.

Epson PhotoPC 3000Z
Nikon Coolpix 990
Sony DSC-F505V

Measurable findings (three measurements taken for each camera):

Camera Measurement Absolute Res. Extinction Res.
Epson
PhotoPC 3000Z
Horiz LPH 900 1100
Vert LPH 900 1200
5o Diagonal LPH 900 n/a
Nikon
Coolpix 990
Horiz LPH 900 1300
Vert LPH 900 1400
5o Diagonal LPH 900 n/a
Sony
DSC-F505V
Horiz LPH 950 1300
Vert LPH 950 1250
5o Diagonal 900 n/a

Definition of terms:

LPH Lines per Picture Height (to allow for different aspect ratios the measurement is the same for horizontal and vertical)
5o Diagonal Lines set at 5o diagonal
Absolute Resolution Still defined detail (below Nyquist frequency*)
Extinction Resolution Detail beyond camera's definition (becomes a solid gray alias)
n/a Not Available (above the capability of the test chart)
n/v Not Visible (not visible on test results)

* Nyquist frequency defined as the highest spatial frequency where the CCD can still faithfully record
image detail. Beyond the Nyquist frequency aliasing occurs.

For resolution chart at least the Epson PhotoPC 3000Z appears to match the Nikon Coolpix 990, although closer inspection of sample images shows the 990 still has the edge over the 3000Z very slightly.

Red Channel Noise

When we first started reviewing the new batch of 3 megapixel digital cameras we noticed visible noise on flat blue areas, this turned out to be in the red channel and was thus dubbed "Red Channel Noise", we can see this as information in the red channel where there shouldn't be any. The samples below are of 50 x 50 blocks cropped from the colour comparison charts above of the Blue and Cyan patches, each block is then broken down into it's red green and blue channels and reflected as such directly beneath.

What we're most interested in is the amount of RED in what should be pure BLUE samples, of all three cameras the F505V shows the best performance (most pure blue samples) followed by the Epson PhotoPC 3000Z and lastly Nikon's Coolpix 990.

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