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The good news

The C-2500L produces excellent images which are very well metered (exposed), brightly yet accurately coloured, sharp and detailed. Class leading resolution leads to an ability to capture details beyond other digital cameras. Images taken with the C-2500L have a depth and a true 3D quality to them and you'll find yourself ooh-ing and ahh-ing when you finally view them on a decent monitor / LCD...


Problems

There were a few noticeable problems, the first is that there is some chromatic distortion at the edge of highly overexposed areas, this is represented by a purple fringe (similar but less than that found on the ikon Coolpix 950), the second is CCD noise even at ISO100. The second and third are related, firstly barrel distortion at full Wide and Pincushion distortion at full Tele. Two effects which are noticeable on other digicams but something I didn't expect to be so prominent as it was on the C-2500L.

Samples below are shown as the full image first followed by a 200% crop from the same image. Click on any image for the original untouched image.

Chromatic Aberrations
 
Flat area CCD noise




 
Noise visible in dark shadow areas (not necessarily more than found on other digicams)
Barrel Distortion
 
Pincushion Distortion
At full Wide angle barrel distortion is very obvious (center the barreled-out effect).
 
At full Tele some Pincushion distortion can be seen (center the pinched-in effect).

 


Long exposure "stuck pixels"

Something which did become quickly apparent was the number of "stuck pixels" on long exposures, to demonstrate this I took the same images below first with the C-2500L and then with the Nikon Coolpix 950. Both exposures were 4 seconds in length at ~ F5.\

Images below are crops of the same area from the scene, brightness was increased by 50% in both images and then the crops were blown up 200% for better visibility. Click on the crop for the original untouched image.

Olympus C-2500L
 
Nikon Coolpix 950
Alot of visible "stuck pixels" and poor focus / sharpness.
 
Some noise visible, better focus, better sharpness.

 


Compared to the Nikon Coolpix 950

The Coolpix 950 has long (well, in the digicam world) ruled supreme as the best all-rounder, with the announcement and release of the C-2500L Olympus have raised the stakes and I decided to do a very quick and simple comparison of the two cameras.

Samples below are shown as the full image first followed by a 200% crop from the same image. Click on any image for the original untouched image.

Olympus C-2500L
 
Nikon Coolpix 950



The C-2500L produced less "warm" colours which were actually more accurate than the 950, the C-2500L image was sharper and slightly more detailed, but also had more visible noise.
 
Olympus C-2500L
 
Nikon Coolpix 950


The Coolpix 950 messed up the white balance here (both cameras were set to auto white balance) and didn't focus as accurately as the C-2500L. The C-2500L also produced a brighter sharper and better colour balanced image. More noise visible on the C-2500L image.
 
Olympus C-2500L
 
Nikon Coolpix 950
Olympus C-2500L
Nikon Coolpix 950
The images above were shot with both cameras in uncompressed TIFF format, loaded into Photoshop and saved as a best quality JPEG (~1.4MB each). Note the slightly different shooting angle which caused the C-2500L to shoot at 1/80s, the 950 at 1/60s (my fault admittedly, I should have moved the tripod more to compensate for the CP950 offset lens). Both cameras had their white balance set manually against a white sheet, and obviously from the results above the C-2500L does a better job of this producing a very naturally coloured image, also notice how much better the C-2500L copes with highlights showing it's much better "dynamic range".
 
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