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Image Processing: Sharpening / Contrast

Behold! The designers at Olympus do listen to us! If you read about sharpening in my C-3030Z review you'll note that I complained that Olympus seemed to have tied the sharpening and contrast algorithms together, when you changed the sharpening level the image contrast also changed. On the C-3040Z we can now control Image Sharpening and Contrast independently of each other

Sharpening (Normal Contrast)

Low Sharpening Normal Sharpening High sharpening

Contrast (Normal Sharpening)

Low Contrast Normal Contrast High Contrast

If you don't mind (or are inclined to) post-processing your images the Low Contrast / Normal (or Low) Sharpening seem to be the best option, Low Contrast appears to maintain the most image information and produce the "flattest" most natural image, although this won't be to everyone's taste.


Aperture Priority (A)

Aperture priority is where you designate the aperture and the camera calculates the best shutter speed. Used properly Aperture Priority can be invaluable as it has a direct effect on depth of field (the distance in front and behind the focal point which will be in focus when taking the shot). As you adjust the aperture the camera immediately reflects this change in the image on the LCD screen.

The C-3040Z continues the Olympus tradition of providing the photographer with a wide range of creative control with the number of apertures available in aperture priority mode:

  • Wide: F1.8, F2.0, F2.3, F2.6, F2.8, F3.2, F3.6, F4.0, F4.5, F5.0, F5.6, F6.3, F7.0, F8.0, F9.0, F10.0
  • Tele: F2.6, F2.8, F3.2, F3.5, F4.0, F4.5, F5.0, F5.6, F6.3, F7.0, F8.0, F9.0, F10.0

Aperture priority is available in the manual exposure mode (marked A/S/M on the exposure dial), you have to ensure you have selected mode "A" from the menu, apertures are selected by pressing the up/down arrow on the 4-way keypad. A basic example of the use of aperture priority to control depth of field is shown below:

F2.6, 1/50 sec, narrow depth of field F10, 1/3 sec, large depth of field


Shutter Priority (S) / Manual Exposure (M)

Shutter priority is where you designate the shutter speed and the camera calculates the correct aperture. Shutter priority is available in the manual exposure mode (marked A/S/M on the exposure dial), you have to ensure you have selected mode "S" from the menu, shutter speeds are selected by pressing the up/down arrow on the 4-way keypad. These are the available shutter speeds:

  • 1/800, 1/650, 1/500, 1/400, 1/320, 1/250, 1/200, 1/160, 1/125, 1/100, 1/80, 1/60, 1/50, 1/40, 1/30, 1/25, 1/20, 1/15, 1/13, 1/10, 1/8, 1/6, 1/5, 1/4, 1/3, 1/2.5, 1/2, 1/1.6, 1/1.3, 1, 1.3, 1.6, 2, 2.5, 3.2, 4 secs

Additionally in Manual Exposure mode (mode "M" from the menu) there are even slower shutter speeds available:

  • 5, 6, 8, 10, 13 16 secs


Manual Focus

On the C-3040Z Olympus have used the same excellent manual focus control we saw on the C-2020Z and C-3030Z, during manual focusing the center portion of the frame is magnified and a small ruler indicator on the right side of the live view gives a readout of the current focus position. The example below was produced using manual focus to select our exact focus position.

Focused on front crayon Focused on back crayon
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