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Compared to... (contd.)

Colour Chart Comparison

Now we can compare the C-3040Z to a few of other cameras, using samples from our test archives we will now compare its image quality to the Nikon Coolpix 990, Canon PowerShot G1 and Sony DSC-S75.

Colour charts are shot in daylight, Auto White Balance, EV compensation +0.3 (all cameras), measured light ~10 EV.

Olympus C-3040Z Nikon Coolpix 990
Canon PowerShot G1 Sony DSC-S75

The C-3040Z produces more neutral results from our colour patches, closer to those seen from the Nikon Coolpix 990, though slightly less saturated (blue and green suffering the most). The lead in this comparison is once more taken by the Sony DSC-S75 closely followed by Canon's 'cooler' G1.

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.

 

Olympus
C-3040Z

Nikon Coolpix
990
Canon PowerShot
G1
Sony
DSC-S75
Patch White 201,202,201 201,201,201 214,208,208 193,195,194
       
Middle Gray 102,102,100 104,104,104 97,96,102 90,94,95
       
Patch Red 195,29,36 223,52,58 186,33,53 205,0,26
       
Patch Green 8,136,61 5,149,63 26,149,73 34,138,34
       
Patch Blue 41,33,84 60,50,112 55,49,117 31,24,152
       

Red Channel Noise

Something we noticed early on with the current crop of 3 megapixel cameras was a certain amount of noise in the red channel, even at normal shutter speeds. This was most visible in the light blue of skies or painted walls. Our colour patch test chart turned out to be a good "leveller" and a way to measure the performance of one camera to the next.

The samples below are of 40 x 40 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 below.

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.

Olympus C-3040Z
Nikon Coolpix 990
Canon PowerShot G1
Sony DSC-S75

Measurable findings (three measurements taken for each camera):

Camera Measurement Absolute Res. Extinction Res.
Olympus
C-3040Z
Horiz LPH 1000* 1300
Vert LPH 1000* 1350
5o Diagonal LPH 900* n/a
Nikon
Coolpix 990
Horiz LPH 900 1300
Vert LPH 900 1400
5o Diagonal LPH 900 n/a
Canon
PowerShot G1
Horiz LPH 950* 1300
Vert LPH 950* 1400
5o Diagonal LPH 900* n/a
Sony
DSC-S75
Horiz LPH 1050 1400
Vert LPH 1050 1500
5o Diagonal LPH 1000 n/a

* Strong moiré is visible

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.

About what we'd expected, the C-3040Z with its new lens is now slightly sharper than Canon's G1 and the Nikon Coolpix 990, indeed it's getting close to the Sony DSC-S75's ultra-sharp resolution, however at these high frequencies its clear to see moiré patterns in the resolution chart.

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