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ISO / Sensitivity noise levels (contd.)

The effect of in-camera noise reduction on detail

As we saw on the previous page the E-330 applies a pretty high level of noise reduction to JPEG images at sensitivities of ISO 800 and 1600. To prove that 'the detail is there' below you will find a comparison of those same crops as well as crops from RAW captures converted using Olympus Studio (with Noise Cancellation of 0) and Adobe Camera Raw 3.4 Beta (default settings). As you can see the E-330's in-camera noise reduction appears to do little to actually reduce chroma noise, instead concentrates on luminance (blurring mostly). Even better Adobe Camera RAW crops are available with Luminance Smoothing increased to '25' (ISO 800, ISO 1600).

JPEG
ISO 800
(1000 equiv.) **
RAW, Olympus Studio
ISO 800
(1000 equiv.) **
RAW, Adobe Camera RAW
ISO 800
(1000 equiv.) **
JPEG
ISO 1600
(2000 equiv.) **
RAW, Olympus Studio
ISO 1600
(2000 equiv.) **
RAW, Adobe Camera RAW
ISO 1600
(2000 equiv.) **

Luminance noise graph

Clearly Olympus has used the Canon EOS 350D as its benchmark for middle gray luminance noise, with a performance which virtually matches the EOS 350D measure for measure. Black patch (shadow; the dotted lines) luminance noise isn't as good however and rises above the EOS 350D from ISO 200. Don't forget however that the biggest differences here are in the amount of detail resolved at ISO 800 and 1600 (see previous page).

Chroma noise graph

Again a similar shaped graph to the EOS 350D although with slightly higher measures at each sensitivity.

Noise Filter graph

Bizarrely enabling the E-330's noise filter (selecting ON+NF for ISO Boost) has almost no effect on luminance noise, which is pretty much what we saw from the E-500. It does appear to help with chroma (color) noise at ISO 800 and 1600.

Effect of constant live view (B mode) over time

One concern we had (and has been aired on our forums) is the effect of heat build-up on the main sensor using B mode Live View. To test this we took noise measurements at ISO 100 and 1600 over a period of 10 minutes leaving the B mode Live View enabled all the time. As you can see there's no increase in noise even after 10 minutes.

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