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Compared to the Olympus C-50Z and Canon S50

For the comparison we were lucky enough to have three compact five megapixel digital cameras in the studio at the same time. All of these cameras are based around a 1/1.8" (7.2 x 5.3 mm) size five megapixel CCD sensor (although we can't confirm if it's the exact same sensor from the same manufacturer). The Optio 550 has a five times optical zoom lens, the Olympus C-50 Zoom and Canon S50 both with three times optical zoom lenses.

Studio scene comparison

  • Pentax Optio 550: Aperture Priority, ISO 64, Default Image Parameters,
    Manual preset white balance, Exposure Compensation: +0.3 EV
  • Olympus C-50 Zoom: Aperture Priority, ISO 80
    Automatic preset white balance, Exposure Compensation: +0.3 EV
  • Canon PowerShot S50: Aperture Priority, ISO 50, Default Image Parameters,
    Manual preset white balance, Exposure Compensation: +0.0 EV

Each square crop is a 200% magnification of a 80 x 80 portion of the image.

Pentax Optio 550 Olympus C-50 Zoom Canon PowerShot S50
ISO 64, 1/4 sec, F5.0 ISO 80, 1/4 sec, F4.8 ISO 50, 1/5 sec, F5.0
2,380 KB JPEG 2,181 KB JPEG 2,067 KB JPEG

The Optio 550 performed quite well, noise levels were higher than the Canon PowerShot S50, but lower than the Olympus C-50 Zoom.. Resolution, the ability to resolve detail, was at least as good as the PowerShot S50 (better in places) and certainly better than the C-50 Zoom. Color balance was good, the manual white balance absolutely spot on. No noticeable demosaic artifacts, although sharpening halos were more visible than the PowerShot S50. Overall a good performance by the Optio 550, more standing its ground with the more expensive offering from Canon.

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