Image Size / Quality

The C-3030Z offers no less than 15 different combinations of image size and quality. The slightly crazy thing is that depending on the image size you want the qualities are accessed through different menu options in different places.. I'd really have preferred two simple menu options, one for image size (2048 x 1536, 1600 x 1200, 1280 x 960, 1024 x 768, 640 x 480) and one for quality (TIFF, SHQ, HQ, SQ).

Standard Test Scene

To give an impression of what each combination of image size and quality produces the table below is a cross reference of image size against quality with an original image available for each, all images were shot within seconds of each other of the same subject. Please note that the TIFF images are VERY large (6.6 MB) please only download these images if (a) you really need to and (b) you have the bandwidth and intend to fully download the image, otherwise you're wasting bandwidth.

Camera settings: ISO 100, Aperture Priority (F8.0), Sharpening: Normal, White Balance: Auto, Measured light: 8 EV. Crops below have been expanded 200% for clarity (no resampling). Ambient room temperature: 24oC.

2048 x 1536
9,231 KB (Zipped 6,616 KB)

1,789 KB

678 KB

1600 x 1200

1,150 KB

1280 x 960

832 KB

1024 x 768

501 KB

640 x 480

159 KB

What becomes obvious from these samples is that JPEG compression becomes less of an issue as image sizes increase. At 3.3 megapixels even high compression doesn't show up significant artifacts. For typical shooting you could easily use NORMAL mode, switching to FINE mode for the occasional special shot. TIFF mode is hardly distinguishable from FINE but may be useful in the studio.

ISO (Sensitivity) Adjustment

ISO equivalence on a digital camera is the ability to increase the sensitivity of the CCD to allow for faster shutter speeds and/or better performance in low light. The way this works in a digital camera is by "turning up the volume" on the CCD's signal amplifiers. Nothing is without its price however and doing so also amplifies any noise that may be present. Below are three images, in order ISO 100, 200 and 400.

Camera settings: Full Manual (Aperture: F7.0), Sharpening: Normal, White Balance: Auto, Measured light: 3.9 EV. Ambient room temperature: 24oC.

1,742 KB

1,908 KB
ISO 100, 3.2 sec
ISO 200, 1.6 sec

1,521 KB
ISO 400, 1 sec

Putting the C-3030Z in Auto ISO mode it will automatically adjust the ISO for low light circumstances. The C-3030Z performed fairly well, with a few hot pixels visible and the obvious increase in noise as you go up the sensitivity range, these shutter speeds really are the torture test for a digital camera. That said colour rendition is still good and there are techniques for removing noise.

Picture Effects

The C-3030Z features a range of picture effects which are applied as filters after the image is taken (and are also shown in the live preview). Below are four samples representing each of the picture effect modes.

Camera settings: ISO 100, Aperture Priority (F8.0), Sharpening: Normal, White Balance: Auto, Measured light: 8 EV.

1,597 KB

1,986 KB
Black & White

1,404 KB

1,306 KB
White Board (or Photoshop saved GIF 94KB)
Black Board (or Photoshop saved GIF 93KB)

The White Board & Black Board modes are very useful for taking "cheap scans" of documents (ever wanted to be a spy?) or for work in the classroom or seminars for making a permanent record. One curiosity is that they come out as simple 2 colour images (no antialiasing) but are saved as 24-bit JPEG's which makes them the same size as other images... GIF format would have worked well here.