JPEG/TIFF Image Size & Quality

The C-3040Z offers no less than 15 different combinations of image size and quality. Again I'm unhappy that Olympus haven't simply split the image size and image quality settings into two different selections, instead you have TIFF (2048 x 1536), SHQ (2048 x 1536) and HQ (2048 x 1536) then SQ1 which can be reprogrammed to 1600 x 1200 or 1280 x 960 and SQ2 which can be reprogrammed to 1024 x 768 or 640 x 480 and either of these can also be set to FINE or NORMAL. Confusing? It can be.

Standard Test Scene

To give an impression of what some of the combinations of image size and quality produce the table below is a cross reference of some of them:

  • 2048 x 1536 TIFF
  • 2048 x 1536 SHQ JPEG
  • 2048 x 1536 HQ JPEG
  • 1600 x 1200 SQ1 FINE JPEG
  • 1024 x 768 SQ2 FINE JPEG

Images below are cropped 240 x 100 area of the image magnified 200% (nearest neighbour).

2048 x 1536
9,231 KB (Not available for download)

1,639 KB

657 KB

1600 x 1200

1,243 KB

1024 x 768

470 KB

I'm still baffled as to why Olympus chose the two extremes of SHQ and HQ, SHQ images often weigh in around 2 MB while HQ images are around 700 KB, obviously SHQ are virtually indistinguishable from TIFF's, which is good news but what's not so good is that even on a 64 MB SmartMedia card you're not going to fit many SHQ's (around 35). HQ is a little too aggressive, artifcats are easily visible around details. Please Olympus.. next time consider either another compression level around 1.2 MB or reprogram HQ.

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 and often affects colour saturation.

The C-3040Z features three selectable ISO sensitivities of 100, 200 and 400 as well as the same Auto mode we saw on the C-3030Z (varies sensitivity between ISO 100 and 400 automatically depending on available light).

ISO 100, 1/2 s, F9.0
ISO 200, 1/5 s, F9.0
ISO 400, 1/10 s, F9.0

Not a bad performance, but nothing amazing, the same kinds of noise levels we were expecting and have seen previously on other 3 megapixel digital cameras. ISO 100 is a little cleaner than most, and does appear to be better than last years C-3030Z.

Picture Effects

The C-3040Z offers the same set of "post processing" picture effects that we found on the C-3030Z, they are B&W, Sepia, White Board (black text on white background) and Black Board (white text on black background). I'm still baffled as to why White & Blackboard images aren't output as GIF (around 200 KB) instead of JPEG (around 1 MB) which is far less suited to bitmap graphics. The "as GIF" links below are the images re-saved as GIF (Photoshop).

No picture effect B&W picture effect Sepia Picture effect
White board (as GIF) Black board (as GIF)