Compared to the Pentax Optio 550 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 Pentax 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

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

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

In this comparison the Olympus C-50 Zoom looses out to both of the other cameras for several reasons. Firstly the C-50 Zoom doesn't have manual white balance and it's automatic white balance was no match for the other camera's manual. Secondly it didn't appear to have the same resolution as either of the other cameras, it was probably closer to the PowerShot S50 in this respect but still not quite there. The C-50 Zoom was also let down by noise, something which appears to have crept in for these longer shutter speeds, as it did perform well in our earlier noise tests. Lastly it exhibits some demosaic / jagged diagonal artifacts in various places around the image which aren't visible on the other shots.