JPEG/TIFF Image Size & Quality

Standard Test Scene

The C-700UZ offers no less than 12 different combinations of image size and quality. Once more I'm unhappy that Olympus haven't simply split the image size and image quality settings into two different selections, instead you have TIFF (1600 x 1200, 1280 x 960, 1024 x 768 or 640 x 480), SHQ (1600 x 1200) and HQ (1600 x 1200) then SQ which can be programmed to 1280 x 960, 1024 x 768 or 640 x 480 at either FINE or NORMAL JPEG quality. Confusing? It can be.

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:

  • 1600 x 1200 TIFF
  • 1600 x 1200 SHQ JPEG
  • 1600 x 1200 HQ JPEG
  • 1280 x 960 SQ FINE JPEG
  • 1024 x 768 SQ FINE JPEG
  • 640 x 480 SQ FINE JPEG

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

1600 x 1200
5,640 KB (Not available for download)

1,639 KB

657 KB

1280 x 960

1,243 KB

1024 x 768

470 KB

640 x 480

470 KB

Apart from the obvious aberrations and moiré pattern (which I'll cover later) on the whole the SHQ JPEG format is of a very high quality (low compression) and therefore there's little chance you'll need to use the TIFF format often. Lower resolutions are rendered sharply and do offer a certain amount of improvement thanks to the 'sampling out' of errors.

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-700UZ features four selectable ISO sensitivities of 100, 200, 400 and 800 as well as the same Auto mode we've seen on other Olympus digital cameras (sensitivity varies between ISO 100 and 200 automatically). The availability of ISO 800 is unusual, perhaps Olympus have added it in to help get faster shutter speeds at long focal lengths (considering the C-700UZ doesn't have an image stabilizer).

ISO 100, 1/40 s, F4.0
ISO 200, 1/60 s, F4.0
ISO 400, 1/125 s, F4.0
ISO 800, 1/250 s, F4.0

Credit where credit is due, the C-700UZ's ISO 100 is relatively clean with only a slight hint of chromatic noise. Even ISO 200 and 400 are usable, certainly at lower resolutions any of the noise you can see here would be evened out. ISO 800 is a bit of a gamble, it could certainly be used if you only need a 640 x 480 image.

Picture Effects

The C-700UZ 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). As I commented in my C-3040Z review it's a shame the white board / black board modes weren't implemented as GIF format (best suited to monochrome compression).

No picture effect B&W picture effect Sepia Picture effect
White board Black board