JPEG/TIFF Image Size & Quality

The E-10 is unique in allowing the user to re-programme the default SQ, HQ and SHQ JPEG image presets to be any combination of image size (2248 x 1680, 1600 x 1200, 1280 x 960, 10247 x 768 or 640 x 480) and JPEG compression ratios (1/2.7, 1/4 and 1/8). Kudos to Olympus for finally leaving the decision about image quality / size in the hands of the photographer (next time perhaps we could have the ratio as a numeric which can be set in the range of 1/2 - 1/16). For TIFF and RAW files can only be saved at the maximum 2480 x 1680 resolution.

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 each image quality mode (although not every possible combination!).

For the samples below the SHQ, HQ and SQ JPEG modes were programmed to:

  • SHQ: 2240 x 1680 JPEG 1/2.7
  • HQ: 2240 x 1680 JPEG 1/4
  • SQ: 2240 x 1680 JPEG 1/8

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

2240 x 1680
12,072 KB (Not available for download)
Imported with "Auto Image Process" and resaved as best quality JPEG (2.6 MB)
Original ORF (7 MB)
2,418 KB
1,730 KB
737 KB

1600 x 1200
789 KB

1280 x 960
492 KB

1024 x 768

371 KB

640 x 480

131 KB

What's interesting here is the difference in white balance between RAW imported with "Auto" (I assume this corrects white balance) and the other images (which had a fixed white balance of Daylight). Quality wise SHQ (1/2.7) is virtually identical to TIFF, HQ (1/4) loses very little and would be the ideal choice (IMHO).

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 E-10 features four ISO settings: Auto which will automatically select the sensitivity depending on the amount of available light, and three "standard" ISO's of 80, 160 and 320.

ISO 80, 1/40 s, F2.2
ISO 160, 1/60 s, F2.2
ISO 320, 1/100 s, F2.8

As you can see there's noise even at ISO 80, although it's not so bad as to be distracting, both ISO 160 and 320 are usable, and certainly if you were reducing these images down in size or printing at anything smaller than 8" x 11" this amount of noise wouldn't be a problem.