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Olympus E-400 with Zuiko Digital 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 ED Gordon Laing, November 2006

Outdoor / Resolution / Noise / Noise 2 / Corner sharpness / Fringe & macro / Geometry / Vignetting

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Olympus E-400 noise level comparison

 

To measure and compare the Olympus E-400's noise levels we photographed the standard Gretag Macbeth ColorChecker with it and a number of rival models using their best quality JPEG and default image tone, sharpening and noise reduction settings.

The crops are taken from the original images and presented here at 100%. To compare typical noise in skies and dark shadows the crops were taken from patches 3 and 24 respectively.



Putting tonal and colour differences due to the E-400's default Vivid mode aside, the crops show a clean result at 100 ISO, but some texture from noise speckles is already becoming visible at 200 ISO. At 400 ISO these speckles appear more obtrusive than most of the E-400's rivals, while at 800 and especially 1600 ISO they've become quite obvious.

At first this doesn't look good for the E-400, but as our next page of noise results shows, there's still plenty of detail recorded at higher sensitivities. Olympus has clearly opted for a less aggressive noise reduction strategy, which may have resulted in more visible speckling, especially on areas of flat colour as seen below, but with the maximum detail retained. This at least gives you the option of reducing the speckles with noise reduction software later if desired.

If you want cleaner-looking JPEGs out the camera at high ISOs, the Canon 400D / XTi is a better bet, but the E-400 is certainly capable of recording plenty of detail at high sensitivities.

Note: we have compared 100% crops from all the cameras here measuring 136x136 pixels. These represent smaller areas of the entire image on the higher resolution cameras. So any artefacts seen below will be more obvious on the lower resolution E-500 and L1, if each image were reproduced at the same size. That said, the difference in area is minimal in practice.



Olympus E-400
Canon 400D / XTi
Olympus E-500
Panasonic L1
Olympus E-400 at 100 ISO
Canon EOS 400D at 100 ISO
Olympus E-500 at 100 ISO
Panasonic L1 at 100 ISO
100 ISO
100 ISO
100 ISO
100 ISO
Olympus E-400 at 200 ISO
Canon EOS 400D at 200 ISO
Olympus E-500 at 200 ISO
Panasonic L1 at 200 ISO
200 ISO
200 ISO
200 ISO
200 ISO
Olympus E-400 at 400 ISO
Canon EOS 400D at 400 ISO
Olympus E-500 at 400 ISO
Panasonic L1 at 400 ISO
400 ISO
400 ISO
400 ISO
400 ISO
Olympus E-400 at 800 ISO
Canon EOS 400D at 800 ISO
Olympus E-500 at 800 ISO
Panasonic L1 at 800 ISO
800 ISO
800 ISO
800 ISO
800 ISO
Olympus E-400 at 1600 ISO
Canon EOS 400D at 1600 ISO
Olympus E-500 at 1600 ISO
Panasonic L1 at 1600 ISO
1600 ISO
1600 ISO
1600 ISO
1600 ISO
Olympus E-400 results continued...

Outdoor / Resolution / Noise / Noise 2 / Corner sharpness / Fringe & macro / Geometry / Vignetting
All words, images, videos and layout, copyright 2005-2014 Gordon Laing. May not be used without permission.

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