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

Olympus E-400 gallery

The following images were taken with the Olympus E-400 using the Zuiko Digital 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 lens. The E-400 was set SHQ quality, Auto White Balance, Digital ESP Metering and its default Vivid Picture Mode. The individual exposure mode, file sizes, shutter speeds, aperture, ISO and lens focal length are listed for each image.

The crops are taken from the original files, reproduced at 100% and saved in Adobe Photoshop CS2 as JPEGs with the default Very High quality preset, while the resized images were made in Photoshop CS2 and saved with the default High quality preset. The three crops are typically taken from far left, central and far right portions of each image.

Note since conducting this test Olympus has released a Firmware update for the E-400 which sets the default Picture Mode to Natural. This tones down the images compared to the Vivid mode used throughout our tests and Gallery shots here.

Landscape: 6.22MB, Program, 1/250, f9, ISO 100, 14-42mm at 14mm (equivalent to 28mm)

  This shot was taken with the kit lens zoomed-out to its widest equivalent of 28mm.

The E-400 selected an aperture of f9 in Program mode which with the wide focal length delivered a broad depth of field.

As you'd hope, at a sensitivity of 100 ISO, the crops are very clean and there's also plenty of detail in there.


Portrait: 6.85MB, Program, 1/200, f9, ISO 200, 14-42mm at 28mm (equivalent to 56mm)

    This portrait was taken with the lens about halfway through its range and the E-400 set to 200 ISO sensitivity.

The ESP metering system has done a good job considering the bright, slightly overcast sky.

Again, as you'd hope, the crops are detailed and noise-free.

Landscape: 6.14MB, Program, 1/125, f7.1, ISO 400, 14-42mm at 42mm (equivalent to 84mm)

  We photographed this building with the lens zoomed-in to 42mm from the other side of the street, and increased the sensitivity to 400 ISO to cope with the dusk conditions.

The crops reveal noise appearing in the darker shadow areas, but it's important to note there's still plenty of detail present. The E-400 isn't smearing out the speckles at the cost of ultimate detail like many cameras do.

Macro: 7.27MB, Program, 1/200, f8, ISO 100, 14-42mm at 42mm (equivalent to 84mm)

  The E-400's 14-42mm kit lens focuses closer than the earlier 14-50mm kit option of the E-500, and here we're positioned as close as possible to Spring buds shocked by a late snowfall.

The crops are again sharp, detailed and noise-free at 100 ISO, but it's worth mentioning the bokeh effect in the middle crop from an out-of-focus point of light. This could be a side-effect of the new tiny lens and may or may not bother you. This was an isolated incident though and the crop is at 100%, so it's barely noticeable in practice.

Indoor: 6.13MB, Program, 1/60, f4.5, ISO 800, 14-42mm at 14mm (equivalent to 28mm)

  For this indoor shot we increased the sensitivity to 800 ISO and manually set the White Balance to Incandescent to avoid a colour cast.

As expected, noise levels are more noticeable than at 400 ISO, although again the E-400 manages to retain a large amount of detail at a setting where many cameras begin applying aggressive noise reduction.

Indoor: 6.60MB, Program, 1/125, f7.1, ISO 1600, 14-42mm at 29mm (equivalent to 58mm)

    This indoor shot was taken with the E-400's maximum sensitivity of 1600 ISO.

Here noise has become quite obtrusive, especially in shadow areas, and while best-reserved for emergency use only, the E-400 again manages to retain a decent degree of detail.

Remember if you don't like noise speckles, you can always reduce them with third-party software later, but at least the E-400 isn't losing the detail through in-camera noise reduction.


All words, images, videos and layout, copyright 2005-2017 Gordon Laing. May not be used without permission.

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