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  DSLR Tips

Olympus E-510 Gordon Laing, June 2007

More Results :
Outdoor / Resolution / Noise / Noise 2

Olympus E-510 noise level comparison


To measure and compare the Olympus E-510'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.

The Olympus E-510 delivers clean-looking results here from 100 to 400 ISO, with texture from noise and noise reduction only really beginning to appear at 800 ISO. These results are essentially the same as the E-410, which isn't surprising as they share the same sensor and image processor. Both models were also set to their default STN Noise Filter setting for this test.

Tonal variations between the E-510 and E-410 results here are mostly due to their default picture modes: Natural on the E-510 and Vivid on the E-410. Set them to the same mode and you'll essentially get the same result.

As observed in our E-410 review, both it and the new E-510 appear to apply greater noise reduction with their default settings than the E-400. In our Olympus E-400 review we noticed the camera was quite modest when it came to noise reduction, leaving visible speckles at higher sensitivities rather than smearing them out. Olympus appears to be applying a different strategy for its new models, although it's possible to select two lower (and one higher) types of noise reduction filters - and we have examples of each in practice on the next page.

As it stands here though, the E-510 by default exhibits similar noise and noise reduction levels to the Canon 400D / XTi and Nikon D40x, although is sadly missing the 3200 ISO option of the latter.

As always, the flat colours of the Gretag chart can hide a multitude of processing sins, so to see how the Olympus E-510 handles a real-life subject at each of its sensitivities (not to mention noise reduction settings), see our Outdoor Noise results page.

Note: we have compared 100% crops from all the cameras here measuring 136x136 pixels. Since the E-510 and E-410 have slightly higher vertical resolutions than the Canon and Nikon models, and since the lenses on each camera were adjusted to deliver the same vertical fields of view, the Olympus crops represent a slightly smaller area. As such the artefacts on the E-510 and E-410 crops would be slightly smaller if each image were reproduced to the same size.

Olympus E-510
(STN NR filter, default)
Olympus E-410
(STN NR filter, default)
Canon 400D / XTi
Nikon D40x
(NR off, default)
Olympus E-410 at 100 ISO - NR on
Canon EOS 400D at 100 ISO
Nikon D40x at 100 ISO - NR off
100 ISO
100 ISO
100 ISO
100 ISO
Olympus E-410 at 200 ISO - NR on
Canon EOS 400D at 200 ISO
Nikon D40x at 200 ISO - NR off
200 ISO
200 ISO
200 ISO
200 ISO
Olympus E-410 at 400 ISO - NR on
Canon EOS 400D at 400 ISO
Nikon D40x at 400 ISO - NR off
400 ISO
400 ISO
400 ISO
400 ISO
Olympus E-410 at 800 ISO - NR on
Canon EOS 400D at 800 ISO
Nikon D40x at 800 ISO - NR off
800 ISO
800 ISO
800 ISO
800 ISO
Olympus E-410 at 1600 ISO - NR on
Canon EOS 400D at 1600 ISO
Nikon D40x at 1600 ISO - NR off
1600 ISO
1600 ISO
1600 ISO
1600 ISO
Olympus E-510 - 3200 ISO not available
Olympus E-410 - 3200 ISO not available
Canon EOS 400D - 3200 ISO not available
Nikon D40x at 3200 ISO - NR off
3200 ISO not available
3200 ISO not available
3200 ISO not available
HI1 (3200 ISO)

Olympus E-510 results continued...

Outdoor / Resolution / Noise / Noise 2
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