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Olympus E-510 Gordon Laing, June 2007

More Results : Outdoor / Resolution / Noise / Noise 2

Outdoor scene - Olympus E-510 vs E-410 vs Canon 400D / XTi with kit lenses

  To compare real-life performance we shot the same scene with the Olympus E-510, E-410 and Canon 400D / XTi within a few moments of each other using their best quality JPEG settings and lowest ISO sensitivities.

Each camera was fitted with their respective kit lenses: the same Olympus ZD ED 14-42mm lens was used for both Olympus bodies and the Canon EF-S 18-55mm used for the 400D /XTi. The 400D / XTi captures a wider 3:2 frame, but the focal length of each lens was adjusted to deliver the same vertical field of view. As a result the Olympus crops have a slight resolution advantage vertically and therefore show correspondingly smaller areas.

The image above was taken with the Olympus E-510 at 19mm f8, with a sensitivity of 100 ISO; the original SHQ JPEG measured 6.6MB; the E-410 and Canon 400D / XTi images measured 7.13 and 4.02MB respectively.

The crops are taken from the upper left, center and lower right portions of the originals and presented here at 100%. The Olympus crops show a slightly smaller area because they have a higher vertical resolution than the 400D / XTi.

Olympus E-510
Using ZD 14-42mm
Olympus E-410
Using ZD 14-42mm
Canon 400D / XTi
Using EF-S 18-55mm
1/200, f8, 100 ISO
1/200, f8, 100 ISO
1/200, f8, 100 ISO
1/200, f8, 100 ISO
1/200, f8, 100 ISO
1/200, f8, 100 ISO
1/200, f8, 100 ISO
1/200, f8, 100 ISO
1/200, f8, 100 ISO

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Click here for the Olympus E-510 video tour

The first thing to mention is we shot this scene using each camera's default image processing options, which meant the Natural Picture Mode for the E-510 and the Vivid Picture Mode on the E-410. Both cameras have the same sensor and were fitted with the same physical lens, so the main difference between their crops above are to do with Natural versus Vivid processing. The latter unsurprisingly delivers punchier, sharper images, and is preferred for in-camera JPEGs, but if you intend to enhance your images with software later, the Natural mode is a more appropriate starting point.

In terms of the Olympus bodies versus the Canon, the E-510 and E-410 are clearly capturing a smaller area due to their higher vertical resolution, but this doesn't actually give them much of an advantage in terms of actual resolvable detail. We'd say it's pretty close, although the 400D / XTi sample hasn't blown its highlights as much on the mountain ridge. That said, the Olympus bodies, especially the E-410's Vivid mode, have the edge on the foliage detail in the final row of crops.

In our outdoor noise results page, we've placed the E-510 and E-410 on a level playing field by setting them both to the E-510's default Natural picture mode. This page also illustrates the benefits of adjusting the E-510's Noise Filter to reveal more detail.

Olympus E-510 JPEG versus RAW comparison

To evaluate the effect of the E-510’s in-camera processing and compression, we recorded a best-quality SHQ JPEG followed by a RAW version of the same scene immediately afterwards. The JPEG and RAW files measured 6.6MB and 9.95MB respectively.

At the time of writing, neither Adobe Lightroom nor Camera RAW supported the E-510's RAW files, so we converted them using the supplied Olympus Master 2.02 software. We used the default settings and exported the image as a 16-bit TIFF, before opening in Photoshop CS2, converting to 8-bit then cropping and saving using the same JPEG settings as above.

Olympus E-510 JPEG versus RAW, using ZD 14-42mm
JPEG, 1/200, f8, 100 ISO
RAW conversion, 1/200, f8, 100 ISO

The crop from the RAW conversion on the right using the default Olympus Master settings looks virtually indistinguishable from the JPEG crop on the left. This is an identical result to that found with the E-410. One interesting thing to note though is now Olympus is compressing its RAW files on the E-510, they're actually not much bigger than the best-quality SHQ JPEG mode, so switching to RAW wouldn't greatly impact the file sizes. Of course as always, different source material, not to mention different RAW converters may deliver different results.

Olympus E-510 results continued...

Outdoor / Resolution / Noise / Noise 2

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