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Olympus SP-590UZ photo samples

A discussion of the Olympus SP-590UZ's photo quality with photo samples.

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Lori Grunin

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1 of 7 Matthew Fitzgerald/CNET

Noise

These samples actually make the SP-590's low-ISO sensitivity shoots look better than they are, because the ISO 64 and ISO 100 crops are sharp and relatively free of artifacts. Even so, you can see how image quality starts to degrade at ISO 200, with both an increase in color noise and a loss of detail.
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2 of 7 Lori Grunin/CNET

Artifacts

That yellow discoloration you see is the result of poor image processing in the blue channel of shadow areas combined with the texture of the statue. Though I couldn't reproduce it on photos of other subjects, it was definitely present in all the photos I took of this statue, and I've never seen it with other cameras. (1/100 sec, f5.6, ISO 100, AWB, 219mm equivalent)
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3 of 7 Lori Grunin/CNET

Shadow Adjustment Technology

Olympus' SAT works pretty well, increasing visibility of the shadow areas without blowing out the light areas too much.
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4 of 7 Lori Grunin/CNET

Distortion

As expected, at its maximum wide angle 26mm equivalent the SP-590 UZ produces some barrel distortion, but it seems relatively symmetrical (which is easier to fix in software than asymmetrical) and not unusually bad.
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5 of 7 Lori Grunin/CNET

Sharpness

Like most megazooms, the SP-590 UZ produces its sharpest shots in Super Macro mode, and the results are pretty sharp. However, you can also see some of the color noise appearing on the gold contacts, even though this shot is at a relatively low sensitivity of ISO 125. Oddly, Olympus fixes its Super Macro at 51mm equivalent; most cameras fix it on the camera's shortest focal length. (1/80 sec, f3.5, ISO 125, 51mm equivalent)
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6 of 7 Lori Grunin/CNET

Sharpness

Though this was also shot in Super Macro mode, it displays the more typical sharpness quality delivered by the SP-590 UZ. Photos look sharp at smaller scale, but everything looks soft when you scrutinize the photos close up or print at a full size of 16x12. (1/60 sec, f3.5, ISO 100, ESP metering, AWB, 51mm equivalent)
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7 of 7 Lori Grunin/CNET

Color

The SP-590 delivers very vivid and pleasing, but not very accurate, colors.

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