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Photo samples: Olympus E-30

Photos shot with the Olympus E-30 and a discussion of the camera's photo quality.

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Lori Grunin

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1 of 8 Matt Fitzgerald/CNET Networks

Noise

For detailed, nonmacro types of shots, the E-30 exhibits an excellent noise profile up to ISO 800, with a minimal degradation in detail at ISO 800. Shots taken at ISO 1600 start to look a bit soft, but remain usable, and at ISO 3200 you start to see some color noise as well as artifacts from the noise suppression algorithms. However, depending upon the content of the photos, they may be surprisingly good even at ISO 3200 (see subsequent slides).
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2 of 8 Lori Grunin/CNET Networks

Noise, ISO 800

In shots like this, where there are few flat colors, photos look as good at ISO 800 as at ISO 100. (1/125, f4.5)
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3 of 8 Lori Grunin/CNET Networks

Noise, ISO 800

On one hand, these safety pins look as if they've been blurred slightly, but the weave of the jacket shows no artifacts at all. (1/125, f3.6)
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4 of 8 Lori Grunin/CNET Networks

Noise, ISO 1600

Close-up shots fare better under Olympus' noise reduction algorithms than mid- to long-distance ones. You can start to see some of the "grain" effect of the noise reduction, but the detail remains excellent. For example, you can still make out the layers of the circuit board. (1/80 sec, f5.0)
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5 of 8 Lori Grunin/CNET Networks

Noise, ISO 3200

Clearly you can see color noise at ISO 3200, and the pattern of the noise-reduction algorithm is quite visible. And especially under indoor lighting, the color balance tends to shift a bit--the alchemists at Olympus manage to turn silver into gold. Nonetheless, photos like this still look quite good. (1/50 sec, f5.0)
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6 of 8 Lori Grunin/CNET Networks

Sharpness

With a good lens, like the 12-60mm f2.8-4 used for this shot, the E-30 can produce very sharp photos. (ISO 100, 1/100 sec, f3.4, with flash)
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7 of 8 Lori Grunin/CNET Networks

Color

The E-30 delivers bright, saturated colors that are usually accurate and consistent. However, the blue in the third inset should be more royal and less purple. (winter daylight, auto white balance)
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8 of 8 Lori Grunin/CNET Networks

Exposure

In general, it seems like the E-30 will generally sacrifice highlights in favor of visible shadow detail rather than underexpose to preserve highlights as most cameras in its class favor--the latter is a better approach, since shadow detail can always be brought out in software but highlights are gone for good. In even lighting the exposures are OK. (1/125 sec, f5.6, ISO 100, pattern metering)

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