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Old May 26, 2007, 3:29 PM   #1
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Bad news first. Still clearly behind Canon and Nikon at ISO 1600:


That's hardly a surprise, and I think that comparison would be a bit closer if the E-410 shot wasn't underexposed a bit. Why not just shoot all at of them at the same f-stop and shutter? But even so, it's only a quarte stop difference, and there's clearly more noise there, and not really noticably more detail (though the E410 image does bring out some fine contrast details in the Hellas and Fidlers bottle labels for example, while preserving better texture on some of those fabrics in the basket, where the D80 shows noticeable smearing).

That E-410 shot in that sense is alot closer to the Sony A100 (but I think a bit better) than the D80 or XTi: http://www.imaging-resource.com/PROD...00hSLI1600.HTM

But what was equally interesting were the shots at ISO 100.

And of course, a big advantage the Olympus cameras also have is the ability to turn in camera noise reduction off:
(that's the kit lens by the way!)

And, while I don't think noise on straight from camera jpegs quite measures up in low light shots at ISO 1600, the E-410 seems to me to be every bit as good as the competition at ISO 800:


Much more eye-crack for pixel peepers here:

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Old May 26, 2007, 10:42 PM   #2
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actually from the reading i took of just the iso1600 NR OFF image of the studio scene that image has more noise than similarly held images from the pixelmania dutch test of some days ago. And i notice again in the EXIF the sharpness is set to soft

File: - C:\REAL INK\E410hSL00NOISE_1600OFF.JPG

Model - E-410
Orientation - Top left
XResolution - 314
YResolution - 314
ResolutionUnit - Inch
Software - Version 1.0
DateTime - 2007:04:13 14:32:07
YCbCrPositioning - Co-Sited
ExifOffset - 194
ExposureTime - 1/200 seconds
FNumber - 8.00
ExposureProgram - Manual control
ISOSpeedRatings - 1600
ExifVersion - 0221
DateTimeOriginal - 2007:04:13 14:32:07
DateTimeDigitized - 2007:04:13 14:32:07
ComponentsConfiguration - YCbCr
ExposureBiasValue - 0.00
MaxApertureValue - F 3.50
MeteringMode - Multi-segment
LightSource - Auto
Flash -
FocalLength - 42 mm
UserComment -
FlashPixVersion - 0100
ColorSpace - sRGB
ExifImageWidth - 3648
ExifImageHeight - 2736
InteroperabilityOffset - 662
FileSource - DSC - Digital still camera
CustomRendered - Normal process
ExposureMode - Manual
White Balance - Manual
DigitalZoomRatio - 1.00 x
SceneCaptureType - Standard
GainControl - High gain up
Contrast - Normal
Saturation - Normal
Sharpness - Soft

opened with Noise Ninja it carries an index of 40, yet the image a few days ago of the violins was just 30. Previous iso1600 images from 410 have been 35. My record D40 shot has an index of 41, and the XTi 42

so anecdotally while i beleive these images carry more noise than previous test frames, it still records marginaly less noise than XTi or D40

Open PhotoShop, Noise Ninja, click reset/ click Profile-Image/read & record noise index

1D MkIII iso6400 NR? 52
1D MkIII iso3200 NR? 35
1D MkIII iso1600 NR? 28
1D MkIII iso100 NR? 13

5D iso1600 NR? 34
5D iso800 NR? 30

E-410 iso1600 NR OFF 35
E-410 iso1600 NR NORMAL 21
E-410 iso800 NR? 17

D40 iso1600 NR? 39
D40 iso800 NR? 31

E-400 iso1600 NR? 41
E-400 iso800 NR? 27

XTi iso1600 NR? 42
XTi iso800 NR? 29

E-330 iso1600 NR? 33
E-330 iso800 NR? 29

E-300 iso1600 NR OFF 73
E-300 iso1600 NR ON 70
E-300 iso800 NR? 56

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Old May 27, 2007, 8:03 AM   #4
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Having had more time to look through more of those test shots, I think it's looking pretty good. More often than not, it looks to me like it's (narrowly) beating the D80 in head to head comparisons of those tests.

A few observations:
1. Having had a chance to look at the ISO 1600 shot with NR off, I was surprised how really good that one is. It seems to me the Olympus noise filter simply isn't doing as good a job at ISO 1600. Nikon, even when NR is supposedly "off", still has quite a bit of noise filtering going on, and is smearing out some fine detail. Olympus is preserving more detail, but their NR is blurring and softening the whole image quite a bit, and not removing that much noise. I'd be inclined to leave it off. I'd love to see what third party NR software will be able to do with those files.

2. The camera being tested by Imaging Resources actually seems to have the same underexposure tendency reported by both DCResource and DPReview. In the indoor portraits with no flash, it appears the camera needed +2.0 EV to get a proper exposure. The exposure at +2.0 EV (1/4s f4.4) was the same as the D80 with +0.3 EV (1/5s f4.0). The ISO series was shot at +1.7 EV, and still underexposed a bit (would have been better at +2.0). This is in line with the problem reported by Jeff Keller, where his camera required +2.3 EV in a very challenging subject (with all white background) where most competing models require around +1.0 EV.

3. One reason they might have designed the camera with a tendency to underexpose might be to preserve highlights. And this might be because the camera at default settings has a steep tone curve, which Phil at DPR will probably complain about. One test where it had some problems is the "outdoor" portrait test, designed to simulate the harsh noonday sun in Georgia. In these series, for the most part, exposure was just starting to look good at about +.7 EV, and highlights were being blown by +1.0 EV. Also, in looking at the contrast series, with contrast turned all the way down is when it looks closest to the D80's standard setting.

4. It looks to me like it's doing well in the white balance testing. I think more accurate than the D80 or XTi.

5. One more side note on noise. One thing I've noticed is that the E-410 seems to be doing better than C&N with regard to greens. This shows on the colortest charts, but also in any shot with foliage. Check out the plants in the indoor portrait high ISO series compared to the others.

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Old May 27, 2007, 11:43 AM   #5
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Overall, these shots are very encouraging for high-ISO, compared to the E-300 and even E-1. I downloaded the ISO-1600 shots (with NR off) and ran them through Noiseware and Neatimage and discovered some interesting results. Normally I don't find any particularly unusual artifacts with either Neatimage or Noiseware (E-300, E-1), but with the E-410 (limited of course to this one sample), the Neatimage version was much cleaner. For some reason, the Noiseware version was left with strange artifacts. Here are a couple of 100% crops:

Noiseware (default settings):

Neatimage (default settings):

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Old May 27, 2007, 11:56 AM   #6
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thanks Norm
same image i think
Noise Ninja, auto setting
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Old May 27, 2007, 12:01 PM   #7
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same image further processed in PSP9 with edge preserving smooth filter
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Old May 27, 2007, 9:25 PM   #8
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Phil has some comparisons with the E-410 in his D40x review:
Compared to the other cameras there's very little to choose although the EOS 400D does maintain more detail at ISO 1600 than the Nikon or Olympus.

Overall it would be fair to say that 'out of the camera' with default settings these two cameras deliver very similar levels of detail and sharpness. Color response was also similar with the main difference being the D40X's treatment of greens (the default Mode IIIa delivering more appealing greens). Note that the E-410 clipped the highlights on the paperclips slightly earlier (this is something we cover in more detail in our E-410 review, coming soon).

I've got to say I'm comparing those two and if anything the E-410 has slightly more detail, mostly in shadow areas, clearly on the Leica camera body, also in the detail on the Bailey's label (like the grass along the fence), and in the dust on top part of the bottle. The D40 image is clearly sharper in places, especially the playing card and colorchart on the wall (focus plane issue?). As for color rendering, the red on the card looks weak on the 410 (especially from the RAW?), but I think the greens on the Oly may be more accurate. I've no idea what color is correct for that paperclip holder, but similar hues on the chart look more accurate to me on the E-410 shot.


The D40X does well to maintain detail levels at higher sensitivities despite increased noise reduction, perhaps not quite as good as the Canon EOS 400D but better than the Olympus E-410. What's also interesting here is how well the six megapixel D40 compares (at these higher sensitivities can you see more detail in the ten megapixel image crops than the six megapixel?).
Here I think the E-410 is actually still ahead of the D40x by a hair at ISO 800, but trailing the Canon 400D. At ISO 1600 though, as I mentioned above, the E-410 seems to get very soft (when NR is enabled).


It's actually pretty good that the E-410 is delivering the same vertical resolution in LPH as the larger sensors.

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Old May 27, 2007, 10:21 PM   #9
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in the back of my mind, there is a metering issue with 410
and underexposure will add to noise

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Old May 28, 2007, 1:08 AM   #10
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True, I think there is a metering problem. It seems to affect exposure in low light without flash, and it's probably off by about +1 EV. But for these test shots they really shouldn't be relying on the metering anyway. I don't understand why they don't just shoot them all with the same light at the same setting.

Here's the indoor portrait test where I think the E-410 did pretty well at ISO 1600, compared to the D80 and XTi:


The exposures:
XTi 1/50s f4.0
D80 1/50s f4.0
E-410 1/50s f4.5

So if the E-410 is supposed to be less sensitive (according to Phil), why is it getting a smaller aperture here? (on edit) It's underexposed by 1/3 a stop from not enough EV. Is it underexposed by as much as 2/3 stop overall (1/3 plus another third from it being ISO 1250 "equivalent")?

Anyway, if they shot them all at the same setting, I think you would notice if any was more sensitive. It would then underexpose. They could even take the next step then and "push" any that underexpose until the exposure is correct. I think that might be a fair basis to compare noise.

BTW, the other negative in the DPR review above was the dynamic range comparison. It looks like they traded off some dynamic range for the high ISO performance.

On noise though, the DPR graph actually shows it lower than the others. The problem is it's very soft at ISO 1600. But I assume that's partly because they were shot with the default standard NR. NR "low" should be an improvement (and "off" might be even better.)

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