Image quality in practice
Instead of sticking with the CCD sensor, Olympus used the NMOS sensor, produced by Matsushita. The images straight of the camera have nicely saturated colours and good contrast, making further processing unnecessary in most cases. I was really surprised by how well the tonal values are recorded. Also, contrast between different colours is very good, which further enhances the impression of sharpness. The engineers at Olympus managed to combine the appealing tonality of digicams and the low noise of a DSLR (quite comparable to Canon's achievements in this field) to produce extremely appealing JPEGs straight out of the camera. Of course, the in-camera processing limits the possibilities of postprocessing later on. However, this is not much of a shortcoming – after all, this is a camera for those who want the best image quality with the least amount of computer work. Looking at this aspect of image quality, this was a very positive surprise. Also, Olympus proved me wrong. I always claim that for maximum quality, further processing is required with the computer - not so with the Olympus E-510. For most photographers, with the two new Olympus cameras (the Olympus E-410 and the Olympus E-510), the computer is only needed for cataloguing the images. Well, if you’re not extremely demanding, that is. The more demanding photographers prefer to have as little processing as possible done in the camera, and use computer software instead.
Nevertheless, this is a hobbyist camera, not a pro camera, so it really does well in this respect. Naturally, lenses and experience in choosing the right exposure settings do influence image quality a lot. For more about image quality, see the sample images.
150 mm, 1/200 s, f/5.6, ISO 100.
22 mm, 1/250 s, f/8, ISO 100.
18 mm, 1/200 s, f/7.1, ISO 100.
42mm, 1/200 s, f/8, ISO 100.
110mm, 1/250 s, f/8, ISO 100.
150mm, 1/250 s, f/5.6, ISO 100.
150mm, 1/200 s, f/8, ISO 100.
130 mm, 1/80 s, f/11, ISO 100. (IS on)
150 mm, 1/300 s, f/5.6, ISO 100.
60 mm, 1/250 s, f/8, ISO 100.
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By Matjaž Intihar. Translation by Jože Svetičič.
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