Olympus E-450 Review

4.0
May 27, 2009 | Zoltan Arva-Toth |

Image Quality


All of the sample images in this Review were taken using the 10 megapixel Super Fine JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 7Mb.

During the review, the Olympus E-450 produced photos of very good quality. Colours were vibrant without being over-saturated even in Natural picture mode, and you can also choose Vivid if you want even more punch. The Shadow Adjustment Technology helps make the most out of the shadows in a high-contrast scene, so you can expose for the highlights. The art filters produce special effects that would otherwise require you to spend a lot of time in the “digital darkroom”. Noise at high ISO settings was easily detectable when viewing images at 100% magnification on screen, but it did not really show up in print, owing to its being tightly grained. The exception is shooting at ISO 1600 in incandescent light, when the boost given to the blue channel to neutralise the predominant yellow cast can result in a more obtrusive noise pattern.

Noise

The Olympus E-450 has five selectable sensitivity settings, ranging from ISO 100 to 1600 in full-stop increments. Unlike most of the competition, the E-450 lets you turn the in-camera noise filtering completely off. You may also set it to Low, Standard or High. The JPEG crops are from photographs taken with the Noise Filter turned off, and exhibit fairly unobtrusive, tightly-grained noise even at the highest setting. This is what you can expect in low but neutral lighting. Do note however that in artificial light, where the camera needs to boost gain in the blue channel to neutralise or at least reduce the predominant yellow cast, the noise pattern is less appealing, as you can see in one of our Sample Images, taken at ISO 1600.

JPEG

RAW

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

File Quality

The available file quality settings for JPEGs include Basic, Normal, Fine and Super Fine. The last one of these offers the best quality at the very mild compression ratio of 1:2.7. Be aware though that it is not among the selectable options by default – you have to first enable it via the menu. Full-resolution Super Fine JPEGs typically occupy between 6 and 7 megabytes on the card; while the – losslessly compressed – raw files are between 10 and 11 megabytes each.

Super Fine (7.27Mb) (100% Crop)

Fine (4.76Mb) (100% Crop)

   

Normal (2.18Mb) (100% Crop)

Basic (1.44Mb) (100% Crop)

   

RAW (11Mb) (100% Crop)

 
 

Sharpening

Here are two 100% crops - the right-hand image has had some sharpening applied in Photoshop. The out-of-the camera images are a little soft at the default sharpening setting and benefit from some further sharpening in a program like Adobe Photoshop. You can also change the in-camera sharpening level to suit your tastes.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)

   

Flash

The flash modes include Auto, Manual, Fill, Slow Synchronisation on the 1st and the 2nd curtain, or almost any of these combined with red-eye reduction. Not all flash modes may be available in every shooting mode. The guide number is 12 (in metres) at ISO 100. Flash exposure compensation and flash bracketing are available. The pop-up flash can also be used as a controller for wirelessly slaved FL-36R and FL-50R units. These shots of a white ceiling were taken at a distance of 1.5 metres.

Flash Off - Wide Angle (28mm)

Flash On - Wide Angle (28mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64
   

Flash Off - Telephoto (90mm)

Flash On - Telephoto (90mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

The built-in flash caused a bit of red-eye, which was practically eliminated in red-eye reduction mode.

Flash On

Flash On (100% Crop)
   

Red Eye Reduction

Red Eye Reduction (100% Crop)

Night

The Olympus E-450 lets you dial in shutter speeds of up to 60 seconds and has a Bulb mode as well for exposure times as long as 30 minutes, which is very good news if you are seriously interested in night photography. The shot below was taken using a shutter speed of 10 seconds, aperture of f/8 at ISO 100. We've included a 100% crop to see what the quality is like.

Night Shot

Night Shot (100% Crop)

Shadow Adjustment Technology

Similarly to Nikon's D-lighting, Sony's DRO etc., Shadow Adjustment Technology (SAT) brightens the shadows in a high-contrast scene without affecting the midtones or the highlights. The way to engage SAT is to set the tonal gradation to Auto via the Super Control Panel. Although this option is always at your disposal, remember that it is meant to be used in strong, contrasty lighting at base ISO. Below you can see a comparison of Normal and Auto gradation; the difference is noticeable in the shadowed areas on the left side of the photo, in the foliage. Two other, special-use gradation settings are available on the camera, Low Key and High Key. The former is for photographing dark subjects against dark backgrounds, whereas the latter is for light-toned subjects against a light-toned background. An example of a high-key photo is the shot of the bottles in the Sample Images section.

Off

On

Art Filters

The most obvious difference between the E-420 and the E-450 is the presence of three Art Filters in the latter. These are special effects called Pinhole (apparently dubbed 'Toy Camera' in Japan, where toy cameras are a big fad), Soft Focus and Pop Art. The most useful of these is Soft Focus, because the FourThirds system lacks a dedicated soft focus lens, and the effect would require advanced knowledge of layers, blurring methods and blending modes if you were to reproduce it in post-processing. The Pinhole effect creates a lot of vignetting and faded colours, whereas the Pop Art filter boosts the saturation to unnatural levels to mimic the look of, well, pop art. Note that applying the Art Filters slows the camera down somewhat.

Pop Art

Pin Hole

   

Soft Focus

 
 

Entry Tags

2.7 inch LCD, olympus, dslr, 10 megapixel, digital SLR, Four Thirds, art filters, e-450, e 450, e450

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