Olympus FE-5030 Review

3.0
June 4, 2010 | Zoltan Arva-Toth |

Image Quality


All of the sample images in this Review were taken using the 14 megapixel JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 5.5Mb.

During the test, the Olympus FE-5030 turned out average quality images. The lens may have a very versatile focal range, but its performance is rather uneven. At the wide end, the central part of the frame is usually tack sharp - but the edges and, especially, the corners are quite blurry. Zoomed in a little, sharpness becomes more even across the frame, but once you are in the telephoto range, it starts to deteriorate again. As far as the colours are concerned, they are generally true to life, but strong reds often suffer from over-saturation, poor tonal separation and an orange shift. This is less of a problem in the Portrait and Self-Portrait scene modes, where the camera automatically goes for a more neutral colour rendition. Noise can be an issue even at base ISO, and reaches completely unacceptable levels at the highest setting of ISO 1600. On a more positive note, chromatic aberrations are very well controlled across the entire zoom range.

Noise

In P mode you can set the ISO speed yourself, while in the other shooting modes, the camera picks the right sensitivity setting at its own discretion. The Olympus FE-5030 has a sensitivity range of ISO 64 to ISO 1600. The 100% crops below demonstrate what you can expect from the camera at the various settings.

ISO 64 (100% Crop)

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

Focal Range

The lens has a versatile focal range equivalent to 26-130mm in 35mm terms.

26mm

130mm

File Quality

The Olympus FE-5030 shoots JPEGs only. At the highest resolution of 14 megapixels, there are two file quality settings, Normal and Fine.

14M Fine (100% Crop)

14M Normal (100% Crop)

Sharpening

Here are two 100% crops which have been Saved as Web - Quality 50 in Photoshop. The right-hand image has had some sharpening applied in Photoshop. The images are a little soft at the default sharpening setting. You can't change the in-camera sharpening level.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)

   

Chromatic Aberrations

The Olympus FE-5030 handled chromatic aberrations excellently during the review.

Example 1 (100% Crop)

Example 2 (100% Crop)

Macro

The Olympus FE-5030 has a Super Macro mode in which the lens is fixed at the 47mm equivalent setting. The following example demonstrates how close you can get to the subject, in this case, a Compact Flash memory card.

Macro Shot

100% Crop

Flash

The available flash settings include Auto, Fill-In, Redeye Reduction and Off. These shots of a white ceiling were taken at a subject distance of 1.5m.

Flash Off - Wide Angle (26mm)

Flash On - Wide Angle (26mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64
   

Flash Off - Telephoto (130mm)

Flash On - Telephoto (130mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

And here are some self-portraits. Redeye was a problem, but the Redeye Reduction setting managed to eliminate most of it.

On

On (100% Crop)
   

Red-eye Reduction

Red-eye Reduction (100% Crop)

Night

The Olympus FE-5030 does not allow you to set the shutter speed manually, and in P mode, it will never pick a value slower than ¼ second. In the Night Scene mode, it will go as far as 4 seconds, which is still disappointing news if you are seriously interested in night photography. The following example was taken at a shutter speed of 3.2 seconds, aperture of f/2.8 at ISO 200. I have included a 100% crop to show what the quality is like.

Night Shot

Night Shot (100% Crop)

Anti Shake

Unlike the Olympus FE-5020, the FE-5030 has real sensor-shift image stabilisation. This allows you to take hand-held shots at slower shutter speeds than would otherwise be possible, although we have found it to be a little less effective than with other cameras sporting this feature. These crops are from two photos taken at 1/13th of a second at the 60mm equivalent setting. The one taken with image stabilisation enabled is a lot sharper, but still not perfectly sharp.

Shutter Speed / Focal Length

Anti Shake Off (100% Crop)

Anti Shake On (100% Crop)

1/6th / 27mm

Entry Tags

wide-angle, 14 megapixel, 2.7 inch LCD, 5x zoom, olympus, 26mm, VGA, fe_5030, fe-5030, Olympus FE-5030 Review, fe 5030

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