Olympus VH-410 Review

4.0
December 12, 2012 | Matt Grayson |

Image Quality


All of the sample images in this review were taken using the 16 megapixel JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 6Mb.

Image quality from the Olympus VH-410 looks quite good at first glance. Pictures are sharp, well exposed and have decent colouring with not too much saturation. Pixel peeping (viewing at full magnification) throws up some interesting information. The VH-410 seems to love sharpening those pictures. Some of our pictures were sharpened to such a degree that they looked as though they'd been painted. Of course, noise plays its part and this painted look won't be exclusively down to the sharpening. Noise reduction software will smudge out problem areas and that's exactly what it does.

Noise

Low ISO pictures look great with loads of detail, no noise whatsoever and a lovely sharp contrasty line on edges. Fine detail definition is great. We had our suspicions that the smooth look of the picture at this rating could be due to the noise reduction software which would mean that noise is affecting the pictures even at this setting. Checking ISO 200 results does show some noise poking through in the darker areas of the photographs. We found salt & pepper noise and green colour in shadows and black colouring. There are also a few blue artefacts found in certain areas of our test shot such as the winding stem area of the pocket watch.

At ISO 400 it's as though the noise reduction system has realised what's going on. The noise that was apparent in the ISO 200 image isn't visible in the ISO 400 image. No colour noise and no blue spots. There's an amount of black artefacts scattered all over the darker areas of the image.

At ISO 800 the image quality starts to drop as noise reduction software sacrifices it to remove noise. Edges become less defined and areas with fine detail become smoother. Red blobs of colour start to creep into shadow areas. By ISO 1600 digital colour noise is becoming too strong for the processor to cope with and is overwhelming the picture. Still, for a camera at this price point, the results aren't at all bad.  We expect the ISO 3200 image to be bad and we're not surprised in the slightest. The camera has dropped colour out of the image in order to try and control colour noise. This means colourful areas of the picture look lacklustre. Edges are smooth and fine detail is all but eradicated. This is a setting to use as a last resort though. With flash technology today, it's be easier to keep the ISO low and use flash.

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

Focal Range

The Olympus VH-410 has a 5x optical zoom. The focal length is 4.7 – 273.5mm. That equates to around 26-130mm in 35mm terms (numbers we can understand).

26mm

130mm

Sharpening

As we've already discovered, the Olympus VH-410's pictures have already had a dose of sharpening from the processor in-camera. We added our own sharpening after loading the pictures into Adobe Photoshop and the pictures didn't benefit in the slightest.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)

   

Chromatic Aberrations

We managed to get a sample of chromatic aberration on our macro test shot. That picture is riddled with it. However, in the real life sample shots, we weren't so lucky. It seems that chroma only appears in bright light, on high contrast areas and only at the far edges of the frame.

Chromatic Aberrations 1 (100% Crop)

Chromatic Aberrations 2 (100% Crop)

Macro

The Olympus VH-410 has two close focusing options. The best to choose for getting really close up is the Supermacro. It has a close focus of 5cm but the camera has to remain wide-angle so suffers from all the lens distortions associated with a wide lens. The normal macro mode has a close focusing of 20cm.

Macro

Macro (100% Crop)

Flash

At wide-angle, the Olympus VH-410 has a little amount of vignetting which remains even when the flash is fired. At full zoom the vignette disappears. We didn't get any problems with red-eye even without the red-eye reduction system working.

Flash Off - Wide Angle (26mm)

Flash On - Wide Angle (26mm)
   

Flash Off - Telephoto (130mm)

Flash On - Telephoto (130mm)

We didn't get any issues with red-eye either but there's a red-eye reduction flash option if you decide you want to use it. The red-eye system uses a strobing flash to reduce the size of the pupil and reduce the amount of red-eye in the picture. The remaining colour can be removed in post processing if desired.

Flash On

Flash On (100% Crop)
   

Red Eye Reduction

Red Eye Reduction (100% Crop)

Night

In Night mode, the Olympus VH-410 selects a long shutter speed to ensure enough light hits the sensor. In our test, the camera over exposed the image and burnt out some street lights. It also failed to get the correct white-balance. While digital cameras don't have a setting for street light colour, the closest is incandescent (tungsten) which leaves a soft yellow cast. We used that in Program mode for the comparison shot. The colour looks much nicer but Program mode isn't privy to the longer exposures enjoyed by the Night mode. The two second exposure was too long and the 1/4 second exposure was too short. We think one second would have been perfect. However, image quality does suffer with the Program mode.

Night Program

Night Program (100% Crop)

   

Night Scene

Night Scene (100% Crop)

Entry Tags

3 inch LCD, compact, wide-angle, 16 megapixel, olympus, wide angle, 3 inch, flash, budget, 5x, point and shoot. beginner, vh410, Olympus VH-410, Olympus VH-410 Review, VH-410, vh 410

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