|Much has already been said and written about performance of cameras, image quality and specifications. However, little has been supported by a standardized test procedure like we carry out in the DIWA Lab. A camera such as the Olympus E-520 is literally turned inside out, and is put through the test on many subjects. The large amount of data that comes out of it is summarized and compared to the test made in practice. The Olympus has many setting possibilities and is very much suitable for the enhanced photographer as well as the newbie. Practice (operation, ergonomics etc.) and technical lab tests (quality) are not always that keen on joining hands. In other words, a technical elevated product is not necessarily the most perfect camera in practice.|
|Colour reproduction of the Olympus E-520
When we review the pictures taken in practice with the Olympus E-520, we witness a fine result and looking at these pictures you have to conclude that photographing with this camera is a true joy. However, technical DIWA Lab tests will reveal the most positive elements as well as the less positive ones. Besides that, the differences between the current DSLR and its predecessor become clear. Looking at the colour reproduction of the E-510, we see quite a stable and accurate colour reproduction that is peaking a bit at 800 ISO, but has a truly natural colour rendering. The Olympus E-520 has a less steady line and peaks a bit at 200 and 400 ISO, so in other words; the colour reproduction is somewhat less accurate.
Olympus E-520 offers precise white balance
As for white balance, Olympus have carried out an improvement and the test shows an almost completely consistent quality. The Olympus E-520 shows a very precise white balance metering over the entire ISO range, which is a huge achievement. In practice it means that the preset white balance settings such as incandescent light, may not instantly achieve the desired result, yet the manual setting does guarantee optimal result.
E520 offers tremendously improved signal / noise ratio
One subject on which Olympus have improved tremendously when it comes to the E-520 is the signal/noise ratio. Whilst the Olympus E-510 still clearly suffered from noise even at low ISO settings, the Olympus E-520 has an improved ratio and the quality up and including ISO 400 is of a good level.
|We have also tested the E-420, the E520's smaller brother and the results are almost similar. Only the signal/ noise ratio of the red channel is a tad more improved on the Olympus E520. All in all, a good performance through which Olympus clearly show that they are most definitely working on the improvement of the quality within the system. The current ISO quality makes sure Olympus keeps pace with the competition.
Olympus E-520 has a superb dynamic range
One more subject on which the Olympus E520 performs superbly is the dynamic range. The camera is even able to surpass the semi-professional Olympus E-3. At the time of the Olympus E-510, the dynamic range was fine but no more than that. The E-3 was the first to benefit from the new techniques and the hardware parts, which made Olympus connect with the competition, either directly, or, when it came to certain areas, through it being just a matter of time. The dynamic range of the Olympus E-520 is excellent up to and including 400 ISO, from 800 and 1600 ISO it flattens somewhat but is still very good. The improvements are very noticeable with more detail in the dark areas and less bleached light areas.
Olympus 14-42mm Zuiko Digital kit lens
The test has been carried out with the Olympus 14-42 mm ZUIKO Digital f/3.5-f5.6 kit lens. This lens from the relatively cheap segment shows a sharp result even from edge to edge in wide angle and telephoto range and maximum aperture. The centre focal length shows a slight blur toward the edges, but in practice it is hardly noticeable. It's only the minimum aperture of f/22 that shows visible blur to the edges and the telephoto in general. All in all, a sharp and well-performing lens.
The Olympus lens and chromatic aberration
At maximum aperture, the Olympus 14-42 mm lens suffers from chromatic aberration. It doesn't make a difference whether you try a smaller aperture; the phenomenon appears throughout the entire range, which is a pity. Nevertheless, chromatic aberration is not visible in every picture; only the objects with high contrast differences run a high risk of suffering from it.
Distortion at wide angle pictures
If we take a look at distortion at wide angle pictures, at maximum aperture a strong distortion is visible. Not completely unexpected although it is rather strong. To go to an aperture of f/5.6 a better result is achieved and at f/8 the result is superb. The centre focal length and the telephoto range obtain a perfect result as far as distortion is concerned, at maximum aperture as well as minimum.