|Upon arrival of a Olympus E-30 test sample, it is tested in our DIWA Lab. The technical data of the rigorous tests are processed and translated into understandable data. Inside the lab, testing takes place in standardized circumstances. An environment in which cameras, both compact and system concepts can be compared without a problem. Besides that, the Olympus E30 DSLR camera is extensively used in practice and evaluated as for operation and shooting in practice. This combination of lab tests and the testing in practice, results in a final conclusion that is carefully reviewed.|
|Colour reproductionb & White balance measurements
During testing in the DIWA Lab, the accuracy of the color reproduction also comes up. We found the Olympus E30 to slightly deviate from the Gretag Macbeth Color Checker, measured over the ISO range of 100 - 3200 ISO. The E-3 scores just a bit better in that respect and shows an almost equal value as that of the Gretag Macbeth Color Checker. As from 100-1600 ISO, the reproduction of the E-30 is almost equal and deviates a tad more at 3200 ISO. In practice, the deviation will hardly be noticed, if at all, since these measurements took place in a lab environment. When it comes to white balance, the E-30 is very convincing, in particular when a manual white balance is used. The auto white balance shows some color cast in an incandescent environment, however, changing to manual white balance will offer an excellent result.
ISO sensitivity differentiations
The genuine ISO values of the sensor are also measured in the DIWA Lab. In practice, these values do differ frequently from the claimed specifications. Deviations of 20-25% are quite normal, although sometimes the difference is even more. And this happens to the ISO setting of the E-30, since it measures 132 ISO and strangely, the 200 ISO setting is actually only 147%. The remaining ISO values of 400-3200 ISO do not differ much compared to the specifications and are in pace with each other with an average deviation of approximately 8%. Not always can these differences be explained; they are usually caused by the manufacturer trying to get a firmer grip on the signal/noise ratio.
Visibility of noise
The increase of resolution from 10 to 12 Megapixels did not lead to lesser performance as far as noise is concerned. Compared to the E520 and the E3, the Olympus E30 does well in keeping the noise quite equal, although it has to give in mainly for the blue channel. It's hardly visible with the naked eye, so we are satisfied. Up to and including ISO 800, you can go ahead and work without having to worry about noise. At 1600 ISO noise is visible and you will have to edit some pictures after capturing them. ISO 3200 fails completely and should be considered a last resource in order to make that one picture.
|The Olympus E-30 is at par with the competition up to and including ISO 800, although it doesn't surpass. High ISO values however don't play such a big role in practice. In particular with bright lenses combined with the image stabilization of the camera, there is sufficient spare to prevent you from using the high ISOs.
Dynamic range of the Olympus E-30
The dynamic range is good news. The Olympus E30 gains a lot here and obtains an excellent result. In particular the 100-400 ISO is excellent and up to and including 1600 outstanding. The highest sensitivity is somewhat more difficult, however; it will hardly be used in practice. The dynamic range adds highly to the image quality and in particular to the details in dark and light areas in a picture rich of contrast. A situation that occurs frequently.
Olympus ZUIKO Digital 14-54mm lens
The Olympus E-30 was tested in combination with the also new ZUIKO Digital 14-54mm f/2.8-f3.5 II lens. This lens offers a nice range to serve as kit lens for the E30. The lens is tested in the DIWA Lab on sharpness, among other things, and the ZUIKO lens performs excellently. It shows perfect sharpness from the centre to the edges. This goes for the maximum opening f/2.8 up to and including f/16. At almost minimum aperture of f/22 the performance drops and we notice visible blur in the centre as well as towards the edges.
Distortion and chromatic aberration
Distortion is not an issue for the 14-54mm ZUIKO lens. The entire aperture range shows a consistent result at which the highest measured distortion is a maximum of 0.48 % found in wide angle. No reason to worry. Unfortunately, the wide angle of this lens suffers from chromatic aberration. The remaining focus points also suffer from this annoying purple effect, however it is not annoyingly present or visible. Maximum opening of f/2.8 is rather sensitive to vignetting over the entire zoom range; however, one stop aperture will lead to an excellent result over the entire aperture range.