Random Noise in the Olympus C-5060WZ Camera

My other pages related to the Olympus C-5050Z, C-5060WZ, and X-7070WZ

Random noise?

Random noise happens when the same pixel may respond differently to the same light amount hitting it; check my introductory noise article.

It is most visible in large, uniform areas of medium density. Sky is a good example.

Therefore in order to check the random noise in this camera I have chosen a piece of cloudless, late afternoon sky. For comparison, a similar '5050 sample is also presented.

The samples

The presented samples have been obtained under the following conditions:

  • Recorded in the least-compression JPEG mode; ISO speed at the lowest setting;
  • Exposure set by program;
  • In-camera postprocessing set to defaults;
  • Uniform, similar-brightness fragments of 160x160 pixel size were chosen for presentation.

The samples would show as squares 17 mm (0.66 in) size when a full frame is enlarged to 8x10", therefore they are significantly enlarged on your monitor.

To make comparisons easier, I am also showing stretched samples, in which the brightness range of 32 (on the 0-255 scale common to image processing programs) has been stretched to the whole 0-255 interval; the range starts just below where non-zero histogram bins begin.

Simply speaking, stretched samples exaggerate the noise by a factor of eight. These samples are shown at the bottom.

This is just a quick comparison, not a quantitative analysis. It seems, however, quite clear that both cameras are similar in both the noise amplitude and patterm. I would consider some reports about a "significant decrease in noise" in the C-5060WZ unsubstantiated, or at least exaggerated.

I am not disappointed about that, as I was quite content with the random noise levels in the '5050, and the new model certainly is not worse here.


C-5060

C-5050Z

In a similar article I wrote on the noise in the C-5050Z you can find sky samples from a number of other cameras, as well as from two kinds of film. This is what led me to the conclusion below.

Conclusion

The new C-5060WZ exhibits, at least at the lowest ISO setting, random noise similar to that seen in the C-5050Z. Its magnitude is acceptable, comparable to that of an ISO 100 film, scanned to a Kodak Photo CD (six megapixels).


My other pages related to the Olympus C-5050Z, C-5060WZ, and X-7070WZ

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Posted 2004/11/15 Copyright © 2004 by J. Andrzej Wrotniak