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Olympus SZ-31MR iHS Digital Camera Review$399.99
The SZ-31's color rendition is excellent, posting a minimum error value of only 2.54, way ahead of the 3.00 average. Saturation was also nearly perfect, off by less than half a percent. Yellows were the most inaccurate shades, so if you were to notice any problems with accuracy, they would occur in pictures of people. Light blues were also relatively far off, though these shades aren't usually considered quite as important to image quality. More on how we test color.
NOTE: Because of the way computer monitors reproduce colors, the images above do not exactly match the originals found on the chart or in the captured images. The chart should be used to judge the relative color shift, not the absolute captured colors.
Great strides have been made since the now-aging Olympus XZ-1, which posted inferior color scores during last year's review. Even the excellent Canon S100 is at a disadvantage here. In fact only the Sony HX9V is a relatively comparable camera that can match the SZ-31's accuracy.
White balance performance is far from perfect, however those with the patience to manually customize their setting will be rewarded. The automatic system struggles in all lighting, but this is especially true under incandescent and fluorescent. Making the jump to custom white balance (as simple as wearing a white watch that day) will allow the SZ-31 to achieve more accurate colors under every light source, than they would've under any light source automatically.
The spread of these results places the SZ-31 below the average of other cameras in this class, especially the Canon S100, which boasts a highly accurate automatic white balance algorithm.
White Balance Options
Only four white balance presets are available, and although we did most of our shooting with the automatic method, setting a custom white balance is a annoying. The SZ-31's quick menu renders a preview of every setting as you scroll through the options, but this slows down the interface considerably.