We wanted to try out the light meter at night and were curious to see if the image quality would degrade in low light. We first compared the Pentax Q and Olympus set at their lowest sensitivity (ISO 125 and ISO 200, respectively). The images were shot in Av mode with f/5.6 and we show the JPGs right out of the cameras using auto white balance. The shutter speeds were 2 seconds on both cameras. We had lens correction enabled on the Pentax. Both cameras were on a tripod and we used the self timers. On the Q we shot with the 02 Standard Zoom at about 6 mm focal length to match the field of view of Olympus's 17mm prime lens.
We show reduced size images for those with a low band width connection as well as full size images in the drop down.
The Olympus shows the better resolution despite both cameras having the same sensor resolution of 12 MP. Both cameras have noise well under control. The Olympus shows some color fringing which the Pentax does not.
Since you cannot always use a tripod (and the low ISO it males possible) for night shots we ran a series of shots through the full ISO range with both cameras so as to test the noise in low light.
Not surprisingly, the Olympus exhibits less noise than the Pentax at a given ISO sensitivity in the dark areas. What is surprising is that the Pentax does as least as good as the Olympus in well lit areas at the same ISO. On another note, these test shots reveal some inconsistency in auto focus accuracy of the Olympus. We also noticed such inconsistency in day light shooting. Finally we observe that the Olympus does the best job of auto white balance of the two in artificial light.