ISO 100 vs ISO 200 on the newer Olympus bodies

Started Oct 16, 2010 | Discussions thread
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ISO 100 vs ISO 200 on the newer Olympus bodies
Oct 16, 2010

Out of curiosity, I'm going to scratch the scab off a slow healing sore and see what happens...... I was thinking about this today while playing with my E-PL1 (but the thoughts also apply to every Olympus body since the E-30).

Now, I think most here accept by now that ISO200 on one of these cameras is actually ISO100, under exposed by one stop and then processed in a manner that pushes the photo while protecting the highlights.

If you're mostly a JPEG shooter (which I actually am, most of the time), that's all well and good. In fact, I find it works pretty well, especially with Olympus's fine processing (and especially with gradiation set to normal), the result is clean images with pretty good shadow detail.

However, I'm starting to think that if you're mostly a raw shooter, looking to get the very best out of your shots and your prints, you actually get short changed a bit by this approach. Why is this? Well...... You're effectively forced to underexpose every shot you take at ISO200 and above; even if, by your judgement, the exposure only needs under exposing a fraction given the light you have.

So, if I'm not mistaken, I think the approach Olympus has taken is more analogous to a hammer, rather than a fine Japanese sword..... How could it be done better? I think there are a couple of things Olympus coule be doing:

  • Making the under exposer dynamic (i.e. if only 1/3 is required to protect the highlights, only underexpose by 1/3)

  • Just make it configurable and let the person using the tool decide (I believe this was mooted by Raist3d early on when we first started debating this stuff)?

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