E-M5: Experience report (vs. Fuji X10)

Started Apr 28, 2012 | Discussions thread
Anders W
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Re: Sensor performance
In reply to Timur Born, May 11, 2012

Timur Born wrote:

Anders W wrote:

But since the E-M5 does not offer such an automatic mode the X10 has the edge.

It does. See page 62 in the manual (English version).

Thanks for the reference, but I already knew this function. I would hardly call it automatic , though.

Well, it's a matter of definition. Hence the smiley after my suggestion.

The only thing it does for you is to blend the images in-camera and give a little help for alignment. You still have to align yourself, choose proper bracketing (found a bug there) or change exposure manually (danger of moving the camera). Unfortunately every time you use Playback it turns off Overlay mode, so you have to dive into the menus again.

If you just take multiple shots at the same exposure and let the camera average them you don't have to touch exposure or anything else. But yes, I think you need a tripod for the function to be of much use.

And even with IBIS and short exposure times it's not really usable handheld on the E-M5 while the EXR DR solution works pretty well handheld (with a few caveats). Of course once you went through all the loopholes the overlaid images out of the E-M5 are better quality than the EXR DR ones coming out of the X10. But then you also have to decide whether to use "Auto Gain" or not, because the results can have advantages and drawbacks in different regions. I will post images of using the E-M5's overlay mode later.

Better to do the overlaying out of camera for better control and choices if you already have to do so many steps manually. You cannot blame Olympus for that, it's the specialty and very reason of existence of the EXR sensor to do these things on its own.

Further, in order to see how well the E-M5 can actually do in this comparison, I think you should upsample the Fuji to 16 MP and then give the E-M5 as much NR as it can take without the actual resolution (to your eyes) being inferior to that of the Fuji.

Here is a comparison of the X10 being up-scaled to the E-M5 size, no noise reduction, no sharpening. Especially look at the upper handle of this fruit bows thingy.

In particular, the E-M5 would benefit from some chroma NR here, since it is inferior to the Fuji in the samples you now show with regard to chroma noise. The Fuji instead has worse luminance noise.

In my last example the E-M5 image already got a chroma noise filter treatment of 25 in LR4, while the X10 only got 10. The more you push the chroma noise filter on the E-M5 image the more the black handle gets lost.

But mind you, the E-M5 result is not a bad one, the X10 is just so good. According to DxOmark the X10 offers about 11 EV dynamic range and EXR DR 400 tries to put 2 EV on top of that. I suspect the result is somewhat less than 13 EV, but it's still a high threshold to overcome for the competition.

Thanks for the additional demonstration. And yes, I have no difficulties understanding how the DR mathematics work out. The Fuji can take two EV more exposure without clipping the highlights and so has an advantage by that much. At equal exposure, the E-M5 should be about one EV ahead but given the exposure difference it's instead one EV behind.

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