E-M1, 12-40 and shuttershock

Started 8 months ago | Discussions thread
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Willem Wiersma
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E-M1, 12-40 and shuttershock
8 months ago

Yesterday my E-M1 with 12-40 arrived and I immediately took some test shots to see if IQ was at least as good as my E-M5. Main concern: shuttershock. If you are a non-believer, please skip this thread :).
I did not order the E-M1 for an improvement in IQ, but for an improvement in ergonomics, the better VF and the wifi features (ability to use an iPad for tethered shooting).

But lesser IQ than the E-M5 due to shuttershock would be a deal breaker. I know my E-M5 quite well and know what shutterspeeds to avoid with what lenses. My 9-18 doesn't  suffer much, the 14-45@45, the 45/1.8 and 75/1.8 are vulnerable for shuttershock untill 1/160th and my Oly 40-150@150 is vulnerable untill 1/250 sec. So what about the combination E-M1 and 12-40 which undoubtely will be a much-used lens?? I decided not to use a tripod, since 90% of my shooting is handhold. My technique: sitting, arms tightly against my chest, VF loosly against my eye, left hand supporting the body, not so much the lens (as suggested by Anders W).

Unfortunately I could not take too many shots, because it would prevent me from sending the E-M1kit back if need be.

My test subject was a drawing at a distance of about 2.5 meter and I shot with 12-40@40mm in JPG in mixed lighting, auto WB. IBIS was on (even though some think it will contribute to any shuttershock, which I have not experienced to be the case with my E-M5). Auto-ISO kept the ISO @ 200 untill 1/160th. With faster shutterspeeds ISO went gradually up untill ISO 500 @ 1/500th. I didn't care much about f-stop: according to slrgear.com this lens should be tacksharp in the centre from f2.8-f8 and these were the f-stops I shot with. Results are presented as screenshots from 100% centrecrops. I deliberately over-sharpened: it enhances small differences in sharpness. Furthermore the original shots were in colour, but I turned it into black&white, because the auto WB made some disturbing colour differences.

I repeated the test with the 45/1.8 and the 40-150, but will only show the pictures of the 12-40. The 45 showed roughly the same results as the 12-40@40. The 40-150@150 behaved much the same with the E-M5 as with the E-M1.

Look at the image-title to see the shutterspeed (160 is ofcourse 1/160th).

First all the crops together:

And now some comparisons of the 1/500th shot with various other shutterspeeds.

The good: there is just one really unusable shot, the one @ 1/60th, and it might have been my error. Strangely the 45/1.8 proved to be quite blurry @ 1/60th too, although not as bad as the pro-zoom. The not soo good: from 1/60 till 1/250 there is evidence of shuttershock. It takes 1/320 to get optimal sharpness, whereas my E-M5 reaches such sharpness at 1/200th.

I know shuttershock to be a bit of an unpredictable phenomenon, a I really should take many more shots to be sure. As explained this was not possible, but for me these results are not encouraging. A lot more money for better ergonomics but less IQ. I think I will send the camera back and buy the 12-40 separately later on. Any comments? Anders W: I know you to be some who has digged deeply into this subject, I'd like your take on it!

Olympus E-M1
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