E-520 Scene Modes settings

Started Sep 29, 2009 | Discussions
John Ponting
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E-520 Scene Modes settings
Sep 29, 2009

2 week owner of E-520 and still playing.

Trying to find out what settings are applied when 1 of the 20 scene modes is selected. I want to try the suggestions then experiment with making my changes to those settings. I KNOW THAT MANY WILL SAY IGNORE SCENES AND JUST SET TO A or S or M but I payed for them and I want to know what they do.

The FAQ at Olympus tells me:

For example, here are the settings applied by the FIREWORKS Scene:

  • F11

  • 4 seconds

  • ISO 100

  • Saturation 0

  • Contrast +1

  • Sharpness –1

  • Exposure Compensation –1.0

  • White Balance 5300K

  • Gradation Normal

  • Manual Focus

These are the optimum settings for shooting fireworks. Selecting the FIREWORKS Scene sets the camera up with appropriate settings tailored to the subject matter, all in one step.

But I've been unable to trace info on the other 19 modes.

Olympus Europe told me to download "the advanced user manual in pdf" for Olymus USA. It is, of course, just the same manual that was in the box when I bought - tells me there are 20 modes but no info on what they actually do.

Olympus USA so far haven't replied to an email.

It's controlled by a program - there must be a program spec somewhere.

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AnandaSim
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Re: E-520 Scene Modes settings
In reply to John Ponting, Sep 29, 2009

John Ponting wrote:

Trying to find out what settings are applied when 1 of the 20 scene modes is selected. I want to try the suggestions then experiment with making my changes to those settings. I KNOW THAT MANY WILL SAY IGNORE SCENES AND JUST SET TO A or S or M but I payed for them and I want to know what they do.

If you want to use SCENEs enjoy them.

However, SCENEs on many / most cameras are targeted at people with limited interest in taking over and just want to point and shoot quickly. On many / most cameras, this is not documented.

These are the optimum settings for shooting fireworks. Selecting the FIREWORKS Scene sets the camera up with appropriate settings tailored to the subject matter, all in one step.

Yes. These are the best guess by the maker but some of those interested in Fireworks may have even better techniques.

It's controlled by a program - there must be a program spec somewhere.

Certainly. But it is more and more common that we end users DON'T have the program spec. We use Microsoft Windows, Word, Excel. If you type even simple entries into Excel and do some mousing, Excel behaves in different ways depending on the data. We don't have the spec for these programs nor at one time, did is rumoured, Microsoft - they had built so many features, over time that they lost track.

Certainly a SCENE mode should be much easier to document than Microsoft Excel, but many cameras and companies don't bother to offer the info.

Good luck on your search....

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John Ponting
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Re: E-520 Scene Modes settings
In reply to AnandaSim, Sep 29, 2009

Hi, I guess you're right about the use of scenes. I started my photography years ago with a Retinette 1B, a couple of Practicas, a Pentax or 2, an OM-1, various shirt pocket snappers, belonged to camera clubs etc.

Given time I'll get to love the camera and go back to manual settings. Scenes could be usefull for the very quick grab shots or even as a tutorial mode for new users.

Too many years in IT management not to want detailed specs.

I'll post on here if Olympus ever come up with the goods.

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carlvds
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Re: E-520 Scene Modes settings
In reply to John Ponting, Sep 29, 2009

Hi John,

I share with you the desire to know the specific settings of the scene modes.
The superpanel provides a way to see ( not to acces) some of the settings .
The info thus provided is only partial, but better than nothing.

John Ponting wrote:

2 week owner of E-520 and still playing.

Trying to find out what settings are applied when 1 of the 20 scene modes is selected. I want to try the suggestions then experiment with making my changes to those settings. I KNOW THAT MANY WILL SAY IGNORE SCENES AND JUST SET TO A or S or M but I payed for them and I want to know what they do.

The FAQ at Olympus tells me:

For example, here are the settings applied by the FIREWORKS Scene:

  • F11

  • 4 seconds

  • ISO 100

  • Saturation 0

  • Contrast +1

  • Sharpness –1

  • Exposure Compensation –1.0

  • White Balance 5300K

  • Gradation Normal

  • Manual Focus

These are the optimum settings for shooting fireworks. Selecting the FIREWORKS Scene sets the camera up with appropriate settings tailored to the subject matter, all in one step.

But I've been unable to trace info on the other 19 modes.

Olympus Europe told me to download "the advanced user manual in pdf" for Olymus USA. It is, of course, just the same manual that was in the box when I bought - tells me there are 20 modes but no info on what they actually do.

Olympus USA so far haven't replied to an email.

It's controlled by a program - there must be a program spec somewhere.

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DQ Photo
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Re: E-520 Scene Modes settings
In reply to John Ponting, Sep 29, 2009

Great question! I just purchased an E-520 body, and I would like to know the same info (even though I will rarely use most of the scene modes).

I will also email Olympus and ask for the same specs.

Interestingly, another camera company (am I allowed to say "Nikon" in this forum) provides "picture control guidelines" to approximate the color and other factors of other cameras in their product line-up. Here is their link:

http://imaging.nikon.com/products/imaging/lineup/picturecontrol/other/approximation.htm

This chart is obviously not the same as our Olympus E-520 Scenes, but I find it refreshing that a major camera producer is willing to publish that information. Does Olympus consider their Scenes settings a trade secret?

By the way, how do you like the E-520 so far? I'm getting used to the smaller size and weight (compared to my old E-1 and E-500 body and lenses). But it works great!!!

John Ponting wrote:

Hi, I guess you're right about the use of scenes. I started my photography years ago with a Retinette 1B, a couple of Practicas, a Pentax or 2, an OM-1, various shirt pocket snappers, belonged to camera clubs etc.

Given time I'll get to love the camera and go back to manual settings. Scenes could be usefull for the very quick grab shots or even as a tutorial mode for new users.

Too many years in IT management not to want detailed specs.

I'll post on here if Olympus ever come up with the goods.

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pris
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Re: E-520 Scene Modes settings
In reply to John Ponting, Sep 29, 2009

John,

for all the ramblings about "dumb" scene modes intended for "dumb" photographers, they CAN be fairly useful.

First, they can serve as "panic button" of sorts. Need set things for a shot quick and getting lost in settings for this or that reason, for instance (although many would prefer to go to RAW and manage settings later). There also can be just too many settings to change, and time is not always is plentiful.

Second, well, sometimes they (modes) just work. Have a look at fireworks (since you mentioned settings for those) at http://www.realitytrader.com/photography/2009/07/fireworks.html - some of those shots ARE taken with that low-life scene mode. Think anyone can tell which ones??

Third, I agree with your premise: those settings are useful as a guide. For instance, in that example you cited:

settings applied by the FIREWORKS Scene:

  • F11

  • 4 seconds

  • ISO 100

  • Saturation 0

  • Contrast +1

  • Sharpness –1

  • Exposure Compensation –1.0

  • White Balance 5300K

  • Gradation Normal

  • Manual Focus

it's really a good idea to apply EV - 1, and set WB to Sun, and I am not sure those settings are so readily obvious to everyone.

So, back to a question of how to find them - set your camera to the scene mode, go over your Supercontrol panel in each mode, carefully writing down each of the parameters. I just had a quick look at mine )e-30 but there shouldn't be any difference in this regard) and I can see almost all of the settings being displayed. There could be some deeper hidden ones, not sure... for instance in Sunset mode deeper reds and yellows could be reached by some changes to certain colors saturation or it's just a WB set to Cloudy - in latter case it's readily visible, in former will take a bit more digging. But even worst case scenario, you'll find majority of settings there.

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John Ponting
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Re: E-520 Scene Modes settings
In reply to pris, Sep 30, 2009

I thought at first that I was the only person who wanted to know what their camera was designed to do - apparently not.

Looks like a DIY job then - set a mode, note the settings X20.

Loving the camera so far. It was delivered one morning and I left UK the same day for an MG rally in Holland - it was out of it's box and battery charged but that was it.

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AussieAndo
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Re: E-520 Scene Modes settings
In reply to John Ponting, Sep 30, 2009

The only way I could think of that may work would be to take a few shots of different scenes in each mode and then compare exif data.

You could then work out if certain settings are fixed or variable.

I have often wondered where the 'step up' point is for the auto iso setting.

Does it increase when shutter speed = focal length? half focal length? I have never taken the time to experiment to find out. Whenever I think of it my camera is not at hand to test

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AnandaSim
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Re: E-520 Scene Modes settings
In reply to DQ Photo, Sep 30, 2009

DQ Photo wrote:

Interestingly, another camera company (am I allowed to say "Nikon" in this forum) provides "picture control guidelines" to approximate the color and other factors of other cameras in their product line-up. Here is their link:

http://imaging.nikon.com/products/imaging/lineup/picturecontrol/other/approximation.htm

This chart is obviously not the same as our Olympus E-520 Scenes, but I find it refreshing that a major camera producer is willing to publish that information. Does Olympus consider their Scenes settings a trade secret?

I may not be looking at the right table, but all that table shows is the style settings for "Film" emulation modes - neutral, vivid etc... rather then SCENE modes.

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AnandaSim
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Re: E-520 Scene Modes settings
In reply to John Ponting, Sep 30, 2009

John Ponting wrote:

Given time I'll get to love the camera and go back to manual settings. Scenes could be usefull for the very quick grab shots or even as a tutorial mode for new users.

  • Agree with the quick grab shots.

  • Not really agree with tutorial mode.

It's like Microsoft Excel macro recording or Word Macro recording. I use Excel macro recording to record a macro and then I look at the commands that Excel uses so that I don't have to read the Object Model from front to back to hunt down a command. Like

Application.Goto Reference:="A1"

However, if one simply follows everything that Excel records, Excel writes pretty poor macros. If you click on a cell and make it Bold, that's just a simple activity, but Excel may record a whole heap of cell properties - Borders, Cell colour, Font etc.... in addition to Bold.

Too many years in IT management not to want detailed specs.

Yeah. I work with users who create really complex models. They are business domain experts but have little idea of maintainability, auditability and so on.

I'll post on here if Olympus ever come up with the goods.

Very good. Always good to see a contribution to the commnunity.

But in terms of SCENE modes, I have seen that the designers employ more than what the outside enthusiast has access to. For example, Excel internal programmers have access to Excel functions and features which for outsiders like us have no access to via the Excel object model.

In an SCENE mode, let's say LANDSCAPE, the following MAY be options that the internal programmer has established:

a. use the matrix metering system to handle an expection percent dark ground and percent light sky based on the results of database stuy. By selecting LANDSCAPE SCENE, this metering bias has been nominated to be calculated by the camera. As a camera end user - without choosing LANDSCAPE SCENE, we have no parameters to twiddle to tell the camera.

b. Also in LANDSCAPE SCENE, the internal programmer has the results of a database study to tell him that 80% of landscapes have this amount of green trees and therefore, the WB as well as the green saturation to make the landscape good looking is now chosen. Again, using the cameras's menus and buttons, we as end users have no parameters to tweak except the crude WB control to make this happen.

Other than these things, there are gross parameters, like choose a bigger f/no for better DOF, choose an lower ISO for reduced image noise, choose a focus point that is at hyperfocal distance - those things we can control because we have dials for f/no, ISO and focussing. HOWEVER, these parameters for SCENE LANDSCAPE are not fixed. That is, the internal engineer would have programmed an optimisation curve based on Scene light level, ISO, shutter speed, f/no, hyperfocal distance into the SCENE LANDSCAPE.

So, we come to a decision point.

A. Do we spend effort iin reverse engineering the SCENE MODE - given that we have some camera parameters that have no menu or dial controls and that the SCENE MODE has an optimisation curve programmed in

OR

B. Do we handle the camera from first principles. That we as the skilled photographers learn fundamental first principles of successful landscape photography - our own choice of ISO, f/no, shutter speed, focus point, WB from first principles given too that some of us have extra techniques not available to the camera like Expose To The Right or Ansel Adams Pre-Visualisation Zone System or HDR multi-exposure techniques?

For me, it has bee both:

  • Use the SCENE mode, when I don't want to work my brain, just feel like point and shoot.

  • Use fundamental first principles (i.e. B) when I really care about the shot. Because approach A. reverse engineer what the SCENE MODE knows is a problem esp when in most cases, fundamental first principles by a human (me) should be cleverer than canned SCENE MODE regardless of current level of technology available to the internal engineer who made the SCENE MODE.

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