Wrotniak: IS on E-M1 essentially no better than IS on 2007 E-510

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MichaelKJ
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Wrotniak: IS on E-M1 essentially no better than IS on 2007 E-510
7 months ago

Andrzej Wrotniak provided invaluable advice from 200-2009 to many of us who were early owners of digital Olympus cameras. After a four year absence, he is back with several articles about the E-M5 and E-M1. He loves the E-M1 and has many great things to say about it. However, he tested the E-M1's image stabalization using a method he developed several years ago and concluded that it is comparable to the E-510's IS. According to Wrotniak,

After going through all this data, I can say the following:

  • Image stabilization works as I would expect in the E-M1, providing benefits ranging from slightly above 1 EV at wide angles (my educated guess) to slightly more than 2 EV at F=300 mm.
  • The expected increase at focal lengths above 150 mm did not materialize.
  • There are no dramatic changes (in either direction) since Olympus introduced this IS system in the E-510 back in 2007. Any suggestion to the contrary seem to be a marketing fluff.

Interestingly, the promotional materials on the E-M1 do not make any claims (numeric, that is) on the effectiveness if image stabilization. I consider this to be a honest approach, hoping that other manufacturers will follow: these values do not have an absolute meaning and you cannot compare them between different brands if the methods used to derive them were different.

Last but not least, remember that each EV in usable ISO settings replaces one EV in AF effectiveness. With at least two EV gained in ISO since the last E-series SLRs, we already experience an effect equivalent to 2 extra EV in image stabilization. While the hard-tech market, driven by specs and marketing blurb, may be hard to convince, I still think that image stabilization in still photography may be a transitional technology, going soon the way of the dodo.

http://www.wrotniak.net/photo/m43/em1-is.html

Before people write Wrotniak off based on their personal impressions, I suggest that you read his testing methodology and his analyses. He is a physicist whose work involves designing mathematical algorithms for air traffic control systems. Imo, he is a highly intelligent person who knows what he is talking about.

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alatchin
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Re: Wrotniak: IS on E-M1 essentially no better than IS on 2007 E-510
In reply to MichaelKJ, 7 months ago

Two things... He isnt making definitive claims about the overall effectiveness, and the differences between the IS in the E-3 and my OMD make a massive difference when I am filming video

Personally I have gotten up to 3/4 stops in many cases and had a pretty sharp picture at 17mm... So technique and experience vary, personally I prefer to have it then to not.

Abraham

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jalywol
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Testing methodology might be where the comparison fails....
In reply to MichaelKJ, 7 months ago

Given his test technique, I am not entirely surprised he is not seeing much difference:

"All shots within one focal length should be done under similar conditions, to minimize the impact of uncontrolled variables. I chose to do them seated, with elbows not supported; the chair staying in the same position. I also try to control my breath and keep all subjective factors as constant as possible (also between series). At a given shutter speed I do the series with and without IS, randomly deciding which goes first. "

I would be most interested in seeing how he does with a comparison of the IBIS in a more dynamic situation... for instance, standing with a longer lens attached, and/or at very slow shutter speeds. The 5 axis IBIS shines when there is significant motion to compensate for, not when there is less.....

I think he may need to modify his testing technique to evaluate the actual differences in real world use.

-J

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Jim Salvas
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Re: Testing methodology might be where the comparison fails....
In reply to jalywol, 7 months ago

The current version of Olympus IS corrects for yaw, pitch and roll and the old version did not. Did this test include these elements?

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Phil Rose
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Re: Testing methodology might be where the comparison fails....
In reply to jalywol, 7 months ago

jalywol wrote:

I would be most interested in seeing how he does with a comparison of the IBIS in a more dynamic situation... for instance, standing with a longer lens attached, and/or at very slow shutter speeds. The 5 axis IBIS shines when there is significant motion to compensate for, not when there is less.....

I think he may need to modify his testing technique to evaluate the actual differences in real world use.

-J

I agree. I think a proper (and reproducible) test method is difficult to devise for such a technology, and although Wrotniak's may be more-or-less reproducible, it's distinctly a "low stress" approach and could be insensitive to what benefit(s) the latest stabilization system may provide.

Phil

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cosmonaut
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Re: Wrotniak: IS on E-M1 essentially no better than IS on 2007 E-510
In reply to MichaelKJ, 7 months ago

It's kind o of like every time a new camera comes out there is the one stop better with noise claim. If you look at all the different bodies that have been out if true Olympus sensors would be beyond full frame quality. In fact Olympus is the worlds worse at wrapping the same old sensor in a new body with different features. The E-M5 and E-M1 same sensor, a replacement for the E-M5 next month, why?

The IS on the E3 and E5 works very well. Is the E-M1 better, no. Still it works but it not as good as claims would lead. But without it at all would be a nightmare. I don't think it matters which E body one winds up with your going to get a nice camera no doubt. But the completion is miles ahead in image quality and most important to me dynamic range.

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D200_4me
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Someone else is impressed with the IS...
In reply to MichaelKJ, 7 months ago

Blunty is, as you can see from his test starting at this point in the video...

http://youtu.be/86ND5X8SjSQ?t=2m19s

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Jolly Oly
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Re: Wrotniak: IS on E-M1 essentially no better than IS on 2007 E-510
In reply to cosmonaut, 7 months ago

cosmonaut wrote:

It's kind o of like every time a new camera comes out there is the one stop better with noise claim. If you look at all the different bodies that have been out if true Olympus sensors would be beyond full frame quality. In fact Olympus is the worlds worse at wrapping the same old sensor in a new body with different features. The E-M5 and E-M1 same sensor, a replacement for the E-M5 next month, why?

back to basics: it's not the same sensor in EM5 and EM1. The one in E-M1 has on-sensor phase detection elements and you should know that if, as your said, you had an EM1.

The IS on the E3 and E5 works very well. Is the E-M1 better, no. Still it works but it not as good as claims would lead.

utter nonsense. try to shoot video with E-5 and with EM1 and compare the results. Also try to engage the IBIS with the shutter half click for manual focusing on E-3/5.

But without it at all would be a nightmare. I don't think it matters which E body one winds up with your going to get a nice camera no doubt. But the completion is miles ahead in image quality and most important to me dynamic range.

and what is wrong with EM-1/5 dynamic range ?

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Bruce Clarke
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Re: Testing methodology might be where the comparison fails....
In reply to jalywol, 7 months ago

jalywol wrote:

Given his test technique, I am not entirely surprised he is not seeing much difference:

"All shots within one focal length should be done under similar conditions, to minimize the impact of uncontrolled variables. I chose to do them seated, with elbows not supported; the chair staying in the same position. I also try to control my breath and keep all subjective factors as constant as possible (also between series). At a given shutter speed I do the series with and without IS, randomly deciding which goes first. "

I would be most interested in seeing how he does with a comparison of the IBIS in a more dynamic situation... for instance, standing with a longer lens attached, and/or at very slow shutter speeds. The 5 axis IBIS shines when there is significant motion to compensate for, not when there is less.....

I think he may need to modify his testing technique to evaluate the actual differences in real world use.

-J

Yes, it might be repeatable, but not a real world test of IS. I remember reading about how the early IS was designed (the E-3 I think), saying it was tuned to cope with the natural vibrations measured in a normal shooting situation. Sitting would reduce the larger swaying motions encountered when standing, where IS probably has the greatest benefit.

Subjectively, I would say the 5-axis IS is generally better than predecessors, and has a larger range, but very hard to quantify.

Bruce

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Olymore
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Re: Wrotniak: IS on E-M1 essentially no better than IS on 2007 E-510
In reply to cosmonaut, 7 months ago

You're not going to get a significant improvement in IQ until there is a breakthrough in technology because Oly is now using the best sensors. Any improvements in recent years is because they moved up to stae of the art sensors
Any additional improvements will be tinkering around the edges until something like the much mentioned organic sensors are commercially viable.

Secondly the EM1 uses a different sensor from the EM5 though probably using the same architecture apart from the PDAF

Thirdly, the next Olympus OMD is not a replacement for the EM5 but an entry level model according to rumours.

The EM5 replacement is probably going to be replaced at Photokina next Autumn.

And finally there will always be a difference between the best m43 and the best APSC or FF sensors because the APSC sensors are 60% larger and FF sensors are 4 times the size. Whether that three quarters or two full stops  difference is important only you can decide..

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Godfrey
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Re: Wrotniak: IS on E-M1 essentially no better than IS on 2007 E-510
In reply to MichaelKJ, 7 months ago

I did some testing with the E-M1+HLD-7 fitted with 50-200 + EC14 at full zoom, 283mm. Hand held, I can obtain consistently usable exposures at shutter speeds as long as 1/30 second. This compares quite favorably with my experience using this same lens setup with the E-5, where I could obtain consistently usable exposures as long as 1/125 second.

While I don't disparage Monsieur Wrotniak's testing or opinion, I am quite comfortable that my opinion, based on my experience and first-hand testing, is more valid for my use.

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Ulric
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Re: Wrotniak: IS on E-M1 essentially no better than IS on 2007 E-510
In reply to MichaelKJ, 7 months ago

User error.

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Atlasman
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Re: Wrotniak: IS on E-M1 essentially no better than IS on 2007 E-510
In reply to MichaelKJ, 7 months ago

I think it was wrong to make such a sweeping statement. I owned the E-510 and it made me a believer in IBIS. The 5-axis might not show much improvement for still image capture, but it sure creates magic during video.

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Timur Born
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Re: Wrotniak: IS on E-M1 essentially no better than IS on 2007 E-510
In reply to MichaelKJ, 7 months ago

Rotational IS! No tilted horizons because I cannot learn to press the shutter button properly.

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gib48189
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Re: Wrotniak: IS on E-M1 essentially no better than IS on 2007 E-510
In reply to Atlasman, 7 months ago

Having owned both an E-3 and and an E-510, my real world experience with has shown a remarkable improvement in IBIS with the EM-1.  As others have stated, not disputing his testing, but in real use, the EM-1's IBIS is pretty amazing.

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Re: Wrotniak: IS on E-M1 essentially no better than IS on 2007 E-510
In reply to MichaelKJ, 7 months ago

Last but not least, remember that each EV in usable ISO settings replaces one EV in AF effectiveness. With at least two EV gained in ISO since the last E-series SLRs, we already experience an effect equivalent to 2 extra EV in image stabilization. While the hard-tech market, driven by specs and marketing blurb, may be hard to convince, I still think that image stabilization in still photography may be a transitional technology, going soon the way of the dodo.

http://www.wrotniak.net/photo/m43/em1-is.html

I'm not sure I agree with that last part. Being able to take (semi) long exposure images hand-held without blur due to camera movement is definitely a strong selling-point for me, and will not be rendered obsolete by better iso performance.

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MichaelKJ
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Re: Wrotniak: IS on E-M1 essentially no better than IS on 2007 E-510
In reply to Jolly Oly, 7 months ago

Jolly Oly wrote:

cosmonaut wrote:

It's kind o of like every time a new camera comes out there is the one stop better with noise claim. If you look at all the different bodies that have been out if true Olympus sensors would be beyond full frame quality. In fact Olympus is the worlds worse at wrapping the same old sensor in a new body with different features. The E-M5 and E-M1 same sensor, a replacement for the E-M5 next month, why?

back to basics: it's not the same sensor in EM5 and EM1. The one in E-M1 has on-sensor phase detection elements and you should know that if, as your said, you had an EM1.

While it isn't the same sensor, cosmonaut is correct about there being very little difference in DR and noise.  The advantages of on-sensor phase detection have little, if anything, to do with IQ.

The IS on the E3 and E5 works very well. Is the E-M1 better, no. Still it works but it not as good as claims would lead.

utter nonsense. try to shoot video with E-5 and with EM1 and compare the results. Also try to engage the IBIS with the shutter half click for manual focusing on E-3/5.

Are you claiming that those are the only situations where the EM-1 has noticeably better IS than the E-5?

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dkadc
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Re: Wrotniak: IS on E-M1 essentially no better than IS on 2007 E-510
In reply to MichaelKJ, 7 months ago

With my EM1 I'm able to take hanheld shots with jaw dropping sharpness with exposures of up to two seconds, its IBIS is stunning compared to my EM5 and light years ahead of my E30 and E510.
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Skeeterbytes
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Re: Wrotniak: IS on E-M1 essentially no better than IS on 2007 E-510
In reply to MichaelKJ, 7 months ago

Interesting. Well, horses for courses--I confess I press the E-M5 IS far more than the E-510 IS because the latter's low-light performance is so poor it's the photographic equivalent of a cinder block in comparison to the O-MD. I guess I could do an A:B comparison, since I still have the E-510, but don't feel particularly compelled to.

With that said, E-5 IS is much better then the 510, something I'm consistently reminded of in real world shooting, and I know the E-M5 doesn't give anything up to the E-5, other than whatever benefit great mass may provide, so I have to give the nod to the E-M5 over the E-510 based on that indirect comparo.

In any case, I can't imagine having a camera body without IS.

Cheers,

Rick

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DonSC
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Great point
In reply to jalywol, 7 months ago

jalywol wrote:

I think he may need to modify his testing technique to evaluate the actual differences in real world use.

I suspect you're right. It might also vary from person to person. I think I get closer to 3 stops at both the wide and long ends, which may simply mean I'm not as steady as he is to begin with. You also get more steady the longer you use a lens and I think he's been using these lenses for quite some time.

On the other hand, hard to say he's wrong within the context of his testing.

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