How can you adjust jpeg compression in Olympus O-MD E-M1?

Started 6 months ago | Questions
Strawberry Pie
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How can you adjust jpeg compression in Olympus O-MD E-M1?
6 months ago

When I examine the jpeg output from the E-M1, I find too many compression artifacts for my tastes even at the L-SF setting. I cannot find a control for the compression other than the SF-F-N settings. Is there any other control for jpeg quality other than that, in the camera itself? Ideally, I would like to use the equivalent of 0% compression and 100% quality. I don't care about image size.

I know I can shoot raw and produce jpegs from that using external software, but the software I prefer to use (Apple Aperture) does not currently fully understand the Olympus raw file settings. (Yes, I could use Olympus' software to convert the raw to jpeg, but this would greatly increase time and complexity in the workflow.) Thus, I'm looking for a way to optimize the jpegs from the camera itself, if at all possible.

Thanks for any help.

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honeyiscool
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Re: How can you adjust jpeg compression in Olympus O-MD E-M1?
In reply to Strawberry Pie, 6 months ago

Aperture has full E-M1 file support. Certainly works fine on my computer.

But if only the Olympus engine will do, the Olympus Viewer software is the only way, but the nice thing about that is that you can set it to export TIFF+EXIF, and then you have lossless compression.

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Bob657
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Re: How can you adjust jpeg compression in Olympus O-MD E-M1?
In reply to Strawberry Pie, 6 months ago

You can make significant adjustments to the jpegs, go to the menu, select Picture Mode, then right arrow to adjust sharpening, contrast, saturation and gradation for each style.  In addition, you can use the highlight, shadow curve adjustments off of function 2 button unless you've customized it.

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Guy Parsons
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Re: How can you adjust jpeg compression in Olympus O-MD E-M1?
In reply to Strawberry Pie, 6 months ago

Strawberry Pie wrote:

When I examine the jpeg output from the E-M1, I find too many compression artifacts for my tastes even at the L-SF setting. I cannot find a control for the compression other than the SF-F-N settings. Is there any other control for jpeg quality other than that, in the camera itself? Ideally, I would like to use the equivalent of 0% compression and 100% quality. I don't care about image size.

I know I can shoot raw and produce jpegs from that using external software, but the software I prefer to use (Apple Aperture) does not currently fully understand the Olympus raw file settings. (Yes, I could use Olympus' software to convert the raw to jpeg, but this would greatly increase time and complexity in the workflow.) Thus, I'm looking for a way to optimize the jpegs from the camera itself, if at all possible.

Thanks for any help.

I doubt that there's compression artifacts as there is little difference (maybe a pixel or two) in the fine and super fine output. What you are probably seeing is sharpening issues (that increases noise) and nasty edge haloes that appear even when sharpening is at -2. I have abandoned jpegs from the camera for that reason, I prefer my own sharpening in post from the RAWs.

The only way to get clean jpegs/tiffs is to use a RAW developer. My current one is AfterShot Pro (was Bibble) but sadly is tragically slow to update for new cameras. May be a long wait for E-M1/10.

So keep taking RAWs and wait until one day that Adobe and Corel wake up that there's new cameras being sold.

Regards..... Guy

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Strawberry Pie
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Re: How can you adjust jpeg compression in Olympus O-MD E-M1?
In reply to honeyiscool, 6 months ago

Aperture 3.5.1 (with Apple's Digital Converter RAW version 5.03) will read the files, but will not apply the same settings as the camera applies. This is clear if you compare the raw and the jpeg versions of an image in Aperture (e.g., when shooting in raw+jpeg format): the most obvious differences are color shifts between the two, and CA is removed in the jpegs but not the raw files, and my understanding is that the camera's processor performs additional lens-specific corrections based on baked-in profiles for Olympus' lenses.

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Strawberry Pie
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Re: How can you adjust jpeg compression in Olympus O-MD E-M1?
In reply to Bob657, 6 months ago

Yes, thanks, but I've experimented with those settings; those are the menus where you can set the sharpening mode to SF, F, etc.  I'm looking for more control over the jpeg compression and quality settings.

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Steven Wandy
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Re: How can you adjust jpeg compression in Olympus O-MD E-M1?
In reply to Strawberry Pie, 6 months ago

Unfortunately the only "uncompressed" file that the EM1 (or any Olympus camera) will produce is the RAW files. If you want JPEGs OOC - the best is the L-SF which according to the manual is a 1/2.7 compression ratio.

As was pointed out - the only other was is to shoot RAW and use Olympus Viewer to get the same OOC processing and then produce your JPEGs from that. But then you will still not be getting an uncompressed JPEG.

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Rocky ID Olympian
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Try sharpness -1 or even -2.
In reply to Strawberry Pie, 6 months ago

If you want to reduce some artifact in the LSF JPEG in Olympus, I suggest you try reducing the sharpness to -1 or -2.

The artifact you see is sometimes also contributed by over sharpening process.

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jalywol
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Also set the NR to its lowest level.
In reply to Strawberry Pie, 6 months ago

I actually find the artifacts from the NR to be the most obvious to me (the "blobbies" is what I call them, since that's what they look like to me in things like fine foliage detail). Turning the NR to its lowest setting helps with that.  You may find you need to do some NR in post processing if you do this, but the gain in terms of artifact reduction is worth it (to me, anyway).

If this and sharpening reduction don't do it for you, then you should probably work in RAW....

-J

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Bob657
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Re: How can you adjust jpeg compression in Olympus O-MD E-M1?
In reply to Strawberry Pie, 6 months ago

I think you are confusing two different settings, the Fine, Superfine, etc is different from the Picture Mode settings like sharpening.  The third area that's been mentioned is noise reduction.  Each of these is in a different part of the menu.

Bob G

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Strawberry Pie
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Re: How can you adjust jpeg compression in Olympus O-MD E-M1?
In reply to Bob657, 6 months ago

Bob657 wrote:

I think you are confusing two different settings, the Fine, Superfine, etc is different from the Picture Mode settings like sharpening.

Hmm. When you say "Picture Mode settings", you mean the menu called "Picture Mode" under "Shooting Menu 1" in the E-M1's menu system, correct? The settings for Fine, Superfine, etc., are indeed different from the Picture Mode settings, and I mistakenly grouped them. However, the Picture Mode settings have controls for adjusting the features that you described in your first message:

You can make significant adjustments to the jpegs, go to the menu, select Picture Mode, then right arrow to adjust sharpening, contrast, saturation and gradation for each style. In addition, you can use the highlight, shadow curve adjustments off of function 2 button unless you've customized it.

Changes to contrast, saturation, gradation will affect such things as tonal range and vividness of the colors in the output; they are not going to directly affect jpeg compression. Likewise, highlight, shadow and curve adjustments will also not directly affect jpeg compression. They may have indirect effects on the compressed output, in the sense that changing these parameters may cause the jpeg encoder to produce slightly different results, but that's not the same thing. Finally, the same is true of sharpening, although adjusting sharpening probably will have a greater effect on the compressed output (especially around edges in the image).

I think the confusion is over what I'm hoping to find. You see, most jpeg encoders, at least in software, have a separate, direct setting for the degree of compression applied to the image. This is sometimes given as a percentage, sometimes as an integer, and sometimes just as "low", "high", etc. This should in principle be completely different from changing any other parameter such as image saturation or sharpening. I believe this is what is at least partly affected by the Fine, Superfine, etc., settings in the camera, but even at the Superfine setting, there are still visible compression artifacts in the output; these artifacts tend either to obliterate fine detail, or alternately, to introduce detail that is not actually present in the original scene.

In your message, you also wrote the following:

The third area that's been mentioned is noise reduction. Each of these is in a different part of the menu.

This is something someone else mentioned. That's a setting worth experimenting with, and I will try to adjust noise reduction to explore the effects.

Thanks,

Mike

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Strawberry Pie
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Re: Also set the NR to its lowest level.
In reply to jalywol, 6 months ago

jalywol wrote:

I actually find the artifacts from the NR to be the most obvious to me (the "blobbies" is what I call them, since that's what they look like to me in things like fine foliage detail). Turning the NR to its lowest setting helps with that. You may find you need to do some NR in post processing if you do this, but the gain in terms of artifact reduction is worth it (to me, anyway).

If this and sharpening reduction don't do it for you, then you should probably work in RAW....

"Blobbies" is a great way to describe those results :-).

I'll experiment with adjusting noise reduction, and also sharpness as mentioned by Rocky ID Olympian in another reply.

Thanks,

Mike

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Garry Schaefer
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Re: How can you adjust jpeg compression in Olympus O-MD E-M1?
In reply to Strawberry Pie, 6 months ago

In addition to the several points raised by other respondents, I think it worthwhile to mention that the LSF setting in Olympus camera comes with a very low degree of jpeg compression, 2.7:1.

I am not aware of any other camera make or model with a less compressed jpeg (most start at 4:1). I am also not aware of any camera in which you can set the degree of jpeg compression in the way common to computer based software (as a percentage or on an arbitrary numerical scale). Perhaps you or others could enlighten me if that is not the case.

I believe that a number of other settings should enable one to reduce any compression artifacts to a negligible level but, if those prove to continue to be troublesome, the only solution will be to shoot RAW and post process to your satisfaction.

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Digital Dick
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Re: How can you adjust jpeg compression in Olympus O-MD E-M1?
In reply to Strawberry Pie, 6 months ago

I think most of us reading this thread are of the opinion that you are mistaking over sharpening and too aggressive noise reduction for compression artifacts. It's easy to tell the difference. Shoot an image with both jpeg and raw from your camera. Then without doing any processing of the raw just re save it as a jpeg with the same compression as the original jpeg. Compare the two jpegs and you will see more "compression artifacts" in the original jpeg than in the second jpeg thus proving that the "artifacts" are do to something other than jpeg compression.

Dick

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Strawberry Pie
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Re: How can you adjust jpeg compression in Olympus O-MD E-M1?
In reply to Steven Wandy, 6 months ago

Steven Wandy wrote:

Unfortunately the only "uncompressed" file that the EM1 (or any Olympus camera) will produce is the RAW files. If you want JPEGs OOC - the best is the L-SF which according to the manual is a 1/2.7 compression ratio.

Thanks for mentioning this. It made me search in the manual and now I found the table where the compression ratios are listed.

And it sucks that there is no other option. It's slightly boggling to me that the camera offers control over something like whether auto focus should favor the left eye or the right eye of a face, but doesn't offer a better jpeg quality setting.

Mike

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Strawberry Pie
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Re: How can you adjust jpeg compression in Olympus O-MD E-M1?
In reply to Garry Schaefer, 6 months ago

Garry Schaefer wrote:

I am not aware of any other camera make or model with a less compressed jpeg (most start at 4:1). I am also not aware of any camera in which you can set the degree of jpeg compression in the way common to computer based software (as a percentage or on an arbitrary numerical scale). Perhaps you or others could enlighten me if that is not the case.

You are probably right; it may be that no other camera offers any better, and I'm on a Quixotic quest to change the impossible.  Actually, now that you mention it, my Nikon D300 also doesn't offer finer control over the jpeg compression, and its jpegs also exhibit such issues even at the optimal settings. I had long ago stopped using jpegs in favor of raw because of the image quality.  (This was possible for me with Nikon NEF files because the raw converter in Apple Aperture can produce exactly the same output in terms of color and contrast – or near enough that I can't tell the difference. Unfortunately, Aperture does not do such a good job with Olympus's raw files; the jpegs and the raw files are visibly different, even in the latest version of Aperture. I'm currently shooting in jpeg+raw format on the O-M1, hoping for the day when Aperture will do a better job with the raw files....)

Mike

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Don Boethel
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Re: How can you adjust jpeg compression in Olympus O-MD E-M1?
In reply to Strawberry Pie, 6 months ago

I shoot the Olympus OM-D E-M5 and I shoot in RAW only. I process my RAW files in DxO Pro9. After all my adjustments are made, I export the files back to my original directory. DxO gives you the option of different types (jpeg, tiffs, or dng.) I use Jpeg and they allow you to set your compression level. I save mine as 100%. DxO has updated their software for the OM-D E-M1, however, you have to purchase their "Elite" version of their product for your camera. With the E-M5 I am able to use their standard version which is cheaper.

You can download a fully operable copy of their software free for 30 Days. You can go to their website and view some of their tutorials. I also use Adobe CS6 to put so final touches on some photos but I like DxO's raw converter better than Adobe's. DxO Pro 9 is slower than Adobe but this is a hobby for me and I'm retired so in theory, I have plenty of time. I have recently purchased the E-M10 also and am waiting for DxO to update their RAW converter for that.

One other thing I like about DxO is the fact that they have created modules for most camera bodies and lens combinations. You can download these from their site into the software and it automatically Make corrects for some of the lens faults. If you try a new camera body and lens combination that you have not used before, it will notify you and give you the option to download it before you continue.

Good luck............

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Guy Parsons
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Re: How can you adjust jpeg compression in Olympus O-MD E-M1?
In reply to Strawberry Pie, 6 months ago

Strawberry Pie wrote:

Steven Wandy wrote:

Unfortunately the only "uncompressed" file that the EM1 (or any Olympus camera) will produce is the RAW files. If you want JPEGs OOC - the best is the L-SF which according to the manual is a 1/2.7 compression ratio.

Thanks for mentioning this. It made me search in the manual and now I found the table where the compression ratios are listed.

And it sucks that there is no other option. It's slightly boggling to me that the camera offers control over something like whether auto focus should favor the left eye or the right eye of a face, but doesn't offer a better jpeg quality setting.

Mike

The early Olympus cameras about 10 years ago did have a TIFF output to satisfy the market but no point as the jpegs worked just the same for display or print.

The "better" jpeg setting is the Super Fine which delivers a stupidly large file for just about no difference in appearance to Fine, even Standard is perfectly good for normal purposes.

What makes the biggest difference is mucking about with Noise Filter and Sharpening.

Set Noise Filter to Off, and set a sane high ISO limit if using Auto ISO (like 800) for everyday use. It's the Noise Filter that spoils most of the fine detail as you wander to higher ISO. Way way better to do noise reduction in post to suit the end purpose, most times noise never causes any problems at all. In fact quality larger print people actually may add noise to images to help stop the bland digital look.

Leave Noise Reduction to auto then that cuts in at 4 seconds and longer exposures to deliver the time doubling dark frame subtraction to clean up the noise from long exposure hot pixels.

Next choose a Picture Mode that suits, I happen to use Natural with Contrast, Saturation and Sharpening all at -1 and with Gradation Auto (with E-PL5). That delivers  a reasonable jpeg to evaluate what just happened. I use the RAW of course later and not the jpeg, but I find the Standard sized jpeg done that way is perfectly OK to work with.

If I were forced to use jpeg only I would raise the file size to Fine (not Super Fine) and make Sharpening -2 and then post process sharpen to suit the situation. The problem always with jpegs, even at -2 Sharpen, is that there are edge halos and enhanced noise. The Fine and Super Fine jpeg compression is completely benign. You are probably seeing Sharpness and Noise Filter problems.

Also with 16MP files, never go past about 50% pixel peeping unless you are printing to huge dimensions and will put your nose up against it. All normal screen and print viewing done for the appropriate viewing distance at any size or screen or print only needs about 4 or 5MP, so 16MP is overkill for 99% of situations but does allow some more "zoom" using savage crops.

Regards..... Guy

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Strawberry Pie
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Re: How can you adjust jpeg compression in Olympus O-MD E-M1?
In reply to Digital Dick, 6 months ago

Digital Dick wrote:

I think most of us reading this thread are of the opinion that you are mistaking over sharpening and too aggressive noise reduction for compression artifacts.

You're right.

Here's where I went wrong. I shot tests in jpeg+raw mode, and imported them into Aperture. Then I flipped back and forth between the two, observing detail at 100%. My mistake was to assume that the camera settings for sharpness were applied to both the jpeg and the raw file.  I attributed the differences in the image to compression effects. However, the sharpening setting evidently only affects the jpeg; Aperture is ignoring whatever data about the in-camera sharpeness setting is provided in the raw file. The differences I saw were thus not due to compression; they were due to differences in sharpness and noise reduction applied to the jpeg. (Yes, "duh".)

Thanks for persevering to point this out, despite my obstinate insistence on a different and flawed line of reasoning....

Mike

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Strawberry Pie
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Re: How can you adjust jpeg compression in Olympus O-MD E-M1?
In reply to Guy Parsons, 6 months ago

That's an excellent explanation and procedure. Thanks for taking the time to write it up!

Mike

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