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Olympus OM-D E-M5 low light high ISO sample series

By dpreview staff on Mar 9, 2012 at 17:44 GMT
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We've just received an Olympus OM-D E-M5 that we can use to publish sample images and have shot an ISO sequence. We aim to bring you a real-world samples gallery in a few days time, but to whet your appetite we've prepared a quick series of studio-based shots showing how the camera behaves under the challenge of low-level tungsten lighting at all ISOs. Olympus describes our sample as 'initial production' and it's running firmware version 1.0, so these should give a pretty good idea of what you'll be able to expect from the camera when it hits the shops. Note that these samples are not intended to replace, or even be comparable to our standard studio tests, which we'll publish as usual when we get our hands on a production camera.

In this series we're showing out-of-camera JPEGs both at default settings, and with the noise filter turned off and sharpening set to -2 (this tends to be our preferred setup for Olympus cameras, to give the most-natural detail retention at high ISOs). As yet we have no third-party RAW support. Note also that the conditions used - low intensity, low color-temperature halogen lighting - are designed to simulate indoor artificial lighting. This should be considered close to the worst-case scenario in normal use as the image's blue channel has to be heavily amplified to achieve neutral white balance, accentuating noise. Under many conditions you'll see better results at high ISOs - for example when shooting indoors using window light.

The test scene used for these samples; focus is on the figurine lower left. Olympus OM-D E-M5 with Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 45mm 1:1.8.

 Click here for our Olympus OM-D E-M5 low light ISO series samples

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Comments

Total comments: 283
12
glenn capers
By glenn capers (Mar 21, 2013)

nice coverage friend

0 upvotes
arik
By arik (Jun 15, 2012)

A week ago I got the camera with lens 14-150 (28-300 in 35mm).
I did with it a number of test shots at a music show and appearance of the Azrieli Towers at night while using the adapter and the pro line lenses of the Olympus l set the camera to 12 500 ASA and 6400 ASA. I was just shocked with the results!!
Night photo of the Azrieli Towers was purchased by a customer in a day from abroad 1 day after I published it .
Photographs were taken at shuter speed of approximately 1/15 and 1/25 in hand and were quite sharp thanks to the wonderful stabilizer
Here I could hardly see it thanks to Olympus's new processor.
I invite you all to visit and view the results.
http://arik-baltinester.artistwebsites.com/
The 14-150 lens also produced wonderful results .
Two days ago I shot an event at the university while I was using this lens and sensitivity 1200 ASA and without flash
And here too, I and more importantly the client was very pleased with the results.

Have a lovely weekend.
Arik

0 upvotes
lyneyes
By lyneyes (Mar 23, 2012)

How many candle light powers in this sample? Excellent color, defnition. Not using the noise filter shows the Olympus is on the right track to get a clear image. I'll save my wishing pool pennies (lol) Never know. Some day. Over the rainbow.

0 upvotes
Daveros
By Daveros (Mar 15, 2012)

Having read a few of the other comments in the forum I think we need to wait until some real life images start to appear before we can start to make any real assessments. For me these Jpgs look very good. I think the camera is out in April & DPreview said they were expecting to produce a set of images out of the OMD. So I for one will be looking forward to seeing more images.

0 upvotes
Daveros
By Daveros (Mar 15, 2012)

These images look very good & clean especially compared with other micro four thirds cameras on the present market. I am really looking forward to see ing what this camera can deliver. Also a far as I can ascertain the image stabilisation is built into the camera & will work with any micro four thirds leans.
So Panasonic & some of the other brands now starting to produce 4/3 lenses should benefit.

0 upvotes
Abtin
By Abtin (Mar 15, 2012)

Does anyone know if the In body image stabilisation is compatible with any lens? I'm looking forward to connecting some of my old nikon lenses to this body.

1 upvote
Macx
By Macx (Mar 15, 2012)

I believe it is. For lenses without electronic coupling you need to input the focal length of the lens manually, though.

0 upvotes
J2Gphoto
By J2Gphoto (Mar 15, 2012)

Olympus's IS will work with any lens you mount to the camera. That's the beauty of their in body system.

0 upvotes
Antony John
By Antony John (Mar 14, 2012)

Well, it's not a D3S or D4 killer for sure.
However, as a small, light, portable, interchangeable lens camera that can produce good quality JPEG images 'out of the box' I think it succeeds quite admirably.
In reality this m 4/3rds camera leaves the older 35 mm film cameras in the dust IRO convenience and (to some extent) IQ. For anyone buying in to the Oly system things can only get better in years to come.
Oly might well have just opened a big can of worms here and the 'big 2' might have some sleepless nights.
Wonder what Canon have up their sleeves?
Nikon, sadly, lost the plot somewhere with their '007' offering.

0 upvotes
T3
By T3 (Mar 14, 2012)

Canon already have the excellent sensor in the G1X, sized just a little larger than the m4/3 sensor. Now they just have to build a mirorless interchangeable camera system around it. They probably have something in development as we speak.

I've already invested in the m4/3 system. But depending on what Canon introduces, and when it is introduced, I might switch over to Canon since I am a long-time Canon user. However, I could just as likely stick with m4/3, especially with this excellent E-M5 and their nice, existing selection of lenses. But I definitely think more competition would be great. And like you, I don't think Nikon's mirrorless offering is very good competition.

Comment edited 5 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Antony John
By Antony John (Mar 15, 2012)

Yes T3, it will be interesting to see what Canon come up with. However, the one 'negative' is what lenses Canon will have available for the smaller sensor camera. m4/3 will have a definite advantage in this respect for a few years yet.
Canon make really good IQ P&S cameras so there's no reason why they can't carry this over into the 'small frame' portable interchangeable lens cameras.
Lenses seem to be the achillies heel of camera manufacturers these days.

0 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (Mar 14, 2012)

very impressive that the image quality is about the same as 35mm full frame at 1/4 exposure (2 stops difference). there are still things to clear to get more accurate performance but the Panasonic sensor looks about the same level as compitition.

0 upvotes
Prime_Lens
By Prime_Lens (Mar 13, 2012)

I love it!
This camera along with my 14.5, 25.4 and 45.8 will be a low light photography dream come true!
Fast aperture, Checked.
Stabilizer, Checked.
High ISO performance, Checked.

0 upvotes
jtwz8975
By jtwz8975 (Mar 12, 2012)

I just spent all day yesterday out with my 2 young kids enjoying the weather. Had my D700 with my Nikkor 80-200mm and 50mm with me. I kept thinking to myself "I wish I had that new Olympus; I wish I had that new Olympus". That's because my DSLR kit was overkill to say the least. I do have times when I need its full capabilities but yesterday wasn't one of them. This Olympus would have done an excellent job of it and it would have been so much easier on me and my poor right arm. With that said, I'm going to go bedazzle my Facebook friends with these images of my kids.

0 upvotes
Gary Leland
By Gary Leland (Mar 12, 2012)

Sorry if this sounds ignorant but I will ask anyway, it seems to me I am missing something. Maybe someone will genlty clue me in. Q: Why when evaluating Hi ISO do you start with a scene that has enough light to look good at ISO 200? Would it not make sense to shoot a scene that would be a miserable failure at ISO 100 or 200, and start from there? To see what the camera can do in really low light situations? I mean that's what hi ISO is for is it not?
Thanks,
Gary

2 upvotes
Edmond Leung
By Edmond Leung (Mar 12, 2012)

Provided "incident light"+ aperture setting + ISO setting + shutter setting = constant (k); if the values of k and ISO should not be changed, then variation in "incident light" should have the relevant + or - in either aperture setting or shutter setting.
Therefore, the effect is the same even though you change the power of "incident light"

0 upvotes
Gary Leland
By Gary Leland (Mar 12, 2012)

Hi Edmund,
I appreciate the response, and although rather technical and I would assume correct, I can follow your math well enough, but it still seems to me that the math would be much more visually apprehended under my test scenario.
Thanks again.
Gary

1 upvote
Revenant
By Revenant (Mar 12, 2012)

Read the test description above. That is a low light scenario. The lower the ISO, the slower the shutter speed needed to get the same exposure. Had they used the same shutter speed for ISO 200 as for ISO 25600 then the former would have been extremely under-exposed.

0 upvotes
Edmond Leung
By Edmond Leung (Mar 12, 2012)

They used the following settings for the test:
Shutter speed: 5/8 sec Aperture: F6.3 ISO: 200
Shutter speed: 1/3 sec Aperture: F6.3 ISO: 400
Shutter speed: 1/6 sec Aperture: F6.3 ISO: 800
Shutter speed: 1/13 sec Aperture: F6.3 ISO: 1600
Shutter speed: 1/25 sec Aperture: F6.3 ISO: 3200
Shutter speed: 1/50 sec Aperture: F6.3 ISO: 6400
Shutter speed: 1/100 sec Aperture: F6.3 ISO: 12800
Shutter speed: 1/200 sec Aperture: F6.3 ISO: 25600
In theory, the total illumination on the sensor are constant for all samples; but we know the lower the shutter speed, the higher the noise level. It seems unrealistic to compare the noise level at different ISO based on different shutter speed settings.
I would assume they should change the aperture instead.
For sure, there is limitation in changing aperture for doing such testing because the range of the aperture is limited. Beside, the diffraction effect might affect the quality of the samples when small aperture is applied.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Gary Leland
By Gary Leland (Mar 13, 2012)

Thanks Revenant and Edmund, that has made if clearer for me. You guys sure are smart! Thanks again.
Gary

0 upvotes
infosky
By infosky (Mar 13, 2012)

I guess there is a flaw in Edmund's constant-k argument. When we keep k a constant, we keep the photo signal constant. If the noise is dominated by the electronics noise, Edmund's argument would have been correct. However, the noise associated with the so-called dark current of pixels is integrated over the time. The longer the integration time, the larger the dark signal, thus the larger variation of dark signal (so-call shot noise). I don't know a practical integration times for various shutter speed. But, I think it is the shot noise limits the ISO performance. The k-constant test does not simulate the actual case of high-ISO long shutter speed under dim illumination with high-ISO short shutter speed under bright illumination.

1 upvote
Kirppu
By Kirppu (Mar 13, 2012)

"then variation in "incident light" should have the relevant + or - in either aperture setting or shutter setting."
Doesn't decreasing lightning decrease the amount of light in the volume of the test area?

So even if the shutter speed compensates the amount of light coming to the sensor, isn't the light signal weaker over the same period of time when the lightning have been descreased?

I think the ISO value as the amplifiers signal to noise ratio. So it tells how much noise the sensors produces with certain amount of amplification (ISO value) and here comes in the input signal that is the incident light. With my logic the input signal (light) should always stay at the same reference level.

Maybe I didn't quite understand it correctly. But I think it would be interesting to start with well under exposed scene and only alter the ISO value so we could see how well the camera amplifies the input signal right/wrong?

0 upvotes
infosky
By infosky (Mar 13, 2012)

Kirppu: I think the signal to noise ratio is a problem for high ISO case since typically high gain is associated with higher noise. However, this effect, to the first order, is the same between different cameras. Therefore, the comparison between cameras at the same ISO is a test of the noise generated by the sensor. The noise from the sensors comes from the dark current of the pixel. In my previous life, we subtracted a separately measured dark current from the measured photo signal to remove the dark signal. However, because of the noise associated with the dark current, the DC dark can be removed but the noise component can not. This is the reason for color noise of the sensor under extremely low illumination.

The more I thought about this, the more I think the validity of the constant-k method is unproven. It suggests, in real case, the ISO performance is worse.

0 upvotes
Kirppu
By Kirppu (Mar 14, 2012)

Infosky: Lets say it this way with the earlier mentioned formula
"incident light" + aperture setting + ISO setting + shutter setting = constant (k)

1000lm + Shutter speed: 1/100 sec + Aperture: F6.3 ISO: 6400 = 403 200

1188lm + Shutter speed: 1/100 sec + Aperture: F5.3 ISO: 6400 = 402 969,6

constant k is about the same, sensor should get the same amount of light, but I wonder isn't the incoming signal stronger when the incident lightning is higher?
Stronger input signal means that the noise doesn't effect it as much as the weaker signal. :)

0 upvotes
infosky
By infosky (Mar 15, 2012)

Kirppu: Your suspicion will be true if the mechanical shutter speed is identical to the electronics integration time. The mechanical shutter creates a thin slot which scans across the sensor. During the scanning, it is possible to synchronize the integration timing with the shutter movement. But, I am not sure whether new cameras can do this. If yes, your argument will be correct: brighter incoming signal should have better ISO performance.

In either cases, constant k method seems to have a serious flaw.

0 upvotes
Kirppu
By Kirppu (Mar 15, 2012)

Well I think the test is approx. the same for every camera so it gives more than good enough and compareable results
But
How about fixing the light intensity for different ISO values etc.
ISO100 = 1500lm
ISO800 = 1000lm
ISO1600 = 500lm
and use the same intensity for every camera?
I think the only way to get exact measurements is to rip of the sensor, bombard it with fixe intensity light and measure the sensor output with oscilloscope :)

0 upvotes
sauchiyong
By sauchiyong (Mar 12, 2012)

Wait til this sensor on a SLR with 10 fps (should be easy to archive with smaller mirror) With FT size price advantage... This, I called the big shift theory. The move toward smaller format is happening soon...

1 upvote
ezradja
By ezradja (Mar 12, 2012)

the 3200 iso sample image is not in the same 2012 standard quality. Just peek at Sony NEX 5N/7 and/or Fujifilm X100 and/or Canon Powershot G1X and they have better noise and details. Sorry but there's no big improvement on micro third system while other system has right now.

1 upvote
DarkShift
By DarkShift (Mar 12, 2012)

There's no studio test shots yet available for OM-D, but comparing raw images of these models to Panasonic G3 and GX1 makes the Canon G1X lens looks really bad. Panasonic has much better detail in near the corners.

And NEX 5N noise doesn't look that much better in the shadow areas. Detail level is similar to Panasonic, but not better.

3 upvotes
lensberg
By lensberg (Mar 12, 2012)

@ ezradja - i agree with your assessment that the OM-D E-M5 ISO samples are not on par with the Canon G1 X or Sony NEX 5N in terms of detail retention...

@ DarkShift - what you say is absolutely true about the fixed lens of the Canon G1 X ... Interchangable lens system will always be considered better... if for nothing else, at least just for the sheer level of versatility...

But compensating for equvilent exposures... the variations in focal lengths involved... and the differentiations in apertures... considering the Zuiko 45mm/1.8 vs the Canon's f/2.8 lens... theoretically the OM-D E-M5 should waste the Canon at all ISO settings... but the reality is that there isn't much of a differences... with certain aspects of the test subject actually favouring the Canon... despite the fixed lens disadvantage.

The lens that Canon chose to incorporate on the G1 X is incredibly sharp (centre & corners). Definitely not in the same league as pro-grade glass... but excellent quality nevertheless

1 upvote
DarkShift
By DarkShift (Mar 12, 2012)

I was not talking about these JPEG samples, but rather what I observed on the DP review studio test RAW files.

OM-D JPEG engine seem to smear quite much of detail away at high ISO levels.

1 upvote
DarkShift
By DarkShift (Mar 12, 2012)

Ok, I just took another look at the 3200 ISO low light JPEG samples of OM-D and G1X. The OM-D shows actually much more fine detail, while Canon details looks much more smeared. Look at fine details of clay figures.

So the claim that Canon has more high ISO detail doesn't hold water at all.

There seem to be difference also in lighting setup for each camera.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 2 minutes after posting
8 upvotes
J2Gphoto
By J2Gphoto (Mar 12, 2012)

Until you can see real life samples side bye side how can you honestly make a statement like this?

2 upvotes
kchiu1983
By kchiu1983 (Mar 12, 2012)

Wow, it's really impressive!!! could imagine it's a M4/3 system.....

3 upvotes
danju
By danju (Mar 12, 2012)

i own a g3 and am quite happy to see olympus using the same sensor. i chose the micro 4/3 system as wanted better photo quality but i never saw myself lugging around a dslr. i think this is where sony, samsung etc have missed the mark. why have a small camera body when the lenses are still huge. even if they do finally release a bigger range of lenses, this issue will never be rectified.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
5 upvotes
deep7
By deep7 (Mar 12, 2012)

That's an assumption you make about the sensor. Olympus are not revealing the source.

2 upvotes
Frank Z C
By Frank Z C (Mar 12, 2012)

Thank you for your advise.

0 upvotes
Frank Z C
By Frank Z C (Mar 12, 2012)

I have few lenses for my old Oly OM film camera. I wonder if they can be use on the new Olympus OM-D E-M5 ?

0 upvotes
Vlad S
By Vlad S (Mar 12, 2012)

Yes, you can. The "dumb" adapters are quite cheap, but you won't be able to use AF. Performance-wise many of them work great, but can be soft/low contrast wide open. Ask in Micro 4/3 forum about specific lenses.

1 upvote
thx1138
By thx1138 (Mar 12, 2012)

I'm a DSLR guy through and through and I use FF, APS-H and APS-C with some very fast glass, but I still find this E-M5 and exciting product and I will getting one to partner my 5D III that's for sure. I already own some wonderful old Zuiko glass, so I'll be able to use it on my Canon and Oly now. The reasons I'm going for the E-M5 over NEX 7 are: IBIS of Oly, much faster AF, IQ seems like it'll be fine to at least ISO 3200, much better array of lenses, it's not a Sony.

Does anybody know if Oly are releasing an underwater housing or any third party bodies announced?

3 upvotes
Macx
By Macx (Mar 12, 2012)

Olympus does offer an underwater housing. This is what they wrote in the press release:

"Underwater Case PT-E08

Works to a depth of 45 meters. This new housing uses a waterproof lens port that is bayonet-mounted and replaceable. The standard underwater lens port accepts the M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 II, M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 IIR and M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 9-18mm f4.0-5.6 lenses. When an optional port adapter is used, an underwater lens port compliant with the Four Thirds System standard can be attached on it. This design is expected to make the two lenses, the ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 8mm f3.5 Fisheye and ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 50mm f2.0 Macro, usable with the underwater case.

As the FL-LM2 flash provided as standard with the OLYMPUS OM-D incorporates the wireless flash control function, it can also control the UFL-2 Underwater Flash."

Comment edited 8 minutes after posting
1 upvote
elavoie
By elavoie (Mar 12, 2012)

The new 12-50 isn't mentioned as compatible...strange. I'd actually like to see this compatible with the 12-60 f2.8-4.0 due to the larger aperture.

1 upvote
szlevi
By szlevi (Mar 25, 2012)

A Spanish site but you can find a picture here: http://www.fotoactualidad.com/2012/02/olympus-pt-ep08-la-carcasa-submarina.html

0 upvotes
szlevi
By szlevi (Mar 25, 2012)

I think the 12-50 isn't mentioned probably because it's not the lens you want to use underwater... not the sharpest at wide, not really long on the tele, not much more than a basic macro and not really fast.
That being said I think it would work just fine (size couldn't be a matter when they explicitly mention mounting FT lenses with MMF adapter), maybe being the kit lens means it foes without saying it works...
It seems like a perfectly decent lens for all-around day-to-day purposes and weatherproofing alone made me to pick it for my preorder but if I were into diving I'd sure rather pick up a non-sealed 14-42mm and a 50mm f2.0 instead, they go into a special housing anyway. :)

0 upvotes
coroander
By coroander (Mar 11, 2012)

You see a lot of pixel-peeping IQ comparison discussion here with things like the Sony NEX-7. The Sony is a great camera, with excellent IQ and the body is compact. But, the lack of in-body stabilisation and the larger APS-C sensor, simply means that all the lenses are bulkier and heavier (or just slower) because they not only have to have larger elements, but they have to have IS built into each lens (if you get IS). Ultimately, it's the size and weight of the lenses which defines what i'm carrying and if i wanted to carry APS-C lenses, i wouldn't be buying a compact body, because it just doesn't make that much difference (even though some of the lenses can be smaller than for APS-C DSLRs.)

This system has it all: small, lightweight, great image quality, useable high-ISO, fast (and really fast) primes, metal body, weather sealed, and even fast zooms on there way. And i can carry it with me, all the time, and use it wherever i go and whatever the conditions.

18 upvotes
SheikYerbouti
By SheikYerbouti (Mar 12, 2012)

... very good points. And yet, I wonder how the Oly compares to the Pentax K5, a very compact and equally well built APS-C DSLR, for which there's an impressive range of excellent Pentax primes? I don't think the Pentax is that much larger than the Oly, especially with one of their pancake lenses mounted. I'd really love to see a spec/test comparison between the two.

2 upvotes
Kirppu
By Kirppu (Mar 12, 2012)

:D
http://j.mp/zYaCyY
http://j.mp/xFCkcP

3 upvotes
SheikYerbouti
By SheikYerbouti (Mar 12, 2012)

Wow! Never have I been proven wrong in such a conclusive fashion. The K5 is indeed a far larger camera than the Oly. Thanks for the links, Kirppu. I have bookmarked Camerasize for future comparisons.

1 upvote
Spunjji
By Spunjji (Mar 12, 2012)

Weight is also an important consideration. The K5 is fairly compact for a DSLR but very dense, and accordingly is just under twice the weight of the E-M5 (740g vs 400g).

I own the K5 and have owned several of the high quality weather-sealed K mount lenses (16-50mm f2.8, 60-250mm f4) and they really are rather a pain to carry about. If Olympus can get us a decent quality telephoto with weather sealing and something a little faster at the wide-end whilst preserving that weight advantage, this system will be ideal for me.

2 upvotes
KassB
By KassB (Mar 12, 2012)

lol Sheik. This is Rear N. from HCAF.

Here is an interesting comparison of a Pentax KX w/pancake vs an OLY ep1 w/pancake.

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4028/4242966093_95babf2b4c.jpg

0 upvotes
hammerheadfistpunch
By hammerheadfistpunch (Mar 12, 2012)

Actually, if you want to compare apples to apples, the 45 mm f1.8 is shown against the equiv 85 (90 would be accurate but the 85 is close) f1.8

http://tinyurl.com/7eth5zo

Comment edited 9 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
flipmac
By flipmac (Mar 13, 2012)

18-36mm equiv.: http://tinyurl.com/8abgfg6

The 12-24mm alone weighs more than the E-M5.

0 upvotes
Edmond Leung
By Edmond Leung (Mar 11, 2012)

Did you ever think about how frequent the camera manufacturers change (or update) their camera models? People in the consumer world like to see the changes from time to time because this would stimulate their desire… Just like eating meal after meal... nonstop.
Is it really necessary to change the camera models so frequently? Did those camera manufacturers think about environmental protection? Or they just think about profit making but ignoring the future of our world?
How do you dispose your old camera when you buy a new one? Do you know how many resources that you will consume from the natural world when you are participated in playing this changing game?
I think this is the right time for the responsible consumers to call for a “stop” for such irrational attitude.

3 upvotes
T3
By T3 (Mar 11, 2012)

It's still better than back in the film days, where film consumed a lot of materials and chemicals and created a lot of waste every time you shot a roll of film. Plus, since people aren't printing out every image they shoot, like they used to do back in the film days when people dropped their film off at the local one-hour lab, there's less materials and waste being consumed at that stage too. You also have to remember that a lot of people ebay or resell their old cameras, so they aren't just thrown in the trash.

6 upvotes
deniz erdem
By deniz erdem (Mar 11, 2012)

mirrorless models are indeed coming in a fast pace but its a very young market. everyone is still trying to figure out consumer needs, overcome technical challanges and gain market leadership. its will eventually slow down.

0 upvotes
Nathebeach
By Nathebeach (Mar 11, 2012)

If it was that easy don't you think the competition would have done it and blown Olympus out of the water? You sound like a conspiricy theorist. I love shooting Provia slide film for its insane detail, even if the colors are a bit on the cool side. I also like Velvia 50 for its color and richness. Does that mean Fuji is intentionally making different films to trick us into spending more money, or is just a matter of in order to get one effect you need to compromise and give up something else? I would love to see Velvia with the4 grain and detail of Provia, and if some other film maker comes out with one, I would buy it, that is had I not switched to digital for financial reasons.

Comment edited 14 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
ManuelVilardeMacedo
By ManuelVilardeMacedo (Mar 11, 2012)

That pretty much matches my own findings, Edmond. To illustrate what I think, I'll just quote what I wrote in a comment below: «...the other day, out of curiosity, I browsed the DxOMark website and made a side-by-side comparison between the E-P1, 2 and 3. I discovered that the E-P1's sensor performs as well as the E-P3's and even betters it for colour depth and resolution. And it handles noise better than the E-P2.» Yet the E-P3 has been announced as having stellar high ISO performance, and the E-P1 is now considered obsolete. (It was launched less than 3 years ago!)
People are being brainwashed into buying whatever marketing impinges on them, and this high ISO race is just one example of this nonsense. Corporations, however, will only go as far as consumers allow them to. The time has come to raise consumers' awareness. I'm glad to find someone who thinks alike.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
Nathebeach
By Nathebeach (Mar 11, 2012)

Manuel, part of that might be the in camera processing engine. Maybe some of the of the Engineers could clarify because I have often wondered the same thing as you. My suspicion on the reason for eliminating iso100 was because of the numerous reports of poor dynamic range and dropped pixels at iso100, at least that was the knock against the E-PL1.

Comment edited 9 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Edmond Leung
By Edmond Leung (Mar 11, 2012)

ManuelVilardeMacedo, that's great! If more people like what you are thinking, we can save a lot of our resources and.. save the world.
Some people are too concern about the technical issues of their cameras, like pixels count and noise. That's important if "recording" is the whole purpose of photography; but if arts is what you concerned about, then those issues are not really serious because you know what are the limitations of the tools and you know how to apply the tools properly.
Well, I agree that we have saved our resources a lot since we were moving from film to digital; however, we can do more.

1 upvote
DarkShift
By DarkShift (Mar 12, 2012)

So then isn't it lovely that m4/3 lenses & camera use much less resources than bigger systems?

If a lens weights only about 100 grams, then it really must be more economical than similar lens weighting 500 grams. ;)

0 upvotes
Edmond Leung
By Edmond Leung (Mar 12, 2012)

That depends on various factors. Might be you need a chemist to find out the answer.

0 upvotes
ManuelVilardeMacedo
By ManuelVilardeMacedo (Mar 12, 2012)

I use photography as a form of artistic expression. At least I try to, as my experience as a photographer isn't that long: I bought my first camera, a Canon p&s, in July 2010, and its limitations led me to buy my Olympus E-P1 in April 2011. Technique is important, but only in the sense that, as HCB once said, it has to be mastered so that it can convey the photographer's expression. I don't care much for pixel peeping and hyper ISO values, though I understand some people may find them important.

0 upvotes
Edmond Leung
By Edmond Leung (Mar 11, 2012)

Up to now, the technology of 4/3 in reducing the "noise" still looks far behind the APS-C. NEX-5N definitely controls the noise much better than this camera.

But it doesn't matter. When we talk about art, high noise or low noise is just part of the creativities... When we know how to use the "noise" properly, they are beautiful.

Photo without spirit is just a rubbish.... even though you use a camera without "noise".

10 upvotes
Tech Talk Tony
By Tech Talk Tony (Mar 11, 2012)

you would agree as well that noise can become obstrusive, irrespective of the character it may add in some doses to an image. why else would you or I even be looking?
The 5n is an interesting camera; the JPEG noise is well controlled, like the Nex 7, but largely at the expense of resolution. Raw files from these cameras, are the way to go. The EM-5 needs to be assessed from that perspective as well.

0 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (Mar 11, 2012)

there is little Olympus can do about the Panasonic sensor. but it may use different filters in front of and different NR behind the sensor.

in the future Olympus may ask Sony to make some sensors and further improve the image quality of its cameras.

0 upvotes
Edmond Leung
By Edmond Leung (Mar 11, 2012)

Tony, don't too concern about the technical side of a camera. A camera is just one of the many tools to realize the dreams and arts. If this camera does not fit for your purpose, then get another one.
From the business point of view, the manufacturers are happy to find some gimmicks so that they can sell more. Pixels count, noise reduction, dynamic range.... There are lot of different gimmicks that they can sell... just for making profits.
So, don't follow the manufacturers. You should have own style and character in arts.
Bear in mind, a camera is just one of the many tools to perform your arts. It is unnecessary too concern about that.

1 upvote
bobbarber
By bobbarber (Mar 11, 2012)

Tech Talk Tony-- OK, but where is the point where noise becomes "obstrusive" (your word)? Can we agree that it is somewhere south of pixel peeping ISO 25,600 files at 100%? Frankly, I shoot at ISO 3200 with a Panasonic G2 from time to time, and the files look like you-know-what at 100%, but print up pretty decent at 8x10. This camera is supposed to be much better than that. High ISO capabilities are the new megapixels-- a camera spec that is waaaaaaaaaay overblown in relation to how it affects everyday shooting.

1 upvote
Paco 316
By Paco 316 (Mar 10, 2012)

This camera has better IQ than the Original 5D. ISO 25600 cleans up pretty well with the black slider in Lightroom 4. Good for small print and web viewing.

I don't expect good high ISO, I already KNOW this camera delivers at high ISO, thank you very much.

6 upvotes
kewlguy
By kewlguy (Mar 11, 2012)

Yes, EM-5 has better ISO 25600 than 5D. How about ISO100-200? I think 5D beats the cr@p out of EM-5...

0 upvotes
DarkShift
By DarkShift (Mar 11, 2012)

@kewlguy

Shadow noise can be pretty bad with 5D already at low ISO if one tries to lift it too much. Certainly more chroma noise and smaller image too.

The choice of lens and exposure is more important for IQ than difference in noise levels between these cameras.

Comment edited 22 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
T3
By T3 (Mar 11, 2012)

@kewlguy - I have a 5D. No, it doesn't "beat the cr@p out of the E-M5" at low ISO. You're living in a pixel peeping fantasy world if you believe that. In real world use, the 5D really isn't going to be any better at low ISO.

2 upvotes
zxaar
By zxaar (Mar 12, 2012)

Yaa right Oly's state of art technology could only be compared with 5-6 year old cameras like Canon 5D. They can never be mentioned in same sentence as new gen NEX sony sensors.

1 upvote
Spunjji
By Spunjji (Mar 12, 2012)

@zxaar: Take the fan-boy nonsense elsewhere please.

3 upvotes
zxaar
By zxaar (Mar 12, 2012)

@Spunjji mind your business. If you have anything to add related to cameras or sensors then you are welcome, otherwise get lost.

1 upvote
Michele Kappa
By Michele Kappa (Mar 13, 2012)

As if you had anything to add except bashing Olympus and praising Sony. Look who's talking now.

1 upvote
the-dude-75
By the-dude-75 (Mar 13, 2012)

I saw the same in a comparison with m 5D files. And everybody is happy with the results from my 5D, so the omd should do it's job fine

1 upvote
bailey65
By bailey65 (Mar 10, 2012)

Reading this stuff my incomprehension grew 1/60th sec. Such ISO's are risable. A Fujifilm cassette is ISO200, a normal rating for UK conditions in film world. Another stop, 400ASA(sic)? ASA125 was common, Kodachrome was ASA64 I remember, great success and a pretty good song. For Med shots 64 is fine, and the slides returned by Kodak certainly weren't grey all over. You freaks at 6400 or above, what shots are you taking, if any? The corollary of this tosh is lenses are too slow.
Just sold my T90 gear save 2 lenses,50mm was f1.2. Not that fast. Where are fast lenses now? Get more light in box, big opening? A lens I will convert 4/3 is a CFD 24mm lousy f2.8 What apertures do speedsters use?
800 was about the limit, the range was about 4 stops. Another stop, need to push develop to 1600 and with golfball-grain. 6400 is only 2 more stops.
The dearth of fast lenses is the issue I think. Seem to have been many sharp practices from makers since birth of digital, and we're on a treadmill.

2 upvotes
T3
By T3 (Mar 10, 2012)

Where are all the fast lenses now? There are plenty of fast lenses for the m4/3 system:

Oly 12/2.0 (24/2.0 equiv)
Voigtländer Nokton 17.5/0.95 (35/0.95 equiv)
Panny 20/1.7 (40/1.7 equiv)
Panny Leica Summilux 25mm/1.4 (50/1.4 equiv)
Voigtländer Nokton 25/0.95 (50/0.95 equiv)
Oly 45/1.8 (90/1.8 equiv)
Oly 75/1.8 (150/1.8 equiv)

So what's this "dearth of fast lenses" you're talking about?

Times have changed. People now shoot in conditions where in the past we would have simply stopped shooting, or prayed that our subject wouldn't move, or grabbed a tripod for a slow shutter speed shot with mirror lock, or grabbed an ambience-killing strobe for a blast of flash.

Comment edited 7 minutes after posting
13 upvotes
sunhorse
By sunhorse (Mar 11, 2012)

@baily65
There are fast mFT lenses, plus fast legacy glass too. You may have missed the big one though: the new 5-axis hybrid IS. This is a big advantage that works with existing lenses.

3 upvotes
DarkShift
By DarkShift (Mar 11, 2012)

These m4/3 primes have also one very good feature besides size that puts them ahead of similar FF glass. They have higher magnification ratio.

Fe. the Zuiko 45mm focuses to 50cm, while almost similar 85mm/1.8 lens on full frame focuses to about 85cm. With equivalent focal length of 90mm, the Zuiko is much better for close up shots.

2 upvotes
bailey65
By bailey65 (Mar 11, 2012)

@T3 and others. I have actually looked at some of the items mentioned, and they do exist yes, I agree with that. However perhaps I should have used the adjective "affordable". Just how have times changed please? I use 4/3 by the way not m4/3. Given the preference for daft nicknames like Oly or Panny, lucky old Voigtlander sems to have escaped with its dignity intact. Thank goodness. What's short for Leica or Rollei, Kodak for that matter?

0 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (Mar 11, 2012)

@T3,
there are two lenses in your list can be called "fast."
25mm/1.4 (50/2.8 equiv) and 25/0.95 (50/1.9 equiv)
others are not fast enough to get same IQ as 35mm.

1 upvote
stimmer
By stimmer (Mar 11, 2012)

Ya okie, that's not right....you are talking about depth of field. Light gathering they are what they are. My light meter doesn't lie.

5 upvotes
T3
By T3 (Mar 11, 2012)

@yabokkie - I don't know what you're talking about. We're talking about light gathering capability. That's what the "fast" term refers to: the ability for a lens to let a lot of light through it, thus allowing a "fast" shutter speed. Thus, all these lenses can be considered "fast". Consider, for example, the 75/1.8, which is equivalent to a 150/1.8 in 35mm. That's definitely a fast lens, and it will definitely be a big advantage if you're doing any low light tele shooting. As "stimmer" noted, the light meter doesn't lie.

@ bailey65 - Oh, so now that your "dearth of fast lenses" is blown out of the water, you change your argument to "affordable", then start complaining about "daft nicknames"? Hahaha. You're clearly grasping at straws, looking for things to complain about. You sound like a grumpy old man.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
DarkShift
By DarkShift (Mar 11, 2012)

Btw. While not macro, the Zuiko 75mm/1.8 has minimum focus distance of 0.80m. Much better than most 135mm or 150mm lenses on full frame.

I hope it will be as sharp or better as my 45/1.8.

0 upvotes
bailey65
By bailey65 (Mar 12, 2012)

@T3, sorry and stop being so patronising will you? I have looked at some other of your posts and you can't resist having a go at people. Grow up and stop being so crass. I started by commenting on the fashion for going into stratospheric ISO settings. Other people have commented too, so I am not alone. I am surprised you take any photographs at all with the hours you spend lurking around here. You clearly have no grasp of irony or whimsy either but at that I am not surprised. To mis-quote Groucho "I would not want to belong to any club that had you as a member" . I certainly wouldn't want to get stuck in a bar with you or a lift (which is English for Elevator by the way) . Joker.
I checked EV yesterday and it was around 14 with ASA 200 (ISO to you)

Comment edited 46 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Spunjji
By Spunjji (Mar 12, 2012)

@Bailey65: T3's manners irrespective, you do come across as someone who is complaining about something that is not a problem. Personally I have a penchant for taking available-light street photographs at night without a tripod; having decent high-ISO capability is valuable to me. Other usage cases include candid indoor photography (friends down the pub, for instance) and concert photography where the use of a flash is impractical or undesirable. ISO 200 is not of much use to me under these circumstances. :)

High-ISO photography isn't a "fashion" any more than photography itself is. These novel usage cases arise from technological progress. Surely you can admit that that's A Good Thing? You don't have to buy these cameras if you don't need the features.

@yabokkie - if I see one more pseudo-technical mangling of the facts regarding lens aperture vs. sensor crop again I will scream. Luckily T3 correctly summed up the facts.

0 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (Mar 12, 2012)

we cannot compare 4/3" and 35mm format at same ISOs from photographic point of view because they simply won't do the same work at same ISOs.

the two formats is separated by two stops, reflecting 1:4 sensor area ratio (ISO100 on 4/3" = ISO400 on 35mm). same for f-numbers (e.g., f/2.0 on 4/3" = f/4.0 on 35mm, at same aperture diameter for same amount of light into the lenses).

0 upvotes
T3
By T3 (Mar 12, 2012)

@bailey65 - Chill out. You sound like a grumpy old man constantly looking for things to complain about. Sorry, but many of us photographers today do consider high ISO to be a valuable photographic tool. Sorry, but there is *not* a dearth of fast lenses for the m4/3 system. Sorry, but people do use shorthand "nicknames" when referring to some companies. Sorry, but many of us wedding and event photographers heavily rely on high ISO when shooting indoor natural light images, especially when shooting low light wedding receptions or dimly lit church interiors that don't allow flash, and we'd like to get nice images without "golfball-size grain". If you can't handle any of these facts, or choose to be totally blind to them, then just move along. As the saying goes, "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt."

2 upvotes
DarkShift
By DarkShift (Mar 12, 2012)

@yabokkie

I don't quite understand what you're trying to say. The f-number is in fact focal length divided by diameter of the aperture. There's no imaging area in that equation.

This means f2.0 on any format should pass the same amount of light trough the lens.

Also DOF varies depending on the focal length, not because of imaging area.

1 upvote
Macx
By Macx (Mar 12, 2012)

Aye, ISO sensitivity, shutter speed and aperture f-values are perfectly comparable regardless of sensor size, and that's what's important in this context. If a full frame 135-size sensor needs a 1/60th second shutter speed with a f2.0 aperture to make a well exposed image on a sensor with a sensitivity of 200 ISO, an APS-sized or 4:3rds sensor needs exactly the same.

The relationship between depth of field and sensor size isn't always intuitive (half the sensor size equals double the depth of field if at the same field of view, but half the depth of field if at the same focal length), but in any case, it's irrelevant to this discussion.

0 upvotes
Macx
By Macx (Mar 12, 2012)

Ah, plums. That last bit should've been "(quarter the sensor size...", I think. :)

0 upvotes
njkdo
By njkdo (Mar 10, 2012)

Ridicolous camera

1 upvote
ManuelVilardeMacedo
By ManuelVilardeMacedo (Mar 10, 2012)

Maybe, but not as much as your spelling.

36 upvotes
njkdo
By njkdo (Mar 11, 2012)

Funny....clap, clap
But really this nostalgic marketing is really only for people like you maybe that care only about camera and not photography.
Ops sorry about spelling....ridiculous...but now it is about you, not camera

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
1 upvote
DarkShift
By DarkShift (Mar 11, 2012)

OM-D is nostalgic only by how it looks, but not as much as Leica or Fuji which are priced much higher.

Inside its got very decent features, and costs not too much. So what's the problem?

3 upvotes
ManuelVilardeMacedo
By ManuelVilardeMacedo (Mar 11, 2012)

Well, njkdo, looking now (10:50 am) at the reactions of other readers, I'd say that, with a 17-1 score, chances are you're more likely to be considered 'ridiculous' than I am.
Now that you have allowed yourself to delve so low as to insult someone you don't know, maybe it's time you stopped making a fool of yourself.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
T3
By T3 (Mar 11, 2012)

@njkdo- maybe you see "nostalgic marketing", but for many of us, we see "back-to-the-basics" camera design with functional, physical control knobs and dials, rather than the melted soap-bar design or rear-screen interface that many other cameras have today. If anything, the E-M5 is much more of a *photographer's camera*, with lots of tactile controls and customization options, than most other cameras in the market today. It allows for much easier camera control, so that a *photographer* can more comfortably and more easily make his *photograph*.

Sounds like you just have a chip on your shoulder.

Comment edited 13 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
njkdo
By njkdo (Mar 11, 2012)

Please T3 , for you a Canon o nikon Dslr are not enought tactile?
Please Retro nostalgic stop

0 upvotes
Michele Kappa
By Michele Kappa (Mar 13, 2012)

Don't feed the trolls.

0 upvotes
N13L5
By N13L5 (Mar 14, 2012)

well, regardless how he spelled it, I'd prefer a new camera that doesn't look like an old 70's crapper from granpa's attic.

Whenever something tries to look like something it isn't, its sort of a lie. Materials and effort have been wasted trying to make it look a certain way, rather than engineering it the best way possible.

0 upvotes
bobbarber
By bobbarber (Mar 10, 2012)

@ J2GPhoto, I agree with you, but you forgot to figure in the cost of the full-frame lenses, which are much more expensive than four thirds lenses. So the total cost of the FF system compared to 4/3 is even higher than you make it appear.

@ Anastigmat, FF iis not better than m43 for most uses. Most people print at 8x10. m43 makes just as good prints as FF at 8x10 under most lighting conditions. It's like the Ferrari argument that alxdava makes. Who cares that your Ferarri does 200 km/hr if you spend all of your time driving where the speed limit is 50 km/hr? And who cares that your FF has clean ISO 12,800, if you rarely shoot over ISO 1600, which describes a lot of us?

5 upvotes
J2Gphoto
By J2Gphoto (Mar 10, 2012)

I was only comparing body cost's. The cost size and weight of FF is more than enough to steer me to m 4/3. I have only had the need for 3200 once, and to be honest was not thrilled with the results my E-5 gave me. But I've read clean.... CLEAN 6400. I'm good.

0 upvotes
N13L5
By N13L5 (Mar 14, 2012)

well, if on some new camera ISO 12,800 is really clean, people will use it that previously didn't.

Shooting stuff at candle light without destroying the whole scene with a flash, or simply taking pictures at parties makes better low-light capability a more useful thing that a lot of other so-called 'advances'

0 upvotes
Anastigmat
By Anastigmat (Mar 10, 2012)

Anyone who expects good high ISO performance from a sensor that is half the size of a full frame model is a fool, and a fool and his money will soon part company. If high ISO performance is of paramount importance, look instead at full frame cameras like the Canon 5DMKIII and Nikon D4.

2 upvotes
szlevi
By szlevi (Mar 10, 2012)

It's always funny to see fools making hilarious statements like this in the face of reality which shows the complete opposite of their claims...

...you enjoy eating your words, don't you?

18 upvotes
J2Gphoto
By J2Gphoto (Mar 10, 2012)

Anyone who thinks it will be on par with a FF may not be too bright. BUT it has achieved much better performance than many have claimed it ever would. Clean ISO up to 6400 for $999 compared to $2500 - $6000? 6400 is more than I'll ever need. So I'll save my $$$ and carry an E-M5 and a half a dozen lenses in a bag 1/2 the size I carry now thank you.

10 upvotes
lsrmz
By lsrmz (Mar 10, 2012)

If I wanted to pay the price of a full frame camera and lug it around, I'd buy a full frame camera. Yes, I expect good ISO performance from a micro 4/3 sensor, but your parameters may differ from mine. I am happy with "good" ISO3200 and this camera looks "good" to me. YMMV, and that's fine, but don't call someone like me a fool just because I might be happy with the performance of a micro 4/3 sensor.

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
22 upvotes
alxdava
By alxdava (Mar 10, 2012)

man, i think you are at least a fool. people don't need a Ferrari to drive on the highway. if is not the best that doesn't mean that is not enough for the majority MORON.

4 upvotes
Uri Ben
By Uri Ben (Mar 10, 2012)

Well I know its the Oly forum here - and I am a great fun of Oly - But there is a camera which cost much less then the E-M5 and has much better (!) IQ, known by the name of Nex 5n. So I wonder why you, dear Anstigmat - send us the fools to buy expensive FF camera instead of the E - M5 and not the 5n? ( I am waiting - by the way - to the new model E=MC2)

0 upvotes
DarkShift
By DarkShift (Mar 10, 2012)

@Uri Ben

Again, quality of lenses is as important as quality of sensors. NEX system have very limited selection of lenses compared to MFT, and some seem to have serious problems with corner sharpness (propably due to short registration distance).

0 upvotes
Naveed Akhtar
By Naveed Akhtar (Mar 10, 2012)

@Uri Ben: Bcz 5n possibly got better IQ (maybe), but less features and lenses and less quality lenses and less quality of body! and because we are talking about EM-5 so from where this 5n came in the mid of a serious conversation about FF and 4/3??

2 upvotes
Uri Ben
By Uri Ben (Mar 11, 2012)

Dear Naveed - I enter the conversation because for me it is not at all serious, people write here a lot of "very knowledgeable" posts about a camera which non of them ever used -. As I wrote above, for me its really not serious - absolutely not.(And sorry if it upset you )

1 upvote
szlevi
By szlevi (Mar 11, 2012)

Uri Ben, you are the lamest troll here, I swear. NEX-5 is a lot less capable camera, we know it already, you're wasting your trolling energy here.
Either make some meaningful comment or just go away.

0 upvotes
zxaar
By zxaar (Mar 12, 2012)

@Naveed Akhtar your comment is load of garbage. You think Zeiss has poor quality lenses. And NEX bodies are much better than anything you have in m43 land. I am sure you have never seen NEX7. You are a perennial m43 fanboi.

1 upvote
Spunjji
By Spunjji (Mar 12, 2012)

zxaar displaying excellent trolling skills here. "Verily, 'tis you who is the bigot, sire!"

0 upvotes
zxaar
By zxaar (Mar 12, 2012)

@Spunjji can you mind your own busniess or you make your living by poking into other people's business. Your post says that you have nothing that can prove me wrong. You seems to be the moron who gets personal without any reason. Are you this obnoxious before coming to DPR or DPR made you like this???

1 upvote
zxaar
By zxaar (Mar 12, 2012)

@@Spunjji I forgot to ask you. Are you getting paid to lick Naveed' ####s or you are doing it for free???

0 upvotes
OniMirage
By OniMirage (Apr 3, 2012)

Just like those buying full frame are fools for expecting good ISO performance from a sensor smaller than medium format?

0 upvotes
kchen88
By kchen88 (Mar 10, 2012)

order one already, got sold at weather sealed, IS, high ISO capabilities, mainly compact to travel with. Got many pany lens but the ISO. from pany were limited.
Also can use my canon L lens with IS turn on the body if I needed. Nice job oly.

6 upvotes
bobbarber
By bobbarber (Mar 10, 2012)

A big question for me will be how this thing does with video. I own a Panasonic G2, hacked, which has decent video. I don't want to go down from there.

As far as high ISO, I bet a combination of IBIS on the OM-D E-M5 and better high ISO will give me at least three stops over what I get with the Panny, so I am sold there.

Comment edited 14 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
szlevi
By szlevi (Mar 11, 2012)

Used to think it's going to be lame, that video is an afterthought but then I found this video and I'm pretty impressed now, I think this Olympus will be more than decent at video too: http://youtu.be/8E1lIMfg0pg?hd=1

0 upvotes
Mssimo
By Mssimo (Mar 10, 2012)

I always think people look silly when they are in a mall or at the beach with a huge SLR. This is really the future. Image quality is great and there are some great lenses for the system.

Must have lenses with OMD: pani 14mm f2.5, pani 20mm f1.7 (or leica 25mm f1.4), Oly 45mm f1.8.

7 upvotes
Valentinian
By Valentinian (Mar 10, 2012)

Please , what does OMD mean?
thanks

0 upvotes
Naveed Akhtar
By Naveed Akhtar (Mar 10, 2012)

O My ... Digital!

1 upvote
Macx
By Macx (Mar 11, 2012)

Olympus calls this camera the OMD (or rather "OM-D") because it is seen as a spiritual successor to their old OM series of full frame 135-format film SLRs.

Also, the design of the OM-D body reuse the shape of the pentaprism hump on models like the OM-4.

Comment edited 5 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
szlevi
By szlevi (Mar 11, 2012)

OMD = Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, a very good new wave synth music band, formed in the 70s in the UK. They are still active, I've seen them last Fall here in NYC, they were great. :)

4 upvotes
ManuelVilardeMacedo
By ManuelVilardeMacedo (Mar 10, 2012)

It's all nice and well using ISO sensitivities as high as 12800 - especially if you want to make pictures bearing a strong resemblance with Georges-Pierre Seurat's paintings -, but can anybody tell me why Olympus made the stupid decision of eliminating ISO 100, with sensitivity starting from 200 since the E-PL2? What is it - do they think nobody wants low ISO anymore?
As someone else pointed out, it looks as if nobody is shooting under daylight nowadays. It is nice to have usable pictures at ISO 3200, but how many people are there taking action shots at night?
In a nutshell - do we REALLY need ISO values higher than, say, 6400? Or do people use those sensitivities just because the cameras offer them? Think about it.

1 upvote
Macx
By Macx (Mar 10, 2012)

Well, when you look at the enthusiasm with which the higher ISO images are commented upon, can you blame them? I agree though, I'm sure there is a market for a similar camera with a sensor tuned to start as low as even ISO 25 with ISO 800 or 1600 as the limit for reasonably noiseless photos at normal magnification. Question is though, how big a market it is.

As it is, we're still having to bring along the NR filters if shooting in very bright conditions.

3 upvotes
deniz erdem
By deniz erdem (Mar 10, 2012)

i think optimising the sensors for high iso performance sacrificed low iso. market is riding the low light performance forcing everyone to play along.
but i completely agree with you. clean 50, good tonal range, good color, thats what i want.

1 upvote
Vlad S
By Vlad S (Mar 10, 2012)

There are a few comments I would like to make.

1. Higher ISO performance allows to shoot faster action in dimmer light with slower lenses. Many parents will appreciate being able to take pictures of their kids indoors with just the kit lens and no smearing.

2. Higher ISO performance (or, more precisely, better sensor sensitivity) probably helps to make the CDAF faster, because it's possible to maintain a high readout speed from the sensor, even in dark conditions.

3. It seems that as sensor sensitivity increases, the lower ISOs correspond to using a smaller part of the sensor response curve, and the DR suffers. That has been observed in some Nikon cameras. So there may no IQ advantage to having a lower ISO on the dial with that particular sensor.

3 upvotes
ManuelVilardeMacedo
By ManuelVilardeMacedo (Mar 10, 2012)

Vlad, everything you wrote is true, but you completely omitted an issue - noise. And that's not a minor issue!

0 upvotes
szlevi
By szlevi (Mar 10, 2012)

And to add one more point beyond the advantages high ISO offers in an everyday urban settings: it's not like we cannot use the camera at low ISO anymore, ISO 200 should suffice for almost anything. It's not ideal, I agree but for most of us it will work just fine.
Coming from an old Canon DSLR yes, I was surprised to learn all the low ISO settings are gone but the fact that I'm not limited to 400 at highest *usable* ISO (anything higher looked awful) made me drool over the screen because this is what I was always missing, the chance to make low-light action shots.

Comment edited 42 seconds after posting
1 upvote
Entropius
By Entropius (Mar 11, 2012)

It's not about the ISO 12800 setting. It's about how clean 1600 and 3200 are, and the E-M5 is a big step up from the 12MP sensors.

1 upvote
ManuelVilardeMacedo
By ManuelVilardeMacedo (Mar 11, 2012)

I wouldn't know about that big step, Entropius, as I never shot with the E-M5. Theoretically there's evidence that the E-M5 is superior the Pens, but sensor matters are often overrated. To give you an example: the other day, out of curiosity, I browsed the DxOMark website and made a side-by-side comparison between the E-P1, 2 and 3. I discovered that the E-P1's sensor performs as well as the E-P3's and even betters it for colour depth and resolution. And it handles noise better than the E-P2. Of course the E-M5 will fare better, but the point is these tests don't tell us everything. Real-life photos are the ultimate test to a camera's performance; this test we're commenting on can be a little misleading, as it doesn't have enough of the shadow/light transitions at which noise is most detrimental. I'll tell you how great this camera is when (if) I get the chance to use one.
Still I wonder why they did away with ISO 100, but I'm no technician and there must be a good reason for it...

0 upvotes
reflected_light
By reflected_light (Mar 10, 2012)

I use my cameras to take pictures, not pixel peep or wax poetic about high iso noise.

This camera looks like it will take some pretty nice pictures, so I'll own one.

17 upvotes
Valentinian
By Valentinian (Mar 10, 2012)

do panasonic lenses have same AF speed on this Olympus ?

0 upvotes
Mssimo
By Mssimo (Mar 10, 2012)

Yes, I have used only lenses on panos and other way around. They all work just as good. Some lenses are more "tuned" for there own brand with auto corrections and such.

0 upvotes
szlevi
By szlevi (Mar 10, 2012)

Yes.
However this camera supposed to come with a new kit lens (Zuiko 12-50mm, just announced few weeks before the camera), built with a brand new AF which Olympus says to be the fastest in the world, not sure that will work the same way on a Pana (though I think it should.)

0 upvotes
Valentinian
By Valentinian (Mar 10, 2012)

I am not as sofisticated as you guys. However, I just put side-by-side the pic at 200 iso and the one at 25600....and ... I am impressed !

4 upvotes
tamras29
By tamras29 (Mar 10, 2012)

Some years back, when I upgraded from a Canon 40D to a mark 1 5D, the very best improvement was that I could shoot at ISO 1600 without having to unduly worry about noise. Since that time, and in my move to m4/3, that has not been an option, being paranoid about going over ISO400. If as it appears, this sensor will perhaps give me the flexibility of the old FF sensor. As one of the 95% who do mostly shoot in normal lighting, I am looking forward to my E-M5

5 upvotes
Gianluca101
By Gianluca101 (Mar 10, 2012)

"This isn't intended to be a controlled test for direct comparison between cameras. That's what our studio comparison tool is for."

Totally non sense due to the fact that same camera's have at least 1 and 1/3 ev more light than other ....

Nikon d3s -iso 6400 - f8 - 1/2000s
Nikon d7000 - iso 6400- f9 - 1/1600s
Sony nex-7 - 6400 iso - f8 - 1/2000s
Pentax k5 - 6400 iso - f9 - 1/1600s

Panasonic gx1 - 6400 iso - f6,3 - 1/1600s

Comment edited 10 minutes after posting
1 upvote
zodiacfml
By zodiacfml (Mar 10, 2012)

what are you talking about?
you could not judge or guess if a camera is not following the ISO specs with these numbers. let DPR test if one camera is deviating.

0 upvotes
Gianluca101
By Gianluca101 (Mar 10, 2012)

It's not a single aberrant camera, try your self to compare timing from leica m9 or canon g1x

I think that to compare cameras with same iso timing have to be comparable

1 upvote
lensberg
By lensberg (Mar 10, 2012)

Lets face facts... the image quality is impressive... there's absolutely no question about it... But the pinnacle of IQ excellence still remains the Canon G1 X ...

Plus the G1 X's high ISO prowess is about half a stop better than this OM-D E M5 at any setting beyond ISO 3200.

In these OM-D E M5 samples... there is a slight desaturation in the colour sequences... and lack of extremely fine details... and From ISO 6400 the sharpness begins to suffer...

By comparison the G1 X is virtually flawless throughout its sensitivity scale... with just a hint of softening at its highest setting...

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
1 upvote
DarkShift
By DarkShift (Mar 10, 2012)

If you omit the lens as something to do with IQ.

G1X is very limited in that as are all fixed lens cameras. About 3 stop difference than the 45mm/1.8 at similar focal length. That means huge difference in low light.

11 upvotes
Gianluca Grossi
By Gianluca Grossi (Mar 10, 2012)

...and corner performance of G1X are really poor..

7 upvotes
Michael_13
By Michael_13 (Mar 10, 2012)

Yes, G1 X is really good, but OM-D is not a compact: Use the right lens, when you need more light.

4 upvotes
T3
By T3 (Mar 10, 2012)

Now all Canon has to do is give the G1X interchangeable lenses.

0 upvotes
topstuff
By topstuff (Mar 10, 2012)

This statement by lensberg makes no sense. How can the IQ of the Canon be better when the lens on the Canon is fixed. If, for example, I want to shoot something with a 50-75mm focal length and with an aperture of f2.8 , for example, to get the precise IQ needed for the image in terms of appearance, Dof, etc, this is IMPOSSIBLE with the Canon but easily possible with the OM-D. Therefore, the IQ that really matters ( the actual quality of the image I want to take) is easily better with the Oly.

The only possible way the Canon can be compared is with equivalent exposures. The Canon effectively wears the strait jacket of a fixed lens, so it simply cannot offer the same ability and it therefore cannot hope to compete.

The only way the Canon can compare is if you are taking a picture of a wall at f8 and pixel peeping. I can honestly say, real photographers are not going to do that..

8 upvotes
kchen88
By kchen88 (Mar 10, 2012)

well, with the fixed lens and slow aperture on G1X, it's not helping

0 upvotes
szlevi
By szlevi (Mar 10, 2012)

Are you high?

0 upvotes
gl2k
By gl2k (Mar 10, 2012)

Does ANYONE still shoot during daytime ?

According to all those tests and high iso talking I assume that the photographic community has turned to a nocturne society.

At least I do about 95% of my photographic work under good to fair light conditions. Am I a dying breed ? Seems so ...

26 upvotes
Michael Ma
By Michael Ma (Mar 10, 2012)

Uers who have got caught up with high ISO noise being a measuring stick to advancements to camera technology. Do we really need ISO 102400? I'm sure someone will be happy writing a few paragraphs on how someone can make use of it. But if they are really serious about capturing that image in the best way possible, there are better ways of going about it.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
grubybartek
By grubybartek (Mar 10, 2012)

@gl2k

Maybe you do only 5% low light photos because your camera can't deliver sharp/noise free ones? Hopefully one day we won't have to worry about our equipment limitations but only about the composition. I would be happy to have camera with ISO from 50 to one zillion, noise free all way up and down.

Comment edited 22 seconds after posting
1 upvote
loafer
By loafer (Mar 10, 2012)

Indoor and night sports need these high ISO. The most intriging natural lighting is the dim light of dawn and dusk. Animals are more active at these times and often spend time in the deep shade of the forest. Families tend to spend the most time together in the evening. Most non-professional performances are in poorly lit auditoriums. Weddings are in poorly lit locations. Flash and direct sunlight are discouraged for babies. It really is true that the majority of human activity that one would want to record takes place in poor lighting for photography.

5 upvotes
Michael_13
By Michael_13 (Mar 10, 2012)

Where do you take pictures of your family? I usually do this indoors, where almost any current SLR struggles at ISO1600 and above due to DOF. Sure, you can use a flash, but who likes flash pictures?

1 upvote
jtwz8975
By jtwz8975 (Mar 10, 2012)

I rarely if ever shoot above iso 6400, but then again I use mostly fast glass. There's a lot of slow glass out there and high-iso capability can help out a lot. Don't forget macro work either, it requires a very stepped down lens to achieve decent DOF. This can be overcome with a macro flash setup but not everyone has that equipment, or if they have it, they don't have it with them.

0 upvotes
bobbarber
By bobbarber (Mar 10, 2012)

You're right. Waiting for the right light is a good photographic technique. And to the "Who likes flash pictures?" person, try bouncing the flash.

0 upvotes
J2Gphoto
By J2Gphoto (Mar 10, 2012)

No you ARE NOT a dying breed in fact you do most of your shooting in good light. However you are probably one of us in the minority that are not sheep. Following the latest and the greatest with the most MP and highest ISO. In the film days 800 was pretty fast film, 1600 was pro grade. I honestly don't recall Perry's drugs selling 3200. I don't recall anyone bitching then the way they do now. Todays digital camera have far exceeded film in many ways. Yet people line up with money in hand because it's new it has to be better and I NEED IT!!!

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
1 upvote
DarkShift
By DarkShift (Mar 10, 2012)

@jtwz8975

MFT has about 2 stop advantage in DOF compared to full frame with equal FOV. Which means DOF with f4 with a 60mm macro equals f8 with 120mm.

0 upvotes
Caleido
By Caleido (Mar 10, 2012)

@J2Gphoto
In the film days you needed flash a lot more and a lot sooner. Now you can shoot with available light all the way to ISO 6400 without worries. I can not see how that is a bad thing or something to do with being sheeps.

If a camera can shoot at ISO 102400, this means that ISO 3200 will be cleaner than the previous generation. Again, I can not see how that is a bad thing or something to do with being sheeps.

I'm sure, back in the film days, when Kodak theoritically released a fine grain color ISO 6400 film, no single photographer would have said "no, we only need ISO 800". No, they would have jumped on it. So why would you say it now??

That does not mean you have to buy every new camera when they come out, but at least face and admit the potential of newer and better technology.

2 upvotes
tkbslc
By tkbslc (Mar 10, 2012)

people care about high iso because base iso quality is nearly a given. almost all cameras can shoot great daytime photos

0 upvotes
ericimbs
By ericimbs (Mar 11, 2012)

I can't be certain of this, but all this development on high iso performance does drive improvements in sensors and processessers and of course, lens perfromance. so while there is little real world relevence for most of us, it is a positive and valid reason to keep pushing the envelope in that space.

1 upvote
sunhorse
By sunhorse (Mar 10, 2012)

This is a huge improvement. Not only are the ergonomics superior, the IQ has now reached the level where most enthusiast photogs (non-measurebators) would be very happy. Congrats to Olympus imaging.

14 upvotes
Vince876
By Vince876 (Mar 10, 2012)

>non-measurebators

LOL :)

(I agree, just started to buy some lens, Pana 14, Pana 45-175 and Oly 45 and a GF2 body just for the meantime waiting for the OM-D)

0 upvotes
Scott P
By Scott P (Mar 10, 2012)

The noise characteristics are very similar to the canon G1X, but I like the E-M5 output more. This is very welcome considering the G1X sensor is slightly larger and Canon has a heritage of lower noise than Olympus/Panasonic at high ISOs.

2 upvotes
sonsw87
By sonsw87 (Mar 10, 2012)

when is e-m6 coming? rofl just kding

2 upvotes
Edmond Leung
By Edmond Leung (Mar 10, 2012)

Not so good. Just a little bit better than the quality of a compact camera. Then... how come I paid more and carry more weight for such a camera?

5 upvotes
Nathebeach
By Nathebeach (Mar 10, 2012)

Huh? Which compact camera can do this even at ISO 1,600, never mind 12,800?

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
14 upvotes
HiRez
By HiRez (Mar 10, 2012)

Banding is visible even at ISO 3200, so to me it's barely even usable above ISO 1600. It's OK for a small camera, but not great.

4 upvotes
Winston Loo
By Winston Loo (Mar 10, 2012)

@Edmund. Dont troll. The IQ is very much in DSLR territory. There isnt a compact camera on earth that can match the IQ at the higher ISOs. You must be a noob or Troll.

16 upvotes
Nathebeach
By Nathebeach (Mar 10, 2012)

Please clue me into this compact that comes close to these results? I want one. Would like to see some low light slr photos that have not been edited. That's the key. No post processing if it is to be a fair comparison.
In the mean time I am waiting for this super compact.

2 upvotes
DarkShift
By DarkShift (Mar 10, 2012)

@HiRez

What kind of banding do you mean? I get much more banding in shadows with 5D mkII than these.

I'd say that noise levels of OM-D is maybe 1 stop behind 5D mkII at high ISO, and 1.5-2 stops behind 5D mkIII.

Not too bad at all for the size and price of the camera ;)

4 upvotes
DarkShift
By DarkShift (Mar 10, 2012)

Btw. the Zuiko 45mm/1.8 is fares very vell against the 100mm/2.8 Macro USM on this test. Consider the size (and price) of these lenses (I've have both). Of course the former is not macro, but it seems very sharp also at minimum focus distance.

It also passes about 8 to 16 times more light through than compact zooms at similar focal length. It will practically kill any fixed lens compacts in low light including G1X.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 3 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
lancespring
By lancespring (Mar 10, 2012)

"@Edmund. Dont troll. The IQ is very much in DSLR territory. There isnt a compact camera on earth that can match the IQ at the higher ISOs. You must be a noob or Troll."

@Winston: Well, if you want to so condescendingly dismiss the opinions of others by calling them a Troll, then I guess folks who disagree with you should call you a snob and a "Mister know it all"

To answer your question, the NEX-5N clearly outperforms the OM-D-E-M5 at higher ISO. No question about that.

0 upvotes
DarkShift
By DarkShift (Mar 10, 2012)

NEX-5N is not a compact camera. Its a mirrorless "SLR" with larger sensor and lower resolution.

2 upvotes
Michael_13
By Michael_13 (Mar 10, 2012)

The only compact that can keep up at the same aperture is the G1 X. Maybe when high DOF is required, the XZ-1 will not be far away (until ISO800).
Would you mind to clarify your statement?

1 upvote
Edmond Leung
By Edmond Leung (Mar 10, 2012)

I just come back and found out so many responses to my comment. Guys, don't be that serious. That's only my observation and might be quite different from yours. A camera is just one of the many tools to realize my dreams and arts. So, there is no absolute pros and cons of a tool (in this case, a camera). A tool is useful as long as it can perform what you need.

0 upvotes
CarlPH
By CarlPH (Mar 12, 2012)

@Edmond I respect you observation, so what was that compact camera you were referring to again?

0 upvotes
Nathebeach
By Nathebeach (Mar 10, 2012)

Dear DP Review Please consider setting up an "Outdoor Studio."
It would be far less forgiving than your indoor setup above, which was intended to be the harshest conditions due to the light. I was looking at shots of pier 54 in Seattle, which involves
1. Shooting at an angle
2. Lots of artificial light
3. It would be reproducable (unlike the bar scenes), even though it is out doors.
4. Perhaps most important, it would contain shadows (at night that is). Your indoor studio contains no shadows.

Here is the shot I had in mind, only at night instead. Imagine this as your standard low light night time test shot?:

http://gonw.about.com/od/photoswa/ig/Seattle-Waterfront-Photos/Pier-54-in-Seattle.htm

While not a studio shot, it is static enough to use as a standard test shot for years on end (at least until they change the lighting; then all comparisons go out the window.)

Comment edited 6 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
Gabi
By Gabi (Mar 10, 2012)

Robin Wong has posted real life examples with artificial light in his blog. Looks very good!

1 upvote
Nathebeach
By Nathebeach (Mar 10, 2012)

Thanks Gabi. This is exactly the input I am looking for. I especially like the fact that he does little to no editing of photos when converting from jpg to RAW. I cannot stand over processing.

0 upvotes
sotirius
By sotirius (Mar 10, 2012)

My Canon's 450d/XSi performance at ISO 400 is the same as this camera's ISO 6400....

7 upvotes
Winston Loo
By Winston Loo (Mar 10, 2012)

Trolling. Rubbish

3 upvotes
Michael_13
By Michael_13 (Mar 10, 2012)

Come on. The OM-D is very good, yes, but your 450d is not bad either.

0 upvotes
compositor20
By compositor20 (Mar 10, 2012)

there is detail in the rat untill at least iso 12800... isso 25600 has color noiseof the yellow/green kind... and it has banding of the largest pattern I have ever seen..

at iso 6400 its excellent since there is almost no color noise and there is plenty detail that would clean well at high iso blacks are blacks color saturation is very good... white balance doesn't shift.... blue channel noise is very well controlled until iso 6400

the best setting is noise filter low with sharpening at -1

4 upvotes
jtwz8975
By jtwz8975 (Mar 10, 2012)

After seeing this camera and these images I think it's time to invest in a 4/3 system. IQ looks very good now and in a few years, new bodies will be producing excellent results. Just wish they had a faster zoom in the lineup. I'll make do with the nice primes as that is what I usually shoot with now anyhow. The best camera is the one you have with you and this one will be coming with me a lot more places than my D700.

7 upvotes
Tech Talk Tony
By Tech Talk Tony (Mar 10, 2012)

It's this line of thought that fails to take into account that other sensor's are evolving as well, especially ones bigger than m43. M43 may well now be at 'good enough' for most and that's what should count to people who like the size and top end model feature set.

Comment edited 36 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
Winston Loo
By Winston Loo (Mar 10, 2012)

fast zooms are coming. Rumor says the Panasonic 12-35 f/2.8 and 35-100/f2.8 will be announced this year

2 upvotes
Valentinian
By Valentinian (Mar 10, 2012)

can Panasonic lenses be used on Olympus and have same AF speed ?

0 upvotes
Adjuster
By Adjuster (Mar 10, 2012)

Yes. I have several Panasonic lenses. The 100-300 is a great lens, for example. I use the lenses on an E-PL3. The 20mm pancake is a bit slow, but useable. Don't know how they compare when used on a Panasonic camera. Don't care. It's okay.

0 upvotes
Winston Loo
By Winston Loo (Mar 11, 2012)

@Valentinian.. Works both ways. I use a GH2 and have numerous Panny & oly lenses. I even use the 4/3 14-54 Mk II and it works great (sub sec AF lock). Tried my panny lenses on a friends E-P3. Works just as fast.

0 upvotes
rocklobster
By rocklobster (Mar 10, 2012)

I am impressed enough with this camera and the high ISO performance is a bonus.

Cheers

4 upvotes
tsammyc
By tsammyc (Mar 10, 2012)

I am impressed at the improvement. It seems to have reached the level of Sony's 1st generation EXMOR sensor - say in the 2009/2010 DSLRs like the KX. Then there is the law of diminishing returns. I would say that the current 16MP EXMOR sensors, say used in the 1 yr old K5,D7000 etc, while better than the first generation in the KX, aren't a huge leap anymore so the E-M5 is promising indeed. It will still take some time to reach the resolution of the 24MP EXMOR used in the A77, but there are other issues with that sensor.

1 upvote
Ergo607
By Ergo607 (Mar 10, 2012)

What issues has the 24 MP sensor?

1 upvote
marike6
By marike6 (Mar 10, 2012)

The sensor of the K5, D7000, NEX-5N have better high ISO, but the main thing is dynamic range in that area. There is simply no comparison. It have a GX1, and a GH2, but neither is close to my previous camera the D7000. To say otherwise is to overstate the situation based on a few sample OM-D JPEGs in a controlled lighting still life

Comment edited 25 seconds after posting
1 upvote
delftkool
By delftkool (Mar 10, 2012)

Maybe a stupid question, but do all commercially available sensors have a native color temperature of 5600k?
This:
"Note also that the conditions used - low intensity, low color-temperature halogen lighting - are designed to simulate indoor artificial lighting. This should be considered close to the worst-case scenario in normal use as the image's blue channel has to be heavily amplified to achieve neutral white balance, accentuating noise." implies that that is the case with this Oly.
Would it take a bayer pattern of slightly off color RGB dyes to make a native color temp of say 3400K?

0 upvotes
Doug Pardee
By Doug Pardee (Mar 10, 2012)

"Native color temperature" of sensors isn't something that's routinely published. Of course, it's not just the color temperature, but the white point that would matter. Presumably, someone with sufficient math and optics knowledge could calculate it from the conversion numbers in dcraw (which, in turn, usually come from Adobe's DNG converter).

As a general rule, for most sensors... the green channel gets the highest levels, and therefore controls the exposure. The blue channel gets the lowest levels, and needs to be "amplified" for most white balance settings, but blue levels are low even in the target range. The red channel also gets low levels, although not as low as blue, but it usually needs to be "amplified" more than blue because the target red levels are considerably higher than target blue levels.

So, roughly, the blue channel is inherently noisy due to very limited photon capture, while the red channel gets noisy due to amplification.

See also: UniWB.

3 upvotes
JeanPierre Edberg
By JeanPierre Edberg (Mar 10, 2012)

Impressive...

0 upvotes
M Jesper
By M Jesper (Mar 9, 2012)

Looks good with the disgusting DNR and Sharpening turned off.
Better than my Canon 400D anyway, that's for sure :).

1 upvote
Total comments: 283
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