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Olympus acknowledges E-M5 / 20mm banding and is working on fix

By dpreview staff on Jun 12, 2012 at 18:40 GMT

Olympus has acknowledged the banding that can appear in high ISO OM-D E-M5 images shot with the Panasonic 20mm F1.7 lens and says it is working on a fix. In the meantime, the only solution is to avoid high ISO settings when using that lens, for now. It says that it has tried 'every possible combination of body and lens,' and has not found the problem with other lenses.


Olympus statement:

'After checking every possible combination of a body and a lens, we found the phenomena only with this combination (OM-D, E-M5 coupled with the Panasonic 20mm pancake lens). We are continuing to study how we can eliminate this and we recommend for our customers using E-M5 with Panasonic 20mm pancake lens to keep a low ISO to avoid this problem for the time being.'

Comments

Total comments: 174
12
KevinD65
By KevinD65 (Jun 12, 2012)

Oh boy. Here we go. Get ready for the "knowingly selling defective equipment" deluge from this forum. In this case, however, no one probably cares since Olympus can't seem to be able to ship the camera in the first place.

0 upvotes
JaFO
By JaFO (Jun 13, 2012)

Heck ... with their luck they probably get the camera shipped with whatever firmware version that fixes it installed already.

At least mine had v1.1 already. :)
That's one advantage of have such a limited supply.

0 upvotes
JJJPhoto
By JJJPhoto (Jun 12, 2012)

Just one more reason I'm glad I bought the 25mm and got rid of my 20mm.

2 upvotes
kayone
By kayone (Jun 12, 2012)

I seem to have zero banding issues with my OM-D + lens combo. Must be an indivudal lens or camera body specific issue.

0 upvotes
Raffael Cavallaro
By Raffael Cavallaro (Jun 12, 2012)

I just keep the 20 on my gx1 and my pl 25 on my omd.

0 upvotes
Tim F 101
By Tim F 101 (Jun 12, 2012)

At least it is only the one lens that every m4/3 user owns.

4 upvotes
JaFO
By JaFO (Jun 13, 2012)

I don't own it, but I guess I'm not 'every m4/3 user' (yet) ...

0 upvotes
photohounds
By photohounds (Jun 14, 2012)

I don't own it either - that 1.4 is tempting

0 upvotes
miwo76
By miwo76 (Jun 12, 2012)

I always found it weird that m43 lenses have updateable firmware. I bet this will be fixed by a firmware update to the 20mm f/1.7.

0 upvotes
Sandyramirez
By Sandyramirez (Jun 12, 2012)

Doubtful. The 20/1.7 is a Panasonic product, and they have no real incentive to help Olympus out here. The lens probably performs like gang buster on a Lumix body BTW. No this will require Olympus to come up with a solution

1 upvote
Steve_
By Steve_ (Jun 12, 2012)

One could say Olympus has already come up with a solution-IBIS. With the easy two stop advantage it affords you generally don't have to resort to high ISO shooting across a wide range of shooting conditions where you would have to with the IBIS-less Panasonic bodies.

0 upvotes
roblarosa
By roblarosa (Jun 12, 2012)

@Sandyramirez - Panasonic has no motivation to help solve the problem? I guess the money that they could make from selling their lens to E-M5 owners is no incentive, huh?

1 upvote
Tee1up
By Tee1up (Jun 12, 2012)

SandyR, Panasonic is about to plow $630 million into Olympus. I would say they are more than motivated to help.

5 upvotes
nickthetasmaniac
By nickthetasmaniac (Jun 12, 2012)

@ Tee1up - both panasonic and Olympus have said point blank that that is not the case. Reuters got it wrong...

4 upvotes
mister_roboto
By mister_roboto (Jun 12, 2012)

They are partners in the µ4/3 consortium. Olympus will fix the issues, because they share the same mount compatibility. They are competitors only to a certain point.

0 upvotes
historianx
By historianx (Jun 13, 2012)

my 20/1.7 performs like "gangbusters" on my EP2...

0 upvotes
photohounds
By photohounds (Jun 14, 2012)

Oly and Panny will BOTH benefit from a fix for this.

It's a record! A NEW camera that ONLY bands above 6400 with ONE lens.

Others should do so well...

0 upvotes
foxbat91
By foxbat91 (Jun 12, 2012)

I've been playing around with this combination and haven't noticed any banding. The whole point of the 20mm f1.7 for me is that you don't need high ISO though, so I don't think I've ever pushed it above 1600. Size/handling-wise, the 20 is perfect on the OMD body.

Comment edited 6 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Jogger
By Jogger (Jun 12, 2012)

How the heck does a lens cause banding? Inst that a sensor property?

2 upvotes
Martin Ocando
By Martin Ocando (Jun 12, 2012)

Easy. Lenses are no longer just glass. They contain electronics and motors that emit noise and electric interference, and if the camera is not shielded well for a particular frequency (like seems to be the case here), then these kind of problems arise.

7 upvotes
ranocchio
By ranocchio (Jun 12, 2012)

It's a kind of electrical interference, between the sensor and the lens circuits (perhaps af motor...)
I remember something similar in the eos line
http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/readflat.asp?forum=1019&message=1213477

ooops... sorry Martin, I was writing!

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
5 upvotes
SaltLakeGuy
By SaltLakeGuy (Jun 12, 2012)

I'm not losing sleep over this. I am not likely to buy one of the 20's any further. I've had one before with other Mft bodies. They work fine, but now I have the OMD that isn't the focal length I'd choose. Most likely would either go with a 14mm f2.5 or better yet a 25mm f1.4. I'm sure they will figure something out however.

1 upvote
sean000
By sean000 (Jun 12, 2012)

Consumer advocacy... one more reason to love this website.

I'm still waiting on my E-M5 to arrive, but the 20mm f/1.7 has been my favorite lens for the GF1 since I bought it in January of 2010... and I'd hate to have to choose between it and the new camera.

I notice they don't specifically say how low an ISO one needs to avoid the problem, but from what people have posted here that is variable. For some it starts happening at 1600, others at 3200 or higher. I don't know if it will be an issue for me, but it's nice to know they are working on a solution.

0 upvotes
texinwien
By texinwien (Jun 12, 2012)

I wouldn't worry too much about it. I picked up a 20mm f/1.7 about a week ago and haven't seen any banding on shots taken with it on my OMD. I do keep the ISO low. Unless you're trying to get a fast shutter speed to stop movement, IBIS plus f/1.7 will allow you to keep the ISO well below 1600 in all but the most challenging lighting situations.

0 upvotes
historianx
By historianx (Jun 13, 2012)

no way man. if I can't take a pic of a black cat in a coal mine then life is meaningless ;)

1 upvote
photohounds
By photohounds (Jun 14, 2012)

Don't want to choose, then keep both.

0 upvotes
xlynx9
By xlynx9 (Jun 15, 2012)

Seeing as the GF1 is puke worthy @ ISO 1600 and above, you're still in a better position even with the banding problem.

0 upvotes
thinkfat
By thinkfat (Jun 12, 2012)

Interesting. Banding with only one particular lens. The metering program could be wrong with a f/1.7 lens, like underexposing the sensor and digitally pushing the image with banding appearing.

1 upvote
ginsbu
By ginsbu (Jun 12, 2012)

That's the best explanation I've heard yet for what might be going on.

0 upvotes
nickthetasmaniac
By nickthetasmaniac (Jun 12, 2012)

If it was a camera/lens communication problem leading to incorrect metering then the camera would just under/overexpose. The only reason it would then push/pull back to correct exposure is if it *knew* it had made an error, in which case it would be a very very easy firmware fix.

The response from Olympus seems to indicate the problem isn't that simple...

2 upvotes
MichaelKJ
By MichaelKJ (Jun 12, 2012)

I wonder if this has anything to do with interference between the lens and whatever it is that causes the constant humming noise on the E-M5. If it is something of this nature, I would think it would be very difficult to fix.

0 upvotes
Joele
By Joele (Jun 12, 2012)

I would think electrical interference is more likely..

3 upvotes
IcyVeins
By IcyVeins (Jun 12, 2012)

Weird

1 upvote
Total comments: 174
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