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Raw

Supplied software

The E-5 is supplied with Olympus Viewer 2 (Mac/Windows) and Olympus ib (Windows only). Olympus Viewer 2 is an update of the older Olympus Viewer RAW conversion software that came bundled with the very first E-series camera, the E-1, and ib is a more beginner-friendly platform for photo organizing as well as some basic JPEG and RAW editing.

  • Olympus Viewer 2 - Image browser and RAW/JPEG image editor, with video editing capabilities.
  • Olympus ib - launched alongside the E-PL1, ib combines a photo database with a series of features for editing and searching images, including face recognition and geotagging (Windows only).

Olympus Viewer is a capable and versatile image editing platform that can be used to make adjustments to all of the files output by the E-5: JPEG, RAW and Motion JPEG video. The range of adjustments for RAW files is impressive, and as well as the usual core white balance, sharpness and NR sliders, Viewer 2 also allows you to apply any of the E-5's various color and filter modes to RAW files directly.

As well as still images it is also possible to adjust movie clips shot with the E-5. The range of adjustments is fairly small, but clips can be trimmed, and effects such as fade in/out added. It is also possible to save individual frames from movie files at actual size - i.e. 1280x720 pixels.

In Viewer 2's browser view, you have various sorting options, and from here you can tag and rotate images. To open an image in the editor, just double-click... The range of editing options in Olympus Viewer 2 is impressive, both for RAW and JPEG images.
There is also a comparison view that lets you compare similar images with one another directly And movie files can be edited too, although adjustments are limited to clipping, adding fade in/out, and frame extraction

For more detailed information about Olympus ib, take a look at the Photographic tests (RAW) page of our Olympus E-PL1 review.

Tethered shooting with Olympus Studio 2 (optional)

Like the E-3, the E-5 can also be used in tethered shooting mode with Olympus's optional Studio 2 software. The tethering interface is clear enough, but like a lot of bundled software, Studio 2 is memory-intensive, and runs relatively slowly compared to third-party offerings from Adobe and others. The lack of live view support (so you can't see 'through the lens' before you take a picture) is rather limiting, and makes tethered shooting with the E-5 and Studio 2 less useful than it could be.

With Olympus Studio 2 running, the E-5 must be connected via USB, with USB mode set to 'control'.

Once you're set up, the amount of control over key shooting parameters is almost comprehensive (although Studio 2 does not support Art Filters) and captured images are displayed reasonably promptly. There is no support for live view, but you can trigger a 'preview' image prior to capture, in order to fine-tune framing, exposure etc.

RAW conversion

As is normal in our digital SLR reviews we like to compare the supplied RAW conversion software, any optional manufacturer RAW conversion software and some third party RAW converter. In the case of the Olympus E-5 we used the supplied Olympus Viewer 2 as well as Adobe Camera RAW 6.4 Beta.

  • JPEG - Large/Fine, Default settings
  • Viewer 2 - Olympus Viewer 2
  • ACR - Adobe Camera RAW6.4 Beta (at default 'Adobe Standard' setting)

Sharpness and Detail

As expected more detail can be brought out of raw files from the Olympus compared to its JPEG output, but at low ISO settings the difference isn't enormous in practical terms. Of the two raw conversion engines that we've used, Adobe's Camera RAW does a slightly better job of resolving very fine detail. In contrast, Viewer 2 delivers a slightly more contrasty image. As we'd expect, Viewer 2 gives identical color and contrast rendering to the E-5's JPEG engine.

Adobe ACR 6.4 Beta RAW -> TIFF (Default output settings)
ISO 200 studio scene 100% crops
Olympus Viewer 2 RAW -> TIFF (Default output settings)
ISO 200 studio scene 100% crops
JPEG out of camera, Super Fine setting, manual WB (all other settings default)
ISO 200 studio scene 100% crop

Resolution

There is absolutely no difference between the E-5's in-camera JPEGs, and JPEGs produced from RAW files using Olympus Viewer 2 at default settings. Both files overlay exactly, so to get the most out of the E-5's RAW files using Viewer 2 it is not enough simply to run files through at default settings - you will need to take some time and experiment with the sharpening sliders.

At default settings, Adobe Camera Raw does a significantly better job than either the E-5's JPEG engine or Viewer 2, and as you can see, all nine lines of our test chart are accurately described until very close to the Nyquist limit (3024 lph). Beyond this point, some semblance of line detail remains, but this is not 'true' detail, and shows us only how good ACR is at 'guessing' what lies beyond the sensor's Nyquist limit.

Adobe Camera RAW 6.4 Beta Olympus Viewer 2
 
JPEG Large/Fine

RAW files for download

Here we provide RAW files from the sample shots we take, to allow you to apply your own workflow techniques and see whether your experiences match ours.

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