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Raw

Supplied software

The E-620 comes with the Olympus Master 2. We found ourselves using version 2.2 but it regularly checks for updates if you have an internet connection, so it's essentially academic which version ships with the camera. Master allows you to find your image either via your computer's directory structure or add them to 'Albums.' These albums don't save your files to new locations, they simply allow you to associate, collect and arrange your images. Beyond this file browser, there are two other key elements to the program - an edit window for making changes to JPEG files and a RAW edit section for applying different presets to RAW files.

The Edit window offers a series of image processing options, all of which are applied to the entire image. The options, including contrast, curves and color tweaks, can also be added to RAW files (and are only applied when you save as a JPEG or TIFF file). If you want to make RAW-level edits, such as white balance or exposure compensation adjustments, you have to go via the RAW Edit screens, output as a JPEG or TIFF, then work on that saved file in the edit window.

In addition to the relatively common options are a lens distortion correction option (which can be applied manually or automatically, based on the software's knowledge of each lenses characteristics), and Auto Tone Correction, which makes localized corrections to the image's tone response.

When it comes to RAW processing, Master is pretty limited in its scope. It allows adjustment of exposure compensation and white balance, and allows the resizing and cropping of images. Beyond that, the options are limited to those presented in the camera, so you can adjust which Picture Mode setting is applied or tweak the image parameters such as sharpening and contrast but you get no more freedom than you had when you shot the image. This is still enough to get great results, but it's no more powerful than the camera's JPEG engine, which arguably means it doesn't make the most of having shot in RAW (it also can't save the barely compressed SuperFine JPEGs that the camera will produce, if you really want it to).

The latest version of Master also allows Art Filters to be applied to RAW files, after the event. The advantage is that you can not only take more time to consider which filter will give the best results, but you can also avoid the delays and battery drain that Art Filters can induce when using them in the camera.

To escape being limited to these presets you can buy the fully-featured Olympus Studio. In many respects the two pieces of software behave similarly but Studio gives you much greater control over the way the image is processed - particularly when working with RAW files. Olympus Studio currently costs €99/$99 which is only a little cheaper than some third-party software packages.

The main screen shows either the directory or album/group structure on the left and the image metadata on the right. The images themselves appear as thumbnails, which can be varied in size. Double-clicking a thumbnail takes you to the edit screen, which includes standard editing options such as Brightness and Contrast, and less common ones such as Auto Tone Correction.
When you select any of the editing options you're confronted with a before-and-after view (you can elect to see just the edited preview if you prefer), of the edits you're about to make. You can also undo single changes or revert back to the unedited state, as long as you haven't saved over it. The RAW Edit section has a series of options, such as exposure compensation and White Balance that can be adjusted continuously. There's a second tab of options from which you can select image parameters and Art Filters but your choices are limited to the camera presets.

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. Here we show Phase One's Capture One Pro and Adobe Camera Raw.

  • JPEG - Large/Fine, Default settings
  • MSTR- Olympus Master v2.11
  • CAP1- Phase One Capture One PRO v.4.8.1
  • ACR - Adobe Camera RAW v5.4

Color reproduction

Place your mouse over the label below the image to see the color from a GretagMacbeth ColorChecker chart produced using each RAW converter. As we would expect there is no difference between JPEG from the camera and Digital Photo Professional. Adobe Camera RAW's default settings take a slightly more conservative approach to color response and has a less contrasty tone curve. Capture One, meanwhile, is producing a very low contrast rendition.

Olympus E-620 Compare to:  
      
      
      
      
VividNaturalMutedPortrait
MonoaRGB

Sharpness and Detail

Capture One applies its own, rather unique interpretation of intended image brightness, and is perhaps showing a fraction more detail. The Capture One image is also showing more obvious signs of sharpening. Adobe Camera Raw is producing a rather soft rendition while Olympus Master and the camera's JPEG engine are producing the most convincing output.

Olympus Master RAW -> TIFF (Default settings)
ISO 100 studio scene 100% crops
Adobe ACR 5.4 RAW -> TIFF (Default settings)
ISO 100 studio scene 100% crops
Capture One Pro 4.8.1 -> TIFF (Default settings)
ISO 100 studio scene 100% crop
JPEG out of camera , High quality setting (all settings default)
ISO 100 studio scene 100% crop

Resolution

Just as we saw with the studio test shots, Capture One shows a tiny fraction more detail while ACR appears to struggle a little bit. The JPEG and Master output is impressively close to the Capture One result.

JPEG from camera Phase One Capture One Pro 4.8.1 (RAW)
Adobe Camera RAW 5.4 Olympus Master (RAW)

Real word advantages

In this section of the review, we usually look to see how much extra detail can be pulled out of an image by processing RAW files, rather than using the camera's JPEG engine (we look at how much extra dynamic range can be recovered elsewhere in the review). However, despite extensive playing around in both Capture One and Adobe Camera RAW, we were unable to extract more detail from the RAW files than is already being done by the JPEG engine. This is an impressive result, which is great news for JPEG shooters who have given a little thought to which image settings they wanted, prior to shooting.

RAW files for download

Here we provide RAW files, both from the review and 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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