Olympus (and Panasonic) idiotic auto ISO implementations

Started Oct 23, 2013 | Discussions thread
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thxbb12 Senior Member • Posts: 1,960
Olympus (and Panasonic) idiotic auto ISO implementations

Last weekend I had the opportunity to shoot an Olympus E-PL5 at a social event. My current MFT body is a Panasonic G3. I had read wonders about the Oly IBIS, so I was looking forward to trying the camera although I know that the 2 axis IBIS implementation of the E-PL5 is not as effective as the 5 axis one found in the OM-D, E-P5 and E-M1.

When using the camera I was very disappointed by how auto ISO is implemented. In A mode with the panasonic 14mm mounted, the camera would choose a shutter speed of 1/60 ! What's the point of IBIS if the auto ISO implementation doesn't take it in account? And why wasn't the camera choosing a slower shutter speed of 1/30 for instance given the lens mounted was a 14mm?! This behavior should be configurable.

Sure, I could switch to M mode where I can set the shutter speed and aperture, but there are 2 issues with this:

  1. Auto exposure cannot be changed
  2. The shutter speed is a hard limit instead of being a minimum threshold (total nonsense)

One should really be able to set the minimum shutter speed in M mode and if there is suddenly too much light, the camera would increase the shutter speed accordingly in order to avoid over-exposure. How come no one at Olympus have thought of this? Changing this behavior involves something like adding 5 lines of code to the firmware! Has anyone at Olympus even used the cameras they design for real? I don't understand how a real photographer wouldn't need and want that.

A better solution would be to allow the user to select a minimum shutter speed in the auto ISO settings (available in all modes). Even better yet: the camera should feature a user selected bias toward slower or faster shutter speeds (like what Pentax and Nikon do).

As I had planned to purchase an E-M1, I decided to download the manual to see what can be configured in terms of auto ISO or ISO selection using the dials.

To my surprise it looks like the E-M1 auto ISO implementation is exactly identical to the one in the E-PL5. No improvement, it appears to be as retarded as the E-PL5 implementation.  How come the body doesn't take in account the powerful capability of the built-in stabilization in its auto ISO algorithm? It's utter nonsense! One has to override the ISO by hand which is less than optimal when you may not have enough time to do so (typical if light varies such as when background is different, etc.).

In A mode, I was expecting to have a setting where you can change the aperture with one dial and the ISO with another dial. However,  it doesn't even seem to be possible? Or am I missing something? I really hope I do. From the manual it seems the dials are hardcoded to ISO and white balance only.  Why is it hardcoded? On Pentax you can program the dials to whatever you want. Ugh.

PLEASE Olympus, look very hard at Pentax and Nikon auto ISO implementations and try to deliver something at least on par. Pentax has been doing this since 2007!!! Yet in 2013 with are still stuck with some really stupid sub-optimal implementation while we have the best IBIS system on the market.

I didn't talk about Panasonic, but their implementation is even worse as they don't even feature auto ISO in M mode...

We live in 2013 where so much can be done by clever firmware implementations. We are not stuck in the 70s anymore and these suggestions can really help improving the final IQ by keeping ISO as low as possible!

 thxbb12's gear list:thxbb12's gear list
Fujifilm X-T1 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM5 Panasonic Lumix G 14mm F2.5 ASPH Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm 1:4-5.6 R Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 45mm F1.8 +11 more
Olympus E-M1 Olympus PEN E-P5 Olympus PEN E-PL5
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