How can you adjust jpeg compression in Olympus O-MD E-M1?

Started Mar 4, 2014 | Questions thread
Guy Parsons
Guy Parsons Forum Pro • Posts: 28,691
Re: How can you adjust jpeg compression in Olympus O-MD E-M1?

Strawberry Pie wrote:

Steven Wandy wrote:

Unfortunately the only "uncompressed" file that the EM1 (or any Olympus camera) will produce is the RAW files. If you want JPEGs OOC - the best is the L-SF which according to the manual is a 1/2.7 compression ratio.

Thanks for mentioning this. It made me search in the manual and now I found the table where the compression ratios are listed.

And it sucks that there is no other option. It's slightly boggling to me that the camera offers control over something like whether auto focus should favor the left eye or the right eye of a face, but doesn't offer a better jpeg quality setting.


The early Olympus cameras about 10 years ago did have a TIFF output to satisfy the market but no point as the jpegs worked just the same for display or print.

The "better" jpeg setting is the Super Fine which delivers a stupidly large file for just about no difference in appearance to Fine, even Standard is perfectly good for normal purposes.

What makes the biggest difference is mucking about with Noise Filter and Sharpening.

Set Noise Filter to Off, and set a sane high ISO limit if using Auto ISO (like 800) for everyday use. It's the Noise Filter that spoils most of the fine detail as you wander to higher ISO. Way way better to do noise reduction in post to suit the end purpose, most times noise never causes any problems at all. In fact quality larger print people actually may add noise to images to help stop the bland digital look.

Leave Noise Reduction to auto then that cuts in at 4 seconds and longer exposures to deliver the time doubling dark frame subtraction to clean up the noise from long exposure hot pixels.

Next choose a Picture Mode that suits, I happen to use Natural with Contrast, Saturation and Sharpening all at -1 and with Gradation Auto (with E-PL5). That delivers  a reasonable jpeg to evaluate what just happened. I use the RAW of course later and not the jpeg, but I find the Standard sized jpeg done that way is perfectly OK to work with.

If I were forced to use jpeg only I would raise the file size to Fine (not Super Fine) and make Sharpening -2 and then post process sharpen to suit the situation. The problem always with jpegs, even at -2 Sharpen, is that there are edge halos and enhanced noise. The Fine and Super Fine jpeg compression is completely benign. You are probably seeing Sharpness and Noise Filter problems.

Also with 16MP files, never go past about 50% pixel peeping unless you are printing to huge dimensions and will put your nose up against it. All normal screen and print viewing done for the appropriate viewing distance at any size or screen or print only needs about 4 or 5MP, so 16MP is overkill for 99% of situations but does allow some more "zoom" using savage crops.

Regards..... Guy

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