Olympus system, E-P5, OM- D E-M10 a dissapointment: bad flash exposure, back focus Locked
My wife has often said to me that I should try to contribute to these forums, because I am 50 years old, have laborating with photgraphy since 40 year back, on a hobby basis, I am interested in cameras and photography and have been that most all my life. I'm a very technical oriented guy. As a proffesional I'm working with computer programming and system developing at CGI.I like things that work as expected, especially dealing with photography. I want to concentrate on the photograpy, making pictures. I don't want to be disturbed during the image creating process battling photo gear that don't do what is expected. That's not what photography primary is about. It is primary the images, not the gear one shall be concentrated on.
I would like to share my Olympus mirrorless "adventure": I came from a sony alpha a700 system where I had some severe problems with back and front focus. Finally I abandoned that system. I totally gave up.I just sold the system , looking for some new.Then I thoght I would get out of these problems by buying a new one, different from these standrad CoNikonSony systems that everyone have. I focused on Olympus, because I knew it was based on contrast detection system, wich also don't suffer from front- or back focus, commonly found on phase detection base autofocus systems. Contrast focus systems is maybe slower in certain instanses, but ALWAYS get the focus, on the spot, just because the contrast detection is made on the image sensoe itself. How can that get wrong? Never, of corse!! That's the whole ide'a with the system.
The idea appealed to me, because I was so tired of getting expensive lenses that anyway ended up with fuzzy photos! What is the meaning with that? Here is the story:
So, happy as a child I bought a Olympus PEN E-P5 + 17 f1,8. It was gorgeous crafted, all metal, it screamed "quality"! I got my first E-P5.
But it suffered from a fantasically bad flash exposure system. Extremely sensitive for slight white components in the frame, resulting in dreadfully undereposed images. Mostly I had to make a + 1,5 comp to get it right with the built in flash. Not to talk about bounced wirwless flash: at least +2.0 compensation. Just normal pictures on my children sitting in the living room. Disappointed. I tested it on a tripd, outdoors. Nice and really sharp pictures, actually. But, still the flash system sucked.
SENDING BACK THE CAMERA. It must have been a bad batch. Then I got my second E-P5 from another supplier. Much better flash balance, hardly no flash compensation was needed for normal pictures (of course I tested in the same environment as before). But when I tested shooting my kids in the garden, it clearly showed that it suffered from the much talked about "shutter shock" problem. All images became fuzzy, handholding the camera with shutter speeds between1/60 -1/200 s. All static objects. Not moving. Shiit! In spite of this fantastic 5- axis stabilizer...? This phenomen can be seen as a "ghost outline" zooming in to 100%. This makes the image appear soft whith no distinct contrast.
SENDING BACK THE CAMERA. It must have been a bad batch. Changing strategy again: Olympus OM-D M-10 is top tested! Yes, I'll try that! The camera, came with the new Olympus 14-42 EZ (worlds most compact normal zoom, they call it). No image was actually sharp. Just a lot of soft pictures. But when I used MANUAL focus, it actually showed that this lens is really sharp in all zoom positions, actually. From edge to edge. And I mean, REALLY sharp. BUT it will never show if you just use autofocus! This camera clearly suffered from a substantial amont of back-focus, believe it or not! Personally I had hard to accept that, because these type of contrast detection systems should be immune to that kind of phenomen, I thought. I was completely certain of that fact. This was perfectly logic to me, just because the focus is detected directly on the image sensor, compared to phase detection systems, where the focus is basically calculated using phase differences from a separate sensor + distance informtion from the lens (=a calculated amount of turns of the gear to get lenses into focus). I had the impression that a contrast system gets the maximum contrast focus by hunting it down, until it is at MAX. Obviously I was wrong. So, his camera suffered from back-focus, though no shutter shock! Just severe back- focus.
SENDING BACK THE CAMERA. It must have been a bad batch! New camera arrives. Same back-focus issue as the former camera and a completely worthless and unreliable flash exposure. Bounced wireless flash 2-3 steps under exposed. Suddenly, maybe one of ten shots is perfect, and then all following are underexposed!!!
I have always, earlier, had great respect for Olympus. They have been around for a while, since the "chemical film" days, famous for their compact camera bodies and superb lenses. But, sorry, for now I cannot recommend any of these cameras, PEN E-P5 and OM-D M-10. It is a shame, because I think the lenses seems to be of a really high optical standard, relly sharp, contrast and small. But Olympus seems to have serious quality issues with the camera production. And probably some serious software problems. What is the meaning of getting sharp lenses, if the camera isn't up to the task?
For now, no more Olympus for me. I give up.
But it would be interesting to here if there are anyone else out there, that have had the same bad experiences as I have, with these Olympus cameras. Anyone?
Jan Lidman (Sweden)
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