E-M1-II Exposure - Improved by Calibration - My Process

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Jim F
Jim F Senior Member • Posts: 2,596
E-M1-II Exposure - Improved by Calibration - My Process

I thought I would share with you folks here in the forum a recent experience about exposure calibration. I own two Olympus E-M1 Mark 2 bodies which I have now used for most of 2017 (after selling all my Nikon gear last winter), I must say that I am very pleased with my M4/3 gear, albeit the menu system at times can drive one crazy. But that’s been discussed and beat to death in myriad posts here so I’ll defer on that. Note: This post does not imply that one brand of camera is better than another. What I outline here could apply to any camera. Also, I emphasize that I am no expert; I am learning a lot everyday that I use my gear and explore how to get the best out of it. And I believe in sharing new knowledge.

One feature that I really, really like about the EM1.2 is the Menu > Cog > D2 > Live View Boost > set to off which enables one to see the visual effects of exposure compensation adjustments in real time. However, what I have been noticing is that, while I have Live View Boost set to off, the images I view on my computer monitor (hardware calibrated) are not a good enough representation of the exposure values that I recall seeing with my own eyes when I shot an image. In other words, I am not truly getting a WYSIWYG - what you see is what you get - experience with regards to exposure in the end result. Too often I have felt it necessary to do a minus 1/3 or 2/3 exposure compensation as images appeared often over-exposed. (Full Disclosure: My greatest weakness in photography has always been getting exposure and EV compensation right. While I shoot RAW only and can adjust in post processing, getting the exposure right to start with makes post processing much less difficult, e.g., dealing with noise, sharpening, etc.).

So, what could I do to fine tune or enhance exposure? Well, this post in an Oly forum - https://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/60341564  - provided me with the incentive and basic instruction about calibrating my two identical Oly E-M1.2 bodies. My objective was to adjust my cameras so that what I viewed through the EVF, and what I saw on the LCD after the image was taken, and what I see on my computer monitor after uploading and what I remember the scene looking like with my eyes would be as close to identical as possible - in other words WYSIWYG.

To that end this is what I did and what I noted: I did the same test for both cameras in the same manner. In bright sunlight on a cloudless, crystal clear day I used an 18% gray card in direct sunlight, a 45/1.8 lens (any lens will do - this small lens made the camera easy to hold in one hand and the gray card in the other) set at f/16 - ISO set at 200 (the base for this camera), exposure compensation set at “0” and did a series of half-shutter presses to initiate metering with the gray card filling the entire viewfinder. What I was looking for was for the shutter speed to be 1/200 - the inverse of the ISO (the Sunny 16 rule). After doing several half shutter presses (no need to really do a full press to take the image - was just trying to get meter readings) I adjusted the exposure shift - Menu > Cog > E1 > Exposure Shift for Pattern (i.e.,Matrix), Center Weighted and Spot separately so that the shutter speed was 1/200 (repeating as many times as I thought necessary to get an average of 1/200 for each of the three metering modes. I saved the adjustments for both the cameras. The following are the adjustments for each body:

Body A

Pattern (Matrix) - minus 4/6

Center Weighted - minus 1/6

Spot - minus 2/6

EVF settings - temperature minus 2, brightness plus 2

LCD adjustment - Menu > Set Up > Monitor brightness adjustment unchanged; set at default.

Body B

Pattern (Matrix) - minus 3/6

Center Weighted - minus 3/6

Spot - 0 - (unchanged)

EVF settings - temperature minus 2, brightness plus 2

LCD adjustment - Menu > Set Up > Monitor brightness adjustment unchanged; set at default.

At times during the test the shutter speed would vary between 1/160 and 1/200 as I repeated the meter test several times (repeating half shutter presses). I opted for the lesser of the exposure shift adjustment. I verified all of the above by simply taking a number of images and looking at the results through the EVF, on the LCD and my computer monitor and with my eyes to see if my instincts told me that what I saw when I shot the images is what I saw when reviewing them afterwards.

The final test was a field test of going to a soccer game nearby where Iive (the finals of the National Junior College Soccer Championship) and shooting about 400 pictures with the two bodies using my two Olympus Pro lenses in bright sunshine, late the day with lengthening shadows as sundown approached. When I viewed the images on my monitor later, I was pleased to see that what I saw on my monitor was very close to what I remember seeing person. I think the above efforts resulted in a major improvement in that WISISIG - what I saw is what I got. (Note: I tried to post an image to go along with this but the DPreview upload image process would not work.)

The process I outlined above is very easy. The takeaway message for me in all of this is that calibrating my cameras has helped me get better, more repeatable proper exposure. I would respectfully suggest that you might try this simple calibration to see how your camera(s) behaves. Thanks for reading. Happy Holidays to all. >> Jim

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Jim F - Prescott, Arizona, USA

 Jim F's gear list:Jim F's gear list
Olympus E-M1 II Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm F1.8 Olympus 40-150mm F2.8 Pro Olympus 7-14mm F2.8 Pro Olympus M.Zuiko 300mm F4 IS Pro +3 more
Olympus E-M1
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