What does "i-Enhance" do?

Started 10 months ago | Discussions thread
OP EspE1 Senior Member • Posts: 1,151
Re: What does "i-Enhance" do?

Alexander Meredith wrote:

I don't but Andrzej Wrotniak (Olympus guru) does:-


Thanks a lot, Alexander!

Very informative on several aspects of Picture Modes and the link is much appreciated. Together with Wrotniak's preceding article, also on the subject of Picture Modes, https://www.wrotniak.net/photo/m43/em1.1-picmode.html, this (almost, see below) answers not only the question I posed, but also several related and possible follow-up question originally arising in my mind. (Thanks, Wrotiak!)

However, it's a shame that such information is not provided in a proper manner to their camera buyers by Olympus themselves, who has first-hand knowledge of all this, but leaves it to others (amateurs) to discover, clarify and inform.

One remark on i-Enhance, though:

In his second article Wrotniak writes that:

"The i-Enhance Picture Mode does not seem to do much, if anything, beyond slightly increasing contrast and saturation — just compare these three images with the next row. Obviously, the increase in contrast comes at the expense of shadow detail and/or burnt-out highlights."

This could be compared with what he stated in his first article on Pictures Modes (based on E-M1):

"As I discovered in the E-Series SLRs, each of the three numeric parameters (Contrast, Sharpness, Saturation) consists of two parts. One of them (hidden) is implied by the Picture Mode, the other is whatever the user enters as a correction. The totals can be checked with use of a better EXIF data reader, like Phil Harvey's ExifTool.

Here are the base values for the common Picture Modes; they seem to be the same across all models and identical to those used in the E-30. (Of course, even if the values remain the same, their actual effect may be tweaked from one camera model to another.)

i-Enhance: sharpness, contrast and saturation all at 0
Vivid: sharpness and saturation at +1, contrast at 0
Natural: all at 0
Muted: contrast and sharpness at -1, saturation at 0
Portrait: sharpness at -1, others at 0

The zero base values in the i-Enhance mode may be a bit misleading; these values can be still affected, if indirectly, by different processing applied. The same may be true for the Portrait mode, where, I suspect, the mid-tones may be moved up a bit.
All this means that, for example, the Natural mode with sharpness and saturation entered as +1 should give results identical to Vivid with these two at 0."

Reading this, and watching the actual effect of i-Enhance on images, one may still wonder whether i-Enhance could possibly also do some nudging in the Gradation.

(What i learned besided this, is that I should look closer into the use of the Auto gradation instead of only relying on the Normal setting.)

I'm then left with only one more question regarding Picture Modes:

Q: What on earth does the (numbered) slanted linear symbol used in the E-M1 menues for the various picture modes depict??

(To me it looks like the handle of a spade ... But I notice that it has been replaced in the E-M1 mk ii with a somewhat circular symbol. A color circle?)

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