Does the E-M1 have Low light issues ?

Started Dec 3, 2013 | Discussions
lightandday
lightandday Regular Member • Posts: 230
Does the E-M1 have Low light issues ?

I've just purchased a E-M1 ( not able to use as I'm awaiting delivery of a 17mm lens ) and having experienced the FUJIFILM X10 " ORBS "debarcle, have a done it again or is there NO PROBLEM ? I do hope so as I love this camera !

 lightandday's gear list:lightandday's gear list
Fujifilm X10 Olympus E-M1 Olympus Air Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 17mm 1:1.8 Olympus 40-150mm F2.8 Pro +2 more
Fujifilm X10 Olympus E-M1
If you believe there are incorrect tags, please send us this post using our feedback form.
CrisPhoto
CrisPhoto Senior Member • Posts: 1,715
Re: Does the E-M1 have Low light issues ?
3

In short: E-M1 is a very good camera.

To clarify the low-light thing for me, I compared my E-M1 and my E-M5.

I made dark exposures in RAW and extracted the noise statistic value (standard deviation sigma) from RawDigger. (ISO200, ShadowComp=OFF, WB=auto, NoiseFilter=off, temperature 22°C, sensor temp=29°C).

  • With shutter speeds faster than 15 seconds, EM1 is very similar.
  • Without noise reduction (=darkframe), at 15 seconds and above the new camera has significantly more dark noise than the "old" EM5.
  • With "noise reduction" enabled, E-M1 and E-M5 or on par again.

So, under certain circumstances E-M1 is "less good" than E-M5, but even then, the E-M1 is as good or better than most other cameras. The EM5 is outstanding in this regard but we did not notice yet ...

Christof

-- hide signature --

OM-D + Sam7.5, PL25, O60, O75
P12-35, O75-300

 CrisPhoto's gear list:CrisPhoto's gear list
Olympus E-M5 II Olympus E-M1 II Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm F1.8 Rokinon 7.5mm F3.5 UMC Fisheye CS Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 60mm 1:2.8 Macro +9 more
alolywu Regular Member • Posts: 387
Re: Does the E-M1 have Low light issues ?

Very nice summary, thank you!  Don't forget however that noise reduction (dark frame) doubles the exposure time and for some people that may be an issue.

vinster Forum Member • Posts: 53
Re: Does the E-M1 have Low light issues ?

Im using the 17mm as its the only lens I have and low light shots are great, no problems.

 vinster's gear list:vinster's gear list
Leica D-LUX 2 Leica D-LUX 5 Olympus E-M1 Leica M9 Sony a7 III +4 more
Steve_
Steve_ Senior Member • Posts: 2,869
Yes
2

It's darned near impossible to find in the dark.

 Steve_'s gear list:Steve_'s gear list
Olympus OM-D E-M5 Olympus E-M1 Panasonic Lumix G 14mm F2.5 ASPH Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 45mm F1.8 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm F1.8 +13 more
lightandday
OP lightandday Regular Member • Posts: 230
Re: Yes

Hi Steve,

What were you looking for ?

 lightandday's gear list:lightandday's gear list
Fujifilm X10 Olympus E-M1 Olympus Air Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 17mm 1:1.8 Olympus 40-150mm F2.8 Pro +2 more
lightandday
OP lightandday Regular Member • Posts: 230
Re: Does the E-M1 have Low light issues ?
1

Hi Cris,

Thank you for you explanation - thankfully it's not another " FUJIFILM. ORB " problem just a limitation in the camera that needs to be and can be managed ! MANY THANKS !!

Regards

 lightandday's gear list:lightandday's gear list
Fujifilm X10 Olympus E-M1 Olympus Air Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 17mm 1:1.8 Olympus 40-150mm F2.8 Pro +2 more
CrisPhoto
CrisPhoto Senior Member • Posts: 1,715
Re: Does the E-M1 have Low light issues ?

Thanks for thanking!

And I see you also have the 50-200mm lens. I wish yo many outstanding photos with this combo!!

Christof

-- hide signature --

OM-D + Sam7.5, PL25, O60, O75
P12-35, O75-300

 CrisPhoto's gear list:CrisPhoto's gear list
Olympus E-M5 II Olympus E-M1 II Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm F1.8 Rokinon 7.5mm F3.5 UMC Fisheye CS Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 60mm 1:2.8 Macro +9 more
UnderDriven
UnderDriven Senior Member • Posts: 1,089
Re: Does the E-M1 have Low light issues ?

CrisPhoto wrote:

So, under certain circumstances E-M1 is "less good" than E-M5, but even then, the E-M1 is as good or better than most other cameras. The EM5 is outstanding in this regard but we did not notice yet ...

Does anyone know what changed to cause this? It seems strange, since they are both 16MP sensors. I can't imagine Olympus using an inferior sensor in their flagship model, and newer sensors are usually better. Did Olympus tweak the M1 to improve low ISO performance at the expense of high ISO performance? I see that the M5 has a min ISO of 200, and the M1 has a min ISO of 100...

-- hide signature --

“The world is going to pieces and people like Adams and Weston are photographing rocks!” --Henri Cartier-Bresson

 UnderDriven's gear list:UnderDriven's gear list
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-R1 Sigma SD14 Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1 Sony SLT-A55 Sony SLT-A57 +9 more
SaltLakeGuy
SaltLakeGuy Forum Pro • Posts: 13,875
Not in the least

I've seen all kinds of disparaging reports regarding low light focus issues and performance overall. I've had too many pro DSLR bodies to count since 1997 and frankly NONE have been better at focusing in the dark than the EM1 has been in my experience so far. Even the D700 and D7000 I had before didn't focus on a familiar railing post in my dim living room, and the EM1 nails it without even hunting, and best of all it renders an IN focus shot everytime. As long as you're eye can see it and there is "some" light on it the EM1 will have no issues nailing it.

 SaltLakeGuy's gear list:SaltLakeGuy's gear list
Sony RX10 IV +11 more
mgnff Junior Member • Posts: 47
Re: Does the E-M1 have Low light issues ?

I shoot up to ISO 3200 with my EM1, images are quite decent after appropriate NR in Lightroom. It is definitely good enough and focusing is quick in low light when paired with the right lens.

My Nikon Df is a low light monster, although I would say the EM1 is more fun to use due to several advanced techs that make life easier (live histogram, real-time color shift, focus peaking, etc.).

 mgnff's gear list:mgnff's gear list
Olympus E-M1 Nikon Df Nikon D70 Olympus PEN E-P1 Canon EOS D30
rrr_hhh Veteran Member • Posts: 6,022
Re: Does the E-M1 have Low light issues ?

UnderDriven wrote:

CrisPhoto wrote:

So, under certain circumstances E-M1 is "less good" than E-M5, but even then, the E-M1 is as good or better than most other cameras. The EM5 is outstanding in this regard but we did not notice yet ...

Does anyone know what changed to cause this? It seems strange, since they are both 16MP sensors. I can't imagine Olympus using an inferior sensor in their flagship model, and newer sensors are usually better. Did Olympus tweak the M1 to improve low ISO performance at the expense of high ISO performance? I see that the M5 has a min ISO of 200, and the M1 has a min ISO of 100...

It could be the price to pay for the pixels sacrificed to the on sensor PDAF. The E-M1/E-M5 sensors aren't equal due to this specific feature Of the E-M1.

-- hide signature --

rrr_hhh

 rrr_hhh's gear list:rrr_hhh's gear list
Sony a7R Olympus OM-D E-M5 Canon EOS 6D Olympus E-M5 II Sony a7R II +5 more
Olymore
Olymore Senior Member • Posts: 1,756
Re: Does the E-M1 have Low light issues ?

There is no obvious pattern to the noise suggesting it relates to the PDAF pixels/locations.

The most likely explanation I've seen is something to do with the circuitry and heat generation.

Unless you do long exposures with noise reduction turned off it doesn't appear to be an issue so most people will be unaffected.

-- hide signature --

There are 10 types of people.
Those that understand binary and those that don't.

 Olymore's gear list:Olymore's gear list
Olympus E-M1
Olymore
Olymore Senior Member • Posts: 1,756
Re: Yes

They should have added illuminated buttons like the E620

-- hide signature --

There are 10 types of people.
Those that understand binary and those that don't.

 Olymore's gear list:Olymore's gear list
Olympus E-M1
VinceC Senior Member • Posts: 1,040
Low light shots

Check these out - taken at my local folk music club, which is not blessed with a lot of light!

-- hide signature --

Best regards
Vince C

 VinceC's gear list:VinceC's gear list
Fujifilm X-H1 Fujifilm X-T100 Fujifilm 15-45mm F3.5-5.6 OIS PZ Fujifilm XF 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR Fujifilm XF 23mm F2 R WR +1 more
UnderDriven
UnderDriven Senior Member • Posts: 1,089
Re: Does the E-M1 have Low light issues ?
1

Olymore wrote:

There is no obvious pattern to the noise suggesting it relates to the PDAF pixels/locations.

On-sensor PDAF is another difference between the M1 and the M5. Do sensors with PDAF (1) replace specific image pixels with the PDAF sensors, or (2) do they reduce the size of the all the image pixels (slightly) to make space for the PDAF sensors? If it's #1, how do they recover the image information where the missing pixels are?

Another possibility is that the sensor manufacturing process had to be modified to allow for the PDAF sensors--if they cannot be fabricated using the same process used to fabricate the M5 sensor...

The most likely explanation I've seen is something to do with the circuitry and heat generation.

Perhaps the PDAF sensors require a significant amount of circuitry on the chip, which--in addition to the optical real estate needed by the PDAF sensors--may have required a slight reduction in the size of the imaging pixels...

The other difference is the elimination of the AA filter, but I don't see how that could have any bearing on long-exposure noise...

Unless you do long exposures with noise reduction turned off it doesn't appear to be an issue so most people will be unaffected.

I realize it isn't a big issue for most users, but I'm still curious as to why the M1 is worse in this one area...

-- hide signature --

“The world is going to pieces and people like Adams and Weston are photographing rocks!” --Henri Cartier-Bresson

 UnderDriven's gear list:UnderDriven's gear list
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-R1 Sigma SD14 Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1 Sony SLT-A55 Sony SLT-A57 +9 more
rrr_hhh Veteran Member • Posts: 6,022
Re: Does the E-M1 have Low light issues ?

UnderDriven wrote:

Olymore wrote:

There is no obvious pattern to the noise suggesting it relates to the PDAF pixels/locations.

On-sensor PDAF is another difference between the M1 and the M5. Do sensors with PDAF (1) replace specific image pixels with the PDAF sensors, or (2) do they reduce the size of the all the image pixels (slightly) to make space for the PDAF sensors? If it's #1, how do they recover the image information where the missing pixels are?

Another possibility is that the sensor manufacturing process had to be modified to allow for the PDAF sensors--if they cannot be fabricated using the same process used to fabricate the M5 sensor...

The most likely explanation I've seen is something to do with the circuitry and heat generation.

Perhaps the PDAF sensors require a significant amount of circuitry on the chip, which--in addition to the optical real estate needed by the PDAF sensors--may have required a slight reduction in the size of the imaging pixels...

The other difference is the elimination of the AA filter, but I don't see how that could have any bearing on long-exposure noise...

Unless you do long exposures with noise reduction turned off it doesn't appear to be an issue so most people will be unaffected.

I realize it isn't a big issue for most users, but I'm still curious as to why the M1 is worse in this one area...

I find that curious. It could be sample variation, but on the other hand, it is very consistent : a similar pattern appears for all lenses.

Look here for the links to the DXO TEST results :

http://www.dxomark.com/Reviews/Best-lenses-for-the-Olympus-OM-D-E-M1-Short-telephoto-and-standard-focal-lengths (E-M1)
http://www.dxomark.com/Reviews/Best-lenses-for-your-Olympus-OMD-E-M5-Panasonic-Lumix-DMC-GH3 (E-M5)

-- hide signature --

rrr_hhh

 rrr_hhh's gear list:rrr_hhh's gear list
Sony a7R Olympus OM-D E-M5 Canon EOS 6D Olympus E-M5 II Sony a7R II +5 more
Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum MMy threads