Studio Comparison

Our latest test scene is designed to simulate both daylight and low-light shooting. Pressing the 'lighting' buttons at the top of the widget allows you to switch between the two. The daylight scene is shot with manually set white balance aimed at achieving neutral grays, but the camera is left in its Auto setting for the low-light tests (except Raw, which is manually corrected during conversion). We also offer three different viewing sizes: 'Full', 'Print', and 'Web', with the latter two offering 'normalized' comparisons to more fairly compare cameras of differing resolutions by ensuring equivalent viewing sizes.

Please note that these high resolution Olympus files were processed with a beta version of ACR offering preliminary support and is subject to change.

The camera's JPEGs are rather impressive (if perhaps a touch heavy with their sharpening, when viewed close-up), with the camera not only competing with the Nikon D810's level of detail capture but comfortably exceeding it in terms of color resolution.

Although Olympus has chosen to produce 40MP JPEGs and says the high res mode doesn't produce 64MP worth of data, the Raw files have the data mapped to a 64MP image size (so both Adobe Camera Raw and Olympus's own plugin for Photoshop output at this resolution). When shown at this size, the output is extremely soft and it loses much of its advantage over the Nikon D810, though the lack of moiré is still apparent.

We're not sure how much of this softness stems from trying to render less than 64MP's worth of data at 64MP resolution, and how much is down to possibly non-optimized image processing. As a result, in the test scene, we've done what we suspect many owners would do, and applied a very high amount of small radius sharpening. Click here to see how the image would look with our standard sharpening.

Because the camera is capturing full color at each pixel, though, you can see the level of color detail is still higher than the D810 or, for that matter, the Pentax 645Z.

Interestingly, another upshot of sampling each pixel multiple times is a noise benefit (since multiple sampling of a random event helps average it out). Compare the high-res mode to the standard, low-res mode and you can see lower noise as well as greater detail, meaning that, when compared at the same size, the difference is even larger. This makes it rather frustrating that Olympus has applied an ISO 1600 upper limit to the High Res mode.

It's also worth noting that we had to re-shoot this test using the rather exotic ($1600) Panasonic 42.5mm F1.2 lens to get a consistently high resolution image out of the camera.