Olympus E-PL2 Review
The E-PL2 is supplied with the same piece of software that was first bundled with the E-PL1:
- Olympus ib - The software was launched alongside the E-PL1 and combines a photo database with a series of features for editing and searching images.
ib takes over from Master as the bundled software for Olympus cameras and it's an interesting change. It still has all of Master's RAW image processing features, allowing you to adjust White Balance, Digital Exposure Compensation and to apply other processing presets (different Picture Modes, Gradation settings or even Art Filters), but it also gains image tagging and categorization tools.
Essentially ib has a database structure - the first thing you do is import all your images, giving you the opportunity to tag and organize the images in a variety of ways. During importing the software will arrange the images by date and time shot, allowing you to arrange them into a series of 'Events.' You're then given the chance to specify where an Event took place (or give precise locations for each image). Finally, the software will look through your images in an attempt to find and recognize faces. You can specify who the faces belong to, to help you sort your way through your images.
Once you've imported your images and tagged them to your chosen extent, you get options to either apply general image edits or apply different camera presets in the case of RAW files. In general it seems like an interesting program geared towards the way people use their images, rather than simply providing a bare RAW converter, though one that might take a bit of practice to use to its full extent.
As is normal in our digital SLR reviews we like to compare the supplied RAW conversion software, any optional manufacturer RAW conversion software and some third party RAW converter. In the case of the Olympus E-PL2 we used the supplied ib as well as Adobe Camera RAW 6.4 Beta. Currently the camera's RAW files are not supported by any other of the important RAW converters.
Please note that that the Adobe ACR version we used for this test was a very early Beta version and might be modified before the final release. We will re-process the files on this page once the final version is available and update the review if necessary.
- JPEG - Large/Fine, Default settings
- IB - Olympus ib 1.3
- ACR - Adobe Camera RAW6.4 Beta (at default 'Adobe Standard' setting)
Sharpness and Detail
The output from the Olympus ib software at default settings and the out-of-camera JPEGs are pretty much indistinguishable. Therefore processing RAW files in ib does not really give you an image quality advantage but still offers the flexibility to change some settings after the picture has been taken. In comparison the Adobe ACR image appears very marginally softer with a slightly different color response (punchier reds) and tone curve. As we've mentioned above this is a very early Beta version of ACR and the output of the final release might look slightly different.
|Adobe ACR 6.4 Beta RAW -> TIFF (Default output settings)
ISO 200 studio scene 100% crops
|Olympus ib RAW -> TIFF (Default output settings)
ISO 200 studio scene 100% crops
|JPEG out of camera, High quality setting, manual WB (all other settings default)
ISO 200 studio scene 100% crop
The differences between Olympus ib at default settings and the out-of-camera JPEGs are minimal when resolution shots are compared, as you can see. It appears the in-camera processing and ib at default settings yield practically identical results. Like we've seen on the resolution page in this review the Beta version of ACR 6.4 struggles to render the same amount of detail and also shows some moire. This might be due to the fact that this is a very early Beta of the latest Adobe ACR module. We will re-process these files once the final version has been released and update the review if necessary. At the moment however, with the RAW converters that are available at this point in time, processing your RAW files does not give you any additional detail over your out-of-camera JPEGs. This might change though once more software suppliers support the E-PL2.
|Adobe Camera RAW 6.4 Beta||ib|
RAW files for download
Here we provide RAW files from the sample shots we take, to allow you to apply your own workflow techniques and see whether your experiences match ours.
Feb 7, 2014
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