Olympus PEN Lite / E-PL3 Review
In addition to its art filters, the PEN Lite also includes Olympus's familiar picture modes. These six creative options impart different color renderings to your JPEG image. Most of them are sensibly named in a way that makes clear their intended impact on the image. Portrait mode, in addition to slightly altering the color of flesh tones, also brightens the image which, given its intended use is reasonable enough. The brightening effect is rather conservative (less than .5 EV) and tapers off nicely at the highlight end of the tonal range, which minimizes highlight clipping. The i-Enhance mode attempts to dynamically adjust colors based on analysis of the scene. The rollover below shows you the effects of each picture mode. 'Natural' is the camera's default mode.
Raw data edits (in-camera)
Like its Olympus forbears, the PEN Lite offers the ability to make Raw file data edits. Or more specifically, the ability to re-process a Raw file in-camera and produce a JPEG file with the new settings. What can you change about an image after the shot is taken? Simply put, you can adjust any of the image processing parameters that the camera uses when creating JPEGS from Raw files.
While the act itself of re-processing a JPEG from the Raw file is straightforward, the process of selecting precisely which parameters to apply is a bit roundabout. Once you've decided to edit a Raw file you must first make all desired changes to image processing parameters, such as Gradation, Picture Mode (and all its attendant options), WB, even image aspect ratio. This may involve a trip to the onscreen control panel, Custom menu or both. Once you have things set the way you like,you then need to access the image you wish to alter in the Playback menu, press the OK button on the 4-way controller and select the Raw data edit option. A new JPEG file is generated with all of the camera's current processing settings applied. Perhaps the biggest drawback, however, is that you have to remember to revisit all of the image processing parameters you have just changed, or else they will be applied to any image you capture from here on out. The process would be much simpler, if instead, you could apply edits to just the Raw file, leaving the image-capture parameters untouched.
Like previous PENs, the E-PL3 has a choice of four 'Gradation' settings for controlling the tonality of its images. Aside from Normal there's High Key and Low Key, which essentially make your images brighter or darker than usual. While these are nice to have for specific occasions, we suspect most users will simply choose to achieve these effects via the rather more-accessible exposure compensation control (although the results aren't quite identical).
Auto Gradation is a different kettle of fish, though, as it works adaptively on different areas of the image in an attempt to selectively increase shadow detail without losing the highlights. In bright, contrasty situations this works pretty well, but it does come with the risk of increased shadow noise.
|1/400sec, F6.3, ISO 200||1/500sec, F6.3, ISO 200|
100% crop, highlights
100% crop, shadows
The two handheld examples above were shot in aperture-priority mode. You can see that with Auto Gradation enabled, the camera has reduced the exposure (in this case by 1/3 stop EV), which has subtly improved the highlight detail. The shadows have also been lifted, and while this brings about an increase in shadow noise, it's far from excessive here.
While gradation control is also available when converting raw files using Olympus Viewer 2, at that stage you obviously can't adjust the camera's exposure to protect highlights, so you'll need to look after this yourself. Overall the Auto Gradation tool can be quite effective. It works best when you're shooting in bright contrasty situations at relatively low ISOs, but with its inevitable increase in shadow noise it's probably best to turn it off when using higher ISOs.
Sep 20, 2011
Jan 19, 2012
Aug 29, 2011
Sep 18, 2014
|scrum break away by al booth|
from Sport competition
|Parking Deck by Olaf R|
from Your City - Parking Garage
|Communication Tech by alberto_b|
|With & without by OBellini|
from Empty - Full
Glassware is one of the most challenging subjects to photograph, especially against a white background. This tutorial shows you how to do it with hardly any gear.
Handevision is now shipping its all-metal Iberit 90mm F2.4 short telephoto lens for Leica M-mount 35mm and full-frame cameras.
Isocell comprises four sub-brands: Bright, Fast, Slim and Dual which are tailored to specific mobile device market demands.
The new store will be located at the Fotografiska center for contemporary photography in Stockhom, Sweden and carry the full range of Hasselblad products.
A recent vacation gave Richard a chance to think about the needs of travel photography – and how our reviews might recognize the perfect travel camera.
Need more evidence that 2017 is the year analog begins its comeback? Well, welcome another new film stock to the world.
The winners of the 10th annual iPhone Photography Awards have been announced, and they're striking.
If you were disappointed by reports that the Sony a9 struggles with adapted Canon glass, you might be able to take some comfort from Metabones' latest update.
Blackmagic Design has dropped the prices of its Video Assist external monitor/recorders for a limited time. Prices of the SD card-based recorders will be reduced in all markets, while supplies last.
Instagram has started testing a new feature called 'favorites' that enables users to share photos with only certain people. Only a small number of users have access to the feature at this time, though it may roll out to everyone in the future.
Lensbaby has announced the Velvet 85 F1.8 for interchangeable lens cameras. The lens is available in Canon, Nikon, Sony E, Sony A, Pentax K, Samsung NX, Fuji X and Micro 4/3 mounts.
It's the end of an era. Parent company Micron has announced that they are discontinuing the Lexar retail brand. This includes 'memory cards, USB flash drives, readers, and storage drives.'
Youthful trainspotter turned adult photographer, John Sanderson has traveled across the United States, documenting the country's railroads. But you won't find any trains in his pictures.
Sony's new CMOS sensor is backside-illuminated and offers an all-pixel global reset function which should drastically reduce rolling shutter effect when panning.
Shoulderpod has converted its offerings into a lego-like modular system by offering all individual parts of existing products separately, allowing users to build exactly the rig they need for a specific project or simply replace a damaged part.
Photographer Felix AAA has spent the past ten years touring the world with a variety of musicians, capturing behind the scenes shots and portraits. He talks about some of his favorite images on the FujiFilm Blog.
A roll of film discovered in an Argus C2 from an Oregon Goodwill turned out to contain some incredible images – and has been re-united with the original owner's family.
Nikon's 28mm F1.4E ED appears to roundly complete the company's updated lineup of fast, professional prime lenses. We've already seen some initial images from a Nikon ambassador, but we've worked through a gallery of our own, with a lens of our own over the past week. Take a look.
Google is holding a competition that could see your Pixel photos gracing millions of screens.
Nikon's 100th birthday party continues worldwide as a distributor in Italy organized a one-of-a-kind feat: assembling the world's largest 'human camera' from over a thousand volunteers.
Ricoh has dropped the price of its Theta SC 360 spherical camera by to $199, a reduction of roughly $50. The camera features two 12MP sensors and can record Full HD video in addition to stills.
Photojournalist Pete Souza served as the presidential photographer for both Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama. In an interview with fellow photographer Marcia Nighswander, he discusses several of his most noteworthy images.
Photographer Michael Wolf has been documenting the crowded conditions of Tokyo's subway trains since the 1990s. The photos have gone viral regularly in the years since he started the project, and he just published the final edition in the series.
The just-launched OnePlus 5 is getting a minor update that should improve camera function.
A Belgian camera shop is showing off an extremely rare, limited 'Rex Edition' Nikon D500. The cosmetic alterations were provided by a customer's German Shepherd Rex, who got ahold of the camera within a day of its purchase.
Adobe says that many of its users have been relying on SkyBox for VR editing and it therefore made sense to make the plug-ins available to all subscribers through Creative Cloud.
The Pictar grip provides a number of customizable physical controls for your iPhone camera, but at its price point we would like to see better materials and build quality.
Peak Design's 'consider every detail' approach shines in the Everyday Backpack. While expensive, it's one of the best options out there for a photographer who needs to pack a lot of stuff in addition to gear.
If you're thinking of using Canon's sports glass on the Sony a9, think again. The ultra-fast camera slows way down when you attach off-brand glass.
The Polish town of Katowice is not famed as an area of beauty, but as all photographers know, that doesn't mean that beauty can't be found if you look in the right places. Mariusz Pietranek used a drone to look down on the colorful sedimentation tanks at an ironworks.