Olympus PEN Mini / E-PM1 Review
In addition to its art filters, the PEN Mini also includes Olympus's familiar picture modes. These six creative options impart different color renderings to your JPEG image. Most of them are named in such 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. The picture modes available in the E-PM1 are identical to those offered in the E-PL3 (the examples below were shot with the E-PL3)
In some instances (especially those with bright blue skies) colors can become over-saturated and appear somewhat unnatural. This is of particular consequence when shooting in iAuto mode as it is the only picture mode available. So if you don't like the default punchiness of the JPEGs you will need to shoot in another mode.
Raw data edits (in-camera)
Like its Olympus forbears, the PEN Mini 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 JPEG images 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 the image processing parameters, such as Gradation, Picture Mode, White Balance, even 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 now 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. One workaround here is to save all of your current settings to a 'Myset' before you start, which allows easy recall. The process would be much simpler, though, you could just change the processing settings for the raw file, leaving the image-capture parameters untouched.
Like previous PENs, the E-PM1 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 the shadows have 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 ISO sensitivity settings, but with its inevitable increase in shadow noise it's probably best to turn it off when using higher ISOs.
Aug 20, 2012
Jan 19, 2012
Nov 23, 2011
Nov 22, 2014
|The Engineer by EXX|
from Steam Trains
|Madrid subway by MAGMATCICO62|
from Your City - Public Transport
|Incandescent Bulb by Kukla|
from Illuminate- Macro only
|Curiousity by PERCY2|
from Macro - Your Best Macro Ever
|Hoar Frosted Trees by sabishiT3T|
It's been twenty years since Jeff Keller founded the Digital Camera Resource Page, one of the first websites dedicated to digital photography. Jeff, who has been at DPReview for nearly five years, looks back at the rise and fall of consumer digital cameras and his website.
We're counting down our top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017. At #2 we have another staff favorite – the Sony Alpha a9.
Rotolight has released the Anova Pro 2 circular LED for stills and video, boasting a 70% increase in brightness and what the company describes as "unrivaled battery performance."
Designer Vinicius Araújo has imagined what he believes the perfect Adobe software keyboard might look like. From customizable touch pads, to a scroll wheel, to a little display that shows the tool in use, his design is pretty compelling.
Peak Design has teamed up with Leica to release a limited-edition backpack made special for fans of the Red Dot.
A portrait of an android woman has beaten over 5,700 pictures of humans to take third place in this year’s prestigious Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize. The judges were not told the subject was an 'android' until after the winning images were chosen.
Hauling around C-Stands just got a whole lot less annoying thanks to these new Matthews shoulder and roller bags, which can hold two or three C-stand (respectively) plus accessories.
Neal Preston has shot timeless photos of everyone from Led Zeppelin, to Whitney Houston, to Michael Jackson. In this interview, he offers insights into his craft to up-and-comer Elijah Dominique.
Future prosumer Canon DSLRs might feature light-up buttons, if this newly published patent is any indication of the camera company's plans.
Sony's a7R Mark III shoots 42.4MP files at 10fps and incorporates a robust video feature set, large battery, refined ergonomics and more. It certainly looks impressive, but what is it like to use, and how does it stack up against the rest of the market? Find out in our full review.
We're counting down our top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017 – the Fujifilm X100F takes the bronze and the #3 spot.
There's never been a better time to shop for a new camera, but the number of options available can be overwhelming. In this series of buying guides we've provided customized recommendations for several use cases, from shooting landscapes to buying a first camera for a student photographer.
Shopping for a camera with a set budget? No problem! We've rounded up our favorite cameras, broken them into price brackets and picked the best of the bunch.
Looking for a lightweight compact camera that's easy to bring with you anywhere? Or maybe you're smartphone-shopping and want the one that takes the best picture. And what if you want to shoot from above? In these buyers guides we have recommendations for the best compact cameras, smartphones and drones.
Despite reports to the contrary, analysis of DPReview images by our friend Jim Kasson confirms a disappointing fact: Sony a7R III is still a Star Eater. But there may be some improvements.
As the saying goes: A photo is worth a thousand words. And if you're sending that photo through Facebook Messenger, your thousand words now look twice as nice after today's update to 4K resolution.
Get to know the new Leica CL in short order by giving our 90 second 'First look' video a watch.
Leica has just released the CL, the forth in its series of APS-C L-mount cameras. Despite sharing a name with a camera released in the mid-70s, the new CL is a thoroughly modern ILC, with a 24MP sensor and built-in electronic viewfinder.
The Leica CL is a 24MP rangefinder-style mirrorless camera, which sits alongside the TL2 in the company's APS-C lineup. We've been using one for a few days – check out our gallery of images.
While it shares a name with one of Leica's most popular and affordable cameras of the 1970s, the new CL is separated from its namesake by more than just years. We've been using one for a few days - click through for a detailed first-impressions report.
We're counting down our top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017, and the #4 ranking goes to the Leica M10.
Sigma is discounting 13 different high-performance 'Art' series lenses from today until November 30th. The company is calling it an 'unprecedented' sale.
See DJI's 'AeroScope' drone-tracking technology in action. This is the system that DJI says can help law enforcement and airport (among others) track and identify rogue drones.
iPhone X owners can already accessorize their new phone with high-quality smartphone photography lenses courtesy of Moment's new lineup.
Considering buying Sigma's exciting new 16mm F1.4 DC DN Contemporary lens for crop-sensor E-Mount and M43? Check out these official full-res samples first!
Vimeo has just added support for 8K HDR 10-bit content, making it possible to show up to 75% of the colors the human eye can perceive vs the usual 35%. Take THAT YouTube.
The holidays are coming, but your gear isn't cutting it? It's time to treat yourself!
We're counting down our top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017, and sitting pretty at #5 is the Fujifilm X-T20.
See some of the most iconic black-and-white photographs throughout history brought to life by a community of colorization enthusiasts and professional retouchers in the new book Retrographic.
Shopping for a photographer? Whether you are one yourself or not, chances are you could use some ideas. From stocking stuffers on up, we've got some photography gift suggestions for every budget.