16:9 monitor on E-PL5

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by slothead, Feb 5, 2013.

  1. slothead

    slothead Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 14, 2012
    Frederick, MD
    I'm curious about something... If the sensor is 4:3 what good does it do to have a 16:9 monitor? I only ask this because I was surprised to see the configuration of the monitor on my new gem... I mean pen.

    I did notice that the stills (reviewing) take up a smaller portion of the monitor while the video takes almost the whole area. That means that the video is only using the "center" section of the sensor with unused bands top and bottom (another waste?).

  2. David A

    David A Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 30, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    If you read your manual you can find just what the pixel sizes for each of the various image formats are. The 4:3 format is 4608 x 3456 pixels and that is the sensor size. When you choose another image format you lose something at top and bottom, or on the sides, for JPEG files and for video. The format options don't apply if you're shooting RAW and RAW files are always the full 4608 x 3456 pixels. You need to crop to other formats manually in your processing program.

    If you don't shoot in 4:3, you do effectively "waste" some of the sensor. That's unavoidable but we did the same thing with film. If you shot 35mm (3:2) and wanted to print a borderless image on 8" x 10" paper, you lost some of the image to the sides because 8" x 10" is a 4:5 ratio rather than a 3:2 ratio.

    You can't "squash" pixels vertically or horizontally so you can use all sensor pixels to create an image in whatever format you choose. When you select an image format, the camera uses the maximum sensor area it can to create an image in your chosen format and if that format isn't the same as the overall sensor format, some pixels are unused. You will either use the full width of the sensor and less than full height, or full height and less than full width, depending on what alternative format you choose. That's the only way in which image proportions can be changed unless you want to carry a different camera for each format you want to shoot in and then find a camera with a sensor in that proportion for each of your chosen formats.
  3. slothead

    slothead Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 14, 2012
    Frederick, MD
    Thanks, but "read the manual" Are you insane!!!??? :smile:
  4. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin .

    Oct 9, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    Real Name:
    Phyiscal size of the camera, and the requirement to fit an accesory port and hotshoe above the screen. The only way for Olympus to keep the height of the camera down and still be able to claim the di rigeur screen size of 3" was to stretch it out sideways, made possible by having only a small array of controls to the right of the screen.

    Excepting the low-res 320x240 or 640-480 stuff, video on these cameras is done to a widescreen format. Full HD resolution is "only" 1920x1080 (~2MP) so it does not use the full resolution of the sensor anyway.
  5. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    HD video is only 1920x1080px. You're worried about wasted sensor when the sensor was made to capture 4608x3456 pixels? xD Yes, there are wasted ends but it really does not matter at that resolution. The sensor and lenses are both overbuilt for video resolution (since they are made for stills), and you are not losing any quality.

    As far as the use of a 16:9 screen, you already answered your own question. You get more real-estate in video, while for stills (at 4:3) you get your camera info on the sides instead of overtop of image.

    Why is this a good thing? When shooting video at a professional quality level, you should rely on manual focus. Unfortunately, we don't have focus aids like magnification when shooting video, and getting that critical focus can be a lot more difficult. The larger view we can get at 16:9 the better! For stills on the other hand, you can easily frame with a smaller screen than the nice 3" LCD you're provided with. When you magnify to manually focus it will fill the entire screen. When you autofocus, you don't need a lot of real-estate to see what you're doing. The real-estate is simply not as critical as it is in video. On the other hand, if you're shooting HD video at 16:9 on a 4:3 screen, it REALLY shrinks your image and makes manual focus difficult. I would know as I've been using Pens long enough when they all had 4:3 screens. There is a noticeable improvement for video with the 16:9 screen, but for stills I haven't noticed the smaller view at all.

    Sure, not everybody shoots video. Some even let the camera focus their videos (ew). No, there is no camera made perfect 100% for everyone perfectly to their every taste in every category. Every mass produced product is a compromise for the overall good of the general public.
  6. Cederic

    Cederic Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 14, 2012
    This one fact alone means I have no issue at all with the disparity between screen ratio and sensor ratio. I like having a lot of information visually presented to me, but I also want an uncluttered image to look at. The e-pl5 gives me both, at the same time.

    (I do clutter my image a little; I have the histogram turned on)
  7. tuanies

    tuanies Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 13, 2011
    Graham, WA
    Real Name:
    Tuan Huynh
    They most likely went with a 16:9 display because 16:9 displays are a lot more common than 4:3. Olympus is not big enough to have a screen manufacturer just create a 4:3 ratio LCD just for their cameras and keep the price where it is.
  8. slothead

    slothead Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 14, 2012
    Frederick, MD
    Personally I think they went with 16:9 is because of the future of video (a big deal, especially to young families), although I do agree about the real estate available on the back of the camera.
  9. Promit

    Promit Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 6, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    Real Name:
    Promit Roy
    I think it's just to keep the height minimal.