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Bizarre distortion in fast motion photos - EM1 with 40-150mm PRO lens

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by BlueDevil, Jan 19, 2016.

  1. BlueDevil

    BlueDevil Mu-43 Regular

    42
    Jul 8, 2013
    Australia
    I went to the Australian Open tennis today to take photos and have hit a problem that I cannot explain.

    Have a look at these photos and you will see some quite bizarre distortion. This only affects the subject that is in fast motion (the background is fine and photos of stationary players are fine). You will see the obvious distortion of the racket, but in other photos the players arms look like they are bent or dislocated. This clearly isn't normal motion blur and I have used this camera for fast moving sports action before with no issues. it also isn't barrel distortion since these were shot at a focal length of 150mm (300mm full frame equivalent)

    I took around 2800 photos and this problem seems to occur right throughout those that involve fast motion.


    Camera: Olympus OMD EM1 with 40 - 150mm PRO lens
    Shutter Priority at 1/2000th sec
    Silent shutter mode (I tried mechanical shutter but that didn't fix it)
    Recent firmware upgrade completed

    Any idea what is going on?

    P1190486%252520cr%252520adj.

    Notice how the racket does not only appear bent but it also appears huge in comparison to her body size (shot with a long telephotos lens perspective should be compressed)

    P1190523%252520cr%252520adj.

    This racket looks like it is made out of rubber in this photo!!

    P1191274%252520cr%252520adj.

    This lady in pink shorts does NOT have an arm that looks like that, I can assure you!!
     
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  2. JanW

    JanW Mu-43 Regular

    Looks like rolling shutter effect due to use of the electronic shutter.
    Do you have the 0 seconds anti shoc activated in the mechanical shutter mode?
    Then you have an electronic first curtain which could explain why you also see it with the mechanical shutter.
     
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  3. Robstar1963

    Robstar1963 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    895
    Jun 10, 2011
    Isle of Wight England UK
    Robert (Rob)
    Hi
    There have been some reports on another forum of strange blurring effects on the EM1 after updating to Firmware 4.0 which I assume is the version you are on hence my previous thread:-
    EM1 anyone had problems with IBIS since FW 4.0 Uppdate ?
    Respondents here so far have ruled out any side effects from the update
    If you had not mentioned that you had tried Mechanical Shutter and got similar results ?? then I would have instantly put this down to Rolling Shutter due to using the silent shutter (Electronic Shutter)
    If you are sure that results were similar with mechanical shutter then something is amiss
    Is it possible to do some sort of testing with mechanical shutter say with cars passing by for example
    If there is no further issue then perhaps you were mistaken and this is only due to electronic shutter being in play - I would have totally expected these stretched images from the use of electronic shutter as the racket is moving far faster than the player and the scan speed of ES is actually much slower than the 1/2000 of the shutter speed
    From my meagre understanding the electronic shutter provides only a control over actual light gathering (ie control over the shutter speed stops in conjunction with the aperture f stops) due to the scan speed being nowhere near ( far slower than) the selected shutter speed
    The mechanical shutter does not actuate when ES is working
    Hope this makes some sense - I am still trying yo get my head around it myself
    Regards
    Rob
     
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  4. Robstar1963

    Robstar1963 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    895
    Jun 10, 2011
    Isle of Wight England UK
    Robert (Rob)
    Quote Looks like rolling shutter effect due to use of the electronic shutter.
    Do you have the 0 seconds anti shoc activated in the mechanical shutter mode?
    Then you have an electronic first curtain which could explain why you also see it with the mechanical shutter.quote

    Again from my meagre understanding - I don't think EFCS would affect the image in this way as EFCS only works at the start of the shutter process and should not by design affect fast shutter speed images
    Regards
    Rob
     
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  5. eteless

    eteless Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 20, 2014
    That's classical rolling shutter artifacts, nothing to see here... use the mechanical shutter.
     
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  6. BlueDevil

    BlueDevil Mu-43 Regular

    42
    Jul 8, 2013
    Australia
    Thanks for the feedback so far. The rolling shutter effect does sound like it could be the issue (I had to look it up as I wasn't familiar with the term).

    I'm reasonably sure it happened with mechanical shutter too but it would be worth me doing some further tests to absolutely confirm that (I doubt that information about which shutter mode I used would be recorded in the EXIF data???).

    Now to throw a spanner in the works though - I have just been scrolling through the many photos I took it looks like there are a few where distortion has happened without motion being involved.

    Have a look at these two photos which were taken a split second apart. The first shows no distortion whereas the second one does. Note that although the player would have been moving to some extent in both photos the guy behind her (I think he was her coach - this was a practice session) was just standing still holding tennis balls in both shots. In that case I presume it would seem to indicate some sort of camera fault??? Strange though that there are hundreds of photos where the subject was still and only a few have this effect while the rest are fine.

    P1193278.JPG


    P1193279.JPG
     
  7. Robstar1963

    Robstar1963 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    895
    Jun 10, 2011
    Isle of Wight England UK
    Robert (Rob)
    As mentioned there have been some reports on another forum with regard to sporadic strange blurring on images apparently after updating EM1 and EM5 Mk2 to latest firmware
    Was your last image with ES (silent) did you have IBIS on, I assume you were not panning or moving the camera and accidentally taking a shot whilst doing so ( unlikely I know but just ruling out other possibilities)
    Regards
    Rob
     
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  8. Robstar1963

    Robstar1963 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    895
    Jun 10, 2011
    Isle of Wight England UK
    Robert (Rob)
    Should anyone here wish to read the thread on the 'other' forum then Google -
    EM-1 - strange IS behaviour after firmware upgrade
    (Not sure whether it is permissible to embed threads from another forum here - excuse my uncertainty - thought there might be copyright issues or something ?)
    The content of the thread you will find from the search is very relevant to the thread here - several users have experienced strange behaviour from their cameras after updating to FW 4.0 - one off anomalies would not usually result in several users posting their experiences
    This phenomenon may only be occurring within a limited set of circumstances and settings and indeed users reporting state that the strange results are sporadic or there one minute and not after switching off and on in some cases ?
    Worth considering whether there is a minor bug in the latest updates for EM1 and EM5 Mk2 ?
    Regards
    Rob
     
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  9. BlueDevil

    BlueDevil Mu-43 Regular

    42
    Jul 8, 2013
    Australia
    Robstar, I only took a small number of images with mechanical shutter so I'm pretty sure theses would have been with ES. IS was set to auto. These images are from a set of 4 or 5 almost identical shots (I possibly had multi shot mode on at the time) and all the images indicate that I wasn't panning, unless I started to move the camera just a fraction of a second before I took my finger off the shutter button.

    It looks like I'm going to be running a number of tests tomorrow!
     
  10. Starfleet

    Starfleet Mu-43 Veteran

    263
    Feb 14, 2015
    Michigan, USA
    Alex
    You got some cool rolling shutter side effect there. ;-)
    And in the meanwhile let's wait for global shutter.
     
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  11. Tony Rex

    Tony Rex Mu-43 Veteran

    274
    Apr 6, 2015
    Melbourne, Australia.
    Tony Rex
    That's it. It's even on the 4.0 manual on silent[♥] mode page 172.
    Cautions
    • If the subject is moving, it may cause distortion in the image.
    • Distortion of the image may occur due to flickering from large movements of the subject or fluorescent lighting.
     
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  12. eteless

    eteless Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 20, 2014
    slit-shutter.

    The above was one I made for a physical shutter with EFCS, it's not all that different for an electronic shutter which moves line by line (the slit) and takes 1/13th of a second to cover the entire sensor.

    The physical shutter on the E-M1 can cover the entire sensor in 1/500th of a second (anything faster than this is a slit).
     
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  13. Tilman Paulin

    Tilman Paulin Mu-43 Veteran

    329
    Jun 10, 2013
    Dublin, Ireland
    Since you were using a telephoto lens, the rolling shutter distortion was caused by the movement of the camera.

    I noticed that when using silent shutter with the Olympus 75-300. The bird I was taking a picture of was sitting still, but at the long focal length my handheld camera motion was enough to cause different rolling shutter distortion from image to image in a burst of photos.


     
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  14. Wisertime

    Wisertime Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 6, 2013
    Philly
    Steve
    Yes, I recall reading that too. My limited understanding was that the "silent shutter" was installed mainly for use with the focus stacking/bracketing option and people seem to think it is an alternative to the already quiet OMD mechanical shutter in everyday use. Another Misleading name I suppose.
     
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  15. Ulfric M Douglas

    Ulfric M Douglas Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 6, 2010
    Northumberland
    So rolling shutter warp is appearing on fairly static subjects due to the combination of EFC and the very excellent IBIS ... two rights make a wrong. Ironic.
    Very nice photos other than the babana rackets!
    Let us know when you have found your settings to force completely mechanical shutter.
     
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  16. Turbofrog

    Turbofrog Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 21, 2014
    The readout speed from the E-M1's electronic shutter is only ~1/13s, so if you can imagine that you would see motion blur in a shot taken at 1/13s, you will likely see motion artifacts with the electronic shutter.

    Newer cameras like the GH4 has a faster ~1/30s readout, but it can only save 10-bit RAW files rather than 12-bit, so dynamic range is degraded a bit. The new GX8 sensor can do ~1/30s readout at full 12-bit, so progress is happening, slowly...

    In the meantime, there is no functional benefit of using the silent shutter or even the EFCS for shooting sports, because shutter shock doesn't occur >1/250s or >1/400s where you are shooting, so you can feel free to use the purely mechanical shutter for these shots with no concern. Unless you really need to be silent. Then you're in a pickle, I guess...
     
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  17. m43happy

    m43happy Mu-43 Veteran

    430
    Feb 18, 2012
    Rolling shutter effect happens in electronic shutter mode with objects moving across the frame left to right. It happens in all mirrorless cameras so far due to the sensor readout.
     
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  18. phigmov

    phigmov Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Apr 4, 2010
    Understand the frustration - the shots are cool though! We need a new forum thread for these :)
     
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  19. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Hmm I just took some test shots with the E-M1 v4.0 + P45-175 at 175mm where I intentionally jerked the camera in various directions with IBIS on (lens OIS off) to test this...

    1) Silent shutter - woefully wonky as expected.

    2) Mechanical - nothing noticeable.

    3) 0s anti-shock - nothing noticeable.

    Maybe doing this with the grid pattern on a brick wall would yield some more clinical results but if I'm having to move the camera that fast, and the distortion is not noticeable for normal subjects, I'm going to call it a day and not worry about it too much.
     
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  20. BlueDevil

    BlueDevil Mu-43 Regular

    42
    Jul 8, 2013
    Australia
    Wow! Thanks so much for all the feedback. I have learned so much from this thread and it is great that so many knowledgeable people are willing to help out and share that knowledge. I feel a little silly that I obviously haven't read the new manual for the latest firmware upgrade.

    I'll definitely be reconsidering my use of the silent shutter mode. I have found it very handy for street photography when at close quarters to the subject and also for indoors situations where the noise of the shutter may be obvious. I figured it would good to use it at the tennis so I didn't disturb the people sitting around me. Unfortunately that choice has ruined many of my photos (although admittedly there is a 'cool' amusing look to some of them!)

    I had a great day at the Australian Open Tennis and it is a shame I didn't get the results I was hoping for. I guess that just means I how have an excuse to go again so that I can try again!!

    Thanks again to all contributors!