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colors are off and few other things about my e-m5 (long post)

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by elj4176, Jul 19, 2012.

  1. elj4176

    elj4176 Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 23, 2012
    qualification: noob shooting in manual mode, raw+jpeg and using darktable to edit my raw files. Most shots w/14-42 II.

    I'm not sure if it's user error (likely) or something else. I have noticed that my pics are kinda dull and the colors are not quite right. As an example I took a shot of the iconic bright red phone booths in London but the jpeg shows the red as more of a dirty maroon. In Iceland I took a lot of shots where the grass was almost a neon bright green but the pics have a dull/dirty green instead.

    I'm trying to figure out if it could be because I shot with a circular polarizer or if it's just the way the E-M5 renders colors because I saw a shot from another photographer on here that had an object that should be bright red and it was also more of a dull red.

    I know that harsh lighting can cause flat images but a friend was shooting a lot of the same shots as I was with a nikon d300s in aperture mode, no polarizer and using jpegs and his shots are waaay brighter and more vibrant w/o and processing. The reds are red and the greens are green.

    Could it be that I am under exposing everything? I was using EXP metering and auto exposure. I turned on the histogram but it always seemed that I needed to brighten up the exposure to get the highlights just short of clipping. I'm going to play around with the raw files in darktable and see if I can find a way to make the colors look right.

    Where/how do I get the level to show in the EVF? I turned it on in every menu screen I could find but it never seemed to appear. I can level the horizons in post but I'd like to know how to see it in the EVF.

    What is the little ring on the front of the 14-42 that comes off with the slightest twist? Whatever it is I lost mine already but the lens seems to function fine without it. Do I need it?

    If anyone want to see an example of what I'm talking about feel free to check out my flickr (Iceland and London sets). These are all processed raw files that show the dull grey cast and muted colors that I haven't been able to fix yet. Flickr: elj4176's Photostream Jpegs look pretty similar to my processed raw files.
  2. pheaukus

    pheaukus Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 22, 2012
    How dare you critique the famous 'Olympus colors' :wink:

    I also find bright reds and greens to turn out phantastic (as in, unrealistic).

    Did you find the Super Control Panel (SCP)? It helps in getting a quick overview of your current shooting parameters, e.g. Picture Mode, Saturation, Gradation and so forth.
  3. kevitra

    kevitra Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 26, 2012
    There is a setting in the camera that pushes red and unfortunately it is enabled by default. Go to menu->gears->G "keep warm color" and turn it OFF. Try again and see if you are happier with the colors.
  4. elj4176

    elj4176 Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 23, 2012
    Thanks for the tips. I do use the SCP and I'm pretty sure I turned off the 'keep warm color' but I will double check. I went through the setup guide before leaving on my trip.
  5. WT21

    WT21 Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Feb 19, 2010
    Sample shots, please, are also helpful.
  6. elj4176

    elj4176 Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 23, 2012
    Here are a couple that show what I'm talking about. Again - these are processed raws but the jpegs were very similar. I had linked to my whole flickr above because the look is consistent throughout the images - dull, lifeless colors.

    green is not as vibrant as it was in reality. That's my friend with the d300s on the right.

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    Skogafoss 2 by elj4176, on Flickr

    It's just dull/muddy colors all around.

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    Godafoss waterfall by elj4176, on Flickr

    red should be much more vibrant and not quite as brown/orangeish.

    View attachment 218644
    Red Phones by elj4176, on Flickr

    green is very dull compared to reality

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    Foss á Síðu - Fagrifoss by elj4176, on Flickr
  7. dcassat

    dcassat Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 16, 2011
    First off, there's some fine composition going on there. I really like the first one.

    I am somewhat confused though. If these are RAWs, how did you process them? And, why didn't you set them to your liking in the software that you used? They do look underexposed to me but then you should be able to tell that in the software by the histogram. If you underexpose you will definitely have issues as you lose detail and gain noise. The EM-5, while really good, does add some mud(tendency to smear detail) to underexposed images.
    • Like Like x 1
  8. elj4176

    elj4176 Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 23, 2012
    Thanks! I like the first one too.

    I *can* fix them in darktable but I'm still very new to processing my shots and can't quite get it right. I'm hesitant to move the saturation and exposure sliders too far. Darktable is open source and similar to Lightroom (so I'm told).

    I have a feeling that if I can get the out-of-camera jpegs looking good/better than I'll have less to correct for future shots. The jpegs from the camera have a similar look to them so it's not just my weak processing.

    When shooting I would set my aperture and then adjust the shutter to get a 0 EV but what I was finding is that the histogram was no where near the right side (in other words I had to keep moving the shutter speed slower. I eventually quit doing that because I was afraid I was blowing out all my highlights. It just didn't seem right to me to have to do that.
  9. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    It's cosmetic. If you want to use the hood, you have to unscrew it.

    Can you post a JPEG, and converted RAW side-by-side, along with the settings used?

    Offhand, I'd suspect Darktable has less optimized defaults for less popular cameras, including perhaps the E-M5, but if the JPEGs are the same, then something else is at work.

    Olympus does have a tendency to underexpose compared to Nikon, but not to the point of turning red telephone booths brown!

    • Like Like x 1
  10. Djarum

    Djarum Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Dec 15, 2009
    Huntsville, AL, USA
    In my experience, reds tend to be on the warmer side with Olympus. Most of the time, it works great, but sometimes, like your phone booth, it can be unpleasant. This may be that warm mode the E-M5 has turned on.

    On the two waterfall shots, it looks to me to be a gray day anyways. It takes light to make that green grass pop, even though our eyes say something different when we are actually there. A bump in saturation may all that is needed.
    • Like Like x 2
  11. Djarum

    Djarum Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Dec 15, 2009
    Huntsville, AL, USA
    Looking at the last image, full size, its not in focus. It has a "haze" on it that I couldn't place, but looking at the full size, its slightly out of focus. The first image is similar. The guy is in focus, but much of the rest of the image is out of focus slightly. This can put the appearance of "haze" onto an image.
  12. EP1-GF1

    EP1-GF1 Mu-43 Veteran

    Apr 12, 2011
    Maybe you could upload one of the raw files (to dropbox or somewhere similar) and somebody here can use Lightroom - and their own magic - to see what can be done.

    Great shots btw - I love the second one and I'm sure with a little tweaking it would be even better.
    • Like Like x 1
  13. elj4176

    elj4176 Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 23, 2012
    When I get home tonight I'll post the ooc jpeg and the converted jpeg as well as make the RAW file available(if anyone wants to have a go at it and maybe give me some ideas on how to fix it) for the first image I posted. I'll also try again and see if I can get a better result. Darktable uses sidecar files to hold the modifications so that the raw file is not changed. I might be able to post that as well.

    So it sounds like I was under-exposing and the polarizer (and nd filter on waterfall shots) didn't do me any favors as far as the colors go. It would be great if I can figure out how to fix these since I have a lot more from the trip that I have not touched yet.
  14. fin azvandi

    fin azvandi Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 12, 2011
    South Bend, IN
    It may also (partly) have been a case of your camera metering system not really giving you the optimal reading of the scene. Rather than adjusting for what the camera "thinks" is 0 EV, you could watch the histogram - it will show you if you are blowing highlights or not. There is also the mode setting where it displays which parts of the image have blown highlights (red) and shadows (blue).
    • Like Like x 1
  15. dcassat

    dcassat Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 16, 2011
    It will take some experimentation on your part to create a workflow that creates the images you expect.

    If you want the ultimate image quality I recommend building your workflow around RAW, there is so much more there to work with and the results are generally more consistent than the JPGs. You really have to be on the ball when shooting JPGs to get the proper exposure and if you're like me, you'd rather be spending your time composing rather than 'Calculating.'

    But then if you're old school you may be more comfortable setting your exposure 'on the fly' and if you're good at it, you won't need a PC.

    You can download a 30 day trial of Adobe Lightroom (full version, no constraints), I highly recommend it above the others available. It's a very refined product and version 4.1 is just killer.
    • Like Like x 1
  16. fredlong

    fredlong Just this guy...

    Apr 18, 2011
    Massachusetts USA
    Here's a quick adjustment. I opened your jpeg in Camera Raw and increased the exposure about 1 3/4 stops. Then a tiny bump in saturation.


    Attached Files:

    • Like Like x 1
  17. dre_tech

    dre_tech Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 31, 2012
    First of all I want to say that you have very nice composition, congrats on all of these!

    I understand wanting to set the camera as close to what you want for OOC JPEGs. I got hooked on LR basically for the increased dynamic range I was able to get from RAW files, I don't even save the JPEGs now.

    The greens do appear quite different when they're underexposed. But I see very few well underexposed shots in Iceland (more in London). As fredlong did, try raising the exposure in RAW, see how the colors are. Orange tones would have to be corrected from WB, I'd venture a guess.
    • Like Like x 1
  18. soulofoto

    soulofoto Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 21, 2012
    I was going to ask if you had a polarizer on the camera. It looks like it and you are right, it didn;t do you any favors on the gray, cloudy days you shot....I like your fotos by the way. Try just using the lens naked and then only using the polarizer for water shots with sun highlights...

    ...the ND filter may be trickier to use...from Wikipedia:

    Examples of ND use include:

    Blurring water motion (e.g. waterfalls, rivers, oceans).

    Reducing depth of field in very bright light (e.g. daylight).

    When using a flash on a camera with a focal-plane shutter, exposure time is limited to the maximum speed—often 1/250th of a second, at best—at which the entire film or sensor is exposed to light at one instant. Without an ND filter this can result in the need to use f8 or higher.

    Using a wider aperture to stay below the diffraction limit.

    Reduce the visibility of moving objects.

    Add motion blur to subjects.

    Extended time exposures.

    Possibly the ND filter knocked out your color as well...
    • Like Like x 1
  19. elj4176

    elj4176 Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 23, 2012
    I appreciate the kind words about the compositions. I just finished reading 'The Photographers Eye' so it must be helping a little.

    I use Linux and I don't think Lightroom or Aperture run on Linux. Maybe through WINE but I like darktable and it's getting better with every release. I just have to learn how to use it.

    I took another try at 2 of the files and bumped the saturation and exposure a bit and it's much better. Here is a link to the raws, ooc jpegs, my first attempt and the latest attempt.

    EM580358 - Minus

    I think I have a good idea of how to correct these and how to get better exposure next time around.

    Thanks for the help and I'm still open to suggestions and looking at how you guys might process them.
  20. sprocket87

    sprocket87 Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 29, 2011
    Wow, great composition as stated, you definitely have the Eye.

    As for the colors... have you tried turning on the Vivid film mode on the E-M5? Purists may scoff but I bet it gets you close to what you're after, at least talking SOOC JPEG's.

    And yeah, Lightroom could definitely make these mind blowing if you share the RAW files.
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