Does the OM-D tend to underexpose?

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by rabbitchickenfrog, Jul 17, 2013.

  1. rabbitchickenfrog

    rabbitchickenfrog New to Mu-43

    Jul 17, 2013
    Maybe I don't understand the histogram and metering. But this is what I'm observing:

    When my light meter on my om-d says 0, my histogram is still fairly left heavy (pic #1).

    But when I reduce the shutter speed to center my histogram to make it center heavy, no clipping, shouldn't that be the ideal exposure? yet my om-d gives a light meter reading of +1 ? (Pic #2)

    Am I understanding exposure incorrectly?

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  2. MajorMagee

    MajorMagee Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 24, 2011
    Dayton, OH
    What metering mode are you in, spot?
  3. htc

    htc Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 11, 2011
    Real Name:
    Generally, it does go a bit "left heavy". I don't know why. There is a master setting though, where you can change that.

    Also your example is a bit challenging and not normal ;-)
  4. Lawrence A.

    Lawrence A. Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 14, 2012
    New Mexico
    Real Name:
    Maybe it's from years shooting slides, but the left example is how I'd meter and take the shot. The whites on the bottle in the center seem too bright to me in the shot on the right. But I usually spot meter.
  5. ZulSim

    ZulSim Mu-43 Rookie

    Mar 27, 2013
    Kuala Lumpur
    The 0.0 figure in the first picture is the Exposure Compensation Value. The meter to the right of this figure is not the exposure meter as in a DSLR. The top part of this meter is for Flash Intensity Control & the bottom part is the Exposure Compensation Indicator. Read page 31 & 31 of the Manual. If I am not mistaken, there's no analogue exposure meter in EM5.
  6. F/Stop

    F/Stop Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 9, 2013
    West Virginia
    Real Name:
    Brian Y.
    in my experience the OMD does tend to underexpose, usually at least 1/3 of a stop. It becomes common practice to expose to the right anyway..
  7. rabbitchickenfrog

    rabbitchickenfrog New to Mu-43

    Jul 17, 2013
    If that is so, would you guys say my technique of centering the histogram like I did in the 2nd image is the "right" way of getting a good exposure?
  8. htc

    htc Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 11, 2011
    Real Name:
    Yep, even leaning to the right.
  9. rabbitchickenfrog

    rabbitchickenfrog New to Mu-43

    Jul 17, 2013
    When I shot with my Canon DSLR I would normally shoot a little underexposed to preserve the highlights and pull the shadows in post. So this exposing to the right concept is a little new to me.

    Also, are my examples making sense? My camera isn't a dud is it?
  10. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin .

    Oct 9, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    Real Name:
    Every scene is different, but my E-M5 spends most of it's time at +0.7EV.
  11. christofp

    christofp Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 21, 2012
    The OM-D has about 2EV reserve for highlights (If I look with RawDigger, "white" pixels go to about 1000, but extreme highlights have a RAW value about 3900).

    I think the histogram simply shows this headroom and as others said, it's a feature that can be used for "overexposing" to get ETTR.
  12. AceAceBaby

    AceAceBaby Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 21, 2013
    Sometimes this constant under-exposure seems like they just changed the ISO numbers up so they could claim 25600 max. Treat ISO 200 (which is the base on that sensor, coincidentally...) as ISO 100, etc and that one stop under-exposure becomes clearer...
  13. Dave Jenkins

    Dave Jenkins Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 28, 2010
    The beautiful northwest Georgia mountains
    Real Name:
    Dave Jenkins
    I usually keep my exposure compensation set to minus 1/3rd. Other than that, the OMD has the most accurate and consistent exposure metering of any camera I've ever owned. (And I've owned a lot of them in more than 40 years as a working photographer.)
  14. IDLookout

    IDLookout Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 26, 2012
    Northern Idaho
    I agree about the underexposure. My OMD is always on +0.3
  15. qpalzm

    qpalzm New to Mu-43

    Jun 24, 2013
    So is the conclusion that the E-M5 does tend to underexpose and leaves a lot of headroom for highlights?
  16. Kiwi Paul

    Kiwi Paul Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 15, 2011
    Aberdeen Scotland
    I've found it depends on the scene, if there are a lot of highlights it can underexpose, but the amount varies depending on the brightness and amount of highlights. For a fairly balanced scene I've found the exposure to be fine.


    Sent from my ME301T using Mu-43 mobile app
  17. christofp

    christofp Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 21, 2012
    I would say: Yes and No.

    Yes, there is plenty room for highlights in RAW.
    No, JPGs are not underexposed for my taste. In JPGs I can see overexposed highlights more often as I want to tolerate.

    My OM-D exposes quite neutral, I agree that I think this camera does a relatively good job here. But anyhow, some highlights get lost in JPGs. For example, I take a lot of photos of my dog which is black with white patches. The white fur is always overexposed in JPG :mad: but fortunately I always process the photos also in RAW :smile:.

    I think the question in original post was related to the histogram data. The histogram and the blinkies show more or less accurately the RAW headroom, which may confuse people shooting in JPG only ...

    But keep in mind: I am part of the minority who
    - develop all photos in RAW and dump the olympus jpgs afterwards
    - "(over)expose" using the histogram or the blinkies to get ETTR

  18. gugarci

    gugarci Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 8, 2012
    Lyndhurst, NJ
    Real Name:
    The second image looks better, you can easily tone down the white a bit in post processing. I tend to exposure to the right and usually use a +3, +7 whenever I'm shooting outside on a bright sunny day.
  19. aidanw

    aidanw Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 19, 2012
    Wellington, NZ
    Bear in mind this does change depending on lens. Shoot the same scene with a kit lens, some of the Sigma primes, fast Pannys or an Oly 45mm and they'll all come out slightly different. Vignetting in corners on some lenses will also make a scene look darker overall even if the centre is the same brightness.