E-M1 lightroom / OV3 optimizations

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by tomO2013, Nov 17, 2013.

  1. tomO2013

    tomO2013 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 28, 2013

    Having only taken delivery last week of the E-M1, I finally got a chance to take the E-M1 out in daylight yesterday for a proper test drive / field test.
    I'm on a crappy connection at the moment so I'll upload some pics later to show some of the obvservations/get your opinions...

    I decided to take the 25mm PL 1.4 out for a test drive. I LOVE this lens.

    We are very lucky in Ireland at the moment with the fall colours, lots of reds, greens, browns and yellows and it makes for a striking contrast against the soft, grey sky.

    Some observations....

    JPEG Colour profiles : I really really like what the camera produces for OOO JPEG. *IF* you have the white balance right (which with the controls provided is not that hard) then the OOC JPEGS are fantastic.
    I'm still struggling to find a good default starting point for trips out.... Individual colour profiles work well for specific scenario's I'm finding. Possibly the 'natural' profile is the Olympus do-it-all profile.
    For example: The Muted colour pallette does look more 'real to life' than the in camera 'natural' profile but I have noticed that sometimes browns can take on a yellow hue when under indoor lighting with muted. Depending on the light, I found the default muted to have slightly more punch than the natural setting - which I was surprised with - I expected a much flatter profile. For outdoor profiles in the daylight, no flash, muted gave me results I'm really happy with (I read a blog from lindsay dobson - a photographer whose work I hope to some day aspire to - say that muted with the contrast dialed down 1 and sharpness dialed down 1) gives her work the film like 'look' that I love. Experimenting with an outdoor portrait mid day (overcast) against an Autumn green and brown background , this worked a treat to my subjective eyes. I'm certainly no expert in digital photography but I'm enjoying learning :) This camera test drive learning day was part of the fun and the process.
    In doors however, I found that shooting things like mahogany wood etc... the 'muted' profile makes browns take on a less 'natural' hue and more of a yellow tint. Vivid profile is great for contrast, perhaps the Olympus equivalent of Velvia, but I liked the contrast dialed down a notch on this.
    In terms of in camera sharpening of the images. Most of the time I left this at 0. I took a few at -1 with muted for portraits which gave the skin tones a softer appearance. Even when bumped up , the sharpening didn't really look to affect the background too much , more applied the sharpening to the main subject with a mask - this is good - but was unexpected. Can anybody explain why I might be seeing this? Or am I imagining this... is the camera actually doing this ??!
    Possibly as the best starting place the natural was the most reliable - if that is best word - with sharpening and contrast at default. I'd love to hear what most people here find is their good starting off point for JPEGS on the E-M1 from a noise reduction / colour profile/ sharpening / contrast setup/

    AWB : Really great... with the exception that it gets thrown completely assways by low sodium/metal hallide street lighting at night. Most cameras I've ever owned have had trouble with this. The Oly pushed towards over warming the image. (BTW most testing was started with the default out of box settings - except focus beep turned off). Easily rectifiable. When I changed WB to tungsten lighting and adjusted to 2800k it looked great. I found that I had to adjust the temp a bit as the default preset for tungsten pulled too much warmth from the image and I was loosing the yellow street light cast from the lamps that I did not want to loose completely. This type of creative control is great.

    Noise Reduction / RAW Colour : I'm confused on this one. Latest LR5.3RC with the Adobe profile .... the colours do not look good or at all like the OOC jpegs. Skin tones in particular look horrible with a very red hue to them. I had done my homework already on the LR support for E-M1 which is introductory level at best. The general consensus is that the huelight colour profiles really rescue LR and allow you to keep those awesome colours. I bought Huelight Colour Profiles (worth every penny) and was very happy with the huelight standard. Although I don't really think that the huelight low and high match very well to the muted and vivid profiles they are pretty good in their own right and definitely a nice starting point. They look really good but more like a slightly more and slightly less contrasty version of the standard / natural Olympus profile. Which again is no bad thing.
    Regarding NR, I had noticed that default import into LR, the NR had maintained far more detail than the Olympus Viewer 3 which surprised me as I had heard that OV was able to pull more details from the RAW file.
    At ISO1600, it looks like the software applied a default amount of NR on my images for me (or perhaps I had the NR 'low' setting on by default when taking the pic. Either way this 'low' profile at the higher ISO's actually made the images look noisey. When I turned off the noise reduction, the artificial noise vanished and I as left with lots more detail and a nice clean image (I noticed this behaviour against blacks). With NR set to off, OV looks to find more shadow and highlight detail than LR out of the box. And I just love the Oly colours that OV lets me keep. For some shots the huelight standard looks better but overall there is just something about the detail and colour that OV manages to pull out of the RAW files that I like... its ever so slightly more punchy. That being said.... the default sharpening in LR is far superior IMHO to the OV. Going above 0 in sharpening in OV looked to give my images a digital look. Default / 0 / Standard looked best. However , nowhere a patch on the default sharpening in LR which manages to sharpen without being in any way harsh. The automatic camera profile correction in OV is nice. LR does not look to be able to read the lens profile info that is baked into the RAW?? Or have I missed something here?
    Similarly even enabling low noise reduction in OV introduces horrible 'noise' artifacts. LR does a much better job while preserving details.
    So possibly the best workflow is to either A) use OV to export Tiff into LR and then do the sharpening/denoise in there or B) LR with hughlight standard profile and then bump up the sharpening a bit.
    I would love to hear from people here with more experience than me , what are the typical default LR noise / sharpening profiles that you apply to your images for a starting point? Similarly if you use OV what is the default starting point image adjustments that you do before export as Tiff/Jpeg (sharpening/contrast etc.... ). As it stands myself, I think I might settle around the OV for automagic lens profile adjustment, export as TIFF, then use default LR sharpening and a slight NR if shooting at above ISO3200....

    Shooting style change : It's perhaps a mental adjustment to trust that you can shoot a lens wide open and still get sharp results. Most all cameras I have I need to stop down one or two before I know I can predictably sharp results. The PL25 lens is just amazing.

    On an aside the more I use this camera, the more I absolutely love it. I got shots today that I never would have gotten with my XE1 due to the fast reaction of the focus system. Again I'm very much a learner but really want to hear from those of you here with mountains more experience than me with the Olympus system so that I can get the optimum IQ workflow fast :)
  2. Ig7

    Ig7 Mu-43 Veteran

    Aug 24, 2011
    I was wondering if you can see the settings on Lindsay Dobson's blog when you look at her images. I would love to learn more from her work
  3. bcaslis

    bcaslis Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 3, 2011
    Wilsonville, OR, USA
    Real Name:
    Brian Caslis
    Yes the Adobe profile is very bad on skin tones. Search for the Huelight camera profiles (I've posted about them before). They don't match the Olympus natural style but are the closest and best profile I've found so far for Lightroom 5.3 RC.
    • Like Like x 1
  4. tomO2013

    tomO2013 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 28, 2013
    You are absolutely correct. BTW I really love your flickrset. Your work is absolutely stunning. Do you mind sharing your starting point for LR import / OV3 etc.. ? Or what are you using?

    The following is an OOC that I use as an extreme example of what I am talking about. This was shot on OM-D E-M1 ISO1600 AWB, Auto ISO, Natural Profile (contrast 0 , sharpness 0), low noise reduction. [​IMG]
  5. tomO2013

    tomO2013 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 28, 2013
    Please ignore the quality of the shot, processing etc... as I mentioned before this is only a field test to learn what the camera does and does not do in difference scenarios.

    So above link is hte original OOC.

    The following is link is the original LR53RC rendition (I've disabled noise reduction, turned off sharpening and only adjusted white balance to 2850K :

    Hughlight Standard Profile LR53RC (Adjusted WB, No sharpening, No Noise reduction) :

    Hughlight Standard Profile LR53RC (Adjusted WB, Default 25 sharpening, 20 noise reduction) :

    Olympus Viewer 3 - Sharpening 0, NR Off , White balance corrected to the same 2850K , auto lens correction applied :

    Olympus Viewer 3 - Sharpening 1, NR Low, White balance corrected to the same 2850K, auto lens correction applied :

    So little things that I notice is that the Adobe standard profile completely overdoes the pink background window. At print size, the colours cause details to be lost. Hughlight profiles are a revelation. The skin tones are really great.... but... it wasn't quite as accurate as the olympus. It's entirely scene dependant. I chose this shot as I saw the biggest colour differences between hughlight and OV3 in this shot (relating to the colour cast from the street light) than any other shot where the differences were not so obvious.

    The Olympus viewer 3 is probably the most accurate to what was seen on the night. I prefer the greens in the bokeh to the Adobe and Hughlight. OV also looks to retain more detail but is slightly more harsh... that could be to do with the jpeg conversion engine though....
    Finally perhaps its hard to see in these shots but as soon as your turn any sort of NR on in OV, you get horrible distortions in the jumper around the armpit area. Funny, if you do the NR low in camera, you don't get ANY of the same distortions. I mention this NOT from a pixel peeping perspective but from a something kinda obvious that I noticed... perhaps a bug in the OV3 software noise reduction algorithm.

    Anyway, if anybody has any advice for a really good starting point for optimal IQ output whether via LR53RC with huelight standard or Olympus Viewer 3 , please share :)
  6. bcaslis

    bcaslis Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 3, 2011
    Wilsonville, OR, USA
    Real Name:
    Brian Caslis
    Thanks very much. Many of these are just JPEGs, natural style, with the black and white points adjusted in Lightroom. OV3 will get you colors like the JPEGs, but I hate that program so much I don't really use it. Seems like camera companies can't write decent software to save their lives (Nikon is as bad or worse). I've been experimenting in Lightroom and have not gotten anything I like as much as some of the JPEGs but some photos are slightly better in RAW. My default is to use the Huelight standard for people and indoors and the high for outdoors. Sharpening is set to default to 40, 0.8, 35, 20. This gives me a good starting point. The last one currently in the set (the red leaf) is a RAW conversion in 5.3 RC.