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E-PL1 JPEG Compression selection

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by AlanK, May 4, 2010.

  1. AlanK

    AlanK New to Mu-43

    Apr 26, 2010
    Olympus defaults to LN Large Normal and not LF Large Fine which compresses less. Does anyone have test data or can point to it that compares and makes suggestions as to the best selections? It seems that if storage is not a problem one would always select LF.
  2. Streetshooter

    Streetshooter Administrator Emeritus

    Dec 15, 2009
    Phila, Pa USA
    Actually I think most use LSF. It's buried in the menu but it's there.
    I don't do jpeg but I did test and I saw a difference. Most say they don't see a difference between LF and LSF....
  3. Boyzo

    Boyzo Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Mar 3, 2010
    I use LF .. sd cards are cheap
  4. goldenlight

    goldenlight Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 30, 2010
    It makes sense to always use the highest quality JPEG available, even if you cannot readily see much difference. Remember, any subsequent processing and re-saving of the image will compress it further and degrade it slightly so it's best to start from a position of strength. Plus, you never know when you might grab that shot of a lifetime - you know, the one that would look great blown up to poster size..........:wink:

    And if you are worried about storing large files on your hard drive don't forget that the more mundane shots you are perhaps just keeping as a record can always be downsized. :smile:
  5. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Apr 17, 2010
    Near Philadephila
    Of course taking that argument to its logical conclusion, you're shooting in raw, but that's another discussion. :cool: 

  6. goldenlight

    goldenlight Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 30, 2010
    That's absolutely right, Ray, although there are times when JPEGs are more convenient but it still pays to get the maximum quality. Also, not everyone has the inclination or the skill to post process, indeed a badly processed raw can be inferior to a well processed JPEG, and JPEG quality is something Olympus has always excelled at. :smile:
  7. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Apr 17, 2010
    Near Philadephila
    I know. I've ranted about this enough. But I'm a total beginner at digital post processing and I shoot raw only, letting Aperture 3 process the files on import into images that are indistinguishable from an Oly jpeg (I shot a bunch of raw+jpeg to make sure the pre-set was dead on). So I don't get the convenience thing unless you just don't have access to a computer - it all happens automatically and pretty close to instantly. So, all of my images come into A3 looking just like Oly jpegs and then I can either work on them or not. For many, its not and they're fine as they are. But when I want to, I have the raw file to work with.

    But, hey, to each his or her own!

  8. It will depend on your needs. LN may be perfectly fine for you - or maybe after experimenting, you notice that LF produces slightly superior results. From my testing - all of the SF, F, N, and B saving algorthms produce a similar image.
  9. What Jpeg Compression to use with Olympus

    For myself and any other Jpeg shooters, a challenge is deciding which Jpeg algorithm to select for saving image files in camera. When I shot with Nikon DSLR cameras, I often found little difference between using the Fine setting and Normal or sometimes even Basic Jpeg settings.

    Olympus adds another Super Fine option into the mix - - - and being that Olympus appears to have a far more refined and higher quality jpeg saving method, I have different times simply ignored Super Fine used Large Fine instead with little if any noticable difference in image quality.

    Some reasons that I may not require the finest image quality, may be when I am just shooting candids that will never be used anywhere other than my personal or family albums - or also when I shoot my children and grandchildren playing hockey or our yearly "day at the fair". The resulting smaller file sizes of a higher compression jpeg file, are much easier to open and process on a large variety of computers or media (like CD or DVD) - - - especially when I don't intend to do any processing on the files and want to distribute them to family and friends.


    However even with my professional work, I wonder what compression level I really require without worrying too much about loss of data, and so quickly went about a test with my Olympus E-PL1 using all 4 of the Jpeg algorithms saving at the Large pixel size.

    I wasn't quite sure what type of content would show up any differences most significantly, so chose an outdoor scene with extreme lighting and texture differences using a low 200 ISO - as well as an indoor textured but plain painted surface with a paper text document on it using a higher 800 ISO. I was handholding the camera, so alignment was not perfect between shots - but in the vicinity. My standard setup with my Olympus cameras is to keep noise reduction at Low or Off and Sharpening reduced.

    While it is impossible to show full size comparisons or significant areas of each of the 2 setups (with each image file being 4000 x 3000 pixels in dimmension), I have to say quite frankly that I saw little difference between LSF, LF, LN, and LB even when pixel peeping at 100% View on my 26 inch monitor. When I looked into a couple of more shadowy areas I could notice a slight difference in the Jpeg Artifacts - - - but realistaically only when doing an A/B comparison. I cannot see that shooting at LB (Large Basic) would cause me to not use the image after viewing the results. I would say that for most of what I shoot (even professionally), I would have no issues using LF (Large Fine) or LN (large Normal) and can't see how I would be able to tell the difference with my usual output of Print or resized down for web or DVD slideshows.

    I doubt that these images will show you much (you'll have to do your own testing to see what is right for you)- but these are the 2 scene settings that I used. The over and under closeup comparison shots, are at 100% pixel view and are of the extremes of LSF (Large Super Fine) and LB (Large Basic):

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

    100% viewpoint - each 700 pixel by 286 pixel size
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

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

    100% viewpoint - each 700 pixel by 286 pixel size
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


    BTW - the difference in file between the 4 jpeg algorithms:

    Outdoor sceneLSF (Large Super Fine) 8.53 MB
    LF (Large Fine) 5.99 MB
    LN (Large Normal) 2.69 MB
    LB (Large Basic) 1.67 MB

    Indoor scene
    LSF (Large Super Fine) 7.96 MB
    LF (Large Fine) -6.00 MB
    LN (Large Normal) 2.72 MB
    LB (Large Basic) 1.72 MB

    • Like Like x 6
  10. Please know that I am well aware of raw/jpeg wars that creep up on forums, and my purpose for this post is not to deal with a raw/jpeg comparison. I didn't post to flame that type of controversy. :smile:

    If people choose to shoot with the raw format - that is their choice and they can do so freely. I hope that this information that I have provided, might be valuable to those who like myself - prefer to use the jpeg saving method for their files. While a majority of photographers prefer to base their choices and give responses based on what they presume or what they have heard from others in matters like this - - - my preference is always to prove to myself whether something is really fact or not. That is why I like to include actual content to support my findings even though it won't be scientific or necessarily accurate for anyone else - but it will be my real world shooting and processing scenarios.

    Even though I have no control over what happens - I am hoping that the thread just stays with a discussion of what others see in my results above - - - or what their findings are when they have done such a test to see whether they really benefit from using the highest quality saving algorithm - or not. :thumbup:
    • Like Like x 1
  11. BBW

    BBW Super Moderator Emeritus

    Robert, please don't be concerned about a reprieve of the never ending jpeg/RAW wars here because if they crop up on this thread, I'll bring out my flame thrower.:wink:

    I've taken the liberty of merging your thread with this previous one because I believe they are on basically the same subject. I can always change the title somewhat if needs be.

    I agree with you that this thread should remain devoted to jpeg comparisons and discussions. There is absolutely no need to digress into anything else.

    Wish I could be more helpful with regard to your observations.
  12. squeegee

    squeegee Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 26, 2010
    The jpeg compression levels on my e-p1 (and I suspectall oly's) seem to be dynamic.

    From what I've seen on my pics, LSF seems to use around 95 to 99 compression quality where LF seems to use 85 to 90 compression quality.

    The artifacts encountered will change from picture to picture so 86% maybe fine for one picture and terrible for another. You need to be carefull when looking at one example and trying to extrapolate a generalisation with regards to jpeg compression.

    All things considered, it's just safer for me to use LSF because I personally find the mid-80's compression range to be where I notice things and you never know what the camera will choose to use.

    I also find that with jpeg artifacts it's easier to see the difference not-at 100% crops but as the entire image. The reason is they way jpeg artifacts manifest themselves, they show up as patterns in the picture. At 100% view zoomed into 1 spot, it'll just look like noise or texture where as zoomed out you might find that noise/texture is a halo around objects.
  13. cosinaphile

    cosinaphile Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 26, 2009
    new york city
    is it just me or do the lg basic look sharper that the less compressed images ???
  14. PeterB666

    PeterB666 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 14, 2010
    Tura Beach, Australia
    The compression level is not dynamic but the way compression works with JPEGs is that data that is considered not needed is discarded. This means that different shots at the same level of compression will vary in size based on the image contents.
  15. squeegee

    squeegee Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 26, 2010
    Here's an example that worked for me... should be simple enough for anyone else to test.

    on LSF,
    1) take a picture with the lens cap on. That image came out at 100.
    2) take a normal picture of your room or what ever. That image came out at 99.

    I know I've also seen 98 for sure, I seem to recall having seen others too like 97 etc at LSF.

    Checking the quality level will vary depending on your tools. I see mine when I'm using the gimp as it will show me when ever I save the image. I can also check it using imagemagik's identify option (grep for "Quality:").
  16. squeegee

    squeegee Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 26, 2010
    oh btw, the sample images posted above are taken at iso 800. Try it again at iso 200.

    The thing with iso 800 is that it has more noise. It will become harder for you to distinguish if the noise came from your jpg compression or if it came from the sensor.

    Also, the noise introduced is more visible on non-textured surfaces, i.e. if you're taking pictures of speckled concrete or sand, dirt, even wood grain, it can be hard to distinguish what is jpg artifacts and what is part of the picture. (which means a lower compression may very well be suitable). If you're taking a picture of something else like a car as an example, where the vehicle is painted one colour with sharp contrasting likes, or printed text, the artifacts may become more obvious.

    You could in theory then conclude that it maybe good enough to take some pictures at LF while taking others at LSF, but for me, it's easier to just leave it on LSF.
  17. That is evident from the file sizes that I displayed under my test images. Even in the way that there is less variance between the file sizes of the different compression levels in the indoor set, than the outdoor set. :smile:

    The outdoor set of images (first set) are shot at 200ISO. The indoor scene is shot at 800ISO.

    I have no interest in taking further variations, but if you'd like to take some shots with your suggestions and post them - I'm sure that information would find useful. :smile:
  18. Djarum

    Djarum Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Dec 15, 2009
    Huntsville, AL, USA
    Excelent write up. I use LSF always. Just seems to look good and make sense to me.
  19. AlanK

    AlanK New to Mu-43

    Apr 26, 2010
    Great responses to my original question. Would the RAW + JPEG selection resolve any "arguments"?
  20. AlanK

    AlanK New to Mu-43

    Apr 26, 2010
    Where in the Menu do you set LSF?

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