E-PL5 image quality

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by cuppacoffee, Sep 16, 2013.

  1. cuppacoffee

    cuppacoffee Mu-43 Rookie

    May 9, 2013
    Belfast N.Ireland
    I've recently purchased my E-PL5 based on reviews and sample photos seen on the internet. I'm pleased with the camera in general,outside in good light the images are very good however indoors it's a different story, some are good a lot are not.
    Could it be the lens, standard 14-42 mk2 or what I'm thinking the focus point.
    Do other people find this the case or are you happy with your camera indoors, excluding flash photography here.
    Is there a software available that would show the focus point of a jpg file when loaded unto a PC. I have Nikon software but doesn't show the Olympic file.
    This is my first Olympus camera and admittedly I'm not used to the menu's yet.
    All the best
  2. rbelyell

    rbelyell Mu-43 Veteran

    Sep 15, 2013
    Mountains of NY
    well i hope its as good as ive read as i just ordered one!

    historically low light/high iso photography is a bugaboo in general. smaller sensored cams have typically fared worse. however the gap in sensor size/hi iso IQ has been narrowing as the general quality of high iso performance has improved.

    however, imo, the 'kit' lens you are using is simply too slow and in general not a good enough lens to provide a proper test for your cameras low light ability. simply put you need to either get a better and much faster lens or use your kit lens with a flash.
  3. spatulaboy

    spatulaboy I'm not really here Subscribing Member

    Jul 13, 2011
    North Carolina
    That kit lens is slow (as most kit lenses are). If you are shooting indoors often, you ought to invest in a large aperture lens or maybe learn flash. In the mean time what ISO are you shooting? Increasing the ISO will help compensate for the slow kit lens, therefore allowing you to shoot at higher shutter speeds and reducing blur.
  4. verbatimium

    verbatimium Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 17, 2013
    Toronto, Ontario
    I own a PL5 and do a ton of low light/indoor photography (without flash) and I am very pleased with how well the images turn out. However, I have long sold the kit lens that comes with the camera and only use primes such as the 12mm 2.0, 17mm 1.8, and 45mm 1.8. At ISO 1600, photos are still clean and usable (especially when shooting RAW and applying some noise reduction and sharpening in lightroom). I find that ISO 3200, the images are still good but I wouldn't go over that, although I do have some at ISO 5000 that I have kept and they look good. You only want to up the ISO to a point where you are obtaining a shutter speed that will prevent blur with the lens focal length that you are using (or if you want to stop motion of moving objects but that is generally hard to do in low light).

    You are most likely limited by your lens at this point. What camera settings are you usually using indoors?
  5. Definitely agree with the comment about the kit lens in low light. The EPL-5 has essentially the same sensor as the EM-5, which I have found to be pretty good (I limit auto ISO to 3200 max). In low light f/3.5 just doesn't cut it, however. I've got the PL25 f/1.4 for those situations - some grain at those ISOs but far more pleasing results than with flash. I never attach my 12-50 kit zoom at night except when doing slow tripod stuff.

    Olympus Viewer (should come with your camera, free download anyway) might show focus point for JPEGs SOOC out of your EPL-5 - I know it definitely does for Olympus raw ORF files. It will refuse to do any Olympus magic with files modified in other applications, however. As an aside, it's a pretty good (if slow) app for doing Olympus raw conversion. It contains the Olympus special sauce that is apparently really difficult to replicate yourself using other raw converters (see https://www.mu-43.com/showthread.php?t=39682).
  6. Splitprism

    Splitprism Mu-43 Regular

    May 10, 2013
    Rio Grande, Brazil
    Have a look at this thread


    Check out the Youtube review by a guy called David Thorpe, there is a default setting which he recommends turning off, something to do with warm colours which are enabled by default but soften images.
  7. cuppacoffee

    cuppacoffee Mu-43 Rookie

    May 9, 2013
    Belfast N.Ireland
    Thanks for the advice, I can get a 17mm f2.8 lens but have heard stories that they're not a great lens also, any truth in that, I was going to ISO 800-1000 or thereabouts, is the kit lens really that bad for low light.
  8. Wisertime

    Wisertime Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2013
    The 17 F2.8 isn't as bad as some would have you believe. You can go to ISO 6400 and get good results. Faster lenses will have less noise than the kit lenses. YMMV. Generally speaking kit lenses are good for conditions with plenty of available light, flash, tripod work. I use Auto ISO indoors and out with a limit at 6400.
  9. If you're only needing to go to ISO 1000 then it might not be that dark after all. Are your shutter speeds high enough at that ISO to eliminate motion blur (remember even IS cannot compensate for subject motion)?

    The other potential problem could be, as you've mentioned, bad focus point. I find the near-eye detect AF to be fairly accurate in most cases when taking spontaneous portraits (certainly more accurate for faces than the big default centre AF box), but you should try MF as a test just to check what results you can ideally get. I've found with certain subjects the contrast detect AF will blindly lock on to the spot with the most contrast, but not where I intended, forcing me to switch to MF to get exactly what I want. For macro MF is pretty much a given.
  10. Ulfric M Douglas

    Ulfric M Douglas Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 6, 2010
    There isn't focus-point info because the focus method is different to your Nikon DSLR. Don't worry about it.

    I own the 17mmF2.8 but don't use it indoors since getting the Sigma30mmF2.8 which is better but ... 30mm.
    The Panasonic Lumix 20mmF1.7 is excellent if you can buy one at a good price.
    The Sigma 19mmF2.8 may be good too.

    Really ... indoors I use a pop-up flash ...
    but then I don't have anything like the great low-light sensor in your camera.
  11. Photophil

    Photophil Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 24, 2012
    Atlanta Georgia area
    You don't say what is "bad" about your photos. Are they under exposed? Noisy? Not sharp? It's hard to offer solutions when we don't understand the problem. Perhaps you could post an example. I do not have any problems using the kit lens on the E-PL5 indoors, particularly if the room is reasonably bright. I use either manual mode or aperture priority with auto ISO turned on. And turn that auto warming option off. If I'm not using a tripod (rare for me), I have the IBIS turned on with option 1. In most cases, a max of ISO 3200 is enough. I open the lens wide open. Keep in mind that the kit lens is not constant aperture. It changes from f 3.5 to f 5.6 as you zoom out, so indoors try to stay at the more wider end of the zoom range.

    Several posters have suggested getting a faster prime lens, and that's good advice, but fast lenses do not automatically equate to lower noise. Getting more light on the sensor results in lower noise, and of course a faster lens can help that.
    • Like Like x 1
  12. cuppacoffee

    cuppacoffee Mu-43 Rookie

    May 9, 2013
    Belfast N.Ireland
    image quality

    I was looking through some pictures to post just to give an idea to what I'm talking about but at the minute I cant post any. I was at a wedding on Sat the photos I was going to post are at the reception afterwards but I haven't permission from the bride to do so, anyway, two photos
    The reception was in a hotel indoors.

    Both in Program mode
    one F5, one F5.6
    ISO 1600
    one 1/13 sec, one 1/10 sec hand held.
    Focus mode single AF

    The quality was poor, they weren't sharp ( shutter speed )
    they were noisy,

    I think I know where I went wrong, was "P" mode the right mode to use, my shutter speed was too slow especially hand held, I could have bumped the ISO up a bit more, kit lens.

    If I come across some pictures I can use I'll post them.
    Thanks everybody for the advice.
  13. drd1135

    drd1135 Zen Snapshooter

    Mar 17, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    I've had similar low light issues with the E-PL5 on P mode. I don't pay attention and I'm shooting at really long Tv. The PL5's IBIS is fine but not as "miraculous" as the E-M5's can seem. I find you can kick the iso up to 3200 and still get good results, although I prefer to max it out at 1600. Shooting RAW also helps at high iso.
  14. Ulfric M Douglas

    Ulfric M Douglas Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 6, 2010
    Maybe the auto-ISO limiter was at 1600, preventing the camera from going to the needed 3200.
    Also, "P" can easily be used as "A" by rolling the wheel (I'm repeating what my cameras which DO have thumbwheels do) which makes it PROGRAM-SHIFT and one way goes larger aperture and faster shutterspeed, the other way slower speed and smaller aperture. You would need to set the dials up to do this in yours ... in the (scary music) menu.

    Of course without your camera in-hand I don't know how it's setup.
  15. You could try to use a wider aperture - at f/5.6 it will be losing a lot of light. Of course since the zoom is not constant aperture this may mean you'll be forced to trade perspective and distance for light gathering ability.

    Here's an example showing that it's certainly possible to get creative with the kit lens at lower shutter speeds (with the pop-up slow sync flash, EPL-1 and O14-42MK1 no less). It takes some thought to reduce subject/camera shake, but that's what practice is for I guess :)

  16. cuppacoffee

    cuppacoffee Mu-43 Rookie

    May 9, 2013
    Belfast N.Ireland
    I guess I'm not used to bumping my ISO up that much, 1600-3200 ISO sounded very high to me but that seems the way to do it, something I'll have to get used to.
    Noise Reduction in the menu's, mine is set at
    Noise Reduction on
    Noise Filter Standard
    Does that sound ok or should I change that.

    Is there a site or link that would point me to setting up the E-PL5, I find manuals very hard to understand
  17. cuppacoffee

    cuppacoffee Mu-43 Rookie

    May 9, 2013
    Belfast N.Ireland
    Mine is set up like that, one way goes smaller aperture roll the wheel back increases aperture, what do you mean by the "scary music" menu, that sounds good to me
  18. drd1135

    drd1135 Zen Snapshooter

    Mar 17, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    Did you try the small flash that came with the E-Pl5?
  19. ccunningham

    ccunningham Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 23, 2010
    With shutter speeds in the 1/10th to 1/15th of a second range, your problem with blurry, unsharp photos may be a combination of subjects moving in the frame while the shutter was open, and maybe some camera shake. IBIS works pretty well, but I've always found most shake reduction(lens or body based) to work great sometimes, and sometimes not quite so much, since it depends on how much shake you're inducing. My e-pl5 generally tries to set a fast enough shutter speed in program mode to eliminate shake based on the lens focal length, but if it hits the Auto ISO ceiling, it just has to set whatever the highest shutter speed it can at the highest ISO it can. Which, if the light is low, may still be too slow to handhold reliably. This still doesn't have anything to do with subject movement.

    You can bump the Auto ISO limit up, but the results may not please some people who like to crank the magnification up to 100% on screen and look at super magnified views of high-iso shots. If you can avoid the temptation to click "enlarge to 100%" or "actual pixels" while reviewing the photos, you will probably not mind higher ISOs that much. I usually keep my e-pl5 auto iso upper limit set at 3200, but I've also had good results at 6400, depending on the lighting and the subject. And really, my e-pl5 isn't much different from my e-m5, which isn't much different from my D90.

    You might also benefit from a faster lens, such as the 20mm f1.7, the 17mm f1.8, the 45mm f1.8 or <intake of breath> the 25mm f1.4 or <deeper intake of breath> the 12mm f2 or 75mm f1.8. The last three lenses are kind of pricey, especially the 12mm and 75mm, but they do all pipe a lot more light back to the sensor than slower kit zooms, and all the ones listed here are pretty fast to focus and sharp.

    A lot of folks get down on the 17mm f2.8, but mine is okay, it's just a bit slower to focus than newer lenses, and at f2.8, it isn't much faster than the wide end of the kit zoom (f3.5). It can be found cheap, and it is small. If you're looking for cheap you can get a 14mm f2.5, they're alright too. But again, you're not even gaining a full stop of speed over the wide end of the kit zoom. The 14mm does focus faster and is even smaller than the 17mm f2.8.
  20. portadiferro

    portadiferro Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 26, 2013
    I don't have the E-PL5, but it is superior to my E-P2. I also never had the kit lens, but I rarely got good pictures indoors with the 17mm/2.8 without flash. When I upgraded to 25mm/1.4 I started getting great photos even at dim lighting. Of course proper flash still makes a difference. So I'd blame the kit lens with small aperture.
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