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E-PM1 color rendering

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by flamingfish, Jul 15, 2014.

  1. flamingfish

    flamingfish Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Nov 16, 2012
    I lent my E-PM1 with 14-42 kit lens to a friend whose camera had died unexpectedly. (Some sort of Canon, P&S I think.) She commented that she was concerned about its color rendering -- she said something I didn't follow about it emphasizing some colors over others. She's a painter, so has a more highly developed sense for color than I do. She is experienced with film photography, but I'm not sure how much she has done with digital.

    What can I recommend that she try to tweak in the camera? I suggested that she try setting the white balance for the type of light rather than relying on the auto WB, and making sure that the "keep warm colors" was turned off.

    Any views on whether the E-PM1 has issues with rendering colors? What about the 14-42? I have an Oly 17mm 2.8 that I can lend her, if that might do better with colors.

    I mentioned post-processing to her, and she said she was reluctant to do that because "everything you change means that you lose detail." She said she'd been using Photoshop. I said I didn't think that was true for Lightroom -- am I correct?

  2. wanderenvy

    wanderenvy Mu-43 Regular

    May 11, 2012
    Olympus JPEGs tend to have punchier colors than Canon or Nikon and your friend may be noticing that. The E-PM1 actually has very nice color rendition as long as light isn't too low. My typical settings used to be:

    -warm color off
    -natural mode (not I-enhance)
    -highlights -1
    -shadows +1
    -white balance auto (rarely had issues)
    -contrast -1 in bright light
    -center weighted metering

    If processing raw, decrease blue saturation. Your friend's argument that post processing degrades quality is only true if she is editing lossy JPEG files. It does not hold as much when working with raw files, but of course you can degrade quality if you do aggressive post processing. And most importantly, if your friend isn't using a color calibrated monitor, any notion of "accurate color" is up for a toss.

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  3. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    I recommend that she shoot raw files and adjust in post processing. She will have far greater control in post processing to make adjustments as desired. And if she is editing properly, she will not lose any more details than her camera would when it creates a jpeg.

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  4. Wisertime

    Wisertime Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 6, 2013
    LR does not degrade Raw files at all. Period. All data resides in a side car file. Be sure to turn Auto gradation off or low. Noise reduction should be low/normal.

    I Find my colors w/EM5 and EPM2 are just on the cold side SOOC...I almost always add just a little more warmth in PP, even with Keep warm colors On. Some of it is a matter of taste. That and tuning down blacks in PP makes photos pop for me. While the JPGs are nice and you do have some latitude with them in LR, Raw is better...depends on the subject matter even. I don't always feel the need to shoot raw, unless it's something with challenging lighting and things I might want to print or tweak later. "snapshots" won't matter much.

    I find Red's really hard to capture with all Olympus cameras (think flowers). Over saturated and clipped most of the time...I tweak in PP, but you could adjust in camera too.
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  5. Ulfric M Douglas

    Ulfric M Douglas Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 6, 2010
    She seems ignorant.
    Sometimes its best to walk away.

    Having said that, if you really want to struggle against willful stupidity : tell her about the nine-frame whitebalance bracketing.
    After using that to test in varied conditions using auto-WB (which is excellent on the e-pm1) indoors, outdoors, bright skies, dark streets ... she may find a WB tweak combination to suit her expectations.
    Remember : WB-bracketing :( both axes, +-1 each = 9 jpegs for every exposure ) something very few users even touch upon. It is superb at solving any WB problems.
    • Like Like x 1
  6. wanderenvy

    wanderenvy Mu-43 Regular

    May 11, 2012
    One more thing that someone else also alluded to - Oly JPEGs over saturate red and orange and if they are dominant in a picture, you may get an orange cast on everything. The only option is to process raw in such a case.

    And another setting - make sure the gradation is set to normal not auto. Auto makes it punchier.
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  7. DWS

    DWS Mu-43 Regular Subscribing Member

    Jun 6, 2014
    totally agree
  8. flamingfish

    flamingfish Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Nov 16, 2012
    You're so right about the reds. I've taken a few photos of red hibiscus flowers that turned out as just lurid red blobs.
  9. Klorenzo

    Klorenzo Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 10, 2014
    I think that, strictly speaking, she is formally correct if she is working on jpegs. Jpeg is a lossy format, as we all know, and jpeg compression depends on colour shades. Change the colours, save again, and you loose something.

    That said, the point is HOW MUCH you are going to loose. You are starting with a compressed format where you already lost some micro informations. A few subsequent recompressions (at the same of higher level of compression) are probably not going to remove anything relevant, even pixel-peeping.

    Of course some transformations can instead enhance the details already present (unsharp mask) giving more apparent details to the eye, even if this transformation too, strictly speaking, "degrades" the image.

    So, in practice, there is no reason to avoid "normal" post processing.

    I think you should recommend her to set the wb (even with a white card when possible) or...shooting raw, calibrate the monitor, make a camera color profile, etc. but I think she's not going to like this "tech" stuff.
  10. bwc1976

    bwc1976 Mu-43 Rookie

    Jul 30, 2012
    Spring Valley, CA
    I've definitely found the reds/oranges on my E-PM1 to be "off" and too orangey compared to the Canon and Fuji cameras I've used in the past. These days I keep it set to Muted and -2 saturation as that makes the colors on the screen look the most like real life, and hopefully that will keep the reds from overloading in the future.
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