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E-PM1 Questions

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by DynaSport, Jan 5, 2013.

  1. DynaSport

    DynaSport Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Jan 5, 2013
    Hello everyone. I just found this web site and this is my first post. I am very new to the M43 world. I have been shooting with a Canon 20D for a long time. Yes, I keep camera gear a long time. As long as what I have works and I am getting good results, I don't feel the need to buy the latest and greatest.

    I actually bought my E-PM1 many months ago, but I haven't had much time to take that many photos with it. It had been really hard for me to get used to the interface, since I am so used to the controls on my 20D. I do really enjoy having a smaller camera, though.

    Here is m, dilemma, though. I have not been pleased with the photos I am getting with the camera. They are ok, but definitely no better. I have a little Canon SD1100 point and shoot that gives me just as good results, in all honesty. When I compare the photos to my many many years old 20D, it isn't even close.

    So, here is my question. Am I wrong to expect results as good or better than my 20D? My 20D is an APS-C camera, but it is only an 8MP camera and is much older technology. I do have good lenses for it and the only lens I have for my E-PM1 is the kit lens, but I think I got better images out of my old Canon kit lens than I am getting with the E-PM1.

    I wonder if it is me. Is there something I should know about M43 or the E-PM1 specifically that is different from other photography? I have been taking pictures a long time, and while I am no pro, I usually get pretty good results. But I just finished reviewing tons of my E-PM1 photos and at 100% they are very soft with much lost detail. When I review my 20D photos in the same way, they are mostly crisp and sharp.

    Help please. I want good results from this camera.

  2. Hyubie

    Hyubie Unique like everyone else

    Oct 15, 2010
    Must be the kit lens. Although check out the sample image thread of that lens here in this forum -- it's not too bad. Just don't compare them with higher-end zooms/primes.
  3. mr_botak

    mr_botak Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 4, 2011
    Reading, UK
    Well I've been blown away with the performance and flexibility of my e-pm1. I'd suggest getting a decent lens - my best suggestion would be the Panasonic 20mm. I found the kit lens truly awful.

    I also came from Canon P&S cameras. They are very, very good cameras. I'd agree with the kit lens the e-pm1 produced comparable results in good light. With a better lens much better things are possible.
  4. WasOM3user

    WasOM3user Mu-43 Veteran

    Oct 20, 2012
    Lancashire, UK
    Perhaps you have a kit lens that is a poor example. The one on my daughters EPL-3 easily out performs our families P&S (Nikon S9100, Pentax A30 and Sony W120) none of which are particularly bad.

    Yes using primes will give a further improvement over the kit lens (the EPL-3 with the 45mm can be spectacular).
  5. Ulfric M Douglas

    Ulfric M Douglas Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 6, 2010
    Yeah? :cool: 
    It is very easy to test : pick a pair of images taken with their kit lenses and post them here resized.
    It is entirely likely that the colours from your old beloved 20D are nicer than an out-of-the-box e-pM1.
  6. DynaSport

    DynaSport Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Jan 5, 2013
    Focus Issues

    I have gone back and looked at some of the pictures more closely and I have come to some additional conclusions. First, I did find some pictures I was happy with, so I do believe the camera, even with the kit lens is capable of producing images I am pleased with. However, there were many I wasn't happy at all with. Examining them closer, I found two things. First and foremost, I think the majority of images I am disappointed in are the result of missed focus. At first I thought the camera had a back focus issue, but then I found some that were front focused. So, I don't know what is going on there, but the focus reliability seems to be the major problem.

    The other issues is probably ISO related. The camera is not as good at higher ISOs as I thought it would be. I had hoped that ISO 1600 would be good, but there is more noise in many of my ISO 1600 shots than I am happy with.

    I will keep trying to learn and get better with this camera, but I am afraid I bought the wrong one. I still think M43 has many benefits and I will probably stick with it, but I should have gotten a camera that is easier to change settings on. I don't like the Canon Rebel series because of what you have to do to change some settings and the E-PM1 seems to be in the same category. I think I should have spent more and gotten a camera that doesn't rely on so many menus. It is kind of like a point and shoot in that regard. Oh well, no one to blame but me.

  7. brutto

    brutto Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    Feb 17, 2011
    Hi Dan. I'm a new E-PM1 owner too. Have you tried any testing with and without IBIS? Reading up here suggests that IBIS isn't good on the E-PM1. I haven't had the E-PM1 long enough (one day) to tell yet, perhaps an expert could step in here and tell me if I'm mistaken in this.
  8. DynaSport

    DynaSport Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Jan 5, 2013
    I haven't tried turning off IBIS. I wouldn't think that would make things better though. Although, I admit that I haven't gotten totally familiar with all the settings on this camera, so there could be some settings I need to change to get better results. That would really be nice.

    I took a few shots with the camera this afternoon and I am uploading them now. I looked at tight crops and some of them are really good, but most to me are disappointing. Maybe I am expecting too much, but I have seen some great photos online from the E-PM1, but I am not getting that consistently. I haven't given up yet though. I know I want additional lenses, but I want to be sure I want to stay with the M43 system before I invest in some nice glass.
  9. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Here are some basic setup tips for the Pen line that should help you out.

    - If you don't see the Sprockets menu, then first go to Setup => Wrench => Menu Display and turn the Sprockets ON.
    - Go into Setup => Sprockets => Color/WB => Keep Warm Colors and turn that OFF. As long as you leave that off, then your camera can automatically adjust for indoor lighting and you won't need to resort to the incandescent preset.
    - You might also want to unlock your turn dial by going to Setup => Sprockets => Button/Dial => ? Lock and set that to OFF.
    - If you want sharper images, then go to Setup => Sprockets => Color/WB => Noise Filter and set that to OFF.

    - Also, in order to access your shooting options quickly go to Setup => Sprockets => Disp/PC => Control Settings and for every mode turn Live Guide and Live Control to OFF, then turn SCP (Super Control Panel) to ON in every mode.
    When you return to shooting, you will then be able to press OK and get a one-screen quick menu of all your essential shooting options. If another menu pops up (ie, like Remote Commander, Art, or Scene menus) then just press INFO and it'll cycle you back to SCP.

    - Also, you might want to take a photo and compare the monitor brightness of the same photo on your camera's playback screen and your computer monitor. The E-PL2 and newer tends to have an over-bright monitor so the images may look alright on the screen but come out underexposed when you open the file on your computer. So if the image doesn't match your computer screen, you can adjust your camera's screen brightness by going to Menu => Wrench and look for an icon that looks like this: View attachment 250325
    I actually have all my PEN cameras set all the way down to -7 to match my print-calibrated computer screen.

    - You may also want to consider Back-Button AutoFocus, which is a setup I've used on every digital Olympus camera I've had from DSLR to PEN.

    Rather than me explaining the advantages of back-button focus I'll link you to a handy Canon article on the matter (Canon actually made the first camera which was capable of this): Canon DLC: Article: Back-Button Auto Focus Explained
    The key points are that it allows you to pre-focus without the camera re-focusing on shutter release (which many cameras have a tendency to do even if you use the half-press of the shutter) giving you faster and less frustrating AF, and it separates AutoFocus, AutoExposure, and Shutter Release into 3 separate functions so you have full control over each. This way you don't have to meter off the same subject you focus on.

    So if you decide that's for you, then here are the steps to set it up:

    Go to Menu => Sprocket => Button/Dial => AEL/AFL. There you can set Single AF, C-AF, and MF modes. Mode 3 is the one that assigns any of those AF types to the back-button. If you set MF to Mode 3, then that will still give you MF capabilities with the focus ring, but will add S-AF capabilities to the back-button. If you set C-AF to Mode 3, that will give you continuous AF as long as you hold down the back-button. You can also set S-AF to Mode 3, but in my opinion this is redundant if you have MF set to to Mode 3. You get S-AF + MF by using MF Mode 3 anyways. I just leave S-AF to the default Mode 1 just in case I ever for whatever crazy reason want to switch to shutter-focus. But I never do. ;) 

    Next, after you have your AF modes set, all you need to do is assign your AFL button, which will be your back focus button. On the PEN cameras this is in Menu => Sprocket => Button/Dial => Button Function, but this is the one part that can vary between models. For instance, on my old E-System cameras there was only one AFL button but it could be swapped to the Fn button so you had two choices instead (if I remember, I think the E-P1 was the same). With the newer PEN cameras your possibilities are much more expandable, and the OM-D has the most customizable buttons yet, allowing you to use the Fn1, Fn2, or Record buttons which are right by your right fingers for easy access. I would also suggest setting one of these to ISO. ;) 

    Of course, you then need to go through your regular control panel to set your camera to use one of the AF types that you have set to Mode 3, or use Menu => Sprocket => AF/MF => AF Mode to do that.
    • Like Like x 8
  10. wallyrulz

    wallyrulz Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 12, 2011
    Ned, that was awesome. :thumbup:

  11. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    No problem. :) 

    As an experienced Oly user I love how versatile and customizable the cameras are, but only bcause I know the system and how to set it up. However, the bad thing about Olys are the default settings. As much power as the Olys have when set up properly, everything presented to the first-time user is the worst that they've got (settings wise). They try to make a simple face to attract the newbies, while having a deeper capability behind it to hold the enthusiasts. That works for the existing Oly userbase, but not those coming from another brand. ;) 
  12. Ulfric M Douglas

    Ulfric M Douglas Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 6, 2010
    Mods : Neds "setting up" post #9 is so concise and logical, can we have it stickied or in some FAQ thing?
  13. David

    David Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 22, 2011
    I have the EPM1 and I find that it is much better then my Canon G9.
    But you do have to know where/how to find the functions to adjust.

    perhaps you need to understand the camera function more and use the
    super control panel. I also found that you can go to youtube and view some
    tutorials on photography which may help your photo skills.
  14. DynaSport

    DynaSport Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Jan 5, 2013
    Neds, thanks! I will print that out and go through it soon. The thing is that I have used my 20D so long that changing settings is second nature and changing things on the E-PM1 is different.

    Perhaps those changes will fix my issues, but the thing that has me the most disappointed is that the IQ has been disappointing. They just haven't consistently matched up to the shots from my 20D.

    Also, I do have back button focus set on my 20D, but I didn't know I could do that with the E-PM1. I'll definitely set that up. The only thing I don't like about that option is handing my camera to someone else and having to explain that to them every time. But it is how I have been shooting for years, so I am glad that is available on the Oly as well.
  15. DynaSport

    DynaSport Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Jan 5, 2013
    Let me give you an example. Too many of my shots come out like this.
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
  16. RobertinArabia

    RobertinArabia Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 6, 2012
    I have all my mFT cameras adjusted to use the smallest possible focus box.
    • Like Like x 1
  17. DynaSport

    DynaSport Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Jan 5, 2013
    While I am used to this with my old 20D.
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    and this
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
  18. RobertinArabia

    RobertinArabia Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 6, 2012
    This video shows how to do this with EPL1
    [ame=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I9K9JQdNuJ0]E-PL1 zoomed focus box test - YouTube[/ame]
    • Like Like x 1
  19. WT21

    WT21 Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Feb 19, 2010
    That bird pic shows an issue. I can't see any EXIF, but here are some thoughts:

    1) The kit lens is not that great. You can definately do better in m43.
    2) Shut IBIS off and keep your shutter speed up. The EPM1 IBIS is weak, and can actually negatively impact images.
    3) You need to concentrate on holding the camera steady. The 20D is a big beast that naturally adds some weight and solidity to the shot. The EPM1 is super light and can more easily be moved around.
    4) m43 uses contrast detect AF, so it will AF on the most contrasting point. It cannot front or back focus, it can only focus on the wrong thing. Use single point AF, and focus and recompose.
    5) contrast detect AF (CDAF) is not yet up to the level of sports/action shots as DSLR (PDAF) AF. It's a fact of life. Pre-focus with the EPM1.

    IMO, though, these two cams have two different use cases. Direct comparisons don't always work. But, in your examples, the EPM1 should be able to nail the first and third shots easily.
    • Like Like x 1
  20. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 13, 2012
    David Dornblaser
    What settings are you shooting at?
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