My friend and I ordered our E-M5’s in February and did not receive them until the beginning of June. So we were very, very excited to start shooting. Well right off the bat we noticed something odd. When we turn off the noise reduction and noise filter and shoot Large Super Fine jpegs at higher ISO’s ( 400 and up) the jpegs look really ugly and have lots of artifacts and smoothing. Even if you don’t zoom in on the picture it still looks wrong. So I got out my trusty E-PL2, mounted my Leica DG SUMMILUX 25mm and shot some high ISO jpegs to see how it handled it. I have used the E-PL2 for a couple of years now and love the sharpness and iso noise grain that it produces when you push it into the higher iso’s. I shot numerous comparisons between the E-PL2 and the E-M5 using the same lens, same light, same target, same iso etc. The results were clear: When you turn off noise reduction and noise filter on the E-PL2 it is off. Period. When you turn off noise reduction and noise filter on the E-M5 it is not off and really screws up the pics. I contacted Olympus and we went back and forth for a week on this. I sent them numerous samples and comparisons that were irrefutable. Finally it went beyond the abilities of the tech support rep I was dealing with and my case was escalated to a higher level. Here is the actual response of the Olympus escalation Dept. to a week’s worth of testing and emails: “The color engine in the E-M5 addresses high ISO sensor noise to improve image quality. It is part of the JPEG algorithm. As you have found, if you do not want to apply this algorithm, you can shoot RAW.” Regards Olympus Imaging America So their answer basically is: “if you don’t like it, too bad, shoot raw.” So they are asking all of us to jettison the unique Olympus colors, art filters and pretty much everything that makes the E-M5 unique and just shoot raw in order to avoid the excessive DNR they are applying to jpegs when noise reduction and noise filter are turned off. I replied to their final email with this: I want to clarify the problem as I see it so there is no confusion about what I have been trying to point out to you: This problem, which is a borderline "deal breaker" for myself and my friend and a few others who have just got their E-M5 is that when we turn off all noise reduction it is not actually off and the jpeg engine is smoothing the image and producing the hated "DNR Wax Figure look". This "DNR Wax Figure look" has plagued many recent remasters of Blu-rays where uninformed techs think they need to remove film grain when remastering a film and use heavy DNR to the detriment of all detail and a smooth "Wax Figure" like look to people. The E-M5 seems to be doing this at higher ISOs. It is not the lack of noise that we take issue with in the E-M5, it is the jpeg artifacts at higher ISO's caused by excessive DNR that we take exception to. I have attached a screen cap comparison of 100% crops of the E-M5 at ISO6400 both in Raw and JPEG with all noise reduction and filtering "turned off." This is a crop of the same image file in Raw and JPEG. You will note that the raw maintains the noise that should be present in the picture but the noise is not that intense and is nice and "film grain like" and really does not hurt the image much at ISO6400. The JPEG however has so much DNR that it gets the smooth wax figure artifact ridden artificial look of excessive DNR. What we think would improve your E-M5 design is to allow all noise reduction to be turned off entirely when the setting is disabled. Currently disabling all noise reduction and filters "does not turn these settings off" like it does in the E-PL2. If a user wants noise reduction they can always turn it on. But if they want it off, like myself and most discriminating users, then it should really be off and the jpegs should look pretty much like the Raw image as far as noise and detail. Is there something you can do for us? We love many features of the E-M5 but we cannot tolerate degradation of the jpeg images due to excessive noise reduction. Our request is that the user be given the "choice" to use noise reduction or not. The Off setting should really be Off and not mostly off. Looking forward to your reply. As I told the other rep I am a Software Test Analyst by occupation would gladly volunteer my services in testing any patches you would like to try on my E-M5. Thank you, Steven They never got back to me. So it is up to us now to complain to them until they fix their product. Do your own high iso tests, compare them to the raw and you will see the same DNR. If they get enough emails about the same issue they will act. Below is one last comparison. 100% crops of the same image file in raw and jpeg. Remember that all noise reduction and the noise filter are "turned off" and the jpeg setting is the highest, Large Super Fine.