EM5 Firmware ISO Update

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by atnbirdie, Feb 1, 2014.

  1. atnbirdie

    atnbirdie Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 13, 2013
    I was curious as to how the new ISO 100 feature would perform. I didn't expect better/cleaner resolution as ISO 200 is the native level for the sensor. The ISO 100 setting is called "Low", not ISO 100. Whereas above ISO 200 it says "Recommended", above "Low" it says "Extension".

    I took some shots outside with my 12-40mm and my new 9-18mm lenses. I was shooting in Aperture priority mode and all my photos taken at ISO 100 were consistently taken with 1 stop slower shutter speed as expected. What I consistently found with either lens was that the ISO 100 setting resulted in about 0.5 stop overexposure (as measured by adjusting the exposure until histograms looked similar). There was also a very slight decrease in contrast at ISO 100 vs 200.

    Those are the only differences I saw in my quick test.
  2. LowriderS10

    LowriderS10 Monkey with a camera.

    May 19, 2013
    I've found that by keeping the exposure identical (when going down to ISO 100, I halved the exposure time and left everything else alone), in some shots, I did end up with significantly cleaner shadows. However, in shots with high dynamic range, I noticed very apparent highlight clipping/loss of detail in the highlights.

    I may use ISO 100 selectively...if the scene doesn't have a lot of DR, then I'll use it. If it does, and I want to save highlight details, I'll shoot ISO 200.
  3. Lisandra

    Lisandra Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 16, 2010
    Samples please
  4. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Yeah, the short of it is that ISO 200 and ISO 'Lo' seem to have the same gain applied to the sensor, but different metering and JPEG processing. I've been using ETTR (expose to the right) fairly religiously and in normal conditions you can safely overexpose by +1EV and not clip any of the RAW channels (even though the JPEG histogram will usually show some clipping). The advantage is noticeably cleaner shadows. I'm expecting that ISO 'Lo' will give similar performance.

    I really, really wish there was a way to get a RAW histogram when shooting, rather than having to guess from the JPEG histogram, but that's a problem for another day...
  5. CPWarner

    CPWarner Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 24, 2010
    Which firmware update version is this? I saw the news from Olympus on version 2.0 for the EM-5, but I do not see it available anywhere yet.
  6. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    2.0, available via Olympus Viewer.
  7. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    For those who can stomach DPReview, there's a fairly informative thread on the topic. The gist of it seems to be that the new ISO Low setting is actually the same as ISO 250 pulled 1.3 stops.
  8. LowriderS10

    LowriderS10 Monkey with a camera.

    May 19, 2013
    Is anyone noticing a slight loss of sharpness in ISO 100 vs. ISO 200 when shooting JPEG?

    It's not apparent in every shot, but I seem to be noticing it in some shots, when viewed on the LCD at 14x. (I know it's very unscientific, and I'll try to post some pics, but right now I'm ridiculously busy, and don't really have time for that).

    Thanks! :)
  9. jnewell

    jnewell Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 23, 2011
    Boston, MA
    Thanks. I was sort of guessing that for those shooting raw the new ISO Lo setting might not change much. :smile:
  10. David A

    David A Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 30, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    I did a quick experiment using RAW files and comparing the new Low setting and ISO200 indoors at night with a reading lamp illuminating my bed and part of the wall. I did my usual Spot Highlight metering of the brightest area of the image. Usually this ensures that area does not clip and there was no clipping evident in the ISO200 shot. That area clipped strongly in the Low setting shot. At the other end of the scale the shadow area got more exposure in the Low setting shot but compared to ISO200 I didn't think there was a great difference in noise levels and I actually preferred the shadow area rendition in the ISO200 shot.

    Long story short: this was a wide range scene with strong shadows and highlights and exceeded the range of the sensor. I didn't find any advantage with the Low setting, I actually felt it was inferior because of the loss in dynamic range at the highlight end of the scale with no substantial benefit at the shadow end. I think the Low setting will really only be useful when the scene has a relatively low dynamic range which can be easily accommodated by the sensor and that isn't the case with most of what I shoot. In other words it might be useful for scenes in fog or mist, for example, with a low dynamic range and no strong highlights or shadows but forget about it if you're shooting beach scenes in the tropics on a sunny day, or mountain scenes with snow in winter.

    It won't change much for anyone shooting RAW in my view.
    • Like Like x 1
  11. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    I've not noticed that Dara. What I would say though is that there really isn't any noticable difference in using ISO 100 vs overexposing by 1 stop at ISO 200. Both result in better shadow noise at the expense of slightly reduced highlight headroom. Personally, I'd have been happier if Oly had spent the time adding the ability to assign Mysets to the mode dial!
    • Like Like x 2
  12. dukenukem

    dukenukem Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 9, 2012
    • Like Like x 1
  13. LowriderS10

    LowriderS10 Monkey with a camera.

    May 19, 2013
  14. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    I haven't seen that yet on mine, but if the folks on DPR are correct, ISO Low is ISO 250 underexposed by 1.3EV, so a slight loss in sharpness vs. ISO 200 would make sense.
    • Like Like x 1
  15. Reflector

    Reflector Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 31, 2013
    I never had issues shooting without a 1/8000 shutter at ISO 200, given I was using a D200 for my last camera. Usually I ETTR by 1.3EV anyways and bring the exposure back in ACR and if I *really* don't feel confident then I'll back off the ETTR and stop down a little. On a 50mm f/1.2 Speedboosted to 35mm f/0.9 at high noon with the aperture wide open.

    I guess this is like a shortcut for the jpeg shooters. EIther way you're bringing the exposure back or the camera brings it back down for you and you're going to see a little less luminance graininess.