EPL5 owner seeking advise

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by TEMA, Apr 24, 2013.

  1. TEMA

    TEMA New to Mu-43

    Apr 26, 2010
    Toronto, ON
    Hi guys,

    I bought an Olympus EPL-5 and left on a week long vacation to Negril, Jamaica.

    I just printed some photos at 6x8" size yesterday and was sadly disappointed in the quality in the images. There was no pop in the images at all. Edges or microcontrast not there.

    My camera was set to P mode, natural 3, +1 contrast, auto ISO 200-3200, LFine JPEG

    Today I did some testing outdoors and pixel peeping and found it works around 14-20mm wide open to max of f5.6 , but things are soft beyond 35mm. Is this normal?

    My aim is save on weight this is my secondary kit to my DSLR. Really enjoy the touch focus, touch shutter, and colors.

    I don't want to give up on this setup, nor do I want to spend more money on this system.

    Can someone provide guidance on the sweet spot for the Olympus 14-42mm II R MSC kit lens??

    Thank you for your time :)
  2. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    Well, the kit lens isn't great. However, shooting raw and adding sharpness and contrast in PP will help.

    Personally, I'd resign yourself to buying some better glass...
  3. DeeJayK

    DeeJayK Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 8, 2011
    Pacific Northwest, USA

    Some image samples might help diagnose the issues you're describing. Although the kit zoom is not going to deliver the sharpness of a prime lens, I've never heard, read or experienced anything that would indicate a pronounced falloff in sharpness on the long end of the Oly14-42 II.
  4. woody112704

    woody112704 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 13, 2012
    I have the epl5, I haven't printed anything with the kit lens yet. But with the Sigma 30mm and the Oly 40-150 I haven't seen anything bad in the 5x7s I've printed. Although I shoot raw and PP in LR. What DSLR do you have and have you spent a lot on the lenses in that kit. If you are comparing the kit lens to expensive or even possibly half way decent primes on your DSLR its not a fair comparison.
  5. mattia

    mattia Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 3, 2012
    The Netherlands
    Pics will help the diagnosis.

    FWIW, I find the 'ideal' print is sharpened a lot more agressively than what I'd put up online, and often requires a little more brigthness and contrast adjustment. Depends on subject matter, however.
  6. TEMA

    TEMA New to Mu-43

    Apr 26, 2010
    Toronto, ON
    Here's an example where I see f5.6 being sharper than f8.0 at 35mm


    ISO 200 35mm f5.6 1/200s

    ISO 200 35mm f8.0 1/100s
  7. spatulaboy

    spatulaboy I'm not really here Subscribing Member

    Jul 13, 2011
    North Carolina
    You will start to loose sharpness past f5.6 on m4/3 cameras. You can't apply same standards from DSLR to this smaller sensor system. Also: Buy a new lens, it will make an amazing difference. What's the point of getting an interchangeable lens camera if you don't plan on getting lenses?
  8. mattia

    mattia Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 3, 2012
    The Netherlands
    Diffraction limiting at work. F5.6 is often the 'sweet spot' - although if you need the DoF, with the right lens, even smaller apertures will sharpen up well.

    and +1 on getting something nice 'n sharp.
  9. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    At 6x8", the worst m4/3 lens produced will still look plenty sharp. Pixel-peeping is irrelevant at that size.

    Probably an issue with print sharpening and/or print driver.
  10. DeeJayK

    DeeJayK Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 8, 2011
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    First off, it's REALLY tough to do this sort of pixel-peeping A-B sharpness testing based on a single shot since the focus point may not be identical and other factor (e.g. camera shake) can also impact sharpness. Best case you would take several shots at each aperture and compare the sharpest.

    As far as diffraction limiting and f/5.6 necessarily being sharper than f/8 on :43:, I'm not sure that is always true. If you look at the the interactive MTF charts from DPReview of the Olympus 14-42 lens, they seem to indicate that the lens delivers its best performance at 35mm when stopped down to f/8. Note: the test results linked are apparently for the mk I version of the lens (since that is the only version DPR has reviewed), but I would expect the mk II version would perform similarly.
  11. TEMA

    TEMA New to Mu-43

    Apr 26, 2010
    Toronto, ON
    read an excellent review on the lens by Kurt Munger,
    Olympus E-M5 with 14-42mm II R kit lens review

    Now for the conclusion.

    The Olympus 14-42mm F/3.5-5.6 II R kit lens offers a very compact design, with super quiet focusing, and a useful zoom range. Considering the price point of this lens, the optical performance is generally strong at the short end, say 14mm-18mm, however, it becomes slightly soft off-center at the middle focal lengths, and has a noticeable lack of contrast and resolution at the long end: about what you would expect from a standard kit lens. Ghosting and flare control are about average, which means; I'd get the hood if you decide to use the lens a lot. Distortion is kept in check by the in-camera distortion correction, and RAW shooters will be happy to know that there is not much correction going on past 18mm, and even the strong barrel distortion at 14mm is easily corrected manually in post processing. Other pluses include; the reproduction ratio is somewhat high, and it produced a pretty good close-focus shot of the standard woodpecker stamp, and there is no noticeable light fall-off at any aperture or focal length.

    As a kit lens for the extra $100, I'd say it would be worth it, but buying this lens outright is not really a bargain in my opinion, unless you want a very small zoom with good results at wider focal lengths.

    He confirms what I'm seeing from my own tests. Also saw some MTF reports on the prior version of the lens (non R). f5.6 is the sweet spot for center, and edge performance.

    Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 MkII Lens Review

    I'm trying to utilize the equipment and find it's limitations so I'd know for next time. No more P mode for me lol
  12. gugarci

    gugarci Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 8, 2012
    Lyndhurst, NJ
    Let's not blame the kit lens. The biggest issue with the kit lens is the build quality, which is OK, but not the picture quality. I used the kit lens only for about 1 year before i added any other lenses.
    Olympus Lens: Zooms - Olympus 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 II M.Zuiko Digital (Tested) - SLRgear.com!
    "The Olympus 14-42mm ?/3.5-5.6 II M.Zuiko fared very well in our tests, showing that Olympus lens designers have not been idle. The complete redesign of the lens has proven very effective at removing the lens lash problem we detected with the first version. It's nice to see Olympus address the issue, making the very practical and small kit lens easier to recommend."
  13. Photophil

    Photophil Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 24, 2012
    Atlanta Georgia area
    Didn't expect much from Oly 14-42 II, but...

    I have found this lens to be much sharper than I expected, even at 42mm. Assuming you didn't get a bad copy of the lens, I suspect something else is wrong. Camera shake, missed focus (do you let the camera choose the focus point? If you do, I recommend that you pick the focus point instead.) could be possibilities. As for diffraction, from a technical perspective, diffraction probably does start happening about f8.0. But from my own informal testing, it does not become a visual problem until around f16. I have a number of images shot with a Tokina 70-210 (Pentax M mount) at f11 that are razor sharp at 1:1.

    The E-PL5 is a great little camera, and I've been amazed the the results I've gotten with it and the 14-42 II, as well as several legacy Pentax lenses. Keep shooting and try some of the suggestions in this thread. I think you'll really enjoy your E-PL5.
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