Help! EPL3-45mm image black in lower portion of image!

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by jettilton, Jan 8, 2012.

  1. jettilton

    jettilton Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 5, 2011
    Have the EPL3 and 45mm combo.
    Took it out last night, no problems, great results.

    Took it out today to take a photo of a crow in a tree, get strange blackish gray haze over much of lower part of image! this has never happened before, was using Aperture Priority, 400 ISO, around f2.2 to 3.2, happens randomly, and haze appears or image appears darker than what conditions were!

    Has this happened to anyone else? Need to know if either the EPL3 or the 45mm is failing, need to return within 30 day policy if it is! Highly disappointed as I was trying to rid myself of the Nikon D5100, and just use the Oly, but this latest problem is extremely upsetting!

    Will try to post image from gallery:
  2. WJW59

    WJW59 Mu-43 Veteran

    Feb 20, 2011
    Did you only take the on shot or were there more and problems with all of them? What size/speed/brand SDHC are you using?

    From the image shown, I wouldn't think it was the lens. It might be a shutter problem, but I would expect the dark area to be a little more defined. It could be a software or card error.

    Do you have another lens? If so, I would try both of them under the same conditions and see if it happens with both. I would also reformat the card to see if maybe the card is corrupted.
  3. nsd20463

    nsd20463 Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 30, 2011
    Santa Cruz, CA
    Would this be what you'd get if your body's shutter was not opening all the way. That is, getting stuck part way open due to dirt or such on its track.

    If you can watch the shutter when the shutter time is long (say 1 sec) you might see it getting stuck. (don't know if Oly allows the shutter to trigger when there is no lens attached).
  4. jettilton

    jettilton Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 5, 2011
    It happens every 4 or 5 shots....weird, I've shot all major brands of camera from high end point and shoots to dslrs, NEVER had this problem before! Battery says fully charged, and card was new and formatted. some shots are exposed correctly while others are not! In daylight around 1 pm, so low light not culprit!
  5. RDM

    RDM Mu-43 All-Pro

    Yea I'm thinking this might be a shutter problem. Looks like something I got on a roll of film on my old canon T70 At 1st it was only a couple frames on the roll, and then it happened more often so then I just got another one off .
    You might want to get it checked out by a technician if it is happening again.
  6. jettilton

    jettilton Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 5, 2011
    Could this happen if the battery was low? Could this cause the problem above? Have been testing the EPL3 and 45mm combo, no problems tonight shooting around the house and outside. Also put in a fresh battery.

    Also checked the 45mm for the sticky blade syndrome, set aperture to f16, pressed shutter, did stop down every time to a nice small opening. No random openings.

  7. hkpzee

    hkpzee Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 5, 2011
    Hong Kong
    Real Name:
    Have you tried with other lenses? Does it only happen to the first shot after switching the camera on, or does it happens random even if you have left your camera on for a while?

    The reason I am asking this is that the E-PL3 uses a protective layer to protect the sensor from dust, rather than a ultrasonic dust remover like the E-P3. The protective layer snaps open every time you switch the camera on, and from the look of your picture, it seems to me that the protective layer couldn't open completely when you took the shot. Anyway, it would probably require an inspection...
  8. veereshai

    veereshai Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 12, 2011
    Arlington, VA
    The shutter speed in the EXIF reads 1/4000. You might want to check the other photographs which have similar banding. If they're all at higher shutter speeds, you might have to get it serviced.
  9. jettilton

    jettilton Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 5, 2011
    Thanks, I'll check it out tomorrow when the sun is finally supposed to be out! Will let you know the results! I sure hope that it would not need servicing after only having it for 3 weeks! At least I have a couple of more days within B&H PHoto's 30 day return policy.

  10. gswpete

    gswpete Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 18, 2011
    I bought a EPM-1 a couple of months ago and had the same issue at high shutter speeds. Ended up returning the E-PM1.
  11. jettilton

    jettilton Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 5, 2011
    Yes, thoroughly depressed now! So much research, Oly 45mm lens hype....all for nothing! I thought that it might be a high ISO problem, since at ISO 1600 outdoors, sunny, f2.8, shutter speed of around 2500-4000, half of image has black/gray problem, thought maybe If I set ISO to 200? Same problem! so if you set ISO to 200, f3.5 or 4, shutter speed goes to 2500 or more, same problem as above!!!!!!! Tried both lenses, same problem no matter what lens I'm using!

    This is so disheartening, Spent over $1000 on New EPL3, franiec grip, 45mm lens, VF-3..
    now I'm having to package it back up to send to B&H!
    So wanted a compact system that delivered great images, but no more Olympus for me!
    At least I know I'm not alone since gswpete had the same problems with the EPM-1.

    Now I only have my trusty Nikon d5100, and no smaller system or compact to take with me anywhere! I sure don't want Olympus products given their financial scandal and now I can't use the camera at high shutter speeds outdoors (something that could be done with the EPL1 I had before).

    Does Panasonic have this problem?
  12. jettilton

    jettilton Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 5, 2011
    Also tried same scenario with my Nikon D5100, no problems....shot at high shutter speeds, low f-stop, High ISO, Low ISO, image properly exposed, no strange black haze!
  13. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    The E-PL3 and E-PM1 both have a newly designed shutter system which is faster than the old one (note the 5.5fps burst rate over the old 3.5fps burst which is still present in the E-P3 which houses the old shutter mechanism).

    What this black bar looks like is the closing of the second curtain. This is the same thing you see if you try to sync flash with too fast of a shutter speed, because the flash duration is longer than the closing of the shutter so the shutter closing gets burned into the image.

    This is the same idea even though you are using ambient light. The problem I see is that you're using a high ISO when it is not needed. The sensor becomes too sensitive, and the camera settings are not expecting so much flood of light for the sensitive sensor. Normally you would not bump up the ISO if you are that close to max shutter speed! The only reason you would "require" that high of a shutter speed is if you were trying to stop a bullet or a helicopter rotor or something. Keep in mind that stopping a bullet with a fast shutter will not really stop it, so don't try this if it's coming at you - dodge first. ;)

    Basically, the super-sensitivity of the sensor may be burning in an image the same way the lingering light of a flash would. The difference is that flash X-sync is a lot slower (ie, 1/180s on your camera) because flash is much more intense than high ISO. That's my theory.

    Don't bump up your ISO until you need to. When your shutter speed becomes too slow to capture the image hand-held without shaking too much or getting motion blur from your subject, that's when you bump up the ISO to obtain a higher shutter speed. On a bright sunny day when your shutter speed is in the 1/1000's, you should never have to raise your ISO past its base 200! If at base ISO (ISO200) you are reaching the max 1/4000s shutter speed, then stop down your aperture to cut more light out. Most modern lenses have a smallest aperture of f/22 (normal lenses) or f/32 (macro lenses), with old legacy lenses sometimes not going past f/16. That should be more than enough to cut out any kind of ambient light to obtain exposure at base ISO (keep in mind though that if you're stopping down past f/8 or so then you start to introduce diffraction, so drop to base ISO first before relying on F-stops, besides which the improvement in image quality from dropping a stop in ISO is profound so you would never bump ISO except as a very last resort). If you need to keep the aperture open (ie, perhaps for added bokeh?) and you're getting too much light in at base ISO, then use a Neutral Density filter. Since you're bumping the ISO, you haven't reached this point yet.

    Keep in mind that this is all theoretical on how it applies to your particular problem. I've never experienced such a problem, but I see you breaking some general rules of photography here and that may be contributing to your problem. Theoretically.

    Also, I'm not taking blame away from the camera. Supposing my theory is correct, the camera should not behave this way without some fault in design, whether it be the over-sensitivity of the sensor or the improper timing of the shutter mechanism. However, you should still change the settings you use anyways because you are only degrading your image by bumping the ISO when you have so much light present and your shutter speed is already high. ISO should be bumped as a last resort when your shutter speed is too SLOW, and you can't make it faster with other means (ie, wide aperture or more light). Whether or not this will fix your problem, it will definitely improve the quality of your images. :)
  14. jettilton

    jettilton Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 5, 2011

    It does this also at ISO 200, verified that today with the 45mm and the kit lens.

    So freaking disappointed! If I had bought it locally, would not be a problem, but ordered it from B&H, so have to send it back, wait for refund, etc.

    Don't want to take a chance with another body, as even "GSWPETE" had the same issue with the EPM-1, starting to wonder if this is a problem for many of the bodies?
    Maybe i would have better luck in testing out an EPL2 locally, using my 45mm to see if the issue occurs.

    Frustrating when my D5100 handled the same settings at low and high ISO, with no problems.
  15. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    As mentioned, the E-PL3 and E-PM1 are the only two bodies that share a completely re-designed shutter mechanism. As I have never heard of this problem before on any other Olympus PEN, I think you can safely isolate any questionable activity to those bodies only. I've also wondered about the claims by E-PM1 owners of inconsistent IBIS, if that is also related to the new shutter mechanism. The E-P3 uses the old shutter mechanism found on the E-PL2, E-P2, E-P1, E-PL1, etc.

    I have not experienced any problems with IBIS or shutter on my E-PM1, personally. However, I'm very conscientious about shooting well within the confines of camera limitations. I don't push my camera to achieve beyond what any other camera could handle, but instead I change my setup to ensure the most consistent quality in my photos. So I'm not the best testing grounds for these kind of problems. :)