How Sharp Is M43 Format? This Sharp!

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by Carbonman, Dec 30, 2014.

  1. Carbonman

    Carbonman Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jul 10, 2014
    Vancouver BC
    Graham
    I shot some photos of my turntable rig with my E-M10 and 12-40. There were a few questions lingering in my mind regarding resolution at smaller f stops and ultimate enlargeability of the M43 format. The various comments on this and other forums about the significant loss of resolution at smaller apertures than f8.0 and inability to produce really big images without pixilization ruining them was to be personally tested with these photos.
    The first photo is the whole frame converted directly to resized JPEG from RAW with no post processing. Exposure was 2.5 sec. at f16, ISO 100, -1.0 EV exposure correction in camera. Focal length was 40mm. The second photo is the area of focus cropped but not resized. I defy anyone to complain about M43 resolution in general or small aperture capability of the format specifically. Diffraction be damned!
     

    Attached Files:

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  2. DHart

    DHart Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 7, 2010
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    Don
    Here's some sharp for you... taken by scott2hot with GX7 and Pana/Leica 25/1.4 lens:

     
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  3. Carbonman

    Carbonman Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jul 10, 2014
    Vancouver BC
    Graham
    Imagine if I'd shot with an Oly 60 macro at about f5.6 or f8.0 - detail would be even better. I was using the 12-40 at its' worst focal length for resolution and an aperture that is noted in all camera formats for degrading resolving power.
     
  4. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    I went shooting today with my nephew who runs a Canon 6d (FF). We took a few shots from nearly the same location - him on a 17-40L and me on my E-M5 with a Panasonic 12-35. With both at 200 ISO and him shooting at f7 with me at f5.6, the difference is very, very small. Certainly nothing that would make a real world difference even on a large print. Certainly there is more detail on the 6d shots if you go pixel peeking, but it really isn't as much as you think. The story would be quite different at ISO 3200 fir sure, but I for one take very few shots at that sort of sensitivity. u43 is clearly more than good enough for most people's needs.
     
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  5. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    Many people simply pixel-peep with screen images and never print large. It's only when you print very large that you can see the real differences between m4/3, APS-C and FF, given properly exposed photographs. I've mentioned previously that I've truly surprised other photographers when they've seen my 17"x22" prints from a 5MP E-1, thinking they have been produced with something completely different.
     
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  6. fortwodriver

    fortwodriver Mu-43 Top Veteran

    959
    Nov 15, 2013
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Frank
    Brilliantly sharp.

    How does the OM40 compare to the OM5E? I have the OM5E on my Dual 1218... I like it.
     
  7. LowriderS10

    LowriderS10 Monkey with a camera.

    May 19, 2013
    Canada
    Great example! In addition to sharpness, it also displays very pleasing bokeh, great colours and contrast and a complete lack of CA.

    I agree, M4/3 is excellent...when I bought my E-M5, I was going to use it as a travel rig and keep my 5D Mark II with the 16-35L II for everything else. Then I show them back-to-back...even on the incorrect settings (the E-M5 wasn't set up properly yet, it was my first day with it), the Oly came out ahead...

    Last year I was invited to participate in an art exhibition...I printed/displayed 4 images in A2 size (massive). One was out of the 5D Mark II, one out of a 5D Classic, and two out of the OM-D. I challenged a lot of people (many of whom were passionate about photography, and all of them DSLR shooters) to identify which shot came from which camera...no one ever got it right. :D

    EDIT: Also...thanks for the subject...made me smile. Growing up (and still) my dad's always been into Hi-Fi equipment...he was always praising Ortofon needles. :)
     
  8. JNB

    JNB Mu-43 Regular

    164
    Dec 11, 2014
    Nova Scotia, Canada
    After shooting Panasonic G1 for a couple of months (2009), I decided that I could let my Canon stuff go. A fellow arrived to buy one of my L lenses, toting a backpack full of the latest full-frame gear. I had a couple of 12 x 18" prints around and he kept remarking on how sharp they were. I just smiled, because they had been taken with my 2003-vintage 6mp Canon 300D and a cheap but cheerful Sigma telephoto that cost me all of $150. But they'd been taken on a tripod, lens stopped down to what I knew to be the sweet spot, and I'd done an adequate job of print sharpening. After chatting for a while, I asked him what tripod he'd settled on. He said he'd never used a tripod. 'Nuff said.
     
  9. Carbonman

    Carbonman Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jul 10, 2014
    Vancouver BC
    Graham
    The Super OM40 blows the OM5e away, no 2 ways about it. Think moving coil sonic quality. The OM40 stylus is about $250-300 and I'm not even sure that it's still available (might be in Europe). The OM30 is a close second.
     
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  10. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    It still amazes me when people say they don't own or ever use a tripod. There are clearly times when tripods, or even monopods, aren't suitable, but to never consider using one is bizarre.
     
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  11. AlanU

    AlanU Mu-43 Veteran

    484
    May 2, 2012
    I'm curious if you can get the identical results simply shooting f/8 on a smaller m43 sensor. Did you try? did you see any substantial gains with slower shutter speeds with smaller apertures than f/8???

    With my full frame I seldom shoot over f/11 regardless of what situation requiring thick dof. I do not need to go beyond those smaller apertures being concerned with diffraction.

    I've taken plenty of "posed" family photos and put them in professional bound leather photo albums using thick fuji professional paper. The em-5 with 14mm f/2.5 and 25 f/1.4 did a fantastic job in print. I'll have to say that your absolutely correct in how impressive the m43 can be. I think majority of folks buying an m43 camera will appreciate the dlsr quality out of a smaller sensor. What's freaky is the nature of the beast with wysiwyg lcd view of exposure before you push the shutter button. Most dslr users do not shoot live view when they take photos while shooting family events etc.

    When it comes to high detailed close up shots I will grab a dedicated macro lens. I've achieved ridiculously sharp images even at f/2.8 to f/5.6 with my canon 100L IS(image stabilized) hand held with relatively quick shutter speeds. This is with a canon full frame. I haven't invested in a macro lens for my m43.

    If your comparing prints I'd say use whatever platform you fancy. The 300dpi will hide alot of noise and physical prints always looks great...even with point/shoot camera's.
     
  12. fortwodriver

    fortwodriver Mu-43 Top Veteran

    959
    Nov 15, 2013
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Frank
    While I used a tripod a lot in my film days, I didn't really use tripods for digital until recently when I bought a very light, compact model.
    Before that I used to look at my Manfrotto and get a back-ache just staring at it... :-(
     
  13. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    I've always been a tripod user, which I guess came from my medium and large format days. I currently have a large Manfrotto as well as a very compact Velbon, but there are times when nothing but the Manfrotto will do, such as longer exposures. If I was using FF like a D810 or Sony A7R for landscapes, it would most certainly be attached to the Manfrotto, regardless of exposure times.
     
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  14. Carbonman

    Carbonman Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jul 10, 2014
    Vancouver BC
    Graham
    I used a tripod in the days of film when shooting products and architecture professionally and for those times when the light was really poor and flash was inappropriate. I bought one of the little Photopro M5 'beer can' tripods a month ago and used it for the Ortofon shot today.
     
  15. JNB

    JNB Mu-43 Regular

    164
    Dec 11, 2014
    Nova Scotia, Canada
    I use a tripod less frequently than I used to for general shooting. Like you, I shot large and medium format film, and a tripod was necessary part of the gear. That habit carried over to 35mm SLR's and DSLR's. I had one with me almost always. With M-4/3 (and advancing age), I'll take a tripod only if I'm quite sure I'm going to need it.
     
  16. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    I'm kind of the same. However, whenever I go bush, I'll have the tripod and monopd in the car, as I never know what might arise and I've often taken shots very late in the evening or at night. IBIS has been a Godsend in so many ways and the latest version leaves me gobsmacked, especially considering what I can do with the 90-250mm and tele-extender handheld (that's nearly 4kg all up). That said, I'd never give up on my tripod and monopod, as I'd hate to be somewhere special and miss something unique because I got complacent.
     
  17. DynaSport

    DynaSport Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 5, 2013
    Dan
    It's awfully arrogant to think that a photographer is less of a photographer because they don't use a tripod. It really depends of what you shoot and what style you have. For action/photojournalism style shooting I don't think most photographers use a tripod. I own a tripod, but almost never use it. I guess by your way of thinking I'm not much of a photographer. Which might be true, but I don't think it's because I don't use a tripod.
     
  18. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    Where do you get the arrogance bit or that non-users are considered lesser photographers? I for one stated quite clearly that it's situation dependent, but to refuse same in all and any situation is crazy. I did sports photography for many years and a monopod was essential, tripods were impractical. Others have also quite clearly elaborated on their thoughts in a similar vein. You've read far too much into this and read it quite incorrectly at that.
     
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  19. JNB

    JNB Mu-43 Regular

    164
    Dec 11, 2014
    Nova Scotia, Canada
    No disrespect intended. Of course one doesn't use a tripod for many types of photographs. However, the gentleman who said he didn't own a tripod was shooting full-frame, and landscapes was a large part of his interest, which is why he was looking at my prints (I guess I should have stated that they were landscapes).
     
  20. DHart

    DHart Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 7, 2010
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    Don
    I think a lot of photographers who don't use tripods don't realize that some (or many) of their images suffer (to some extent or more) from camera movement and they're not even aware of the fact.

    Unless you pixel peek carefully, you probably wouldn't even notice the subtle effects of slight camera movement, but they are there. For some images, it probably wouldn't matter at all, depending on the use of the image. But for other images, where you really want to squeeze out as much image quality as you can get out of these small sensors, it does matter.

    Tripods are usually just inconvenient. Oh well, we just deal with that when IQ needs to be maximized.

    When a tripod is used, there is often an improvement in sharpness that may not be noticed on casual observation, but can certainly be seen when looking carefully at 1:1.

    Some folks seem to almost ridicule pixel peepers for doing so. There is nothing to be ashamed about, being a pixel peeper... it's all about working to maximize the quality you can get from these small cameras. To some image makers, that is important!

    Many people just don't realize the very subtle image degradation that can occur when not using a tripod.
     
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