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How to get sure about a camera image quality? Or E-PM1 sensor versus E-M10 one.

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by Der@, Jul 15, 2015.

  1. Der@

    Der@ Mu-43 Regular

    May 29, 2013
    Hi everyone,
    My first M4/3 camera was an E-PM1 and I've just bought a E-M10 as an upgrade. I like the new camera features a lot but I can't see a big IQ difference between both cameras, something that is, somehow, disappointing me and started to make me think that the E-M10 might have some problem. Perhaps is just a wrong feeling of mine because I can see, for instance, more detail in the shadows and, logically, more definition, but at the same time I found the colours a bit washed out (I believe this is a characteristic of the E-M10 sensor) and the images not that sharpen [I have replaced "blurry" because it was a misleading word] when seen at 100%. I have the latest firmware, antishock set to "0", sharpness set to "0" also, I shoot in RAW and develop in OV3. Since I don't know anyone with an E-M10 to make a comparison test, can someone tell me if there is other way for me to get sure that my E-M10 is OK?
    Thanks in advance for your help/ideas.
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2015
  2. Ulfric M Douglas

    Ulfric M Douglas Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 6, 2010
    Blimey all that text, accusations of blurry and you haven't mentioned what lens you got?
    With the E-M10 sensor it's all about the lens : the sensor has vast detail, I'd put it top of the range (this week anyway)
  3. alan1972

    alan1972 Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Jun 23, 2012
    Malaga, Spain
    Alan Grant
    I'm not sure you would necessarily expect to see a very big IQ difference at low ISO / in good light. I made the same move and noticed the difference in the ability to get good results at say ISO 1600, not so much in a difference at ISO 200 or 400 (and also in the general usability of the camera, but that is not an IQ issue).

    On the other hand images shouldn't generally be blurry, and I can't say I have noticed the colours being washed out. Maybe post an example?

    Are you comparing the same lens on both cameras?

    Also note that due to the difference in resolution, if you compare both at 100% you are enlarging the E-M10 file more. Not that it is a very big difference, but for a direct IQ comparison I would be inclined to view at the same physical size on screen or in print.
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2015
  4. Klorenzo

    Klorenzo Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 10, 2014
    The biggest difference should be in dynamic range and ISO performance. If you really want to test it you can shoot some landscapes, with the same exposure, and you should see a different amount of clipping in the sky.
    For noise just shoot at 1600 or more but keep in mind that strong software denoise can easily cancel much of the difference.

    I do not think that E-M10 has washed out colours, are you using Neutral profile on both cameras?
  5. DeeJayK

    DeeJayK Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 8, 2011
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    This post is crying out for some image samples. Rather than trying to TELL us what you find lacking in your E-M10 images, why not SHOW us?
    • Like Like x 1
  6. jello212

    jello212 Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 7, 2010
    Raleigh, NC
    You probably have the soft focus art filter selected. It happened to me on the first few pix. I didn't notice until I took a iAuto photo and it was perfect at the same settings. That was when I noticed the Art filter listed in the playback info.

    Anyone know how to turn those God forsaken things off altogether?
  7. Pecos

    Pecos Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Jan 20, 2013
    The Natural State
    Shoot a jpeg or two on Natural with a good lens.
  8. Der@

    Der@ Mu-43 Regular

    May 29, 2013
    Thanks folks for all your comments and ideas (including that "Blimey all that text..." above:LOL). Please do note that I'm not a M4/3 detractor but someone truly passionate with the system.

    Sure I was going to post some pictures examples and below they are. OK, the lens, something very important not mentioned in my first post: the sharpest I have is the M.Zuiko 25mm f/1.8. All four shots were taken with this lens at f/8, ISO 200, JPEGs SOOC (large super fine), auto WB [added], sharpness "0", contrast "0", saturation "0", image mode "Natural", noise filter "off", noise reduction "auto"... I think that's all.

    I will be very grateful for any comments. Thanks in advance.

    View attachment 429526 E-PM1 + M.Zuiko 25mm f/1.8 @ f/8

    View attachment 429527 E-PM1 + M.Zuiko 25mm f/1.8 @ f/8

    View attachment 429528 E-M10 + M.Zuiko 25mm f/1.8 @ f/8

    View attachment 429529 E-M10 + M.Zuiko 25mm f/1.8 @ f/8
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2015
  9. Wisertime

    Wisertime Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 6, 2013
    The IQ isn't going to be that noticeable at Low ISO from an EP1/EPL1/EPM1 to an EM10. Where you see a difference is with the overall performance of the camera itself and much better high ISO. Faster, more responsive, able to shoot up to ISO 6400 realistically vs maybe ISO 1200. Miles better LCD, better controls, more robust build quality etc. You get the gist.

    I came from 4/3rds to the EP1. Not for IQ, but for size/gas reasons. I found the default colors punchier on the older EP's. Having had the EM5, EM1, EPM2...the high ISO blows away the old sensors...though the old ones were quite good at low ISO 100-400. There was a bit of shutter lag on the EP1 too and the LCD was crap (in hindsight). DR might be a tad better too.

    You're also comparing a pocket camera to a midsize consumer enthusiast camera...but essentially similar sensors. Diff models, diff needs/preferences.

    I originally read your post as EPL1...but same thing applies pretty much. You might want to check settings like default gradation, noise filter, keep warm colors and toy with them. There's also a thread with just EP10 images on here you can compare with.
  10. Ulfric M Douglas

    Ulfric M Douglas Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 6, 2010
    I own an e-pM1 and an e-pL7 (E-M10 pen-version) and they both focus and give detail the same with my lenses, but the newer e-pL7 will give me more detail, resolution than the older camera.
    The colours and "depth" of an image can seem a bit 'washed out' if processing from RAW because you start with much more info in the deeper dynamic range and some settings can 'flatten' the image in the RAW processor to show you all the shadow and highlight detail : not great if you want a vivid scene.
    I don't know the technical terms but I feel 'squishing' the dynamic range into a higher-contrast scene will improve matters.
    I also mostly use Jpegs, and both cameras have an in-camera tone-curve adjustment that you can use to improve contrast.
    The much older e-P1/e-P2/e-pL1 have even better 'pop' in their Jpegs ...
  11. Klorenzo

    Klorenzo Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 10, 2014
    I can see different white balance, maybe different algorithms, maybe the small difference in the scene was enough to get different values. You could try again with a fixed WB if you want.

    Other then that you can see a little more highlight clipping in the top right part of the house image in the E-PM1 picture (I enabled the "blinkies" to see it).
    The car plates look better in the E-M10 picture, the bushes too. This could be a focus difference but I doubt considering the aperture.

    Looking at the histogram of the boats shots the E-PM1 shot is a little darker and this should makes the colours appear more saturated. Resetting the WB on the first boat on the left and darkening a little the E-M10 shot I can see no difference in colours. Denoise looks a little stronger on the E-PM1.

    These scenes do not stress much the sensor: low ISO, no strong bright and dark zones differences. High iso or opening shadows in any shot should show a different amount of noise.
  12. Drdave944

    Drdave944 Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Feb 2, 2012
    Why take pictures at f 8 when your lens should be fine at much closer to wide open? Actually anything greater than f 8 is said to cause a diffraction problems but I wouldn't know since I always shoot as wide open as possible. You could have problems with camera shake if you go too high with the f stop. I would not own such fine glass and stop it down to a "Brownie Hawkeye" lens opening,if you know what I mean. As far as the slight change in the color,I guess that has to do with the changes in the processing software,not anything to do with the sensor.
  13. Ulfric M Douglas

    Ulfric M Douglas Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 6, 2010
    Every Olympus sensor change has resulted in slightly different colours, in my opinion : and I keep a close eye on that stuff.
  14. Der@

    Der@ Mu-43 Regular

    May 29, 2013
    Thanks guys for your time. We have a great community here!
    After reading your posts it's now clear to me that the E-M10 sensor is a better sensor than the one of the E-PM1 and that my doubts were not totally legitimate.
    I'll try to summarize my conclusions, but as a disclaimer, let me say that I can still be wrong in some of them:
    - The E-M10 sensor has better ISO sensitivity. I believe that what alan1972 and Wisertime said is true, that I might not notice big IQ difference at low ISO. Although, since I usually don't shoot at high ISO values I hadn't noticed that yet;
    - The E-M10 sensor has better dynamic range. I can clearly see more detail in the shadows and less clipping in the highlights. Klorenzo is right;
    - The E-PM1 colors are punchier (Wisertime) and yes, as Klorenzo said, a little darker too. But I keep on thinking that the colors don't appear more saturated on the E-PM1 because they are darker. I tend to think that the sensors truly have, as Ulfric said, different color signatures;
    - The E-M10 sensor gives more detail (Ulfric). OK, that's the pixel count;
    - The E-M10 JPEGs straight out of the camera have more noise (Klorenzo said more or less the same that denoise looks stronger on the E-PM1). That's not an ugly noise, I might say, but for color shots I like them to be more clinical. For BW (and I shoot a lot in monotone) it looks like film grain, and a nice one.
    My final conclusion is that the E-M10 sensor is truly better, but as I was expecting a bigger difference :coco: in IQ I haven't noticed the little but meaningful good news that were there. And the best part is that there's nothing wrong with my E-M10 :yahoo:.
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2015
    • Like Like x 2
  15. Ulfric M Douglas

    Ulfric M Douglas Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 6, 2010
    Actually it's not just the pixel count. The pixel count helps, but the basic sharpness (light anti-alias filter) of the sensor is greater than the previous sharpness king : the 12mpx sensor in the E-5 and e-pL1.
    Other versions of that 12mpx sensor had less sharpness, for example e-P1, e-600, E-30 but the difference was small.
    A sensor previous to the 12mpx one actually had greater sharpness and was used in light-AA-filter form in the e-410 and e-510.
    So what I'm saying is : there can be no generalities, the details count.
    If you want very smooth low ISO (and high-ISO) just let Fuji smooooth everything for you... I have an X-E1 here and it's wider 16mpx sensor cannot get to the detail that my e-pM2 and e-pL7 can.
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • Informative Informative x 1
  16. PeeBee

    PeeBee Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Sep 17, 2012
    I find the EPM1 colours to be a little over exaggerated at times (I have it set to natural), which is more pleasing than accurate. In comparison, the E-M10 seems to be a little more muted, closer to accurate, but would probably need a bit of a push in PP to make for a more dramatic photo.

    To me the biggest problem with my EPM1 is IBIS and shutter shock inconsistency at lower shutter speeds. Photos on an overcast day (and we have so many of those in the UK) can be hit or miss, and this is were I find the E-M10 to be much better. Also, my EPM1 tends to be a little noisy, even at base ISO, compared to the other m4/3 cameras I've owned. I limit the ISO to 800 on the EPM1, 1600 on my Panasonics and 3200 on the EM10.

    Looking at the sample images in this thread, I can see more detail in the shadowy areas of the jetty in the EM10 image than in the EPM1 image. As others have said, I don't think the sample scenes allowed for the real differences to be revealed.
    • Appreciate Appreciate x 1
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