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I'm not getting sharp photos with E-P5

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by dgphelps, Apr 11, 2014.

  1. dgphelps

    dgphelps Mu-43 Regular

    May 5, 2013
    I've been using an e-pl3 for several years and love it. I had the two zoom kit lenses but almost always shot with vintage glass, preferring my Pentax primes and at times going to a few Canon lenses. Evan with manual focus I was able to get amazingly sharp photos...

    I bought an E-p5 about 4 weeks back and have been shooting with m zuiko 45 1.8, 17 1.8, and a 60 2.8. I find that most of the time I miss that crisp focus no matter how much I mess with the aperture. It's like there is a soft focus throughout.

    I know there is a whole shutter shock discussion and I tried the 1/8th delay but never saw a noticeable difference. I have also changed the IS to 1 instead of auto and tried many shots with it off and it's still mostly the same.

    I find if I shoot with the 60mm on macro it tends to be slightly better with more in focus that out. Any ideas? I'm starting to wonder if I should just give up and return it. :( 

    I love the camera but should be getting crisper shots with it and new auto lenses that I did with the older model and legacy lenses. I'm bummed.
  2. Sammyboy

    Sammyboy m43 Pro

    Oct 26, 2010
    Steeler Country
    …. must be the camera, can't be human error ……. :smile:
    • Like Like x 1
  3. dgphelps

    dgphelps Mu-43 Regular

    May 5, 2013
    E-P5 not getting sharp photos :( 

    I'd be surprised if after several years taking sharp photos manually and without 5 axis IS I'd not be able to get but a handful to match with the new body and lenses.

    I'm actually asking for any advice determining what the issue is. Hoping it is something with settings I can fix. If it is settings I'd consider that human error. ;) 
  4. stripedrex

    stripedrex Do or do not. There is no try.

    Jun 8, 2012
    Long Island, NY
    Make sure the 5-axis is on full auto (left setting of the 3 if I recall) and 1/8 delay is on. I recently sold mine as well, while I can get sharp focus consistently with it, it wasn't as amazing as the e-m5 (I have to use proper technique with the e-p5 even with 5-axis while on my e-m5 I can shoot my 45mm at 1/30th with my left hand fully extended and arms shaking and be sharp). Also, I'm not sure if it's a low pass filter thing shots noticeably less sharp than my e-m5 given the same lens. Actually overall I find the OMDs (e-m5 / e-m1) sharper then the PENs (e-p5 / e-pm2). I have a feeling the low pass filter on the pens are at play? Not sure. I admit I'm a bit of a pixel peeper but the sharpness differences are noticeable in lightroom NOT zoomed in for my raw shooting of OMDs and PENs. In terms of sharpness of the Olympus cameras I've had I would say E-M5, E-M1, E-P5, then E-PM2. There's a sharp contrast in sharpness comparing the E-M5 and E-PM2 for example.
  5. Droogie

    Droogie Mu-43 Veteran

    Feb 23, 2013
    Washington State
    Have you shot some on manual focus? Also put it on a tripod for a few shots as an additional test.
  6. rfortson

    rfortson Mu-43 Veteran

    That's weird that you used to get sharp shots but now you don't get as sharp with a variety of lenses. I just picked up the E-P5 to go with my E-M5 and I find the output from each identical. While I don't know what could be causing it, it does sound like something with your camera. Can you post some samples with EXIF? Do you still have your E-PL3 for comparison?
  7. MarkRyan

    MarkRyan Instagram: @MRSallee

    May 3, 2013
    Agreed, post some samples with EXIF data.
  8. budeny

    budeny Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 4, 2014
    Boulder, CO
    Disable IBIS.
    Enable focus peaking.
    Enable shutter shock delay.
  9. Art

    Art Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 13, 2011
    San Francisco, CA
    E-PL3 is 12MP, E-P5 is 16MP, are you comparing both at 12MP or at 100%?
  10. htc

    htc Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 11, 2011
    I have both fives and the output is identically crispy. Have to be user error or faulty gadget. Also no shutter shocks what so ever. I'm with Russ and Mark, post some examples with exif data.
  11. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team Subscribing Member

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    Be methodical, one step at a time:

    - Start with MF on a solid tripod, IS off, delayed or remote release. Use a lens you know is sharp on your EPL3. Try different shutter speeds and ISO. If it's not sharp under these circumstances, then either you've got a lemon or the lift from 12 to 16mp is changing your perception (viewing at 100% will be higher magnification at 16mp).

    - Add AF, but keep it on the tripod. If things change, you have an AF problem.

    - Take it off the tripod, but leave IS off. Take some shots handheld at a high enough shutter speed that you don't need IS. If things change, you've got a handling problem.

    - Turn on IS. If things change, you've got an IS problem. If the blur happens only with shutter speeds in the 1/100 to 1/250 range, the you're probably experiencing shutter shock.

    Good luck!
    • Like Like x 1
  12. dgphelps

    dgphelps Mu-43 Regular

    May 5, 2013
    Thank you all. I like the systematic approach idea. I'm going to take some time today to go through the list and also do it with my old e-pl3 and see how it shakes out.

    I'm curious if it is a megapixel thing but the one thing I've been using as my guide is eyelashes. I used to always gauge sharpness by evaluating how sharp they were at 100%. Hard thing to use for a testing evaluation but I'll find something comparable and start snapping.

    I'll post up results to hopefully get some clarity and feedback from there. Thanks.
  13. dgphelps

    dgphelps Mu-43 Regular

    May 5, 2013
    Here is one image from yesterday - still setting up for the actual test today.

    There is no area of clear focus. I understand that at f1.8 it would be a shallow dof but nothing is actually sharp -- just flirting with it near his temple / hairline.

    I'll do some tests and use the e-pl3 too and then report back with some results.

    Attached Files:

  14. wushumr2

    wushumr2 Mu-43 Regular

    May 20, 2013
    That looks pretty good to me, considering it's a bit underexposed. Looks like focus nailed somewhere around the edge of his eyebrow towards his left (right in the photo) ear. I'd say shoot another one at f4 or 5.6 so much more is in focus and then we can make a judgment.

    Another thing you can try is taking the same picture with both cameras but the E-P5 set to medium and then even just checking the file size. If it's horribly out of focus or unsharp you should see a seriously low file size.
  15. phl0wtography

    phl0wtography Mu-43 Veteran

    Apr 15, 2011
    * First of all, the image plane is tilted in regards to the focus plane, so wide open it's really hard to notice a clear area of focus.
    However, it looks like as if focus is halfway through his head. There's a thin slice of hair in focus that also cuts through his right shoulder. DoF of the 45 wide open from that close distance isn't enough to get lashes and iris in focus for instance from that close focus distances as shown in the picture.

    * second of all, as was stated, you have to adapt your perception to the new sensor. The lenses appear sharper on the 12mp sensor due to the lower magnification. This of course means that focus has to be critical at larger apertures to get crisp pictures. Use the smallest AF point with face detection nearest eye, and wait for the small green rectangle around one eye to be sure that critical focus was acquired.

    At first, it took me some time too to get crisp pictures when I upgraded from E-PL2 to E-M5.
    • Like Like x 1
  16. moccaman

    moccaman Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 4, 2012
    Shoulda bought a GX7 :hiding: hehe
  17. htc

    htc Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 11, 2011
    It looks just the same with GX7 if you fail to focus to the right spot, like in this case :) 
  18. htc

    htc Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 11, 2011
    Like the previous posters said it's perfectly crisp but not in the right place :)  Use that right eye, left eye setting and try again. Of course you have to keep in mind that after focusing neither of you can't move a bit otherwise the result is like above.

  19. dejongj

    dejongj Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 3, 2013
    Whipsnade, UK
    It is hard to tell for certain, the sample provided is tiny in size, the exif has been stripped out. As already said, it seem to be sharp, just that you've missed the focus ;)  It is in the wrong place. Looks like user error to me....
  20. stripedrex

    stripedrex Do or do not. There is no try.

    Jun 8, 2012
    Long Island, NY
    I know EXACTLY what you are saying and I'm pretty certain the softness with the PEN series particularly in lower light situations is low pass filter. People say the focus is near the front of his face but there are hairs you can kind of see in the back of his head. I stated this before I think the current line of PENs seem to be substantially less sharp then the current line of OMDs. I don't know if people just have different abilities to see what's sharp but I have 20/20 vision and on my personal photos I know I see sharper images from my OMD sensors. I admit to be a pixel peeper but for my vision the difference is substantial. In higher ISOs for me for lesser resolution lenses that contrast is even more noticable. I take a lot of close ups of my son and he has crazy eye lashes. You can see some 'blur' around the hairs on the e-p5 (it's not shutter shock) but on the e-m5 the transition between the hair and the skin or background is more sharp. I shoot raw so I don't think it's a processing thing. So on good monitors with those with good vision I'm guessing it's very visible.
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