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Less Detail from the E-M10II

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by CWRailman, Nov 17, 2015.

  1. CWRailman

    CWRailman Mu-43 Top Veteran

    564
    Jun 2, 2015
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    Denny
    For my type of shooting of miniatures, (Google CWRailman to see my WEB page and get an idea of what I am talking about,) detail is very important and pixel peeping becomes a necessity. I was checking out the DPReview of the E-M10II to see how it compared to my E-M10 and saw some rather disappointing results. In their Studio Comparison page if you bring up the E-M10 along side the E-M10II and move the target over the old bearded guys collar so his left cheek is showing it becomes quite apparent that the JPG engine has been tweaked (as noted in the first paragraph after the test images) as they say and not in a positive manner. The texture of the collar starts getting muddied and the detail of the whiskers on his cheek start disappearing. It become more apparent when you shift the ISO to 1600 or 3200. That might not be a concern for those who shoot RAW but not so good for those who rely on JPG. Now somebody will say "just shoot RAW" I just know it.
     
  2. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    Los Angeles, CA
    The newer Olympus cameras tend to apply more noise reduction in exchange for greater dynamic range when shooting jpeg. I have the E-M5 II, E-P5 and E-M10. The E-M5 II has the best DR at low ISOs, the E-P5 seems to have the best sharpness and the E-M10 (ver. I) seems to slot somewhere in the middle. If you really want sharp jpegs, I'd look into the E-P5.
     
  3. CWRailman

    CWRailman Mu-43 Top Veteran

    564
    Jun 2, 2015
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    Denny
    Not that I am looking to replace my E-M10's but if you use that same DPReview page and compare the E-M10 to the E-P5, while the JPG engine in the E-P5 appears to do better than the E-M10II, it does not quite provide the detail that the E-M10 does. Personally I have found, in my tests that my E-M5, with the lenses I have, gives slightly more detail than the E-M10 but both were great finds this year for me.
     
  4. gryphon1911

    gryphon1911 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 13, 2014
    Central Ohio, USA
    Andrew
    I've found that my OMDs needed a tweak in the JPG engine department for me. I actually shoot with the sharpness at -1. I find it over sharpens and can cause some pretty bad base ISO noise artifacts. I then sharpen in Lightroom with no ill effects.

    However....I have found through some recent testing that I much prefer shooting my Olympus gear in RAW and processing. Lightroom does an excellent job and if I need/want that "little extra", then Olympus Viewer 3 will get you there. It might be time for you to give into the RAW gods and sacrifice some JPG convenience. You can shoot both for a while until you feel comfortable with RAW alone.
     
  5. drd1135

    drd1135 Zen Snapshooter

    Mar 17, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    Steve
    :biggrin:
    I agree that studio tests can be tricky because the default JPEG settings for the EM10 II might be different than the EM10. I checked myself at DPR and the EM10 certainly looks sharper than the EM10 II. Almost too much. I have no idea how else to check but I wouldn't rely on this alone.
     
  6. MichaelSewell

    MichaelSewell Mu-43 Top Veteran

    511
    Sep 1, 2015
    Burnley, UK
    Michael A. Sewell
    @CWRailman@CWRailman , May I ask as to why your preference for jpeg over raw?
     
  7. CWRailman

    CWRailman Mu-43 Top Veteran

    564
    Jun 2, 2015
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    Denny
    I know a lot of photographers only shoot RAW or some shoot both and get some pretty amazing results however, I don't have the time to mess around with RAW. When doing the product shots for clients the Graphic artist person is standing right next to me. It's a long story but let's just say it's a security issue. When I am done shooting she takes the SD card from me and I do not see it again till the next shoot. They then work and get the images applied to their product sheets and out to their clients/potential buyers within a few hours. There is no time to mess around with RAW.

    In my personal or hobby related shooting, I have messed around with RAW a bit but I spent way too much time in a darkroom till the early hours of the morning at times during my film shooting days and I learned that life is short. There are way too many better things to do, such as taking my motorcycle trips, playing golf or enjoying time with friends, than sitting behind a computer processing RAW images in an attempting to extract that little bit of extra. If the camera does not deliver what I need in JPG then it's not one that I consider. However, though there is not as much latitude when working with JPG, I do occasionally use Lightroom to do some enhancements to the company portrait JPG images that I shoot for the employees and which are used on their business cards or company publications.
     
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  8. b_rubenstein

    b_rubenstein Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 20, 2012
    Melbourne, FL
    If one shoots JPGs, and care about image quality, then they really need to go through the menu settings to optimize the JPG output from the camera. There are settings for sharpening, noise reduction, contrast, tone control, WB default adjustments, etc.

    Not to mention, that relying only the DPreview images doesn't necessarily extend to all samples of that model camera. I personally prefer the Imaging Resource camera comparator tool.
     
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  9. MichaelSewell

    MichaelSewell Mu-43 Top Veteran

    511
    Sep 1, 2015
    Burnley, UK
    Michael A. Sewell
    Yes, the security issue can be a real bind with high value product, DNAs etc, so the fact you're shooting jpeg doesn't really surprise me. In similar setups, we still shoot raw, but we have a production pipeline where we shoot tethered to a 42" screen. Selected images are worked on during the shoot and spat out as finished jpegs before the shoot is wrapped up. Believe me, I know this isn't the norm for most, and I'm aware we are extremely lucky to have this kind of workflow and the advantages shooting raw gives us. But I certainly do know the constraints of shooting jpeg, and the need to absolutely nail the exposure. So to choose this path is admirable.

    With regards to my own experience in the film days, I soon realised pigging about in the darkroom didn't earn me money. Shooting did.
    I very quickly offloaded all developing and printing to local labs, freeing up my time to do the bit that earned me my wage.

    Coming into the digital age was a whole new experience, and yes, my initial dalliance with raw conversion was hatefully slow and really quite painful.
    DXO produced nice results, but I needed a shave by the time I had worked a few images up. Working up a wedding? Please! Kill me now!!!!!
    I believe it's much quicker now than it was back then.
    Bibble was quicker, but had some quirks. Of course, it has long since been snapped up by Corel.
    Finally, I've been using Lightroom since V2, immediately before the launch of V3
    I now find the latest version of LR to be extremely quick, and certainly not the handicap raw conversion used to be. The advantages of raw files certainly come to fore with the processing power afforded by LR, to the point I would now say it's quicker for me to use raw than jpeg, especially if the jpeg is on the cusp of exposure and requires more work than I would like.

    LR used to be very expensive, and I think that the cost impacted many a photographer's workflow decision. Nowadays, Adobe have seen fit to offer LR and Photoshop as a very heavily discounted "Photographer's package", which in the UK amounts to less then £8 per month, and I no longer hesitate to recommend this as an option to the photographers I teach and mentor.
     
  10. Lcrunyon

    Lcrunyon Mu-43 Top Veteran

    758
    Jun 4, 2014
    Maryland
    Loren
    As for the original question, I wonder what the noise reduction settings are at.

    As for shooting RAW, I've been religiously shooting RAW since I started, but CWRailman's point of view on that resonates with me. I too have plenty of personal factors in the debate that might not be relevant to other people. I plan on doing my own tests to decide whether I can convince myself that I can shoot JPEG to my satisfaction, and unshackle myself to RAW. What I hope to end up with is a state where shooting JPEG or RAW are on a case-by-case basis, and that I am confident I know which setting to use at the time of the photograph. I know there will be times when RAW will be necessary, but I also suspect that there will be more times when I can achieve the results I want with JPEG.
     
  11. rwingsfan

    rwingsfan Mu-43 Rookie

    17
    Sep 4, 2015
    Tony

    It's funny how different we all are. Under your circumstance I certainly can see and agree that JPG is the only way to go. For me however I kind of enjoy the post process and usually don't find it a burden. Especially when in a hurry I can just process all with my "special sauce" preset and still usually have better than SOOC jpgs. I often hear the "my time is valuable" mantra and while quite true for me it's not a excuse to not try and get the most out of my mediocre attempts :)
     
  12. MarkRyan

    MarkRyan Instagram: @MRSallee

    772
    May 3, 2013
    California
    Denny, I would be very surprised if the newer camera is downgraded in any way. I would chalk up any differences to inconsistent JPEG settings between cameras, or variance in the shooting conditions. Sharpness, noise reduction, contrast, gradation, color ("Picture Mode"), and file size are all variables that can be set in these cameras and affect the JPEG output.

    Everything I've read says that both cameras have the same sensor and processing engine. It could be incorrect, and I'd be interested to see an in-depth exploration of differences, but this doesn't seem carefully executed to meet that purpose.
     
  13. Ross the fiddler

    Ross the fiddler Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    I think I would be trying (in the E-M10 Mk II) adjusting the in-camera Noise Filter to OFF (Menu *E) & if necessary, up the Sharpness to +1, but that might be pushing it too far. I know the E-M5 puts out sharp images & may need pulling back while the E-M1 less sharp but they do use different sensors though, as well a different engines & also the E-M1 optimises the output according to lens attached (using a data base in camera). Essentially, if relying on the JPEG output then I guess the optimum settings should be known before a shoot so the JPEG turns out at the best for the desired use.
     
  14. Clint

    Clint Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 22, 2013
    San Diego area, CA
    Clint
    Several things come to mind.
    1. You’re giving DPReview a lot of credibility for extremely accurate testing processes and results. From my personal experience they provide a good comparison but not worthy of the level of scrutiny such as you have done with this.
    2. One of the great things about the Olympus cameras is the ability to fine tune many things that contribute to the final IQ. They are tools provided to us to use as we see fit.
    3. How much is cropped for the final usage? Minimal cropping combined with smaller final product sizes and much of that detail will not be available in the end product.
    4. What is the final product of your photographs? How are they reproduced and displayed? In all but larger prints, much of the detail you are concerned with would be extremely hard to tell the difference in side by side comparisons with the naked eye, even less so for the casual reader of a publication. Full page fine art publications would be on concern.
    5. A small level of post processing could easily make the lessor of those two images equal the other if it was necessary.
     
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  15. Klorenzo

    Klorenzo Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 10, 2014
    Lorenzo
    It seems that the RAW file is better too, even compared to the E-shutter version. I'm wondering if they did something wrong with the test.
     
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  16. drd1135

    drd1135 Zen Snapshooter

    Mar 17, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    Steve
    I noticed this as well. I know they can do noise reduction even at the raw stage . I wonder if lowering the noise reduction affects the raw files.`
     
  17. Ross the fiddler

    Ross the fiddler Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    With Olympus cameras to avoid confusion, Noise Reduction is only dark frame subtraction as used in long exposures whereas Noise Filter (which only affects JPEGs) is what I think you may be referring to (if you are discussing Olympus cameras). That might be back to front from other cameras but that's how Olympus names them.
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2015
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  18. drd1135

    drd1135 Zen Snapshooter

    Mar 17, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    Steve
    I'm not sure exactly what is done. I just remember reading that some RAW files are subjected to NR. I'm not sure if OMD files are among those.
     
  19. Turbofrog

    Turbofrog Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 21, 2014
    I understand the sentiment about time, value, and JPEGs.

    But from my corner, I prefer the output from a straight RAW conversion in Lightroom even with no adjustments (just the default settings) 9 times out of 10 to any JPEG. And it has to do almost entirely with noise reduction. Lightroom defaults to 25 chroma noise reduction, 0 luminance noise reduction, and 25 sharpening.

    Chroma noise reduction is an easy adjustment that almost never negatively impacts an image. No detail loss. But any luminance reduction has a substantial impact on detail. No JPEG engine that I've seen can be configured to only implement chroma NR with no luminance NR. And if you turn down NR to 0 (or -10, or whatever the lowest in-camera setting is) you almost always get nasty interactions between the JPEG compression, chroma noise, and sharpening. It's a mess.

    This is why I shoot RAW, because I savour the detail. To me, luminance noise is "transparent." You can see through the grain to the detail behind it. But as soon as you add noise reduction, you turn that transparent luminance noise into a blotchy haze that obscures the detail, but is still visible over top. I've rarely had good results doing it in PP, and have never seen good results (in my eyes) from an OOC JPEG. At least not at the pixel level, which is what you're discussing as the premise for this post.
     
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