mu4/3 - Some great things (and a few minor complaints)

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by tonyjuliano, May 30, 2012.

  1. tonyjuliano

    tonyjuliano Mu-43 Regular

    I've spent about 2 weeks now with my new E-M5, and I continue to be impressed.

    What it lacks in high ISO performance, is more than made up for in build quality, handling and portability, as far as I am concerned. Sure, better DOF would be great, but anyone who buys into this format looking for this and the high ISO performance of full frame is just barking up the wrong tree.

    You shouldn't buy an E-M5 if these 2 issues are critical to you. You SHOULD buy it for all the other wonderful things it brings. Such as...

    1. 5 AXIS IBIS - This is simply the best implementation of image stabilization I have encountered on ANY system. The results are simply incredible, hand-held down to 1/4 of a second is possible, it just boggles the mind.
    2. 9 FPS High Speed Sequential - Couple this with the afore-mentioned IBIS and exposure bracketing then hand-held HDR is only some post processing away.
    3. AF Speed - Simply spectacular for a contrast detect system. Better than a lot of phase detect systems out there, and almost as good as some of the really high-end systems on the market.
    4. Highlight/Shadow Clipping View - This is simply one the best features of the E-M5. The ability to see this in live view is WORLDS better than any live histogram. This is my preferred view set up, in all modes.

    This being said, there are a couple of criticisms I have (although I must make clear that these do NOT just apply to the E-M5, but most ALL digital cameras currently in existence).

    1. Depth of Focus Scale - C'mon people, this is practically essential, and would be easy to do. There is no reason why a live view camera should not have this appear as an option.
    2. 3 Stop ND - Again, really easy for any camera manufacture to build into their system, this is one of the best things about my Fuji X100.
    3. Focus Peaking - Don't agree at all with Olympus' opinion that magnification is superior for MF. Give me the option for both.

    Really not much to criticize, I know. But if the E-M5 could address these 3 issues, then (outside of high ISO performance) this camera would be damn near perfect.
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  2. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Real Name:
    Not sure how Fuji does this, but I've never seen it in an interchangeable lens camera, and I suspect there is a reason why.

    Good list. Thanks for sharing your impressions.

  3. tonyjuliano

    tonyjuliano Mu-43 Regular

    It can be done easily on ANY camera. To calculate the depth of focus, all you need to know is the aperture opening along with sensor size and depth of the current focus point.

    These things the camera knows already.
  4. st3v4nt

    st3v4nt Mu-43 Veteran

    May 26, 2011
    Jakarta, Indonesia
    I agree with number 1 and 3 especially 3, if somehow Olympus manage to help us by creating "focusing help" with MF that would be great. Sometimes even with AF lens I still use MF mode.
  5. DekHog

    DekHog Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 3, 2011
    I may be wrong, but don't think IBIS is active if shooting at 9fps?

    Also, apparently inbuilt ND is only possible with fixed lens bodies..... would love it myself though.

    I also don't think there's much wrong with the high ISO of the OM-D, and with the 75mm/35-100mm on the way,and existing 45mm F1.8, not much to grumble about regarding shallow DOF either.....
  6. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Real Name:
    I was talking about the built-in ND filter. As mentioned previously, it has never been done on an interchangeable lens camera.

  7. tonyjuliano

    tonyjuliano Mu-43 Regular

    I may be wrong, but I do not see how this could not be done using the sensor only.
  8. tonyjuliano

    tonyjuliano Mu-43 Regular

    IBIS is active at 9FPS, but affects whether you will really get 9FPS depending on shutter speed.

    The high ISO noise with this camera, while greatly improved from earlier models, is still an issue that I find hard to deal with. Full frame cameras are light-years better in this regard. But there is no real way to get around this, it's constrained by sensor size. Although, I would have traded 10mp (over the existing 16mp) to alleviate this somewhat.
  9. Mellow

    Mellow Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 27, 2010
    Florida or Idaho
    Real Name:
    I don't have an EM-5, but I'm surprised by your comments about high-ISO. From the samples I've seen, the EM-5 more than holds its own against APS-C DLSRs.

    About focus-peaking, I completely agree. Sometimes I think camera manufacturers get stubborn about certain things and dig in their heels. There's no conceivable reason Oly couldn't implement focus-peaking as a firmware update (Sony did!) yet they steadfastly refuse to consider it, claiming that magnified focusing is better. As you say, why not give users a choice? It's one of those things that makes little sense, no matter what perspective I try to view it from.

  10. silversx80

    silversx80 Mu-43 Veteran

    Apr 27, 2012
    North Carolina
    From my experience, the ISO noise from the E-M5 is about 2 stops cleaner than the ISO I'd get from 35mm film. Maybe I'm using bad developers, but I've been getting cleaner files at 6400 than Neopan 1600. Even T-Max 400 shows up a little grainier than ISO 1600.

    Basically, I have no want of cleaner high ISO files anymore. I can use Auto-ISO from 200-1600 and be pleased with noise, dynamic range, and colors from all the files. In fact, I prefer the grainy look and am tending to add it back in post.

    The one thing I find myself enthralled with is the live histogram. That little green highlight that shows where your subject is with regard to exposure is letting me nail exposure nearly every shot.
  11. tonyjuliano

    tonyjuliano Mu-43 Regular

    I can assure you that it pales in comparison to my Fuji X100, my Canon 7D, and especially my 5D MKII (goes without saying, of course).

    To be honest, it starts to get a little noisy even just above ISO 400 if the light is low, and at 6400 it's noisy in spades.

    But this is to be expected, and overall it's a huge improvement over the EP2 I had for a while.
  12. tonyjuliano

    tonyjuliano Mu-43 Regular

    But film grain is MUCH more attractive than digital noise, IMO.

    Try that shadow/highlight clipping view instead of your histogram, I bet you will love it.
  13. silversx80

    silversx80 Mu-43 Veteran

    Apr 27, 2012
    North Carolina
    I agree. I love running B&W through my film OM, but hate developing costs.

    One thing that I really enjoy about Olympus files and their noise is that it comes closer to film grain than any other digital camera file I've seen to date.

    Hmmm, can't seem to get the clipping view to work. Time to RTFM :smile:.
  14. tonyjuliano

    tonyjuliano Mu-43 Regular

    I hear you. I'll never get rid of my film bodies, still shoot loads of film - and do all my own processing (for cheap!)

    As for the clipping view, I can save you a little trouble, follow these directions...

    Here's a link to the full article...

    Article: Getting the most out of the Olympus OM-D E-M5*|*
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  15. VisualFeast

    VisualFeast Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 14, 2012
    Perhaps not on these consumer still-image cameras, but all of our professional interchangeable-lens video cameras have ND filters built into the body. It's a fairly standard feature in the video industry.
  16. krugorg

    krugorg Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jul 18, 2011
    Minnesota USA
    I think the DoF scale would be nice too. I wonder if the screen real estate would allow this to be displayed along with histogram, for example. One of my little annoyances with the Oly interface is that you can't have both the level and the histogram (or highlight/shadow simulator) displayed at the same time.

    Focus peaking would be nice for adapted lenses... that said, I think m4/3 is in a better spot than most other systems in regards to native lens selection and AF performance.
  17. Wandering Aengus

    Wandering Aengus Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 23, 2012
    Both the clipping indicators and the histogram are based on jpg. If shooting raw, either of these can show clipping when the raw file isn't clipped. I would like the option to have the histogram be based on the raw file. As it is, you can get a feel by experience for how much further you can push exposure without clipping the raw file.
  18. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin .

    Oct 9, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    Real Name:
    I'm not aware of a camera that features both a focal plane shutter and a built-in ND filter. Cameras that have this feature (X100, G1X, etc) all seem to have leaf shutters.Of course leaf shutters would need an ND filter more than most because they often cannot achieve their minimum shutter speed at the lens' widest aperture.
  19. tonyjuliano

    tonyjuliano Mu-43 Regular

    The histogram (and of course the clipping limits) on the E-M5 can be adjusted to match your raw output in the camera.

    Custom menu "D" - histogram settings

    It's relative easy to tweak this to match raw.
  20. tonyjuliano

    tonyjuliano Mu-43 Regular

    I don't believe the G1X has a leaf shutter. Max flash sync (not counting that HS sync hooey that Canon has been trying to fool everyone with for years) is only 1/250.

    If it was a leaf, it would sync higher.

    Besides, I cant figure out why the shutter type should make any difference, the ND capability should be able to happen in the sensor itself (software, not hardware).