Not satisfied with m43

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gobeatty

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Nice post, Alan :) I'm not the OP but thought I'd say it anyway ;-)

I photographed weddings and took portraits professionally for years back in the film days and 35mm film cameras were not considered adequate in our region. 645 was the minimum and we lugged RB67's at weddings with giant flashes attached. Imagine - full frame not adequate! Of course, that was film and digital renders differently, but still.

I'm new to 4/3 and liking it so far. Main reasons for my (fabulous) 6D are low light activity photos of my boys (one is a competitive dancer) and possibly stock photo work. If the 4/3 can work for the indoor dance photos, the 6D may be up for sale.

I have the 85 1.8, and it is so sharp it hurts at times. Arguably too sharp on FF for a portrait lens (!) its longer on crop of course as well, but yes - good Canikon glass can be had at lower cost due to the very active second hand market. The OP should have little difficulty replacing his kit. Heck, if clean images and lighter are the goals, an SL1 with the newer sensor and Digic 6 could be a lot of fun. Killer camera.
 

toyanucci

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Arrived in Zurich (heck of a drive) and I see the thread has blossomed quite a bit. I discovered that while I know how to do a 1:1 comparison in lightroom, I don't know how to export it for a comparison but I'll Google it shortly. That said, I've come to the realization that oversharpening may be the issue I'm facing. I looked back at some past files and recall how much sharpening I used to have to add to the Canon raw files. I almost never have to sharpen files from the em1, but I guess this sharpening comes at a price. Lightroom has defaulted to adding quite a bit of sharpening which is what makes images even at iso 800 seem so noisy when I zoom in.
 

toyanucci

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i think most of the people here, in one way or another, jumped on OP, which is a shame, considering that this forum is usually lighthearted and not that prone to bashing. It wasn't on the level of DP forums but i kind of got the feeling a lot of people were judging him.

OP said explicitly that he is aware of the post processing, and how it can help with his troubles but expressed he doesn't want to waste that much time on PP. Which is completely fine. He didn't bash m43, just said it didn't suit to his needs. I kind of got the feeling he isn't a novice in photography, so if he has that many problems with it, it's completely his choice to move back to apsc or ff. I think many of us that have the m43 cameras with base ISO at 200 will agree that there is a certain level of noise, even at 200, which is surprising. Whether you personally enjoy some grain or don't (for artistic purposes), i consider it the same as sharpness - better to have it (sharpness and clean files) initially, then add some grain/reduce sharpness in PP.

OP probably jumped the gun and made the decision to switch and dump his last system too soon, without renting and examining the results provided more carefully. (only other option i see is that he has a faulty camera).

Some people have different priorities, for him is to have clean files without much PP. For others, it's the size and weight with adequate results. Just my $0.02.

Glad you tried the system, OP, sorry it didn't work out for you and enjoy your next camera.
Thank you for your post, it's very rational and appreciated. I will continue to do tests as I will be here for at least the next month and this is the gear I have. One poster said I was panicking, I think in some ways I was...for me me my investment in photography is not something I take lightly considering I don't make money from it, so to end up a bit disappointed or not be getting the kind of images I think I should be getting (or that I see others getting with the same gear) kind of ruffled my feathers. Thinking about it in not sure either what role the firmware update played as it reset all my settings and things haven't looked as they did before the update. But I'll quit my wining and panicking and soldier on and report back.

Isn;t he warning others to be careful choosing M4/3?
It seems writing stuff on the Internet almost always gets misinterpreted. I am not warning anyone away from m43. M43 is great and can and has given awesome images, what I am saying is simply to do thorough testing before going all in on ANY system. I'm not usually impulsive, but based on the images I saw here plus reviews and comparisons I saw elsewhere, I went all in before testing the hardware thoroughly for the kind of photography I do. Not dissing m43 or anyone here bro.
 

iliyanb

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7 pages of oppinions about "low quality images" - even not one image to show what is not correct with the quality. It is not the camera faulty i beleive...
 
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To the OP: Could easily be your monitor settings, the very slightest degree of oversharpening will take inconsequential color artifacting you would never notice and turn it into NOISE. All of my monitors came "out of the box" with sharpening, brightness, and contrast set WAY TOO HIGH. That's the way the manufacturers think we like them.

Open up a good color monitor calibration image. This is one I use:

http://webtransformer.com/calibrate/Calibration-Composite-No-ICC-Full.jpg

Get into the monitor's adjustment menu and copy down the current Sharpness, Brightness, and Contrast settings so you can go back to them if you don't like any changes. Then pull all three to midscale and begin adjusting and tweaking to taste insuring you can see all steps of the grey scales. On all of mine Brightness and Contrast were near maximum, way too much so get those two adjusted so the skin tones in the images on the calibration look good.

Then start working with Sharpness. You want that set for maximum sharpness and detail but without causing hard edge outlines, or any other artifacting that interferes with smooth tonal values. You don't want it soft but you don't want it harsh either.

Then start looking at your images and see if it's any better. If you like your original settings better, use what you copied down to go back to them.

Good luck.
Not to really get very deep into the discussion, just want to second this suggestion. Other than the basic contrast/brightness/sharpness controls monitors and TVs nowadays have just so many "features" that affects image appearance.
My Samsung LCD 24 TV have HDMI Black Level, Edge Enhancement, Flesh Tone, Dynamic Contrast, Digital NR, and all those make a balanced picture appear completely different.
 

lightmonkey

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the camera i purchased prior to em1 was sony rx1. that full frame sensor and lens combo resolves and renders an insanely detailed and clean picture. it is honestly hard to believe what you can see when zoomed in 1:1

so imagine my disappointment when i saw the em1's results. even base 200 shows noise (at standard/baseline LR RAW settings). its probably a good 2.5 to 3 stops behind the sony. but thats BASELINE develop settings. it cleans easily. more importantly, it PRINTS to 16x24" clean (the largest ive tried). and since i dont publish to web at 4688 pixel dimension, all this 1:1 scrutiny means absolutely zilch
 

Bhupinder2002

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I sold all my Canon gear (T5i,18-135 stm,Sigma 30mm 1.4 art & Canon 50mm 1.4) and went with a em1 with olympus 25mm 1.8, 45mm 1.8 and Panasonic 14 2.5. I really was excited about the huge size difference between the setups and especially pleased with the weight difference but after the very first time I used my em1 I was puzzled by the performance. The dof issues I had read about, and while I was becoming a bokeh whore, I could live with the trade offs there. However, the image quality differences caught me by surprise.

I Shoot RAW, and I found to get a satisfactory image from the em1 I had to do quite a bit of post processing, outside of that, the noise level was way more than I expected. With the T5i I routinely shot at up to ISO 3200 when needed and while there was noise, it wasn't terrible, but with the em1,even at ISO 1250 there was so much noise it wasn't funny. Even at ISO 200 grains were apparent in certain shot, which with the T5i were non existent even at ISO 800. The ability to get details from light and dark areas in lightroom was also way worse than with the T5i. The inability to manipulate the RAW file was just not what I had gotten used to.

I've decided to go back to a larger sensor. I was considering the fuji xt1 but I'd rather not invest into it only to turn around and be disappointed again and also, their selection of lenses is limited and expensive and they are just as large as dslr lenses so what's the point. I'm in Europe for a month so I guess I will soldier on with the em1 until I return home (doubt selling it here will be easy since I'm pretty much in a different city each day). I'll probably get a 70D and get the (massive) Sigma 18-35mm 1.8 and get back a 50mm 1.4 or check out the 85mm 1.8.
I think something is wrong with ur technique . The sensor in EM1 is miles ahead of old Canon APS-C. There are thousands of incredible shots on this forum , so probably you need to find out what was the problem with the photographer and don't blame MFT or EM1 ..full stop.
I wrote this post for those out there considering m43. Do your homework first and make sure it suits your needs before going all in! I will miss the size of the em1 it's really the perfect size but would benefit immensely if it had a apsc sensor. I will miss the focus accuracy and speed as it was unparalleled! I never missed focus, not even one time.
I think something is wrong with ur technique . The sensor in EM1 is miles ahead of old Canon APS-C. There are thousands of incredible shots on this forum , so probably
 

50orsohours

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Thank you for your post, it's very rational and appreciated. I will continue to do tests as I will be here for at least the next month and this is the gear I have. One poster said I was panicking, I think in some ways I was...for me me my investment in photography is not something I take lightly considering I don't make money from it, so to end up a bit disappointed or not be getting the kind of images I think I should be getting (or that I see others getting with the same gear) kind of ruffled my feathers. Thinking about it in not sure either what role the firmware update played as it reset all my settings and things haven't looked as they did before the update. But I'll quit my wining and panicking and soldier on and report back.



It seems writing stuff on the Internet almost always gets misinterpreted. I am not warning anyone away from m43. M43 is great and can and has given awesome images, what I am saying is simply to do thorough testing before going all in on ANY system. I'm not usually impulsive, but based on the images I saw here plus reviews and comparisons I saw elsewhere, I went all in before testing the hardware thoroughly for the kind of photography I do. Not dissing m43 or anyone here bro.
I hear you. It is very possible that I am misinterpeting what you are saying. What i understood from your post was that the T5 was very clean while the em-1 was very noisy at the same iso. In fact the files are so noisy, that your friend asked you if you have changed gear. I assume he wasn't peeping, he was just looking at prints? Now the examples the other posters posted seemed to not match your claim. I guess I am confused.

So what were you saying?
 

tosvus

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I think something is wrong with ur technique . The sensor in EM1 is miles ahead of old Canon APS-C. There are thousands of incredible shots on this forum , so probably
It sounds like OP has realized that Lightroom is doing a fair bit of agressive sharpening on his EM-1 files, that will naturally pull out more noise.
 

toyanucci

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Here's a raw file. Go 1:1 on the building and see the kind of noise to which I refer. I await your feedback.
 

AlanU

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I've been using an xrite color checker passport and spider elite monitor calibrator.

My monitor is a high gamut IPS panel monitor. This ensures I am seeing real colours. What I've discovered is brightness is something that must be tested via prints with your photo lab. This allows you to tweak your monitor brightness to the photo labs output.

Have fun with magenta because this is a complicated colour to replicate with any wet/dry lab.
 

Growltiger

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I just opened it in Olympus Viewer 1.21, went to 1:1 and looked at various parts of the building. I have a good quality NEC monitor which is calibrated.
The Noise filter when you took the photo was set to Low (As shot).. I also changed the noise filter to OFF.

My eyesight is OK. I am looking at the screen closely and I really can't see noise. If I look long enough there might be a little but I'm struggling to find it.

I note that you have Picture Mode set to Vivid - this increases appearance of noise, I don't use it. But even so, I can't see the noise you refer to.

Next to try Lightroom...
 

Growltiger

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OK I now tried Photoshop (it is the same raw processor as Lightroom).
It started with the defaults of Sharpening 25 and Luminance noise reduction 0. I used 200% zoom to make it easy to see.
Looking at the dark building below the word School I can now see noise.
The noise pretty much goes if I change sharpening to 0.
Alternatively I can leave sharpening at 25 and change the Luminance noise setting from 0 to 30, and the noise is gone again.

So if you choose to sharpen with no noise reduction you will see noise. You need to add some noise reduction as you sharpen to get rid of all noise.

Note that I am pixel peeping at 200%.

I hope this helps resolve the issue for you.
 

Reflector

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I find the E-M5 pretty acceptable at ISO 3200-6400. Any higher and I start losing some very, very fine detail from how I apply NR. Sometimes you just need to be selective about how you apply it. Here's an example at ISO 6400:
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/32184644/OMD50233_1.jpg

I intentionally apply less NR to the face of the object as it preserves the machining marks on the object. That's just Photoshop CC + ACR with general NR and sharpening, image flattened, converted back to a smart object and NR applied selectively to the OOF regions and some mild NR applied to the detailed areas. That scene and subject I consider pretty difficult as a demonstration shot. Dark textured microfiber and incredibly fine machining marks. Can't have that as a muddied, blocky mess after I process it.

I doubt going to a D7100 or D810 would help me for that shot. That was 1/15s at 90mm handheld. I've intentionally done test shots at ISO 12,800-25,600 on my E-M5 and they turned out pretty usable.
 

kevinparis

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Opened in Aperture - default settings - I am not seeing what I would call noticeable noise... but then again its never been something I have overly worried about

Not sure how much this helps... a screen grab




K
 

Replytoken

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It may not have much impact on your issue, but it appears that you shot the building with your lens wide open. If I was trying to determine if there was an issue with my sensor, I would probably stop my lens down to its "sweet spot" (usually 4.0 or 5.6), so I would minimize the impact of the lens and shallow DOF on the sample image.

Good luck,

--Ken
 

AlanU

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OP, dont jump system to system quickly. They all have compromises.

As you jump your getting into new lenses, flashes etc. I'm into Canon heavily so I am not willing to jump ship. As for m43 I only have 3 lenses (14mm f/2.5, 25 f/1.4 and 14-140).

My m43 I find it sometimes silly how great the files look. The IQ is truly great when you look at size of body and lens size.

When it comes to consistency and high keeper rate of sharp perfectly obtained focus my Canon gear without a doubt delivers.

With my GH3 I do not find it that comparable to a canon dslr like t5i. I would compromise in lugging heavier weight with a t5i and good glass for higher keeper rate and canon colour replication. However with an Em1 or Em5 I feel the IQ is a step above the gh3 (I dont own gh4). So in otherwords M43 has definitely different levels of IQ as you move up the chain just like nikon/sony/canon etc.

As far as skill level is concerned I will say m43 is more forgiving than a dslr. If a dslr is not used properly it can be very unforgiving. My "almost" 5 and 7yr old get fantastic IQ from my M43 with their understanding of exposure compensation/shutter speed. My girls love playing with my M43 system. I let my eldest use my 1dmk3 when I owned it and it weighed almost as much as she did LOL!!!



If you purchased a canon 6d (lightest full frame in canon's line) with good glass you'd see a massive difference in IQ and dynamic range and most of all incredible noise control. However more weight to lug around.Sony A7 series can be a mid point in "more" weight if you compare m43 to full size dslr. You must really make a choice in level of IQ and gear weight.

IMO if keeper rate in obtaining focus is your concern I still feel the dslr system is much more reliable compared to m43 (hybrid or contrast only detection).

Try to figure out your post processing skills and see how the Em1 works for you. You can always buy different systems so make the best of your current oly.
 

kwalsh

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So the more you describe it is quite clear you must be just having post processing workflow differences. Noise in the mid-tones at low ISO is entirely determined by photon shot noise. For almost any modern sensor there is very little difference between them for a given ISO. Shadow noise, different story, sensor technology can matter a lot.

I think your hunch about sharpening is probably correct. If you are using Lightroom remember that you can setup automatic presets on import and these can be based on any sort of metadata you want - like camera and ISO. By default LR does absolutely no luminance NR, this is unlike any camera JPEG engine or many other RAW converters.

So I'd definitely take a little time to find NR and sharpening settings you like and have them applied on import. That should make your workflow straightforward and you'll rarely need to tweak the settings after that.

For reference, here is a screen capture of your RAW file along with the detail settings used in LR. Sorry for the large size, I'm on a Retina mac and so screen captures end up quite large even if I snip just part of the screen.

Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
 

lightmonkey

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Here's a raw file. Go 1:1 on the building and see the kind of noise to which I refer. I await your feedback.
yes, a 24mp 24x36mm sony sensor is going to make that prettier than a dream.

but when will anyone ever "see" that kind of noise ? never. one would have to literally be nose to the print at 200 dpi to make it out.

anyway, i would roughly treat the photo like this

Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
 

Klorenzo

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Yes, there is ugly micro noise everywhere, with more chroma in the dark areas. Here are my attempts with Darktable:



raw denoise: 0.4
non-local: all defaults
profiled x 2: two instances, one for chroma, one for luminance, hand tuned

There is no sharpening in this images. I can add sharpening rising the threshold a little until it does not affect the noise.

It took me no time for the first two corrections, and a few minutes for the last one. I'd say I could use any one of these as default "denoise" for all my pictures and spend some extra time only where required. There is still a little noise but I prefer it like this.
 
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