Test Olympus E-P3 Lightroom-Converted RAW and In-Camera JPEG Comparison at High ISO

Amin Sabet

Administrator
Joined
Apr 10, 2009
Messages
10,900
Location
Boston, MA (USA)
Olympus' Viewer 2 software provides a chance to simulate the in-camera JPEG processing using different noise filter settings and compare them to the results using Adobe Lightroom. For this comparison, I used Viewer 2 version 1.21 and Lightroom 3.5 RC.

The RAW file used (available for download at the end of this post) is an ORF from my E-P3 shot at ISO 2000, 1/60s, 14mm, f/2.5. The settings in Lightroom were left completely at their defaults, including those for noise reduction and sharpening as shown below:

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


The settings for conversion in Viewer 2 were also left completely at their defaults except for the "Noise Filter" setting.

In each of the 100% crop comparisons which follow, the crops shown from left to right are:
  • Lightroom conversion
  • Viewer 2 conversion with Noise Filter set to "Off"
  • Viewer 2 conversion with Noise Filter set to "Low"
  • Viewer 2 conversion with Noise Filter set to "Standard"
  • Viewer 2 conversion with Noise Filter set to "High"

The Viewer 2 conversions should give the same results as in-camera JPEG conversions.

Crop area #1:

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



Crop area #2:

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



Crop area #3:

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



The effects are visible even in web-sized output. Here is a medium-sized version of the Lightroom 3 conversion:

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



For comparison, here is the Viewer 2 (same as in-camera JPEG) conversion with Noise Filter set to "Off":

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



Here is a mouseover (rollover) to compare the two directly. The version shown prior to mouseover is the Lightroom conversion. Mouseover for the Viewer 2 version with Noise Filter set to "Off":

https://farm7.static.flickr.com/6073/6085908687_ee0313140b_b.jpg" rsrc="https://farm7.static.flickr.com/6066/6086451996_be4e6f3218_b.jpg" border="0">


The two main conclusions which I drew from this comparison were: 1) Lightroom 3 does an effective job at dealing with patchy color noise (look for red and green patches in the broad, flat black regions of the Viewer 2 conversions); 2) It is impossible to disable shadow luminance NR smearing in Olympus Viewer 2 (or in-camera JPEGs).

The RAW (ORF) file is attached for you to download and try for yourself.
 
Last edited:

thearne3

Mu-43 Top Veteran
Joined
Jan 28, 2010
Messages
807
Location
Redding, CT USA
Thanks, Amin!

So Viewer is indeed using noise reduction, even when 'Off'. Seems to be mostly in the darker areas. The boy's face looks the same in LR and Off, as do the whites of the shirt in the same crop.

How does LR do when adding a little noise reduction, ie, is it worth RAW processing for noise?
 

Amin Sabet

Administrator
Joined
Apr 10, 2009
Messages
10,900
Location
Boston, MA (USA)
Tom, yes Viewer smears the shadows no matter what.

LR does a great job with the color noise at default, and I tend to just leave the luminance noise intact. The luminance NR tool in LR is okay, but if I need to apply luminance NR, I tend to go with third-party plugins like Noise Ninja and Dfine.
 

Art

Mu-43 All-Pro
Joined
Mar 13, 2011
Messages
1,385
Location
San Francisco, CA
Thanks for the post. Was the gradation set to normal in Viewer? I am currently using Viewer to convert ORF files to tiffs for further LR processing. I prefer colors better when opened in Viewer. I set gradation to normal, NF off and auto lens distortion correction using lens info ( set to off by default). I have not compared the noise or resolution between Viewer and LR. DPreview mentioned that Viewer yields superior resolution for ORF files compared to LR
 

Amin Sabet

Administrator
Joined
Apr 10, 2009
Messages
10,900
Location
Boston, MA (USA)
Was the gradation set to normal in Viewer?
Yes, it was.

I prefer colors better when opened in Viewer.
I thought I would as well, since I always did like Olympus colors; but in direct comparison I don't find that I prefer the colors in Viewer to those in Lightroom. Both are pleasing, and the Lightroom colors seem more accurate in some cases. For example, this car's color is correct in the Lightroom version:

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


... and not correct in the Viewer version:

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



DPreview mentioned that Viewer yields superior resolution for ORF files compared to LR
I'd be surprised if there were significant differences in resolution between the two of them. I'll look at that now.
 

Amin Sabet

Administrator
Joined
Apr 10, 2009
Messages
10,900
Location
Boston, MA (USA)
DPreview mentioned that Viewer yields superior resolution for ORF files compared to LR
Here's a 100% center crop from Lightroom (left) and Viewer (right):

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


By default Viewer does shadow NR and also seems to boost local contrast more, so I did some tweaking in Lightroom to try and match the settings more closely. If there is a difference in resolution between those two apps, it is not of any practical significance that I can see.
 

Art

Mu-43 All-Pro
Joined
Mar 13, 2011
Messages
1,385
Location
San Francisco, CA
Amin Sabet said:
Here's a 100% center crop from Lightroom (left) and Viewer (right):

By default Viewer does shadow NR and also seems to boost local contrast more, so I did some tweaking in Lightroom to try and match the settings more closely. If there is a difference in resolution between those two apps, it is not of any practical significance that I can see.
How about lens distortion? Does LR automatically apply distortion correction for each lens? Viewer uses lens information for every native lens to correct distortion. For pancakes, the correction is quite apparent
 

Art

Mu-43 All-Pro
Joined
Mar 13, 2011
Messages
1,385
Location
San Francisco, CA
Yes, Lightroom corrects distortion automatically for all native lenses.

Sent from my HTC Thunderbolt using Mu-43 App
Here is two jpegs coverted from an E-P2's ORF file. The 1st one is from LR (default settings), 2nd one is from Viewer (default settings plus "auto lens correction" which is off by default)
As you can see, the color is very different where Viewer succesfully preserved Olympus signature color. As for the precision, per my memory that beach from Hawaii looks a lot more like the 2nd picture ragardless of scientific accuracy (human eyes are not computers and it's all about perception of the moment). LR's default distortion correction is not nearly as effective as Viewer's. Just look at the building on the left. The difference in distortion correction is even more pronounced with portraits.

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

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

Amin Sabet

Administrator
Joined
Apr 10, 2009
Messages
10,900
Location
Boston, MA (USA)
Here is two jpegs coverted from an E-P2's ORF file. The 1st one is from LR (default settings), 2nd one is from Viewer (default settings plus "auto lens correction" which is off by default)
As you can see, the color is very different where Viewer succesfully preserved Olympus signature color. As for the precision, per my memory that beach from Hawaii looks a lot more like the 2nd picture ragardless of scientific accuracy (human eyes are not computers and it's all about perception of the moment). LR's default distortion correction is not nearly as effective as Viewer's. Just look at the building on the left. The difference in distortion correction is even more pronounced with portraits.
Regarding distortion, Viewer gives the option to correct perspective distortion, and both apps fix barrel/pincushion. Both near completely correct for this latter type of distortion with native lenses.
 

Amin Sabet

Administrator
Joined
Apr 10, 2009
Messages
10,900
Location
Boston, MA (USA)
Here's a shot which is representative of the relatively subtle color differences I see between Lightroom and Viewer. In this case, I slightly prefer the Oly colors. The Olympus is also doing some lightening of shadows relative to Lightroom.

Lightroom conversion (all settings at defaults):

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


Viewer conversion (all settings at defaults):

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


Mouseover version (Olympus version showing, mouseover for Lightroom version):

https://farm7.static.flickr.com/6078/6087386852_53dc87fbab_b.jpg" rsrc="https://farm7.static.flickr.com/6064/6086842951_4ae2e5255b_b.jpg" border="0">

The RAW (ORF) file is attached for you to download and try for yourself.
 

LovinTheEP2

Mu-43 Top Veteran
Joined
Feb 15, 2011
Messages
619
Location
Toronto
Here's a 100% center crop from Lightroom (left) and Viewer (right):

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


By default Viewer does shadow NR and also seems to boost local contrast more, so I did some tweaking in Lightroom to try and match the settings more closely. If there is a difference in resolution between those two apps, it is not of any practical significance that I can see.
For me, the picture on the left is more resolved and microcontrast seems better as well. Also, the drop off/transition between shades of color seems smoother as well. Overall, th eimage just seems less harse. At least for me, seems like LR is the way to go.
 
Links on this page may be to our affiliates. Sales through affiliate links may benefit this site.
Mu-43 is a fan site and not associated with Olympus, Panasonic, or other manufacturers mentioned on this site.
Forum post reactions by Twemoji: https://github.com/twitter/twemoji
Copyright © 2009-2019 Amin Forums, LLC
Top Bottom