Olympus E-PM2 Image Stabilization Test with Comparison to E-M5

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by Amin Sabet, Nov 4, 2012.

  1. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    I set out to test the effectiveness of the E-PM2 image stabilization against that of the E-M5 using the Olympus 75mm f/1.8 lens at a variety of shutter speeds with or without in-body image stabilization (IBIS, mode 1) engaged.

    For each setting I took 10 handheld images without burst mode, refocusing for each shot. 100% center crops are shown below for each series. All samples are presented below without commentary.





    Main findings:

    -E-M5 IBIS is more effective than E-PM2 IBIS, especially at low shutter speeds.

    -At all shutter speeds with both cameras, IBIS gave more consistent results than no IBIS.

    -At 1/100s, the sharpest results from both cameras came with IBIS off. This was particularly noticeable with the E-PM2, where none of the shots with IBIS on were critically sharp.


    Kyle and Art made me aware of the role for the anti-shock setting. I set it to 1/8s as they suggested and got the following results with the E-M5:


    Seems to me that this setting completely addresses the issue with IBIS at 1/100s, albeit at the expense of a slight increase in shutter lag and viewfinder blackout time.. Preliminary results are that even with this setting the E-PM2 results were not ideal at 1/100s. I'm continuing to look at this and will update with any new findings.
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2016
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  2. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    Los Angeles, CA
    Looks like the E-M5's IBIS is slightly better at lower shutter speeds. The 5-axis IBIS looks to be showing it's advantage here. Thanks for the test Amin!
  3. Robstar1963

    Robstar1963 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 10, 2011
    Isle of Wight England UK
    Real Name:
    Robert (Rob)
    Thanks Amin
    Very interesting and clearly demonstrates the advantages of and differences between the IBIS systems
    I would love to see a similar comparison between the two Olympus systems and the Panasonic OIS system ?
  4. b_rubenstein

    b_rubenstein Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 20, 2012
    Melbourne, FL
    I found a similar difference between E-M5 and E-PL2 in the same shutter speed range. My experience with Nikon in lens IS was that such anomalies didn't exist for a given camera lens combination. However, some lens' IS worked much better on one body (D200) than another (D7000).:confused:
  5. Lawrence A.

    Lawrence A. Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 14, 2012
    New Mexico
    Real Name:
    Guess I'll turn off the IBIS except when I need it. I've known I should, but this demonstrates that at higher shutter speeds there may be a distinct disadvantage to using it. Thanks for challenging my lazy habits. (Strange, too, I never especially miss stabilization when I'm shooting my primitive film cameras, but I do take more care at speeds below the reciprocal of the focal length.)

    BAXTING Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 5, 2012
    Los Angeles SFV, CA
    Real Name:
    thanks for doing that!
  7. micz87

    micz87 Mu-43 Regular

    May 8, 2012
    Whoa! thanks for patience in preparing so many comparsion shots :) Ability to make 50% sharp shots on 150mm eqiv. on 1/25 is great result for OM-D
  8. Ulfric M Douglas

    Ulfric M Douglas Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 6, 2010
    Good method, and tedious to show so thanks for doing the drudgery.

    Now would it even be possible to persuade Olympus to insert a shutterspeed-dependant IBIS switch?
  9. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    I leave on IBIS all the time unless using a tripod. I don't think it has any negative consequences at very fast shutter speeds. At middle of the road shutter speeds, it seems there is a trade-off of max sharpness and consistency.

    Sent from my Galaxy Nexus using Mu-43 App
  10. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    Thanks Amin, nice demo of IBIS.

  11. krugorg

    krugorg Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jul 18, 2011
    Minnesota USA
    Thanks for running this, Amin! Very interesting.

    I think what you are seeing at 1/100 is shutter shock. I have definitely found the shutter speed range around 1/100 to be problematic with the 75/1.8. It really is the only lens where I notice an issue, and I can mostly resolve by using the 1/8 shutter shock reduction, but I also try to force the shutter speed lower or higher than the 1/80 to 1/120 range or so.

    My other lenses (mostly wide-normal primes) do not seem to have this issue on the E-M5, at least not that I have not noticed.

    Camera Ergonomics had an interesting article on this:

    Camera Ergonomics: Micro 4/3 Shutter Shock Revisited [OMD-EM-5]

    I remember reading somewhere that the 75/1.8 has a lightweight AF mechanism to allow for very quick focusing... this seems to be in line with the article's theories on why some lenses are more susceptible to shock.
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  12. Art

    Art Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 13, 2011
    San Francisco, CA
    Based on this test it seems that E-PM2's IBIS is not different from E-PM2. However, I can get better results with IBIS when I set anti-shock shutter delay to 1/8s (still not as good as even E-PL2 but OK). My E-PM2 will arrive on tuesday. I'll try to compare it w/E-PM1. I am especially interested to know if E-PM2's lens priority IS would enable OIS on my 45-175X lens

    Sent from my iPhone using Mu-43 App
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  13. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    This is the first I'm hearing about shutter shock delay. I'll check it out, thanks!

    Sent from my Galaxy Nexus using Mu-43 App
  14. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    Here are the E-M5 results with anti-shock set to 1/8s:


    Looks like that completely solves the issue, albeit at the expense of a slight increase in shutter lag and viewfinder blackout time.
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  15. ChrisPercival

    ChrisPercival New to Mu-43

    Nov 4, 2012
    Thanks for the info, what a great effort.
  16. zapatista

    zapatista Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Mar 19, 2012
    Denver, Colorado, USA
    Real Name:
    I'll never look at the number 12 in quite the same way.

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  17. troll

    troll Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 25, 2012
    Thanks for the comparison, a couple of questions: did you shoot E-PM2 with an external EVF and did the E-M5 have any grip attached?
  18. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    No EVF or added grip.

    Sent from my Galaxy Nexus using Mu-43 App
  19. alessandro

    alessandro Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 29, 2010
    Am I the only one to find these less than satisfying? I mean the results, not the effort...
    And the short anti-shock looks to work, but honestly I have tried it and that delay made me nervous. Well, I sold the E-M5 for financial reasons, but looking at these examples I see why I had less crisp shots than I expected. Keeping in mind that using aperture priority, you end up using often shutter speeds around 1/100.
  20. macalterego

    macalterego Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 10, 2012
    Lawrence, KS
    Real Name:
    Jeffrey McPheeters
    Very interesting information. I am familiar with mirror lock up in my Canon DSLRs and previous film bodies. I'm a very recent convert to m43 and have shot less than 12000 photos with my OM-D and I don't recall that I've ever experienced this double image kind of effect from shutter shock. I'm usually shooting multiple frames per second. I don't use a tripod often. I'll have to search through my shots by shutter speed and see if I can find any examples but I probably deleted any good examples without realizing what was going on. I've never turned on the anti-shock. I just experimented with it.

    Am I understanding correctly that if I turn on the 1/8 second AS that the first shot is delayed by 1/8 second?

    And also, that the maximum 9fps will be reduced to around 6-7fps?