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

Amin Sabet

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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.

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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.


UPDATE:

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:

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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.
 
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Jonathan F/2

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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!
 

Robstar1963

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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 ?
Regards
Rob
 

b_rubenstein

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-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.
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:
 

Lawrence A.

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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.)
 

micz87

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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
 

Ulfric M Douglas

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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?
 

Amin Sabet

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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
 

krugorg

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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.
 

Art

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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

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Amin Sabet

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This is the first I'm hearing about shutter shock delay. I'll check it out, thanks!

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Amin Sabet

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Here are the E-M5 results with anti-shock set to 1/8s:

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

troll

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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?
 

Amin Sabet

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troll said:
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?
No EVF or added grip.

Sent from my Galaxy Nexus using Mu-43 App
 

alessandro

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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.
 

macalterego

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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?
 

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