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OM-D E-M5 "Gradation" settings

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by fooddude, May 25, 2012.

  1. fooddude

    fooddude Mu-43 Regular

    May 22, 2012
    Does anyone know, or have played around with, the "Gradation" settings on their OMD yet??

    If yes, do you see a vast/noticeable difference in dynamic-range between the different settings?

    I assume this is a similar settings to Canon's HTP and Nikon's ADL settings, correct?

    Is it suggested to just leave it on "auto" or the "normal" setting all the time, for everyday/general shooting?

    Is it suggested to avoid a certain setting sometimes/at times?
  2. M4/3

    M4/3 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 24, 2011
    I've played around with the Grad settings rather extensively on both my E-M5 and E-PL1 and ultimately decided "Normal" produced the most appealing images in bright outdoor conditions. I have not experimented indoors or on cloudy days.
  3. fdifulco

    fdifulco Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 28, 2011
    New Orleans, Louisiana
    this is from the Biofos site on the settings for the E620, it may apply to the Em5. i do not see any updates on the site for the pen camera settings.

    biofos.com: home page.

    GRADATION: Auto, Normal, High key, Low key

    Gradation works with jpg's only; it does not apply itself to RAW data. Gradation is a combination of very slight exposure compensation plus manipulation of one or more zoned tonal curve(s) when the jpg is produced in-camera. What it does is manipulate the highlight and shadow areas of the image across those zoned areas to produce a more contrast balanced image, supressing the highlights and lifting the shadows. Here's my best description of the strength of each setting:

    NORMAL - No (or very little and/or subtle) effect on output.

    AUTO - As indicated the automatic application of slight exposure compensation to protect the highlights and gentle lifting of the shadows in processing. As with other E-System cameras with this facility, the E-620 result of the AUTO setting between base ISO and ISO400 is acceptable; over ISO400 leads to heightened noise in the shadow areas to the point where it is obvious and intrusive. At ISO800 for instance the results of the shadow noise generated by AUTO gradation become obtrusive. I'd recommend you use AUTO with care.

    HIGH KEY - Application of over compensation and additional processing to accentuate the highlit areas of the image. Can be effective when photographing brightly lit subjects in bright conditions. You can achieve the same results with the compensation button by applying +1.0EV. Similar (or identical) results can be obtained in SCENE MODE number 2.

    LOW KEY - The opposite of the above and useful when photographing primarily dark subjects in darkened conditions. You can achieve the same results with the compensation button by applying -1.0EV. Similar (or identical) results can be obtained in SCENE MODE number 3.

    OBSERVATIONS: Be wary of gradation especially if you shoot only jpg as once gradation is applied it cannot be undone. Unless you are aiming for a special effect avoid using HIGH/LOW KEY settings. AUTO works well between ISO100 - ISO400 and can help where there is high contrast areas such as lots of brightly lit areas and deep shadows but it comes at a price - more noise. Additional noise occurs in the darker areas of the image where the in-camera processing has 'lifted' the tonal curve of the darker areas accentuating the noise level. On balance I'd recommend you leave this set to NORMAL (which is effectively OFF). You can make just as good adjustments yourself in post-processing. Many users, including myself, have made the mistake of confusing AUTO and NORMAL modes; I repeat NORMAL is OFF. Unless you are sure you want the camera to apply gradation make sure you set it to NORMAL.
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  4. fooddude

    fooddude Mu-43 Regular

    May 22, 2012
    Thanks for the info! :) 

    Looks like I'll just leave it off/normal.. as I like to shoot only raw and do my own pping/burning/dodging.
  5. The E-M5 is the first Olympus camera where I find gradation to be a really positive feature. Because it underexposes slightly to preserve highlights and then raises shadows it works best on a camera with a sensor with inherently less noise i.e. the E-M5. If I was shooting jpeg only I'd leave gradation on Auto because the files look quite good as they are and give me all that extra data to work with that would otherwise just be blocked out shadows. If you don't like the extra shadow detail on certain images then a quick tone curve adjustment will fade them to a noise free black shadow like on a normal jpeg.
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  6. b_rubenstein

    b_rubenstein Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 20, 2012
    Melbourne, FL
    The Auto setting will absolutely effect RAW, because it changes the base exposure. In Av mode, changing Gradation from Normal to Auto raises the shutter speed by 1/3 stop. When shooting JPGs it is then processed to bring up the shadows. It really opens up the shadows. The highlights are no different between the two settings. This is different than the E-PL2. The gradations JPG processing settings may be different for different cameras. (I only have the E-PL2 & E-M5.)
  7. RetroBoy

    RetroBoy Mu-43 Regular

    How is this different from the E-PL2?

    I have the PL2 and my prior observations was that auto gradation underexposed by around a third stop, then lifted the shadows...
  8. b_rubenstein

    b_rubenstein Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 20, 2012
    Melbourne, FL
    With the combination of exposure and JPG processing, the E-PL2 drops the highlight exposure by 1/3rd stop to keep from overexposing the highlights. There is no difference in the highlight exposure with the E-M5.
  9. Agent00soul

    Agent00soul Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 22, 2010
    This is how I work too.
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