OMD - Need some Advice Image Clarity/Quality

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by Trinurse, Jun 26, 2013.

  1. Trinurse

    Trinurse Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 26, 2011
    Hello Everyone,
    I've been using my OMD now for several months and absolutely love it. However, in my attempt to create HDR (and waterfall blended) images I've noticed in 100% crops that the clarity of items in the crop just doesn't seem quite up to speed. Noticeable blurriness and vagueness of tree, rocks, etc.
    I always use a weighted tripod and try to keep the ISO below 2500.

    I've included a crop of the image as an example.
    I'm using the Olympus (Zuiko)9-18 although I see I was at f5.0 and should have been down to f.8-10 or so.
    Is this the image quality I should expect or (as I suspect) am I doing something wrong.

    This is the Exif info:
    Filename - P6071393 crop.tif
    ImageWidth - 1512
    ImageLength - 1134
    BitsPerSample - 8 8 8
    Compression - 1 (None)
    PhotometricInterpretation - 2
    ImageDescription - OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
    Model - E-M5
    StripOffset - 394
    Orientation - Top left
    SamplesPerPixel - 3
    RowsPerStrip - 14
    StripByteCount - 718
    XResolution - 350
    YResolution - 350
    PlanarConfiguration - 1
    ResolutionUnit - Inch
    Software - OLYMPUS Viewer 3 1.01W
    DateTime - 2013:06:26 13:17:39
    Artist - John Schiller
    Copyright - John Schiller
    IPTC/NAA - 1230
    ExifOffset - 1298
    InterColorProfile - 16808
    ExposureTime - 1/20 seconds
    FNumber - 5.00
    ExposureProgram - Manual control
    ISOSpeedRatings - 2500
    ExifVersion - 0230
    DateTimeOriginal - 2013:06:07 10:47:31
    DateTimeDigitized - 2013:06:07 10:47:31
    ExposureBiasValue - 0.00
    MaxApertureValue - F 4.00
    MeteringMode - Center weighted average
    LightSource - Auto
    Flash - Flash not fired, auto mode
    FocalLength - 9 mm
    UserComment -
    FlashPixVersion - 0100
    ColorSpace - sRGB
    FileSource - DSC - Digital still camera
    CustomRendered - Normal process
    ExposureMode - Manual
    White Balance - Auto
    DigitalZoomRatio - 1.00 x
    SceneCaptureType - Standard
    GainControl - High gain up
    Contrast - Normal
    Saturation - Normal
    Sharpness - Hard

    Thanks in advance,

    Attached Files:

  2. monk3y

    monk3y Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 14, 2013
    in The Cloud...
    Real Name:
    Hi there, your original image looks pretty sharp, I wouldn't worry much about 100% crops.

    I feel like looking at 100% crops is just deliberately looking for problems.
  3. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    Have you switched off IS when you are using it on a tripod?

  4. Trinurse

    Trinurse Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 26, 2011
    Thanks. I look at 100% crops as I end up printing large images for friends and family. There's nothing like a large blurry image to make you a believer.
  5. Trinurse

    Trinurse Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 26, 2011
    Pretty sure I did. Can't be sure.
  6. CiaranCReilly

    CiaranCReilly Mu-43 Veteran

    Oct 18, 2012
    Real Name:
    Ciaran Reilly
    ISO 2500 is very high and you might be seeing some unnecessary noise because of this, have you checked out any shots at lower or even base ISO (200)?
  7. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    How many frames are you using to make your HDR?
  8. Trinurse

    Trinurse Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 26, 2011
    I have and they seem to be bit clearer but not by much.
  9. phidauex

    phidauex Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 17, 2013
    Boulder, CO
    The 9-18 can be a bit soft on the edges when wide open, f5.6 is good, f8 should be a bit better. I'd also recommend a lower ISO (the longer shutter speed should be acceptable on the tripod), and dialing back the Sharpness setting in-camera to reduce the amount of correction (which seems to be a bit aggressive).
  10. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 19, 2010
    IBIS off for sure

    Also, on the m43 sensors, diffraction sets in much sooner. F/8-10 is likely stopped down too far, and you will likely be better wider open.
  11. Trinurse

    Trinurse Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 26, 2011
    Really, I thought f8-10 would be ideal for sweet spot and DOF?
  12. DHart

    DHart Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 7, 2010
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    Real Name:
    Agree with WT, you might try f/5.6, or possibly f/6.3. The small m4/3 sensor offers up a good bit of DOF, especially with wide angle lenses, at wider apertures than you might be accustomed to. And diffraction does begin to set in, probably beginning around 8 to 11.

    If you're merging different images, there is a possibility that the merge is not flawlessly aligned. I would evaluate single images to determine if that might be the problem.

    Also, are you using a remote or electronic release, or pressing the camera to release the shutter? If tripod controls are not all locked down sufficiently, the pressure of pushing on the shutter release may cause the camera to shift slightly. Touching the camera could also cause the tripod to shift on the ground slightly. Using a remote release can help eliminate these possible causes of unsharpness.

    You may have already checked these factors; I'm just trying to run through possible causes for loss of sharpness.
  13. Trinurse

    Trinurse Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 26, 2011
    No. Thanks for the help. Yes. I use the Olympus remote release. The HDR's are soft as are the single images (the one I uploaded is the single image straight from RAW in Olympus Viewer). The HDR's are softer the the single images (as you would expect). My problem is that I think the single images are soft as well and I can't figure out why.

    Am I crazy or do these images seem soft?
  14. Anthon

    Anthon Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 8, 2012
    F8-10 gives you a DOF equivalent in 35mm of f16-20. It's useful to achieve focus easily with legacy lenses or MF.

    But the native lenses give their best IQ around f5.6 and the diffraction starts under that aperture

    Correct me if I'm wrong
  15. CiaranCReilly

    CiaranCReilly Mu-43 Veteran

    Oct 18, 2012
    Real Name:
    Ciaran Reilly
    IS (image stabilisation) off or lower ISO might solve it, given that you are at f/5 already
  16. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 19, 2010
    What are you comparing it to? What did you shoot before?
  17. Lindsay D

    Lindsay D Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 2, 2013
    West Sussex, England
    Real Name:
    You should never evaluate sensor IQ using a heavily processed image, but instead choose one well crafted unprocessed shot. I'm very unclear as to why you would choose ISO 2500, particularly if you are seeking to gain blur in the water with a longish exposure. There could be any number of reasons for why you're dissatisfied with the crops, including all of the processing which has been done, inappropriate settings, instability and improper focus.
  18. CarlG

    CarlG Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 6, 2013
    Tampa, FL
    Real Name:
    What's your focus point? Are you using hyperfocal distances?
    My suggestion is to focus stack several images to achieve maximum DOF and use Photoshop to stack/blend them first.
  19. Trinurse

    Trinurse Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 26, 2011
    I have a Nikon D300S which I don't use very much anymore although the image quality seems to be a bit better on the Nikon.
  20. Trinurse

    Trinurse Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 26, 2011
    These images aren't heavily processed. They were just developed in Oly Viewer 3 without any touchups. Just brought up in OV3 and then saved as tif's (and then jpg's).

    This was one of a series of exposures. In this series I used high ISO to allow for fast shutter speeds for the "background" image. I then use a series of slow speeds for the water flow affect and then both are blended in PS.