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Perception, reality and adjustability - EPL5 vs Canon 5D

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by WT21, Feb 16, 2013.

  1. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 19, 2010
    Boston
    I am getting to know my new EPL5. One thing I noticed was that reds looked really bad while shooting. Very pink and hot. We have maroon walls in the dining room and study, red pillows here and there throughout the house, and I was testing on some valentine's day roses I had bought my wife. Lots of reds here, so it was pervasive and easy to notice.

    I spent some time learning to adjust both the LCD and EVF. That has helped quite a bit in my perception while shooting. That's the perception part.

    In viewing the pictures on my laptop, though, the reds still looked way off. I moved to my calibrated monitor, to make sure any adjustments I made were more accurate.

    I began to explore metering. I had been using center weighted on my prior Pens, because I find ESP too dark. I went back to ESP, and also tried center weighted and spot with a -EV adjustment. I also went into the menus and altered the red channel in the WB.

    This all helped, but the pictures were still coming into LR a little hot on on the red channel. Because I shot in RAW, I could always adjust colors by individual channel in post, but I prefer to spend as little time in post as possible.

    Hmmmm... maybe it's the small sensor? So, to compare, I did some shots with my 5D on the same subjects. You know what? The 5D also blew out the red channel in these test shots. It's just too much red, I guess. Maybe the tonality of the red looks dark to the metering system, so the channel gets clipped easily??

    I produced a number of shots with various approaches and settings and I finally found, after some tinkering, that my EPL5 might need to adjust down the reds in it's WB by one or two clicks, which I've adjusted, and I should either use ESP and brighten the image a bit, or use Center Weighted and drop the EV a bit.

    I'll continue to explore, and this is primarily dealing with reds, shooting indoors. I'm not sure if these adjustments will at all negatively impact outdoor shooting. That's the adjustment part.

    Here's the vs. 5D part:
    One thing I noticed when looking at my Canon shots vs. my EPL5 shots 100% on screen. The EPL5 shots had a bit less DR (this is at ISO400) so some edges were a little more posterized, and looked a little more "digital" at 100%.

    But how often will I view these pics at 100%? I exported both to 2000 pixels on the long end via LR with the only adjustment being "auto tone" in LR. I did this to keep it all fairly even in a simplistic approach. As opposed to adjusting each pic to it's best, manually manipulating individual color channels.

    The reds in both shots are still a little off, but they are essentially equivalent. Other than a tiny drop more DR in the 5D shot and the DOF differences (and in this case, the EPL5 DOF works better here, IMO), there really is very little to tell the two apart.

    Both shot at ISO400, 28mm equivalent (one using the P14, the other using a Canon 28/1.8) both at f/2.5 (I could have set the Canon to f/5.0, but I was looking to match exposure, not DOF in this test).

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Originals are here. If you click to open the originals in new browser windows, and click again, you can see just a tiny bit smoother gradients in the main rose's leaves. These would be large print sizes:
    http://wt21.smugmug.com/Camera-Compares/5D-vs-m43/i-wvdcCt8/0/O/Canon 5D no adjustments.jpg

    http://wt21.smugmug.com/Camera-Comp...6/0/O/-2 Red Channel WB CTR WTD EPL5 -0.7.jpg
     
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  2. jloden

    jloden Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2012
    Hunterdon County, NJ
    Jay
    I haven't had it happen in a long time so I'd sort of forgotten about it, but every time I shot red carnations or roses I had a problem with the red channel blowing out. This has happened to me on a G3, GX1 and a G5 so far, possibly others though I can't recall offhand. It would just totally oversaturate and turn into a big blob of red - similar to blowing highlights, except specific to red. I've ended up rescuing it by desaturating in post but it'd be nice to find a more elegant solution in-camera.
     
  3. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 19, 2010
    Boston
    Straight out of the EPL5, no adjustments

    [​IMG]
     
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  4. While it is manageable to process around it, my general feeling is that I need to take more care with red channel saturation (and colour saturation in general) on my E-M5 compared to the most recent model Canons I have used (G1X and 50D) and perhaps even the Samsung NX200 as well. I think that the Panasonic GH1 might sit somewhere in the middle, but I haven't done any back-to-back testing with any of them to prove this as fact. In a few limited examples I had also noticed that the Ricoh GXR A12 (Sony 12MP APS-C sensor) also needed to be "managed" slightly with regards to red channel saturation so I don't necessarily think that it is an issue specific to Olympus or Micro 4/3.
     
  5. mattia

    mattia Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 3, 2012
    The Netherlands
    Reds are often a bit of a pain, and I fairly often play around with the channel mixer to adjust.
     
  6. fransglans

    fransglans Mu-43 Top Veteran

    991
    Jun 12, 2012
    Sweden
    gus
    I think they both look just fine. Maybe we all should stop viewing in 100% and save us some money.... :)
    Another solution is to buy yellow roses. I also have some problems with the red channel in my e-p3.
     
  7. Drdave944

    Drdave944 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    696
    Feb 2, 2012
    Gosh,I thought the monitors on your camera screen were JPEG quality.That's why you shoot in RAW, I thought.

    It is nice that you can adjust your screen,but I don't see how the small chips in your cameras are going to be up to the job of controlling your saturation, contrast and white balance in the long run,as compared to the high powered image processing equipment on your computer. On the other hand,your brightness,contrast and especially focus are the real job of your sensor and lens. If wanting here you are out of luck later on. If anything the little screen picture gives a false idea of the quality of your picture,especially if the latter factors lacking.
     
  8. davidzvi

    davidzvi Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 12, 2012
    Outside Boston MA
    David
    If it was just you having the problem in this shot I'd ask if the camera was getting confused with the color of the overhead light source and the window light. They look like different temperatures. This is not something I have noticed in my E-PM1. What picture mode do you use? I tend to leave mine in natural.
     
  9. Yohan Pamudji

    Yohan Pamudji Mu-43 Veteran

    462
    Jun 21, 2012
    Mississippi, USA
    If you drop the red in WB it will affect the whole image every time, whereas what you really want is to dial down only overly saturated reds like in those roses. Dialing down exposure and bringing up shadows in post in theory would be a better approach I think.

    Also, you could probably bump up the exposure and/or reds just a bit from the RAW processed photos you posted and end up with something between that and the clipped reds version that might be more pleasing. As it is I think the RAW processed version looks underexposed, but maybe that's the look you were going for in which case ignore what I said :)
     
  10. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 19, 2010
    Boston
    Good point on the Overall impact, but even my browns are looking red, so I'm going to try and ratchet down the reds overall.
     
  11. jloden

    jloden Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2012
    Hunterdon County, NJ
    Jay
    I don't think it's specific to m4/3 and definitely not Olympus since I've seen it on at least 3 Panasonic models. I haven't seen it on my GH3 yet but it most often comes up with flowers and it's winter, so I won't know for a while yet.

    I'm not sure everyone is clear on what the issue is here... this isn't about WB, color accuracy, or LCD adjustments. Take a look a the untouched shot the OP posted - there's obviously blown reds in the rose that causes it to smear and lose detail. It's like highlight clipping but with red subjects specifically. That was the gist of at least 1/2 the post, trying to adjust to counter that behavior.

    I've found I can reduce red saturation in post sometimes to counter this behavior when it's happened to me, but not always. It looks like the sensor's red channel is being overwhelmed or something along those lines. I presume this has something to do with the RGB color arrays on the sensor but I'm not that up on my sensor tech.
     
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  12. RT_Panther

    RT_Panther Mu-43 Legend

    May 4, 2011
    Texas
    Just by chance,
    Do you have that "warm" setting on in your PL5 :confused:
     
  13. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 19, 2010
    Boston
    Good question. Actually tried it both ways. Didn't actually impact much.

    I also tested my EPL3. Maybe I should post those results. The roses are more maroon. The EPL5 makes them drift a bit orange, the EPL2 made them more pink. Same settings.

    I know red channels are notorious. I've struggled with them since my pocket cams. I'm just experimenting. Not expecting any kind of easy answer.
     
  14. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 19, 2010
    Boston
    That's it in a nutshell. I did also play with the WB, because the color wasn't quite right. As I noted above, the roses are a bit more maroon than the EPL5 (or even the 5D) was producing, but yeah, the main issue was the clipping on that one color channel.
     
  15. jloden

    jloden Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2012
    Hunterdon County, NJ
    Jay
    Interesting... since it came up and I don't have anywhere to be right now, I decided to dig around a bit on this issue finally and found some useful info.

    Long and the short of it is, it looks like the way to deal with this is exposure compensation until the red in your RGB histogram isn't clipping anymore. In practice I'm not sure how viable that will be but at least now I know next time I see this I can try dialing down the exposure a bit to counter it.

    References:
    Channel Clipping - recovering a blown out R/G/B channel - Bob Atkins Photography

    Blown Red Channel...

    This looks like a particularly excellent writeup but unfortunately I can't see all the images in the post due to some kind of permissions setting:

    https://www.twopeasinabucket.com/mb.asp?cmd=display&thread_id=2899676
     
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  16. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 19, 2010
    Boston
    That second link really explains it well. Seems exposure meter is mostly looking at green, so especially in my shot, the red gets blown. Good find, good read. Thanks. I guess I gotta repaint my house and change some of th decor!
     
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