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Snapshot camera

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by dixeyk, Feb 9, 2016.

  1. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    I recently picked up am m43 camera (Olympus E-M10) because I wanted something small with AF and none of the current Sony models were really appealing to me. First off, I like the little Olympus. It's small, fast and feels pretty good in the hand. I paired it up with the Panasonic 14/2.5 and 20/1.7 and I have an unbelievably compact kit that does a lot of things pretty well. I'm thinking of adding something in the 45mm range to give me the classic 28/40/90 set of focal lengths from the Minolta CLE.

    I see the Olympus as a great snapshot camera. I don't mean that as a denigration of the Olympus but merely a statement of how I see it fitting into the way I work. I came to the Olympus from using a NEX 5n and a Fuji X-E1 so I had no expectations that the IQ would be in the same ballpark. Surprisingly, it's a lot better than I thought it would be (possibly because the E-M10 has no AA filter). The biggest difference I see is that SOOC files from the Olympus files look pretty good and need a lot less tweaking. This is good because they have considerably less latitude to do so when you shoot RAW and I have begun to wonder if there is any value at all in shooting RAW with the Olympus.

    If I were going traveling I would definitely take the Olympus if for no other reason than the it would require less time in PP. I also don't put a priority on IQ when I travel because to me its about exploration and discovery so the camera is secondary. Another advantage for travel the Olympus has (most m43 cameras actually) is that it can be the basis of a pretty small kit if you pair it with the right lenses. in the end, small, reasonably fast AF, small good quality lenses...what's not to like?
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2016
  2. Turbofrog

    Turbofrog Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 21, 2014
    Speaking personally, I'm surprised that you feel that way about RAW. It's my experience that M4/3 files taken with the newer 16MP sensors have huge RAW latitude at base ISO, particularly in the shadows. I can pull up areas that are pure black in photos that I've shot to preserve highlight detail. Sure, a state of the art Nikon or Sony APS-C or FF sensor will do a bit better, and that extra dynamic range is tempting. But your E-M10 has more dynamic range than any Canon sensor on the market, matching the 50MP full-frame 5DS and beating the 5D III and 6D. Maybe we are talking about different things when we discuss latitude, though - I don't really care at all about ISOs north of 3200, for instance.

    So yeah, I definitely shoot RAW, and often shoot RAW exclusively. I would kick myself if I accidentally shot JPEG only. I figure any shot worth making is worth spending 30 seconds perfecting in post.
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2016
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  3. GFFPhoto

    GFFPhoto Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 24, 2013
    I shoot RAW, but I will use the Panasonic app to send JPEGs to my phone to process in iOS and text on the fly, and I can say that the RAW files have much more latitude than the JPEGs. Hard drive storage and SD cards are both pretty inexpensive. Nothing wrong with shooting JPEGS, but why not shoot both and have the option of working with RAW in post if you get a stunning shot.
     
  4. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    I should probably clarify I find that the E-M10 has less latitude to work the files in PP than my Sony or Fuji did (The Fuji having the most). I can still produce nice files with RAW on the E-M10 but they don't knock my socks off. They look pretty good with nice color and decent sharpness but they aren't stunning. Then again my expectations aren't particularly high so I am looking at them much less critically than I might otherwise. I think they look fine for for their intended purpose and I'm happy with that. It's a snapshot camera. It's small, convenient, and way more flexible than a point and shoot.

    I like the E-M10 for many reasons but IQ is not one of them. I think it is decent and for me the tradeoff in size and convenience is worth it.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2016
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  5. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    Well I have been shooting RAW since I got the E-M10 and maybe I am doing something wrong but I don't see the RAW files as having MUCH more latitude than the JPEGs. They're better but they don't strike me as that much better. On the Fuji for instance the difference was substantial. On the Olympus it feels like the difference is pretty small overall. Of course I don't look at the Olympus files critically maybe I'll spend some time pushing the RAW files and see what they can do.

    I will say that not all apps process the Olympus RAW files equally well. Lightroom being the worst so far and C1P being the best. Also, from my days shooting Panasonic...as I recall Panasonic RAW files were much better than their JPEGs.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2016
  6. pellicle

    pellicle Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 10, 2010
    Southport, OzTrailEYa
    pellicle
    Hi

    perhaps its a reflection of your work flow with RAW? For instance using dcraw I always get a better file out of any RAW than a camera JPG ... its a command line utility and I usually run it over a whole directory using -h -T to dump an 8bit TIFF

    also, if you pop the raw into photomatix with unagressive settings I'm 99% of the time happier with that output than the OOC JPG ... and with dcraw you can also just suck out the embedded JPG too if you did want the OOCJPG

    EG

    OOC JPG
    CRW_0446-orig.
    photomatix
    CRW_0446.

    you just couldn't do that with a quick curves application.
     
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  7. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    It really comes down to the fact that I don't see the E-M10 in that way. To me it is a glorified point and shoot. Below is one of the images I have shot that I like. It's not bad. Shot in RAW and processed the way I normally do.

    24908936005_4d305bda79_b.
    Early Sprung
    by kevin dixey, on Flickr

    There is nothing wrong with that image but it's not great. There is a flat quality to it that I don't get with my other cameras. Of course that could be the Panasonic 20 or any other combination of things that are different between the Olympus and my Sony. This is by no means scientific and I am not saying that I don't like the Olympus (quite the opposite) just that I am not bowled over by the images. I'm also not looking to fix it...I think the Olympus is doing what I want so I'm happy with it.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2016
  8. GFFPhoto

    GFFPhoto Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 24, 2013
    Maybe Oly JPEGs are cleaner or less processed than Panasonics, so they might be closer to RAW files and have more latitude. I don't know... but my experience is that recovery of highs and lows is much better with RAW, and you can do more more of the aggressive processing stuff (like structure or tonal contrast) before the files start to fall apart and have artifacts.
     
  9. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    Well Olympus does a lot of tweaking of their JPEGs. Whether that means their JPEGs are closer to their RAW or their RAW is just not that impressive I really can't say.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2016
  10. Turbofrog

    Turbofrog Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 21, 2014
    I guess this is an example of what I get out of RAW. Huge amounts of latitude in both highlights and shadows, recovering plenty of detail from both. It's almost like HDR from a single exposure.

    nCKr8JN.

    And here's a 100% crop, albeit with Imgur compression:

    YXr7TSd.

    Click the last one for full-size if you want to inspect it, it looks kind of mushy when the site scales it to fit for width.
     
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  11. GFFPhoto

    GFFPhoto Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 24, 2013
    I don't think you will see large differences in their RAW output. I don't have much experience with the Sony 16mp sensor. but from what I read they are about equivalent starting with the Panasonic sensor in the GX7. I don't know what kind of DR the Fuji sensors have, but m43 have DR better than any Canon except the 5Ds, where they are equivalent. You should at the very least be able to see better high and shadow recovery with RAW.
     
  12. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    They look good. As I said before, I am not really looking at the files all that closely as I don't see the Olympus as anything more than a fancy point and shoot. That said, yes the recovery of highlight and shadow is good. I guess when I am talking about latitude it's not about the recovery at either end. My workflow is as follows...I shoot RAW and color, import them into C1P then move the files to Tonality CK for BW conversion (ad n occasion add color back in). The files from the E-M10 do not seem to make that trip as well as either the Sony of Fuji files. The only way I have to describe it is that the files look "thin' to me. They lack a certain depth.

    Here is an example of an image shot with the Sony and a Canon 50/1.4 SSC (at about F4). It was shot in color and then run though the process outlined above. Of course its not entirely a fair example as there are a number of things that I can't reproduce with the E-M10. The most significant being that I also approach making an image very differently when using adapted lenses and the optical properties of the Canon lens...and there is zero chance I will strap and adapted lens on the Olympus.

    23778360080_9ca9d5d17c_b.
    shifting gears
    by kevin dixey, on Flickr

    18291122191_a92b4f3248_b.
    strawberry suicide
    by kevin dixey, on Flickr

    The last image is from the Fuji with the XF35 at f2.8. It was a quick grab with AF and the XF35 is a lens that is similar to the PL25/1.4 but having said that I owned the PL25 and the P20 and shot both side by side and the P20 is not THAT different as far as IQ.

    What I see (or maybe more accurately what I don't see) is that while the Olympus produces a very good file but it has a very digital quality to my eyes. It's a usually well exposed, sharp, has good color and so forth but to me the images look a bit flat and lacking in depth. Part of it is the lens, and part if it may be that I just need to learn how to tease better images out of it. It took me a while when I started using the Fuji to get it to do what I wanted. So far however I am not having much luck.

    Granted, I tend to work my files a lot and that is likely to be part of the problem but when I do work the Olympus files I am finding I cannot do as much with them before they start to degrade. Its a process however and if I figure it out then that'll be great and if not the E-M10 will continue to be a great point and shoot and that's fine as well.

    So far one of the images that I have been happiest with is this (shot with the P14).

    24373679799_439fe91834_b.
    Winter Sky
    by kevin dixey, on Flickr

    Keep in mind I like the E-M10 and still think it a brilliant little kit. Everything is about compromise in some manner and I feel like the thins the E-M10 lacks in IQ are more than made up for in other ways. Remember I returned a Sony a6000 and chose the E-M10 instead.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2016
  13. GFFPhoto

    GFFPhoto Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 24, 2013
    OK... I'm about to hijack your thread. I still use Silver efex pro2, but I hear really good things about tonality. Have you used both? Any insights? I like SFX, but people really rave about tonality so it would be great to hear from someone with experience with both
     
  14. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    It's all good, I have both (have used both quite a lot) and started with SFX then moved to Tonlaity. IMHO Tonality gives a lot more control and it's finer grain control to boot (such as having both structure with protection controls AND micro-structure with boost and protection controls). I like it quite a bit. One of my favorite things to do is use the color filters then switch to the saturation controls and essentially re-color my image. It is really cool. Overall I find Tonality just gives me lot more options and allows me to get what I want in a more direct manner. Its less tied to the preset mode that the Nik tool use and I like that.

    I also find that since Google bought the Nik suite all development seems to have stopped. Of course Tonality is a Mac only tool so there is that. If you're a Mac user it is well worth a look.

    I do occasionally use SFX still but it is only for special cases and usually because I want to have some heavy vignetting and the tool in SFX lets you really go crazy with vignetting and burning so I will do most of the work in Tonality and take it over to SFX to finish up. Having said that if I could only use one it would be Tonality without a second thought.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2016
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  15. GFFPhoto

    GFFPhoto Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 24, 2013
    Thanks. I am a Mac user. Do you use any other of the Macphun (I think that's the developer) tools?
     
  16. Pecos

    Pecos Mu-43 Top Veteran

    776
    Jan 20, 2013
    The Natural State
    I think I know what you mean by "flat" and lacking in "depth" but I'm not sure I see it. Could you demonstrate that with comparable images?
     
  17. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    I use Intensify, Focus and plan on picking up Noiseless (which is 50% off for Feb). I could probably upgrade to the CK suite for not much more as I already own 3 products.
     
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  18. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    I'll see if I can find some good examples.
     
  19. GFFPhoto

    GFFPhoto Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 24, 2013
    Thanks for all the info. Do you buy direct or from the App store. Im cautious with the app store because their upgrade process is non existent
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2016
  20. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    I've done both. If the app developer allows you to buy direct I prefer that. Macphun allows you to buy all the CK tools as a suite or you can buy separately.
     
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