The EP2 perfect setup. Is There Such a Thing?

blackSP

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I'm wondering if there's a magical sweet spot for JPEG shooters, where all tweaks over and above the factory default gives you the perfect setup.

What is it, if it exists? Less saturation, less noise reduction, gradation on normal?
 

Streetshooter

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shhhhhhh, don't tell anyone about this....
there is a magical sweet spot.......

it's called RAW.......
seriously, try RAW files, the Pen cameras make great files....you can make jpgs from them that you won't get out of camera.....
shooter
 

blackSP

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I know that but RAW is not always convenient. Thats why I said 'for JPEG shooters'. Since I like shooting lots of pics I don't want to work on each and every one of them.

Personally I always have sat -1, noise reduction on low, basically applying the 'Less is more' principle.
 

Brian Mosley

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Well, you could shoot raw + jpeg, and develop further jpegs 'in-camera' by adjusting your current settings (including selecting an Art Filter) and using the 'edit' function.

Another tip, use natural colour, contrast +1, saturation +1 to simulate the E-1 look.

Sharpening can be a bit aggressive... so set this to 0 maximum (I tend to shoot with sharpening -2 and sharpen if necessary after scaling for web)

Cheers

Brian
 

Ray Sachs

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I know that but RAW is not always convenient. Thats why I said 'for JPEG shooters'. Since I like shooting lots of pics I don't want to work on each and every one of them.
Not to be argumentative, but I shoot everything in RAW and I work on very very few of them. When I first got the trial version of the processing software (Aperture 3 in this case), I shot a bunch of RAW+JPEGs. The program already had an E-P2 preset (I have an E-PL1, but the jpegs are very similar) and I found that by backing off the exposure by the smallest increment on the RAW preset, I couldn't tell any difference between the jpegs and the raw files after they were processed automatically on import. So I work as I would with raw+jpeg, but without all of those extra files hanging around that I'd have to manage. 90+ percent of my shots are automatically processed on import and I never touch 'em again - I basically have my jpegs without ever touching them. The handful of good ones that I'd LIKE to work on, I work on and have the benefit of all of the raw data to work with. Or sometimes if I have a series of shots taken of the same basic subject matter in the same place with the same lighting, I may work on one of them, get it right, and then apply those changes to all of the others in the series. It takes two extra mouse clicks.

I'm new to this and assumed that working with RAW would be a hassle, but I've found that its anything but a hassle.

-Ray
 

Rich M

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I'm withya Ray....my workflow is to open LR....stick in my SD card and let her rip..

If there is a tweak that I need to make you have the power of the RAW file to work with.
 

Brian Mosley

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I've been shooting raw for years, but you have to be ready to deal with that extra level of software to convert from raw to jpeg... for the OP, learn how to use the in-camera edit function (i.e. try some test shots in raw and convert to jpeg in camera) and play with the jpeg shooting parameters to get the look you want.

Cheers

Brian
 

Rich M

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I've been shooting raw for years, but you have to be ready to deal with that extra level of software to convert from raw to jpeg... for the OP, learn how to use the in-camera edit function (i.e. try some test shots in raw and convert to jpeg in camera) and play with the jpeg shooting parameters to get the look you want.

Cheers

Brian
Sound advice Brian......I wish that darn LCD on the E-P2 had better resolution.

How is the LCD on the E-PL1......any better?

R
 

OzRay

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I agree, just shot RAW. I shoot nothing but RAW for all of my sports photography and it doesn't slow my workflow one bit. I just upload everything into Lightroom and 1000s of photos from a day of sport can be selected and processed in a matter of hours or less.

The thing about shooting RAW is that RAW developers just keep improving all the time and you can go back to shots taken years ago and suddenly find that you have so much more available in a shot that you thought was good at the time. I've done this and keep being surprised. JPGs are merely a finished product baked to some engineers recipe.

Cheers

Ray
 

rssarma

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Let's answer the OP's question...

...and not make this a discussion about RAW, shall we?? :smile:

blackSP, you can gather from all the responses here that in order to get the most out of your camera it's best to shoot RAW, however, my question to you would be, what are you looking to do with the JPEGs? Are you looking for the best settings so that the files lend themselves better to post processing or are you looking for settings that will give you crisp and ready to usable JPEGs right off the bat without any editing?

If you answered YES to the first question, then I'm going to go ahead and say, "Shoot in RAW", simply because softwares like LR and Aperture give you the same workflow whether you're editing JPEGs or RAW, so you really don't stand to gain anything if you're shooting JPEGs with an aim to post process.

If you answered YES to the second question, then I would recommend that you either use i-Enhance (yes, it's surprisingly good) with the saturation and contrast backed off by one notch.

For the noise filter, I recommend "Low", but this is really as per taste, if you're allergic to noise, go for "High" or "Standard".

Gradation is best left at "Normal"
 

Streetshooter

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Hate to disagree but I have to. The OP is looking for the best result for a jpeg.
In camera or out, the jpeg does not have the latitude of a raw image...soooo

think a jpeg as a Transparency and a Raw as a negative. The latitude is similar in those FILM terms.

If he wants to get the best quality, he should start with raw....
this is not about RAW, it's about getting the best quality JPEG.....

PS... sorry about your loss in the other thread....
 

rssarma

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Hate to disagree but I have to. The OP is looking for the best result for a jpeg.
In camera or out, the jpeg does not have the latitude of a raw image...soooo

think a jpeg as a Transparency and a Raw as a negative. The latitude is similar in those FILM terms.

If he wants to get the best quality, he should start with raw....
this is not about RAW, it's about getting the best quality JPEG.....

PS... sorry about your loss in the other thread....
True, no arguments there, which is why I brought up two scenarios. If one wants to edit images, there's no point in shooting JPEGs, on the other hand if the OP wants usable images without having to edit, then the camera does pretty well.

Thanks for your concern, I'm now considering the GF1 due to its lower price point.
 

blackSP

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rssarma, I was actually looking for #2 and you gave me quite an elaborate answer.
i-Enhance. I'll try that out, make a bunch of shots and compare.

I am however used to slight lowering saturation b a notch and increasing sharpness when needed. The best thing to do is just take loads of pictures I guess...

And at any rate, the Ep2 produces great shots whatever the setting :)
 

Djarum

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The main reason I purchased the EP1 over the GF1 was because Jpegs were spot on, at least for me, out of the EP1.

I don't have time to wait for a raw file to write, and I don't have time to process the raw files later. Now, I realize some have mentioned batch raw processing, and that is fine if the EP1 jpeg output is not what you like. I guess I'm not sure what is gained if going from raw and converting to jpeg using a program with the EP1 settings. I know months ago in the dpreview where people were trying to take GF1 raw files to make them look like EP1 jpegs. They got close, but not exact.

Right now, I have the settings at natural, contrast at 0 and sharpening at 0. Most images that I think are keepers I don't need to touch. A few I bump up the contrast a notch or two in GIMP and call it a day.

Dj
 

BBW

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For those who are interested and/or who enjoy their jpegs, you might enjoy reading this blog post by Kirk Tuck, who recently registered here as a member. It's from his blog The Visual Science Lab and titled "My Long, Final Rambling Review of the Olympus E-P2 Camera" Here's a bit from this particular post, though I enjoyed reading the complete entry.
Controversy Alert: I know this is going to sound scary to all the people who've been doing digital for a long time, but I tend to use the camera almost exclusively in SHQ (super high quality) Jpeg. Now before you get all lathered up please understand that I'm using the camera to do my own art. If a corporate client puts money on the table I always fire up the whole RAW workflow deal to make sure I've covered all my bases. But for the most part it's totally unnecessary. One of the main reasons I switched systems from Nikon is that I found that Jpegs straight out of the camera were really nice from the Olympus cameras and always a bit problematic with the Nikons. For my taste the Nikon ones had too dark a midtone curve and too red a skin tone. Yes, I know I can spend hours in Lightroom making exactly calibrations. I know I can spend hours creating and uploading custom curves in Nikon Capture and uploading them to the camera but the whole point was that I didn't have to do any of that to get pleasing color and contrast from the Olympus cameras. And the EP-2 might be the best of the bunch from O just by dint of being the most recent. Somehow the same people who depend on RAW are the same people who denounce using a meter. Go figure. I shoot Jpeg. You can shoot raw. The Olympus does a big, fat 12 bit raw file. It's less compressed than raw files from their competitors. Whether that makes it better I have no clue. I just know that the EP2 EVF gives great feedback for color and density, letting you get a Jpeg just right in the field and saving you a lot of butt time back home in the Photoshop saddle.

Also, you can denounce me as a heretic if you like but nothing beats the Olympus blue. You can shift curves and play with hue and saturation with other brand files but every time you change a setting you mess up another part of the curve. First Controversy Alert Over....
Whatever works for someone is what works for 'em.:wink:
 

Djarum

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For those who are interested and/or who enjoy their jpegs, you might enjoy reading this blog post by Kirk Tuck, who recently registered here as a member. It's from his blog The Visual Science Lab and titled "My Long, Final Rambling Review of the Olympus E-P2 Camera" Here's a bit from this particular post, though I enjoyed reading the complete entry.

Whatever works for someone is what works for 'em.:wink:
Good find!

I think raw is the way to go for blowups or to squeeze the absolute most detail out of a picture. I personally just don't see the benifit of raw when posting web size images. I'm sure there can be an argument that it is necessary for even web size images too.
 

blackSP

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Indeed nice find and nice blog.

I made a bunch of shots yesterday evening and did comparisons on screen. I tend to agree that the jpeg's are spot on with jpeg super high&large (8-9mb per file), picture mode natural, saturation -1, sharpness +1,. noises reduction off and gradation on normal. I also topped iso at max 640. With the panny 1.7 that works out fine.
 

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