Unhappy with EPL-1

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by boatman37210, Oct 31, 2012.

  1. boatman37210

    boatman37210 Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 28, 2012
    I've been using the EPL-1 and the 14-42 Mk II for about 3 or 4 months and have not been happy with the pictures since day one. They're just not as sharp as I think they should be.

    Bought a G2 off this forum and have been very happy with it using the 14-42 MK II. The pictures are noticeably sharper and colors richer than the EPL-1 even with the EPL-1 set at vivid.

    Knowing the reputation of the EPL-1 I figure it has to be something I am doing wrong. I shoot auto on both cameras. I figure the cameras know a lot more than I do at this point in my skill level. I've tried setting the focus box to 14X and that may be helping some, but not enough.

    One web site rates the G2 highly for sharpness and color which mirrors the results I'm getting. I'm just not understanding why I'm not getting better results out of the EPL-1.

    Would much welcome any input on what I am doing wrong or what I should be doing.

  2. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Legend Subscribing Member

    Feb 19, 2010
    Can you post samples? The EPL1 should be able to keep up with, if not exceed, the G2 in sharpness and color given those kit lenses.

    It's always possible the lens could have a defect, just as much as the camera. Have you tried swapping the lenses? They will both work on each other's camera.
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  3. boatman37210

    boatman37210 Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 28, 2012
    Using the Oly 14-42 Mk II on both cameras. On the G2 it does well. On the EPL-1 I think the pics are too soft. Not the lens I don't think. Has to be a defective camera or defective user.

    Here is a link to one of my pics in my gallery taken with the EPL-1:
  4. Dave Jenkins

    Dave Jenkins Mu-43 Veteran

    Sounds to me as if your camera may be defective.
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  5. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Legend Subscribing Member

    Feb 19, 2010
    I agree it looks soft.

    There could be a number of things to try. I'd love to see a full resolution image, and also compare a shot with the G2. I would also run an Oly test with IS off. I'd also like to see a RAW file, to cut out any jpg processing issues.

    But at the end of the day, it's some work to diagnose, and if you have the G2 already and you like it, do you need to make the EPL1 work for you?
  6. boatman37210

    boatman37210 Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 28, 2012
    I like the feel of the EPL-1 design in my hand better than the G2, but of course like the pics better from the G2 as things stand now. If I can get pics as good as the G2 from the EPL-1, I most likely will shelve the G2 and use it occasionally. If I cannot, then it's the G2 only for now. I like the idea of having two cameras. Plus, being new to ILC's I'm still evaluating what cameras I like best.

    The camera is still under warranty and I hate to give up on it. I would have to send to Cameta and I'm in Thailand. I need to determine if it is something I'm doing before sending to them.

    PM sent concerning raw files.

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  7. FlyPenFly

    FlyPenFly Mu-43 Veteran

    Feb 15, 2011
    Try turning off IBIS, maybe something with that mechanism is broken.
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  8. gr6825

    gr6825 Mu-43 Veteran

    Oct 10, 2012
    It is a little hard to tell with that sample, but it looks to me like the focus could be off. It seems like there is more detail in the background, as if you are focused to infinity - so that softness could just be a result of DOF. Any other samples?
  9. cprevost

    cprevost Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 31, 2012
    Unsharp pictures are usually a result of one of the following:

    Shutter speed- Your shutter speed is too slow for hand holding without camera shake. For the 14-42 lens your shutter speed needs to be at least as fast as your focal length. That means if you are at the telephoto end of your lens you need a shutter speed of at least 42 or more.

    Troubleshoot- Try some pictures in bright sunlight and pay attention to the shutter speed. You should be getting shutter speeds in the hundreds in that light. This will ensure that camera shake is not affecting your images. If they are still unsharp then you have a different issue.

    Focus- Your camera isn't locking focus. Faulty lens or faulty camera could cause this.

    Troubleshoot- Try using manual focus and lock focus with the focus ring.Shoot a bunch of images. If you still get unsharp images then you may have a faulty camera or lens. It could also be the IBIS.

    IBIS- If the shutter speed is fast enough then sometimes the image stabilizer will actually make the images worse.

    Troubleshoot- Turn off the image stabilization and shoot in bright light. If your images are just as unsharp then it's probably something else.

    In Camera Sharpness Settings- check to see that your in camera sharpness settings are not set to a negative number. It could simply be that one camera is applying some in camera sharpening and the other is not.
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  10. Ulfric M Douglas

    Ulfric M Douglas Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 6, 2010
    Perhaps your e-pL1 doesn't get on very well with your collapsible 14-42 lens.
    I never use that lens, always others on my e-pL1 but I did hear about occasional vibration problems causing softness. My G1 is not sharper than my e-pL1, not ever.
    Try this experiment : rest your finger against the extended lens barrel and take some photos, with and without the finger. If there is any difference you might want to get another lens. The newer 14-42R or the older Lumix 14-45.
    • Like Like x 1
  11. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    An easy way to rule out the camera is to take the same shot side-by-side with the G2 and E-PL1, and compare the full-size version.
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  12. RevBob

    RevBob Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Jun 4, 2011
    NorthWestern PA
    Another possibility is the basic setup of the camera. Is Noise Reduction set on high? What is the gradient set to? Is IBIS on or on the second or third setting? Lots of possibilities.
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  13. M4/3

    M4/3 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 24, 2011
    Boatman, does this look sharp to your eyes? It is a straight out of the camera jpeg taken with my E-PL1 and kit 14-42mm lens. I shoot Aperture priority in the f4.0 - 7.1 range, Vivid Picture mode with +1 in camera sharpening and Gradation set to Normal. On the white balance I set to Sunshine with WB compensation set to -1 Amber and +1 Green
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  14. hkpzee

    hkpzee Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 5, 2011
    Hong Kong
    I sold off my E-PL1 long time ago, but I remembered that SOOC JPEG images taken with the default settings were a little soft. As others have suggested, try bumping up sharpening by +1. Also agree with others that the sample shot you posted looks slightly out of focus. The default Noise Filter might also be a little too aggressive. I typically liked to set it to low for the SOOC JPEGs.
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  15. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    There is absolutely no need to bump up the sharpness if you haven't done anything about the Noise Filter yet! The OP said both cameras were on Auto... That no doubt means default Noise Filter settings, which on the Oly is simply way too much. I'm pretty sure that's likely the problem. Most long-time Olympus users turn Noise Filter off when they first get the camera.

    Personally, I love my Olympus cameras, and I love many of the features and settings that they make available to us who know how to set them up. What I don't like about Olympus cameras are the default settings. Many of them simply boggle your mind, like turning off Super Control Panel by default, turning on Keep Warm Colors by default, or locking the turn dial by default. The high Noise Filter setting is another bad one. For those of us who keep up with the cameras it's easy to set these things up properly as soon as we open the box and pop in a charged battery. But for those who simply don't know...

    At least the default Noise Filter I can understand... super-smooth noise reduction to the point of removing all detail so that you get "no noise at any ISO" has been a fad for a long time, and Olympus was actually one of the pioneers who helped to break that terrible fad, marketing the advantages of a weak AA filter and putting importance on sharpness and fine detail instead smeared-out noise. But in the end, they still have to cater to the "weakest link" sometimes.

    Of course, the camera could have been defective as well, but I'm betting on bad settings instead.
    • Like Like x 1
  16. boatman37210

    boatman37210 Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 28, 2012
    Out of pocket for a couple of days, so just now getting back.

    WT21 offered to look at a few pics, so I've sent them for his evaluation. The more I read these posts, I'm 99% convinced that it is the camera settings I have wrong.

    That pic looks fantastic. I get nothing like that.

    I'm going to go through my camera and check settings. I think with all the suggestions from this thread I should be able to figure it out.

    I think part of the problem is the IS. I took two pics today with IS on and off and it seems off the picture was better. I have always left it on in the past. Sent the pics to WT21, so waiting to see if he agrees.

    I know many have said it, but I'll say it again. This is a great forum.

  17. Spuff

    Spuff Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 5, 2010
    Berkshire, UK.
    Yes, EPL1 can do sharp.
    I never thought of my EPL1 as not sharp. I often wanted more resolution, but what was in my range was not what I thought of as soft if taken well.
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/safetytrousers/5666935948/" title="giraffe head by Safetytrousers, on Flickr"> 5666935948_245f8cd05f. "500" height="361" alt="giraffe head"></a>
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  18. RT_Panther

    RT_Panther Mu-43 Legend

    May 4, 2011
    • Like Like x 1
  19. littleMT

    littleMT Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 8, 2012
    Lucille Sanchez
  20. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Are you perchance using a tripod? If you are, remember to always turn IS off on a tripod. If you don't it will try to compensate for movement which doesn't exist, and end up adding blur instead.

    If you're shooting with fast shutter speeds (ie, stopping action), then it's usually best to turn it off there as well. It does no good at high shutter speeds and slows down the camera a bit (which may be an issue if you're capturing fast action). It's not all that harmful though, like it is on a tripod.
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