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What I really like about my m4/3

Discussion in 'Image Processing' started by Robert Watcher, Jun 26, 2010.

  1. Robert Watcher

    Robert Watcher Mu-43 Top Veteran

    I'll tell you what I really love about these Olympus m4/3 cameras - wouldn't matter which one I had - - - where my slrs are seldom on the ready, my E-PL1 is always sitting there ready to go with it's kit lens attached.

    An example of how I benefit is that my wife who is an artist with her sewing - and one like myself who uses whatever tools are at hand to accomplish tasks that others feel they need dedicated and sometimes expensive equipment for as can be seen by her lack of a quilting machine or purpose built table to work on - - - was working on one of her quilts in the last hour and it was so easy for me to pop out and set the E-PL1 on movie mode and grab a few minutes of high quality video as well as several stills while I was shooting the video, of a particular task that she wanted a record of.

    I interupted what I was doing at my workstation and spent about a minute and a half documenting what she was working on, for her website and instructional materials. Even though the Olympus cameras are no match for the best Nikon and Canon offerings when it comes to low light shooting - I find surprisingly good quality in normal room light, and even at 3200 ISO I can clean the noise up pretty easily with my NR software. Especially are any of the images useful for web work or the many situations I would shoot for that do not demand critical flawless lack of noise.

    Here are a couple of the shots hot off the camera. I didn't adjust any curves, levels or colours:

    For the video and stills that I took, I had the camera set on Vivid mode. This shot was using Program and Auto ISO where the camera selected 800 ISO for a pretty clean image. No need for NR in this shot.

    E-PL1, kit lens, 800 ISO expsoure f3.5 @ 1/30'th with IS1
    12775821477007_annequilt1.

    ----

    To see the effects of the E-PL1 3200 ISO noise, I switched the camera off of Auto ISO to 3200 ISO so that I could make use of f8 for more depth of field, as well as changed from Vivid to Normal. That is why the colors are a little less vibrant and probably more natural looking. I used Nik's Define as my Noise Reduction - which produced a shot that is virtually noise free and yet maintains plenty of detail.

    E-PL1, kit lens, 3200 ISO expsoure f8 @ 1/25'th with IS1
    12775824591923_annequilt2nr.

    ----
    THESE SHOTS ARE 100% crops of the above image shot at 3200 ISO. First one straight out of the camera with just the camera's Low Noise Filter setting. The Second showing the effect of the Nik Define noise reduction (for a final image I would probably go about half opacity of the NR layer for a tad more grain and fine details showing):

    12775826174472_annequilt2full.

    12775826298601_annequilt2fullnr.

    ----

    The high ISO settings of E-PL1 are quiet good for normal working conditions and probably even better than those from my E-3 (especially the banding problem it has at 3200ISO).
     
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  2. BBW

    BBW Super Moderator Emeritus

    I couldn't agree with you more about the ease of use and being at the ready, Robert.

    That Nik Define is quite something, too!

    I'm impressed by your wife's quilt - it looks beautiful!
     
  3. goldenlight

    goldenlight Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 30, 2010
    Essex
    John
    Hi Rob,

    That 100% crop at ISO 3200 is interesting. Considering the crop (and you're hardly likely to print at that size) I don't find the grain (sorry, the noise) objectionable at all. In fact, it's because it resembles a very film like grain that I instinctively typed the wrong word.

    I'm also interested to see you use Dfine, I don't know many other who use it. Most seem to go for Ninja or Neat Image. Having tried several, Dfine is the one I find easiest to use and I particularly like the flexibility of control points and colour selection. I also note that you reduce noise in a layer and adjust the opacity - I presume that gives you even more control.
     
  4. Djarum

    Djarum Super Moderator

    Dec 15, 2009
    Huntsville, AL, USA
    Jason
    Nice shots. I agree about the noise. More detail in the first shot, less noise and detail in the second.
     
  5. I'm liking the m4/3 too!

    While I gave thanks earlier, I've the same sentiment about our new E-PL1 too! As Robert pointed out, there is something to be said about having this little camera quietly sitting on the sideboard, ready for the moment. I've truly started pondering a major sell-off of my Oly 4/3 gear and getting an EP2(for it's slightly different features and extra dial) as a second body for my use!:redface:
    Now, if there was weather-sealed version, my sale would start now!

    Thus far, our E-PL1 has pleased my wife due to it's ease of use and how it's helping her understand how aperture/shutter/ISO work in photography.(Prior to this camera, she would shoot with my E-1/E-3/E-410 with whatever settings I set for her and accomplish many nice creative images. But, between the weight and size, there was never any desire to lug a camera around.)

    Robert related his experience in a thoughtful manner and went further into the noise and high ISO topic. His pics offered a perfect example of noise and a solution to reduce the effects in the final image. I use the NIK Complete Collection (which includes DFine) with my Lightroom and find it to be a must have plug-in system for processing my RAW files from my other cameras. To be certain, there are less expensive options to be considered, as others have mentioned.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  6. JoepLX3

    JoepLX3 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    509
    Jun 13, 2010
    Japan
    Sounds like the best camera (the one you have with you and you want to use).
    - Really nice story, but one thing feels wrong to me...

    I want a camera to make the best possible pictures, not to spend time doing post processing picture by picture :mad:.
    - But guess it is kind of 2nd hobby for you and out of camera performance would have been OK for most of us, right? :cool:
     
  7. JoepLX3

    JoepLX3 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    509
    Jun 13, 2010
    Japan
    Today I looked at the Pentax K-7, seems to be very nice and durable toy as well!!!
    - But of course less compact - maybe Pentax should join the m43 party :grouphug:.
     
  8. goldenlight

    goldenlight Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 30, 2010
    Essex
    John
    Nine times out of ten Olympus out of camera JPEGS are the best in the business, but when working at high ISO you do need a bit of work to get the best from them. However, looking at the noise in Rob's example I'm guessing you could happily print at A4 without noise reduction if you don't mind a little grain.
     
  9. Robert Watcher

    Robert Watcher Mu-43 Top Veteran

    I have owned Neat Image for probably 5 or 6 years and depended on it for all of my noise reduction. However I like you John, have found Dfine to produce an outstanding job much of the time using the auto reading. But it is so flexible with it's ease of moving the control boxes around to give more presidence to those areas - - - and have to do that from time to time - although rarely with my type of work. I don't use Neat Image any longer.

    One nice thing about Dfine as a Photoshop plugin, is that a new Layer is generated containing a copy of the original with the Noise Reduction applied. It is so easy to just back off the layer Opacity (or even change a blend mode at times) to give a more organic feel if I feel the NR is too dominant. Or a mask could easily be created on that layer, making customization easy with the use of brush on select areas to expose varying degrees of the original layer without noise reduction.
     
  10. nokiamia

    nokiamia Mu-43 Regular

    102
    May 20, 2010
    Malaysia
    Robert Watcher, thanks for sharing. I've NEVER used anything higher than ISO1600. But your post has showed me that it's OK to do so. I feel so 'doh!'. Will start experimenting soon! Thanks again!
     
  11. JoepLX3

    JoepLX3 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    509
    Jun 13, 2010
    Japan
    What is the best free software to address noise?
    - What is benefit of this over the software bundled with either Panasonic on Olympus camera?

    PS: For me userfriendliness (1 tool does all) is also important...
     
  12. photoSmart42

    photoSmart42 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    628
    Feb 12, 2010
    San Diego, CA
    I'm not convinced you can ever get away with doing PP completely. It's nothing new, and certainly nothing new to photography. During the film days, PP meant both pre-processing (choosing the right film & filters) as well as post-processing (various film developing techniques and chemicals to bring out different characteristics of the film). Be very happy if you run across a camera that puts out OOC images that are perfect for you all the time!

    Having set up my in-camera color profile on my GH1, I'm very happy with the JPEG output. It matches the final PP's RAW output nearly perfectly, and I really don't spend more than 5 minutes per photo doing PP (most of the time it's less than 1 minute) for the photos I consider keepers. I don't see it as too much of a chore, and sometimes I think people make a bigger deal out of it. To be honest, I spend far less time doing PP now that I spend more time actually composing the photo in the first place, because when I do that, the photos only require minimal tweaks instead of heavy PP changes.
     
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  13. JoepLX3

    JoepLX3 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    509
    Jun 13, 2010
    Japan
    Would standard Panasonic software be just fine for my level of usage?
     
  14. photoSmart42

    photoSmart42 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    628
    Feb 12, 2010
    San Diego, CA
    Hard to say. I don't use it because I found it too cumbersome and confusing. For your level of usage you may be OK with something like Picasa if you're on a PC, or iPhoto on a Mac. You can work from your RAW images in Picasa, and can save them as JPEGs, or you can work with the JPEGs directly. I use Photoshop and ACR now, but for a while I was using Picasa.
     
  15. Robert Watcher

    Robert Watcher Mu-43 Top Veteran


    A program that I tried several years ago and found it to be quite good, is called Noiseware Community Edition
    . It is Free to use. There are a couple of limitations, which weren't issues with me and may not be with you - - - you cannot batch process, and you cannot use it on higher than 90% Jpeg compression. Here is the current info I just found for downloading it if you want to give it a try:

    http://www.imagenomic.com/nwsa.aspx

    or

    NoiseWare Community Edition - Download


    There are really no free dedicated Noise Reduction applications that I know of, other than this one. Beware the Free Downloads as they are always time limited or put a watermark on your images.
     
  16. JoepLX3

    JoepLX3 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    509
    Jun 13, 2010
    Japan
    That is no good, but thanks for the upfront working
    - Also scripting would be nice functionality, but I could accept only doing post processing for limited shot and in that way it should become part of the hobby/art. Guess I will have to get used to the idea - but probably try to stick with the bundled software for a bit (to find out if I actually need more).

    Maybe even a good read to buy and Apple iso PC.
    - Recently all home PC's are in Korean and that complicates maintenance for me. A friend of mine went to an Apple shop to ask if its (standard) software has dual language boot options. The guy said "no". Then he asked if Apple also has Korean interface. The lady said "of course, you can switch to close to any language directly and simple set it per user without a need of having to install / maintain two software configurations". :rolleyes:

    Is standard / free Apple software any better than Panasonic bundled software?

    PS: Hmm, mabye getting a little off topic here, sorry. But don't you think m43 has a kind of Apple feeling, designed with the end-user in mind?
     
  17. LisaO

    LisaO Mu-43 Top Veteran

    798
    Mar 18, 2010
    New York Metro Area
    Lisa
    With Apple Mac the very first time you start it up a screen comes up in many languages and asks you what language you want to set it for.
     
  18. JoepLX3

    JoepLX3 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    509
    Jun 13, 2010
    Japan
    And you can set it per user. FYI: My wife is Korean, she is the main user of computer at home and of course she asks me to do the technical stuff (in Korean :mad:)...

    How about Apple joining m43 or the iGF1?