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Wednesday, 21 November 2012


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Hi Ctien
Reading your comment about the Lynx image looking like 400 ISO. Colour negative film rang true with me.
I always felt that the EP1 gave images which look like good quality colour neg but at 6400 that says a great deal about the digital journey.
I have not yet ventured beyond 400 on my OMD but you have tempted me.
I have just supplied an A2 print on Gold Fibre Silk from the OMD which was excellent ( content not withstanding).
I still use my EP1 but less so than the OMD.


These are the tests like we need them - thank you Ctein!

One test I'm afraid to do is to compare the OM-D and the D800 directly....

I'm waiting until I can compare prints. Yeah, that's it.


I bought into m4/3 last Christmas with because of 2 things. The first was that the E-PL1 I got was the first decent interchangeable lens camera that was cheap enough I could afford it but the second was the belief that Olympus & Panasonic would keep up the improvements in the system so that, as time went on, I would see the fruits of that improvement. So far, it seems, that's going to be true. Now I just need to get more native glass.

Tempting, always more tempting...now, which lenses ? Hmm, I'll think about...
PS: thanks for the review :-)

One thing I noticed when I switched from my E-P1 to an E-PM1 and an E-PL3 was an improvement in the quality of noise at ISO 1600. It might have just been my specific samples, but it made ISO 1600 useful for taking pictures of my kid. Your ISO 6400 sample looks better than what I'm getting at ISO 1600 on the E-PM1/E-PL3, suggesting that it's perfectly acceptable for social and family photography. That puts the dimmer zoom lenses on the table for indoor shots. Yeah, I need a camera with one of these new sensors right away.

Ctein, any chance we could see a really dark ISO 6400 shot and a 100% crop?

"What will I do with the Olympus Pen?"

Infra-red conversion?

I'm interested in your comparison of the OMD with 6x7, because this is basically the calculation that I made when deciding to go "all in" (sorry, Ms. Broadwell) on micro-43 by dumping my other cameras. My standard had been medium format (Mamiya 6, specifically), my system of choice for many years. I'm finding that the OMD with good lenses gives very comparable quality in 17x22 prints. And yet, an analogous OMD kit (camera, 14, 20, and 45mm primes) is about a third of the weight, size and price of my old film-based system, not to mention all of its technical capabilities and easier workflow. Great time to be a photographer.

I for one would love to see your direct comparison between the D800 and the OM-D.

Thanks for the impressions, articles like these help people like me deciding whether the OM-D is a worthwhile purchase. I'm afraid if the drop in image quality from my D800 is too much to bear, but OTOH there are certain things that I would need a smaller camera, face detection and contrast-AF for (not all simultaneously).

The quality of the noise is really critical. With my GF1, I feel that the image gets noisy all too quickly, but in good conditions I've managed to get pretty high quality out of it.

How did you feel about the exposure range and color reproduction, particularly when increasing the ISO? I'm most sensitive to losing the ability to make contrast adjustments fairly freely and "muddying" of colors. This especially applies to high-contrast landscape type scenes, night photography and BW conversions. I usually shoot between 100 to 800 ISO, sometimes going to 1600 but beyond that is not usual.

Removing the CFA would also require removing the microlenses too. At a cost of sensitivity and more vingetting, I suspect.

Development of a monochrome RAW could be done with with dcraw using the -D option:

dcraw -D -W -4 -T

will give 16 bit linear nondemosaiced output in a TIFF (IIRC).

Thanks for the informative write-up. I've been keenly reading about the OM-D, not so much for the camera itself, but for the sensor, which has apparently made its way into the Pens (EPL5 and EPM2). For me, these new Pens with the 16MP sensor and sufficiently fast AF appears to be the inflection point where m43rd is good enough and compact enough for day-in day-out shooting/reportage/lugging, replacing the DSLR in that role.

I hate columns like this. Just when I'm working on getting cozy with my Chamonix and love the feel of an OM or T4 and lovely filmic images, along comes this.

This last weekend I was using my OM-D in low light for the first time. Apart from the great high-ISO, I'm also very impressed by the IS, too. Overall I reckon I'm getting about 4-5 stops more useable range in hand-holding without flash. Perfect for my available darkness style.

@ Mike -- I'm doing that (but with 800E) this weekend -- but not for high iso, rather just how different do 17x22s look with good glass (35mm f2 AIs) on the D800.

Forget the camera; I'd like to know where I can go and still see lynx cubs climbing in the trees?


Dear Carl,

Minnesota Zoo. Also leopard and tiger cubs.

OK, everyone together now:


pax / Ctein

I love real-world reviews like these, that deal with issues of usability, setup, ergonomics, haptics, and practical IQ. Thank you, Ctein!

I'll admit, I'm sorely tempted by the new Sony RX-1. My right brain, though, tells me to go with the OM-D (or NEX-7; I'll make up my mind at Keeble & Shuchat after the holidays) and a couple of lenses (edge here to Olympus), and use the difference in cost to go somewhere interesting to shoot. Come to think of it, we're about due for another visit to my wife's family in Vietnam...

When I started reading TOP years ago, I never thought I would see as much content and images on pixel peeping as I'm seeing these days, and I hate to say it, but it's getting pretty tiresome.

There are LOTS of cameras these days with amazing high ISO, low light performance, not just the OM-D or the D800.

So instead, how 'bout we get back to creating and discussing compelling images rather than zooming in on the whiskers of a lynx or a loudspeaker on a telephone pole?

I'll even help kick it off: here's some street photography with the ever sweet Fuji XP1:

"What will I do with the Olympus Pen? Well, I've been toying with the idea of seeing if I can talk someone into hard-converting it for monochrome work. That would be a whole 'nother adventure, doncha think?"

Hi Ctein, I'm working on this right now. The good folks at MaxMax have done this with Canon and Nikon DSLRs and are working out the method for Micro 4/3 sensor. It isn't going to be cheap though. They charge about $1000 for the DSLR conversions because they are way harder to do than IR conversions, and many good sensors die miserable deaths in the process of working out the methods.

I tawt I taw a puddy tat. Cute cat. Make good pets, do they? We don't have lynxes in Oz. Maybe it's best.

Seriously, my flirtation with my Olympus E-PL2 is over. I've found I can't live with just a rear screen. In full daylight, it's sheer guesswork. I partly bought it to adapt my Zeiss Contax G lenses and Minolta MDs. Yes, they fit, but what's the point if I can't see to focus?

A similar problem applies with my Pentax K-5 - I like to shoot a bit of video, but I didn't realise how hard it would be to operate with no AF and viewing on rear screen only. Unless I use a black cloth (feasible, as the camera's usually on a tripod for video) it's too hard.

So I'll be selling the Oly on but what a difficult choice to replace it. OM-D for image quality, Panasonic GH3 for video quality (but losing IBIS), or a dedicated video camcorder? But I've experienced the conflict when travelling - stills or video? It's pretty near impossible to do both unless they're combined in the one body.

Nice to have the choices, anyway.

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