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View Full Version : Worrying review at Biofos.com?


DJMC
9th October 2012, 08:34 AM
:confused:

Idly surfing for info on OM-D settings last night, I came across this: http://www.biofos.com/mft/omd_em5_tst.html

"I'm not entirely happy with the output. When I transfer the images to my PC some look a little dull and lifeless and lack the 'POP' Olympus is so famous for from its JPG engine."

"They also do not represent what I actually saw from behind the camera. It's almost as though the camera is strangling the output and it is not released until the iamges are put through post processing."

"As Olympus gradually improve their ISO performance I notice many of my shots on the E-M5 and other m4/3rds machines have taken on a "veiled" look. That is to say they are lacking in resonance, clarity and verve; the colours are not as brilliant and the contrast not as sharp as the earlier models (including 4/3rds machines)."

"The E-M5 is the first Olympus camera to have the new Sony sensor. It must be a challenge for the engineers to get the processing engine tuned to its new sensor so I'm hoping the next iteration of the OM-D will be better. Not that it's bad by any means - it's just that flatness and lack of verve I dislike. I think the new TruePic engine is not producing the richness and colour signature of the older engine/sensor combination. Perhaps that's the price we have to pay fro more resolution and dynamic range."

"It's a fabulous looking camera and it appeals to the collector in me but just fails to attract the photographer in me. If it were a little less expensive I might be tempted, but for now I'm waiting for the next model."

Now, being a JPEG shooter, not a RAW+PP one, does this mean I and all other OM-D owners have to sit in front of their PC every time they want to enjoy the output of their top-of-the-range Olympus? Have I gone too far up the Olympus ladder and crossed the JPEG/RAW threshold by accident? Or are OM-D JPEGs perfectly fine and in the same league as my XZ-1, E-PL2 & E-1?

What have your own experiences of OM-D JPEGs been? Does everyone here shoot RAW, and is that because JPEGs are so awful?

Thanks for any comments.

;)

Howi
9th October 2012, 09:09 AM
:confused:

Idly surfing for info on OM-D settings last night, I came across this: http://www.biofos.com/mft/omd_em5_tst.html

"I'm not entirely happy with the output. When I transfer the images to my PC some look a little dull and lifeless and lack the 'POP' Olympus is so famous for from its JPG engine."

"They also do not represent what I actually saw from behind the camera. It's almost as though the camera is strangling the output and it is not released until the iamges are put through post processing."

"As Olympus gradually improve their ISO performance I notice many of my shots on the E-M5 and other m4/3rds machines have taken on a "veiled" look. That is to say they are lacking in resonance, clarity and verve; the colours are not as brilliant and the contrast not as sharp as the earlier models (including 4/3rds machines)."

"The E-M5 is the first Olympus camera to have the new Sony sensor. It must be a challenge for the engineers to get the processing engine tuned to its new sensor so I'm hoping the next iteration of the OM-D will be better. Not that it's bad by any means - it's just that flatness and lack of verve I dislike. I think the new TruePic engine is not producing the richness and colour signature of the older engine/sensor combination. Perhaps that's the price we have to pay fro more resolution and dynamic range."

"It's a fabulous looking camera and it appeals to the collector in me but just fails to attract the photographer in me. If it were a little less expensive I might be tempted, but for now I'm waiting for the next model."

Now, being a JPEG shooter, not a RAW+PP one, does this mean I and all other OM-D owners have to sit in front of their PC every time they want to enjoy the output of their top-of-the-range Olympus? Have I gone too far up the Olympus ladder and crossed the JPEG/RAW threshold by accident? Or are OM-D JPEGs perfectly fine and in the same league as my XZ-1, E-PL2 & E-1?

What have your own experiences of OM-D JPEGs been? Does everyone here shoot RAW, and is that because JPEGs are so awful?

Thanks for any comments.

;)

I don't have one myself, nor do I shoot JPG, but this is the first I have heard of any criticism of OOC JPG's from Oly cameras.
Have you looked at other review sites to get a more balanced view?
seems to be critical of other Oly m43 bodies as well as OM-D which IS surprising.
Are there examples to indicate what they are seeing?
A statement such as the above, is meaningless without adequate documentary evidence.
There are plenty of OM-D users here - what are your 'real world ' views

Zuiko
9th October 2012, 09:37 AM
Well, John Foster is certainly a respected authority on Olympus cameras but I haven't noticed the same issues with my E-M5. He talks of the camera adjusting exposure to protect the highlights and preserve the shadows, compressing the tones in the process. That makes me wonder if he had gradation set to "Auto," which is absolutely the most pointless and self-defeating feature ever built into a camera. Set it to "Normal" for goodness sake.

I always used to shoot JPEGs rather than raw, partly because the Olympus JPEGs are so good and partly to keep processing to a minimum. However, I found that I would often give them a gentle tweek in Elements anyway and there are things you can adjust more easily with a raw rather than a JPEG, white balance being a prime example. Also raw does provide greater headroom for the highlights, especially when exposing to the right (of the histogram).

But David, as you already have an E-M5, why are you asking? Isn't it what you produce from the camera which really counts? How do you feel about your images?

DJMC
9th October 2012, 09:38 AM
I don't have one myself, nor do I shoot JPG, but this is the first I have heard of any criticism of OOC JPG's from Oly cameras.
Have you looked at other review sites to get a more balanced view?
seems to be critical of other Oly m43 bodies as well as OM-D which IS surprising.
Are there examples to indicate what they are seeing?
A statement such as the above, is meaningless without adequate documentary evidence.
There are plenty of OM-D users here - what are your 'real world ' views

Yes, I started reading the reviews from the point the OM-D was released, being an 'Olympus only' fan. None have been scathing of JPEGs, but is that because all high-end reviewers use RAW+PP?

I've emailed John (the author) to see if he's kept the OM-D and whether his views have changed, and also to ask how OM-D JPEGs compare, in his opinion, with those out of my XZ-1, E-PL2, and E-1. Will let you know what he says.

*yes

Seonnaidh
9th October 2012, 09:39 AM
Sorry but I find the review to be a wee bit unbalanced if not totally innaccurate.
I think the JPEGS are wonderful and the RAWS aree exceptionally good.
Every other review I've read about the OMD consistently praises it's image quality.
So I for one will not be too concerned.
Anybody else share these sentiments?
Glad you brought it to our attention though.

Ulfric M Douglas
9th October 2012, 09:39 AM
It's great news to me, I had thought Biofos wasn't updating at all for literally years ... now I see the site lives on!
Just excellent, I respect the way they did stuff and their lens reviews are useful.

For those having a bit of a moan at the reviewer's comments ;
I'm not entirely happy with the output. When I transfer the images to my PC some look a little dull and lifeless and lack the 'POP' Olympus is so famous for from its JPG engine.
Let me give my take on this (I don't have an e-M5 by the way)
It seems to me the only people who can have this attitude (of tiny disappointment with Jpeg Pop) are those brought up on Olympus DSLRs and 1st-generation Pens, which in my opinion give such nice Jpegs (with Pop of course) that I feel the new generation have a harder time achieving.
I also believe the Pens with the ISO200 sensors (e-pL2 & onward) have lost a smidgen of Jpeg Pop too, and think the e-M5 sensor probably follows the Jpeg processing developed in those models.

Reviewers who have not lived with Olympus cameras over the last few years will not see the e-M5 Jpegs as lacking anything at all.

You see what I'm getting at?

DJMC
9th October 2012, 09:42 AM
But David, as you already have an E-M5, why are you asking? Isn't it what you produce from the camera which really counts? How do you feel about your images?

John, since I picked it up on Saturday I've had no time. Decorating for SWMBO Sunday :(, then working since. I need a proper outing with the new toy to give it a go, not just a quick snapping session in the garden. My foray into the world of OM-D settings info is because I'd read how advanced the menus were and was trying to get ahead of the game.

DJMC
9th October 2012, 09:47 AM
Sorry but I find the review to be a wee bit unbalanced if not totally innaccurate.
I think the JPEGS are wonderful and the RAWS aree exceptionally good.
Every other review I've read about the OMD consistently praises it's image quality.
So I for one will not be too concerned.
Anybody else share these sentiments?
Glad you brought it to our attention though.

Thanks for the reassurance. I too think he's going against the tide compared to all the other reviews. But as a JPEG shooter (sorry! :o) I had a sudden clammy moment, thinking I'd bought a lemon. :eek:

Zuiko
9th October 2012, 09:52 AM
John, since I picked it up on Saturday I've had no time. Decorating for SWMBO Sunday :(, then working since. I need a proper outing with the new toy to give it a go, not just a quick snapping session in the garden. My foray into the world of OM-D settings info is because I'd read how advanced the menus were and was trying to get ahead of the game.

Ah, sorry David, I didn't realize from your OP that you were such a recent owner. Don't forget you can tweek the JPEG output to your own preferences. For example, if your pictures seem lacking in contrast then increase the contrast setting in camera. If the colours seem a little muted and lifeless, try the "Vivid" setting. John Foster didn't mention trying these options so I would assume he had then all set to default.

ayewing
9th October 2012, 10:47 AM
As a relative newcomer to the Olympus fold, I thought that the JPEGs straight from the camera were fine though I do not know how they compare with previous Olympus cameras.

In any case the OM-D has such a wide range of adjustments one would really have to define the settings used. In "Picture Mode" I find the Natural setting fine but there is the choice of i-Enhance and Vivid if you want brighter colours and more impact. There is also the option of a Custom setting which can be set up to personal preference.

I do use RAW but must admit for correctly exposed images in normal lighting conditions it is not easy to improve on the JPEGs.

Zuiko
9th October 2012, 10:48 AM
David, here is a selection of JPEGS from my E-M5. They have been resized only, with no other processing. The camera settings were AWB, Contrast 0, Sharpening -2, Gradation normal, Colour natural. I use these settings with a view to tweaking the image to how I want it in pp and with sharpening set to -2 but none added in processing they may look slightly soft.

They were taken in a variety of conditions; bright and sunny, dull and overcast and indoors. Hope they help to put your mind at rest.

http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/500/C_O_W_2012_304_resized_only.jpg

http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/500/C_O_W_2012_Mon_077_resized_only.jpg

http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/500/C_O_W_2012_198_resized_only.jpg

http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/500/C_O_W_2012_182_resized_only.jpg

http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/500/KEN_BLAKE_END_015_resized_only.jpg

http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/500/C_O_W_2012_125_resized_only.jpg

http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/500/CARNIVAL_2012_058_resized_only.jpg

http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/500/C_O_W_2012_037_resized_only.jpg

http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/500/CARNIVAL_2012_011_resized_only.jpg

DJMC
9th October 2012, 10:50 AM
:)

They'll do for me John!!

Is the Daimler yours? Lovely!


*chr

Zuiko
9th October 2012, 10:52 AM
:)

Is the Daimler yours?


*chr

No, but I wish it was! It was in the classic car display at our village fete. :)

StephenL
9th October 2012, 10:55 AM
I found the Jpegs to be so good I almost started using them! But I'm a control freak, and so I prefer to use Raw. It's easier to recover from cock-ups!

DJMC
9th October 2012, 10:55 AM
:(

I made a costly mistake years ago where I put form over function...


http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/1235/db_hot_21_clean2.JPG


The cost of the OM-D pales by comparison, so no big worries this time.

:rolleyes:

StephenL
9th October 2012, 10:58 AM
Lovely car - or have you experienced otherwise?

DJMC
9th October 2012, 11:18 AM
Lovely car - or have you experienced otherwise?

An iconic one. Beautiful.

Down side? Based on the Jag XJS of the 70's the chassis couldn't cope with 340BHP.

After a heavy rain storm I got in, drove off, turned a corner. A pint of water poured over my left ankle. Back to dealer. Repaired. More rain, another corner, more wet feet. Back to dealer. Repaired. More rain, another corner, more wet feet..... are you seeing a theme developing here?

After that 3rd time, back to dealer. Car remained at dealer. Bought another BMW, my ninth. Now 9 years old.... happy again!

Maybe I should keep the E-1. :eek:

StephenL
9th October 2012, 11:50 AM
Why? Is water pouring over your feet every time you use the E-M5? :D

maccabeej
9th October 2012, 11:52 AM
Why? Is water pouring over your feet every time you use the E-M5? :D
Don't worry its sealed:D
Jim

DJMC
9th October 2012, 11:56 AM
Why? Is water pouring over your feet every time you use the E-M5? :D

Only from my tears of pure joy. :rolleyes:

Ross the fiddler
9th October 2012, 12:34 PM
Perhaps it could be said the E-M5 is a little different (in colour) to previous models, but each model has its own slight variance on previous models with a slightly different approach to exposure etc. Each needs to be treated accordingly to achieve desired results. I usually use the jpegs as is (if I have had my wits about me when taking the photo) but I also save RAW as well to be able to change various settings with ease as well as being able to use the art filters if desired on the odd occasion (from Olympus Viewer 2) for the fun of it. White balance & picture mode are the two main things that might be changed & sometimes other settings may be done when desired. The E-M5 is great with its extra dynamic range as I've been able to darken the setting from RAW to recover detail in what looked like blown highlights of the sky & later get all the cloud detail. I couldn't get that sort of result from my E30.

DJMC
10th October 2012, 05:10 PM
:eek:

John Foster, the Biofos author, has emailed me a very measured and sensible response to my enquiry which asked if he's kept the OM-D and whether his views have changed, and also to ask how OM-D JPEGs compare, in his opinion, with those out of my XZ-1, E-PL2, and E-1.

I replied to his email, explaining about the forum thread and asked him, out of common courtesy, if I could publish his response here, adding "It may help explain to the 'outraged' OM-D owners where you were coming from?"

He's come back objecting to my publishing his response and telling me not to seek his opinion on anything again.

Charmed.

If you can't stand the heat... :rolleyes:

snaarman
10th October 2012, 06:01 PM
:eek:
I replied to his email, explaining about the forum thread and asked him, out of common courtesy, if I could publish his response here, adding "It may help explain to the 'outraged' OM-D owners where you were coming from?"

He's come back objecting to my publishing his response and telling me not to seek his opinion on anything again.


Hmm. Strange. In general I have been impressed with his web site and his careful analysis of Olympus cameras.

Trouble is, there are so many E-M5 fans (and I am certainly one) that expressing a mildly contrary opinion is bound to draw comment. As to the original discussion, I can't comment: I used to set the camera to raw+Jpeg. These days it is just set to raw :)

Pete

StephenL
10th October 2012, 06:11 PM
I suspect that it's the expectations of Olympus jpegs which have changed. Originally, there was really only one jpeg setting, and it "popped". Now there are many settings, but the factory setting is slightly flatter but more natural. To get the "pop" you have to set the camera differently, such as to "vivid".

DJMC
10th October 2012, 06:19 PM
Hmm. Strange. In general I have been impressed with his web site and his careful analysis of Olympus cameras.

Trouble is, there are so many E-M5 fans (and I am certainly one) that expressing a mildly contrary opinion is bound to draw comment. As to the original discussion, I can't comment: I used to set the camera to raw+Jpeg. These days it is just set to raw :)

Pete

I guess I'll have to give RAW another go? I had a play with RAW shots in Viewer 2 using an E-PL2 RAW+JPEG shot but it seemed very complicated, no doubt due to lack of knowledge which would come in time, and the monster I ended up with was nowhere as good as the JPEG I'd shot alongside it. :(

I read elsewhere LR4 is good and 'simple', but no doubt costs, plus I really don't want to spend more time in front of a screen. My E-PL2 JPEGs are good enough for me and some say they're better than the O-MD's, in their opinion. ;)

I think I'll have a play with the in-camera settings before I give up with the JPEG route.

*chr

Alpha1
15th October 2012, 04:18 PM
I use Capture One Pro when processing RAW files from all my cameras exceept the Fuji XPro1, which currently does not have a "proper" 3rd party converter available but several companies are suposed to be working on one. How's that for 6 months down the line since it is available in the UK! :mad:

Fortunately, it's jpegs are to die for, otherwise it would have left my stable months ago. I still prefer using my e-M5 though! *yes