« Nikon Old, Nikon New | Main | New '35mm' (Equivalent) for OM-D (and Micro 4/3) »

Wednesday, 14 November 2012


I've been learning my OMD too, so it's nice to get a reminder to set up the "mysets." Around here (AK) in winter one will have to be for long exposures, with anti-shock and manual mode, and manual focus, dark frame subtraction. I tried out my first night shots last week and it's definitely a step up from my regular last-generation 4/3's camera (shooting at iso 800-1600, 15-20 seconds). Strangely, I noticed banding in some shots and zero in others, just nice random noise no matter how far I pushed in Lightroom. Still trying to figure out if there is a predictable way to induce or get rid of banding when shooting, though my impression was the camera performed better as the night went on.

Thanks for the set-up info. I'm considering an OM-D and this has been very helpful,

Olympus menus. PITA deluxe. But if you ever use one you can usually figure out the menu in every other Olympus without a manual. But not always. Sometimes, too many choices muddle the issue so badly it limits functionality.

I have a very simple method of dealing with most menus. I turn off every damn thing in the menus that can be turned off. All the peripheral lighting compensation, highlight tone priority, noise reduction, eye control, beeping, chirping, bliinking...everything. If given the option, I turn off or defeat the use of movie mode and I turn off Live View in DSLRs. If I don't know what it does just by the name of the feature, it goes to OFF in the menu. I do all this because I have very basic feature needs in a digital camera. I want Raw, aperture priority exposure, exposure compensation, separation of the shutter button from AF actuation, multi-area metering and one single center-located AF sensor. I'd also like eye-level viewing, preferably with an optical viewfinder (I've tried...I thoroughly dislike the grainy, blown out image from EVFs--sorry, Kirk Tuck).

Didn't mean to go on a rant. Ctein got me started, mentioning Olympus menus.

Good day Sir;

You touched upon a topic that I have as yet been unable to find the definitive answer ... color space. For years I too reset camera and digital darkroom software to Adobe RGB for the same reason you cite. Recently I jumped ship from my old Panny G1 to an NEX 7 and in the process of configuration came across several references stating that the preset S-RGB was better because that was the space used by inkjet photo printers. Since I have grown to trust your insight into all things technical, can you explain this for me?

With appreciation,

Interesting read, especially since I'm contemplating this camera myself for complementing my Nikon D800 kit with a smaller alternative and backup. I really like the Nex-7 too, but the lens selection of the E mount is really not satisfying for me, so m4/3 is the prime candidate.

FWIW, there are some hints on custom settings in this thread: http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/post/41411509

Dear John,

Since writing my review, I have observed the banding in the deep shadows you talk about at ISO 6400 and above. Some frames have it, some don't; it's almost like a beat frequency. But I don't go to ISO 6400 unless I absolutely have to, so it's not a big deal to me, just curious.

Anyway, this one matter aside, the next column will talk about low light performance, so I'm going to defer any further discussion of it until then.

pax / Ctein

the Olympus OM-D E-M5 (henceforth to be referred to simply as the OM-D)

Pet Peeve Alert!

In a few months, when Olympus release the OM-D E-M6, will you also call that camera "the OM-D"?

Please Ctein, don't you add to the madness too; call this camera by its name, "E-M5", not by its class/type, "OM-D".

This is all Olympus's fault, but it's in our hands to fix it. It's a great responsibility, and we must bear it valiantly, Ctein. The future of correct Google results for the E-M5 is in your hands.

What I didn't like about the OM-D files is what is visible in Ctein's cropped views - a background noise pattern that is there on every shot, even base ISO.

I know the answer to my question would probably warrant an entirely new post, but when and why do you switch between sRGB and Adobe when shooting Raw? Does it make a difference for the Raw file?

Why does the UI suck on the E-M5? Do you mean just the menus? Given the customized options available, I found the UI to be quite good. It seems to me a real attribute of the E-M5 that they designed it be flexible, instead of pushing one way of doing things on you with hard set buttons and dials.

If you're talking menus, then I'm with you. I haven't found a good system of menus. I kind of like Ricoh's menus, which is to say, they barely have one. Three long lists, but at least you can set it so it returns to the spot you left off at.

I'm thinking about the OM-D to use beside my other camera, a Leica x1 of which I'm very satisfied but sometimes I need a longer lens than the 36 equiv. for instance for portraits. It should be a nice couple of small cameras. A little worried about the different sides ratio (2/3 and 3/4) but I think I can live with that. Just have to decide which lens, hmm that 45/1,8 is tempting...Thanks for your review

I thought the D800 was the best camera. Now I'm confused.

More seriously, I agree that Keeble and Shuchat is great (especially Jeff Alford, specializing in Leica).

Check out the just posted (full frame) Nikon D600 review on dpreview, go to JPEG comparison 3200 ISO, put the OM-D in, and be prepared for a WOW. The OM-D is a truly remarkable camera, and the 75mm 1.8 is simply the best.

Finding the button next to the eyelevel finder was a nice suprise.

Also the 2 different options for half press of the shutter when zoomed in helps me manual focus at 14x EVF mgnification with the IS enbled. Great for focusing my 150mm f2 manually with a high degree of accuracy.

Highly configurable, like all olympus dlsrs. Now for an E7 please.

I didn't read this review because I stopped looking for the Next Great Camera when I bought an OM-D myself :) It really is that good, a great upgrade from E-PL1. Now I'm actually taking pictures, and catching up on reading on photography as art.

I don't miss my clunky, heavy and bulky APS-C kit which I sold when I went fully MFT. I can fit OM-D, E-PL1 and five lenses including the 100-300mm zoom in a bag only slightly larger than an APS-C with an mid-range L zoom.

My only real complaints with the camera are some UI quirks. Mainly the inability to rename user presets, and unwieldy way to call them via menus through several steps. There is a quick way to call one of them, but you have to press the fn1 button simultaneously with the shutter. I have nimble hands, but it's still quite literally a pain. Therefore I'm forced to go through several steps in the menus whenever I need to bracket or call spot highlight metering mode - and trying to remember which one of the numbered custom presets is which.

On the latter item: spot highlight metering is a little known feature, essentially ETTR in the camera. It works well when used carefully and with some EV compensation to overexpose. I believe this is needed since the highlight metering uses in-camera JPEG for its judgment, is too conservative, and/or because there's so much headroom in RAW files.

Now I'm going to read the review. Honest!

Finally someone addresses the very obtuse OM-D menus in an intelligent manner. Now to see what David Busch comes up with.

Dear Bill and Bernd,

Okay, sorry; I've created a bit of confusion here. The color space setting in the camera has no effect on RAW files. And. yes, I did write that I was talking about using the camera exclusively for RAW. The thing is, on rare occasions I do have reason to make JPEG's and then the color space gets baked into the file, so I figure it's better to have the better color space set up in my defaults ahead of time, lest I forget. Certainly doesn't do any harm.

As for printers, this is getting a bit off topic, but printers DON'T use sRGB color space. They don't use any of the RGB color spaces; they are CMYK devices. A CMYK gamut will overlap an RGB gamut, but they won't be identical; there will be colors you can reproduce in RGB space that you can't reproduce in a CMYK space and vice versa, when the two spaces have comparable “volumes.”

The reason you see commercial labs specifying they want files in sRGB form is because it's the least common denominator. Makes their workflow easier, as every device out there can generate an sRGB image. Doesn't mean it's better. It's not.

Any decent printer today can produce colors that fall outside of sRGB space. The very best printers can produce colors that fall outside of even Adobe RGB space. Working in a color space that excludes tones and colors that the printer can reproduce is a waste of the printer's capabilities.

If you're photographing in RAW and using a RAW converter like ACR that lets you show highlight and shadow clipping and preview the effects of different color spaces, it's informative to see what happens to one of your photographs that has a very long luminance range and/or wide range of colors when you preview it in sRGB, Adobe RGB, and ProPhoto color spaces. Once you've seen how much the clipping drops in the larger color spaces, you'll never want to use anything but ProPhoto. Note that that requires a 16-bit-per-channel workflow or you'll have contouring problems, but, honestly, unless you're working on an ancient system, 16 bit files are not going to cause you any grief. I've been working exclusively 16-bit for most of a decade; my five-year-old MacBook Pro with its limited 6 GB of memory performs just fine.

pax \ Ctein
[ Please excuse any word-salad. MacSpeech in training! ]
-- Ctein's Online Gallery http://ctein.com 
-- Digital Restorations http://photo-repair.com 

Shooting in RAW (and importing to Lightroom as DNG)does it matter what color space you chose in the camera menu? I was under the impression that his only matters when exporting a file.

I really like the classic OM look, but Ctein, does there exist a photo of the camera from that angle that doesn't show the Photoshop-added lens?

I am using the OM-D since July and like it very much. Actually, it is in the process of gradually pushing the D700 out of the camera bag. (The jury is still out.)

However, there seems to be an issue with the IBIS. At a speed of 1/80 it is impossible for me to get sharp pictures, as if the IS was constantly vibrating. It affects different lenses in a different way. The otherwise excellent Olympus 45/1.8 is hurt most, and only at speeds of 1/20 or longer, as well as 1/320 or shorter, are pictures very sharp. With the Panasonic 20/1.7 the respective values are 1/40 and 1/160, and the blur at 1/80 is much less pronounced. I don't know if this is a problem with my camera or a general issue with the OM-D.

On the other hand the IS really shines around 1/15, and can give surprisingly good results even with longer exposures, especially when using a short lens such as the Panasonic 14/2.5.

What? The stabilization worked well even while tracking the planes? Damn. I keep forgetting to set my E-3's IS mode to 2 at car and bicycle races, and so my panning shots are always blurred in a bad way. How does it know what you meant to do? I'm jealous.

At the risk of hijacking the comments section here, I'm wondering what folks think of the OM-D as a DSLR companion rather than replacement.

Criteria for a companion are different, because the purpose there is not to replicate all of the functions of a DSLR, but to provide a smaller and lighter alternative when the bulk & weight of a DSLR is undesirable.

I mostly shoot portraits of my 16-month old daughter, so AF speed is paramount even in a DSLR companion. From what I gather, the OMD shines here, correct? I'm less concerned about depth of field, because if I want that I can use my 5D3 + 85/1.2.

Of the NEX-7, X-Pro, XE-1, and OM-D, which would be best for what I need?

+1 for Keeble & Shuchat. I bought my first camera there, a new Nikon FE, back in 1982. They're the only dealer for me.

If you are only shooting RAW what difference does your colour space make? Surely Adobe RGB and sRGB are only relevant for jpeg captures and playback on the LCD back screen that probably can't display Adobe RGB accurately anyway. RAW files don't have a colour space, you can open/process them in whatever space you choose after the fact.

I'm curious. One thing just kills the function button thing for me: I can never remember what I assign them to. Even when there's just two buttons - which one did I assign AE hold without AF hold to, and which one did I assign AF hold without AE hold?? Etc. With Fn(xi) where i= 1...5 and MySet(xj) where j=1...7, I'd need a letter size cheat sheet.

First, stupefying wonders and magic from the Nikon D800E, then practical, affordable elegance and performance from the OM-D. And here I sit with an ever growing desire to buy another camera I do not need..............

Thank you Mike and Ctein


>The OM-D user interface sucks...

I like Olympus, and I wish them continued success and good cameras, but in reading this I was gratified to find that I'm not the only one who feels that way.

After using an E-PL2 for a year I had an OM-D on pre-order and was eagerly anticipating it's arrival...until I downloaded and read the OM-D user manual. I realized that all the things I despised about the E-PL2 UI were still there in the OM-D, including the ridiculous bracketing arrangement and not having instant access to custom settings on the Mode dial, like every other make of camera on the planet that has them.

I cancelled the pre-order and bought a GH2 (which had dropped to $749) and couldn't be happier. The UI, with all it's physical controls, is a dream. I recently spent a week photographing in Utah and Arizona and not once the entire time did I need to menu dive.

I WISH Oly would listen to it's users and change the UI. They certainly would have more of MY money if they did. I admire you for being willing to put up with it.

Thanks for your good articles here, BTW, I enjoy reading them.

I can't believe you bought a camera with a useless pointy top.

Ctein, while I have zero interest in this camera, I did notice mention of HDR under fig.2 which looks very natural. Natural is something I struggle to achieve with HDR. An article with some tips, tricks and software recommendations on how to achieve this would be very welcome.

Obtuse the menus may be. But quite frankly:
been using the Super Control Panel (SCP) in my E-PL1 for quite a few years now and there is NOTHING better anywhere!
If the EM5's is anything like that, I'm sold!

Dear Robert,

I always seem to leave my image stabilization at IS1. Seems to work fine for me. Maybe it just likes me.


Dear mbka,

Then don't customize the buttons.


The only reason for changing the button defaults is if it's useful to you.

Follow this rule of thumb-- the only customizations you should create are ones you use all the time or ones so exotic (like my HDR trick) that you'll never forget them. Do that and you'll have no trouble remembering what does what. In fact, after a little while, you'll forget there's any other way to do it.


Dear CMS,

I have most definitely not observed the problem you mention with any of those lenses. The image stabilization is working beautifully for me. And, like Ken, I'm routinely getting pixel-sharp images handholding the 45mm lens at shutter speeds of 1/10th-1/15th sec.

I suspect something is wrong with your camera.


Dear JC,

I can't believe you care.[g]

Also, until you strip one down and determine how stuff is packed in the body, how do you know it's useless? Jes' askin...


Dear Barry,

Very easy-- use extreme restraint. If the results don't look natural to you, dial it back, way back. Most common problem with HDR's I see is someone thinking they have to force every damn stop of exposure range into the midtones.

I don't need HDR often but, trust me, you can't tell my HDRed photos from my regular ones.


Dear Shaun,

You're looking at 150% views, with the contrast cranked WAY up to bring out details in the birds at considerable distance. And, oh yeah, those were made at ISO 800.

If you REALLY think the camera is too noisy at base ISO, then I can pretty much guarantee that there's no digital camera you're going to like.

Try making some real photos and printing them out, instead of pixel-peeping.

pax / Ctein

With regards to working with 16 v 8 bits, there is a line of thought that it is better to see a problem on your screen, banding et al., prior to sending to your 8 bit printer so as not to deceive yourself in thinking all is good and ruining a print. If your done with your editing there is no need to save to 16b, 8 bit tiffs are more than sufficient.
Luck with your cam! will U be shooting any video ? cheers

This will be my first real investment in a system camera. I decided on the Olympus OM-D even though not my ultimate wants but more than fits my needs. Intend to buy in about 2 weeks and it will be my first Digital with interchangeable lenses but It seems that there seems to be quite a few 'issues' that I'm reading all around forums.

Dear Ctein (and John)

I've had my OM-D for about 3 months now and, the grumbles outlined about the interface and some issues with tiny buttons aside, I fell immediately in love with it. Unfortunately, I then tried to shoot it in available light at up to 6400 with the 12-50 kit and later the 45mm f/1.8 lenses. I got a couple of examples of banding at 1600 too, in dark, very contrasty areas.

The banding generally at 6400 was so bad (particularly in jpeg, oddly though that might just have been random 'luck' I haven't had chance to test it scientifically) that I entered initial negotiations with Olympus UK for a return and repair because my OM-D appeared 'broken'.

I'm very interested to see what you make of it and, since I haven't yet sent my OM-D back - it works perfectly well for anything other than the admittedly rather extreme use to which I put it - I will probably make some sort of decision based on your results.

I have about 100 examples of the banded shots, where I stupidly decided to use the OM-D as my sole camera for an important family event. I'm happy to share for comparison if that's of practicable use!

Sincerely, etc...

(I like PITA deluxe, sums up my repeated, stubborn efforts to get to like an Olympus digital camera ever since the e-500, all in loving memory of my OM-1.)

Try employing a myset*, dialing in exp comp *and* clicking the shutter. Yes, with one hand please.

(* For the non-initiated: you have to keep the button pressed to use any user-mode. And to use another user-mode you first have to dig into the menus and change it there. To then invoke it by pressing the button.)

Glad it works for you. The terrible jumpy electronic viewfinder made me seaSICK. Don't know how anyone can view it.

I have the black OM-D, and in retrospect I wish I had gotten the sliver one.

One thing that I've noticed is a shocking level of chromatic aberration that I find on virtually any backlit object in my photographs. I know that's supposed to be a lens issue, not a body issue, but I didn't notice it when I used the same glass on my GF1. (In both cases shooting RAW.) To be fair, I really didn't use the GF1 that much so maybe *notice* is the operative word.

Is it possible that the GF1 was correcting CA even on RAW files, and the OM-D is not? I find the CA mostly with the Lumix 14mm f2.5 and the Olympus 45mm f1.8.

Here's what killed the OM-D for me, compared to the X-Pro 1: lag when adjusting aperture.

With the Fujifilm camera, turning the aperture dial on a lens feels pretty much like adjusting aperture on any manual camera lens. With the OM-D, gah: I'd turn the wheel, and a fraction of a second later, the number would change. I can cope with some UI quirks, but this one was fatal for me in actual daily use.

Ed Hawco wrote
"Is it possible that the GF1 was correcting CA even on RAW files, and the OM-D is not? I find the CA mostly with the Lumix 14mm f2.5 and the Olympus 45mm f1.8."

Yes, Ed, that's the explanation. Panasonic provides corrections to lightroom to correct CA with raw files, whereas Olympus does not. I noticed the same difference with the 14mm f2.5, going from a Panasonic GH2 to the OM-D. The 14mm has a shocking amount of CA. However, I still find it fairly easy to correct it in lightroom, although it requires a bit more time.

Dear DenCoyle,

Is that line of thought based on any credible evidence of a problem with any recent printer or just someone's armchair theorizing? For several reasons, I find it an extremely dubious theory.

Dave Polaschek and I have put in some effort trying to find a real-world photograph where we can see any visible difference between printing with full 16-bit data flow or 8-bit data flow. We have yet to find one. (Maybe the very newest large-format Epson printers, which have an unusually large color gamut, will show an effect.) This argues strongly against noticeable artifacts being introduced by 8 vs. 16 bit data flows to the printer.

I can't see any possible benefit to intentionally throwing away half your bit depth in the final save. A faster save? A matter of seconds. Less storage space? That costs, like, one or two cents. If you've gone to all the trouble of getting a file to look just the way you want, this seems very penny-wise, pound-foolish.

I never do video, so there'll be no report on that. Sorry!

pax \ Ctein
[ Please excuse any word-salad. MacSpeech in training! ]
-- Ctein's Online Gallery http://ctein.com 
-- Digital Restorations http://photo-repair.com 

Dear Matthew,

How curious. I just checked this on my OMD and the display change of aperture is nearly instantaneous. No noticeable lag between the wheel and the display. Maybe it has something to do with the display mode? I tend to go for minimalist modes that don't shove a lot of data in my face instead of letting me see the scene I'm trying to photograph. That's a wild ass guess.


Dear Saul,

Lengthy discussions of high ISO performance are deferred until next week's column.

That said, I have never seen any evidence of banding or other nonuniformities at ISO 1600 in photographs made with my camera or with sample photographs I've seen from other cameras. In fact ISO 3200 looks remarkably clean except in the very deepest shadows.

Like you, I am suspicious of your particular camera.

Sending me sample photos wouldn't tell me anything.

pax \ Ctein
[ Please excuse any word-salad. MacSpeech in training! ]
-- Ctein's Online Gallery http://ctein.com 
-- Digital Restorations http://photo-repair.com 

Dear Howard and Ed,

The latest version of ACR does a great job of automatically correcting both lateral and longitudinal chromatic aberration. It's absolutely perfect on the former and pretty damn good on the latter. It appears to be based on image analysis, not requiring metadata from the camera. I have it on by default all the time.

If you search back through my columns for my review of the Fuji S100, you'll find that I complained there about extremely serious coma in the blue with that camera's lens. It created some semi-intractable problems with some photographs. The new ACR substantially addresses even that serious optical flaw.

pax \ Ctein
[ Please excuse any word-salad. MacSpeech in training! ]
-- Ctein's Online Gallery http://ctein.com 
-- Digital Restorations http://photo-repair.com 

Michael Shaw -

Here're a few... googling will find more...





I too have seen this, and it was driving me mad - perfect sharpness at 1/4 and (sometimes) blurred at 1/80! What's going on?. I think this is a known issue referred to as shutter shock. See this article


However as described in the article Olympus have included a workaround, though not an entirely satisfactory one, as for best results you have to know exactly what lens/speed combinations are affected and what the appropriate AS setting is. Lots of testing required, and hardly usable in the field when you are working fast (unless of course you can accept an artificially induced shutter lag on a continuous basis).

Anyway, I love using this camera but this shutter shock issue has somewhat tainted my affair with it. I just can't trust it 100%, and that's an unpleasant surprise. I bought the EM-5 with the understanding that the continuous focus left something to be desired, but could be easily factored into my shooting. But this shutter shock thing was unexpected and is more insidious.

The EM-5 is brilliant in many respects, but I won't be dumping my 5D.

Dear CMS & Colin,

Shutter recoil has existed ever since focal plane shutters were invented. Back in the film days, most people were never aware of it because mirror slap was a much larger source of vibration. But it existed. It's just that now it's much more obvious when there's no mirror to slap around.

An outstanding example of it was the Pentax 67, which showed a huge recoil at one fifteenth of a second, so large that sometimes even a good tripod mount couldn't entirely damp it out. Just the wrong combination of vibrations and mechanical resonances. One simply learned to jump from one thirtieth of a second down to one eighth of a second.

That aside, I just ran some tests and I cannot duplicate CMS' experience at all. I ran two series of test exposures with the 45 mm lens, running from 1/20th of a second up to 1/160th second, one series in normal mode and the other with “auto shock” enabled. There was nothing to distinguish the two series. Everything was pixel-sharp at 1/80th of a second and up, mostly pixel sharp at 1/40th second, and I had to be careful holding the camera at a twentieth of a second (I was being pretty casual about this). In other words, just what you'd expect if there were no shutter recoil problem.

This is entirely congruent with my field experience with the camera so far. I just felt I needed to go back and look more closely in case there was some subtle problem I had missed. There wasn't.

I hold to the opinion that either CMS has a defective camera or his technique for holding the camera steady isn't terribly good (no offense intended, but since I can't actually see how you handle the camera, it's not a hypothesis I can dismiss out of hand).

The inter-web and crowd-sourced information are great for amplifying rare and unusual problems. Just because one person reports on a problem doesn't mean it is common. Just because 10 other people say they have the same problem doesn't mean it is common. It might be, it might not.

In any case, I can only report on flaws that I can see. This isn't one of them.

pax \ Ctein
[ Please excuse any word-salad. MacSpeech in training! ]
-- Ctein's Online Gallery http://ctein.com 
-- Digital Restorations http://photo-repair.com 

Dear Ctein and Colin,

Many thanks for the careful testing and the link.

First, from what Ctein wrote, it is now clear to me that my camera is defective, and this isn't an issue with the OM-D in general. This is good news. I say this very clearly to avoid an Internet rumour to be created.

Secondly, from my own testing made today it is also clear that the method mentioned by Colin works extremely well with my defective camera.

I ran a test series of 88 pictures to avoid random results. All pictures were made with the OM-D and the 45/1.8, hand held, IS1 on, at 1/80 second, which was my worst case scenario. There were three series:

1 - Anti-shake off: all results are hopelessly blurred;

2 - Anti-shake set to a delay of 1/8 second: very big improvement, some pictures are almost perfect;

3 - Anti-shake set to 1/4 second: same as (2), with the bonus that some pictures are perfectly sharp.

I will therefore send the camera for repair, which unfortunately can happen only after my next holidays, and use the anti-shake in the meantime.


Dear cb,

Who cares?


Dear CMS,

Just as a final check, before you ship your camera back, why don't you email me (ctein@pobox.com) one typical photo (full res jpeg) from each series. Just so I can be sure your results really are different from mine.


Dear Saul,

As a follow-up...

Today I did print a photo with very slight banding at ISO 1600. It was an extreme case-- a substantial contrast increase in the final version along with large swaths of the scene being essentially featureless gradients in mid-to-dark tones. IOW, a worst case scenario.

So, it's not impossible, but it's very unusual and it certainly wasn't especially obvious, 'cept I was alerted to be looking for it.

pax / Ctein

Ctein said -

Shutter recoil has existed ever since focal plane shutters were invented

I'm not sure I understand what you're saying here. On a SLR/DSLR surely the shutter is closed until you make the exposure. I can see that you can have shutter recoil at the end of the exposure, but unless it's severe (resulting in extra exposure at the edge of the frame) this recoil shouldn't cause "shake" as the exposure is complete.

The mirrorless difference is that the shutter starts open and must close before the exposure can begin, possibly setting up vibrations at the start of the exposure.

I'm pretty certain this is real but it does seem very variable. My Panny 45-175 seemed particularly prone in the mid shutter speed range, which started me looking for the cause. And of course the fact the Oly include an AS function is rather a giveaway that this is a known issue. As to why some lenses are more affected than others I have no idea.


Couple of comments: setting AdobeRGB in the camera when shooting Raw affects the histogram/blinkies assessment of your exposure (as do other JPG-specific image settings), as well as the content of the embedded JPG / the paired Raw+JPG image, in case you are extracting/using that for immediate convenience purposes. AdobeRGB may not be handled properly by the recipient, in casual circumstances.

Also, interested Lightroom users can softproof their Raw image developments first to sRGB, AdobeRGB, ProPhoto to assess what they would lose there; and whether that pictorially matters. Then for comparison, they can soft-proof to the printer profile instead - perhaps these border-condition colours would never make it as distinct hues onto paper anyway.

As with ACR, internal processing for LR is all done in 16-bit with a huge gamut similar to ProPhoto; the difference being, you can output direct from there to (say) a printer driver without any intermediate format.

We in any case need sufficient hue range in the files generated from Raw conversion, only to express the colour-palette of a decisive representation of the subject; if that proves insufficient in practice, the same conversion can always be re-made under different settings.

Dear Colin,

That's not how a focal plane shutter works. They work the same for mirrored and mirrorless cameras. Here's the expository lump [grin]:

(For simplicity sake, I'm just going to talk about your classic cloth horizontal-travel focal plane shutter. Same principles apply whether it's metal blades or not, whether it's vertical or not.)

Here's what happens when you press the shutter button. The first shutter curtain is released and rapidly moves across the frame to expose the film/sensor. When the trailing edge of the curtain reaches the far side of the frame the whole curtain comes to a stop. Newton's first law applies-- as the shutter curtain accelerates and decelerates, the camera recoils. Little vibrations ensue. Those take time to damp out. So various portions of the frame, depending on how much of it has been uncovered and what the exact pattern of vibrations is from the accelerating and decelerating of the curtain, can experience various amounts of blur due to the recoil.

Then the second shutter curtain releases to end the exposure. Same thing happens in reverse. This time you're starting with the whole frame uncovered and it's becoming progressively covered as the curtain travels. Again, there is recoil and vibrations. The only part that doesn't affect the exposure is the final full stop of the second curtain, because by that point the frame is entirely covered again.

The delay time between the first and second shutter curtain releases determines the exposure time. For any exposure times less than the flash sync speed of the camera, the second curtain gets released before the first curtain has finished its travel, so they're both moving and accelerating and decelerating while parts of the film/sensor are being exposed.

That's shutter recoil. Obviously, determining exactly what happens is very camera design dependent.

Image stabilization further complicates this, because it can compensate to some degree for shutter curtain recoil, just as it can compensate for other sources of camera shake. And it does such a great job of damping out gross camera shake that, with the absence of mirror slap, shutter recoil may be the dominant source of blurring in your photographs.

But, trust me, you have no assurance that any camera you buy of any design that has a focal plane shutter will be free of this problem under all conditions with all lenses. Most of them will have a sour spot somewhere. What you want is a design where it doesn't have too many of them and they're not too annoying (the one in the Pentax 67 was huge, but being limited to one single shutter speed it was pretty easy to remember to work around).

And that is why Olympus includes the anti-shock function–– not because this is a new known issue (or something their camera's especially prone to) but because it's a very, very old one.

pax \ Ctein
[ Please excuse any word-salad. MacSpeech in training! ]
-- Ctein's Online Gallery http://ctein.com 
-- Digital Restorations http://photo-repair.com 

Colin: "I'm not sure I understand what you're saying here. On a SLR/DSLR surely the shutter is closed until you make the exposure. I can see that you can have shutter recoil at the end of the exposure, but unless it's severe (resulting in extra exposure at the edge of the frame) this recoil shouldn't cause "shake" as the exposure is complete."

There are 2 shutter curtains, the first one opens at the start of the exposure and the second one follows it to close the exposure. If there's a shock from the first curtain reaching the end of its travel, that shock occurs during the exposure. There will be a second shock after that as the second curtain reaches the same point to close the exposure, but that occurs after the exposure so it isn't relevant to shutter shock.

So, yes, there can be shutter shock with a film SLR with focal plane shutter, it occurs in the middle of the exposure.

Doh! Yes of course - completely overlooked that. Now even more puzzled about what I'm seeing in practice. Sigh. I see a whole series of controlled testing looming.

My problem is not that there may be a minor issue with the camera, but that I don't understand what I'm seeing - so can't figure out a workaround.



Just a wind up concerning the exchange on the presumed problem with the OM-D's IBIS further up in this series of comments.

Ctein was right. I sent him several of my pictures, and he immediately identified a serious problem with my camera, probably something loose inside the body. Many thanks to Ctein for his help.

I could redo the tests with another OM-D since. The results turned out to be fine.

[Thanks for following up. --Mike]

The comments to this entry are closed.