Review Olympus OM-D E-M5: measurements

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This test report is an appendix of our Olympus OM-D E-M5 review. Measurements for this Olympus OM-D E-M5 review have been carried out using Imatest. For the test method and explanation of terms, see FAQ. The conclusion and Olympus OM-D E-M5 sample images are shown in the Olympus E-M5 review. Olympus OM-D E-M5 review, review Olympus OM-D E-M5, Olympus m43 camera review

Sensor resolution

Olympus OM-D E-M5 review, review Olympus OM-D E-M5, Olympus m43 camera review

Olympus OM-D E-M5 review, review Olympus OM-D E-M5, Olympus m43 camera review
The Olympus OM-D E-M5, combined with a good lens like the Olympus 45 mm 1.8 or the Sigma 30 mm EX DN, delivers standard jpg and in Lightroom developed RAW files with a resolution of almost 2500 LW/PH. These are very high scores. Not only for a micro-43 camera, but also compared with a camera with an APS-C size sensor, like the Canon 60D or the Nikon D5100. Only at the highest ISO setting, 25.600 ISO, resolution diminishes due to noise.

Dynamic range of the sensor

The dynamic range of the Olympus OM-D E-M5 equals the dynamic range of camera's with a larger (APS-C) sensor. The total dynamic range of a 200 or 400 ISO RAW file without any noise reduction is 10.5 stops. At higher ISO settings the total dynamic range decreases to 3.5 stops at 25.600 ISO. The total dynamic range of jpg files ranges from 10.5 stops at lower ISO settings to 7 stops at 25.600 ISO. Olympus-OM-D-review dynamic-range2
The signal to noise ratio in the shadow reduces the dynamic range of jpg files to a usable dynamic range of 6 stops at 200 ISO to 1.5 stops at ISO 25,600. We test the dynamic range of RAW files without using noise reduction. As a result, you maintain the highest possible detail of the shooting, while the noise, although measurable, is not visible in a print. If you carefully optimize contrast, sharpening and noise reduction of Olympus OM-D E-M5 RAW files, it is possible for RAW files to achieve a usable dynamic range of 1 stop higher than that of the jpg files. Olympus-OM-D-review-useful dynamic-range

Noise

Olympus-OM-D-review RAW-noise

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Comparison of the noise in jpg files with the measured noise in RAW files without noise reduction shows that in the jpg files, noise reduction occurs over 3200 ISO. Here you see examples of a gray card photographed at different ISO settings. The image crops show a detail from RAW files without noise reduction, if the picture was shown full size on your screen. By applying noise reduction, an even better result can be achieved for these RAW files. Noise-2

Image Stabilization

We have tested the image stabilization of the Olympus OM-D E-M5 in combination with the Olympus 45 mm 1.8 lens. Olympus has the best image stabilization that we have hitherto encountered.
Using a focal length of 45 mm (= 90 @ mm full frame) and a shutter speed of 1/100 second, shooting hand held without image stabilization, the sharpness equivalent to an image made at a shutter speed of 1/6 second. That is a gain of 4 stops!
Olympus-OM-D-review-IS
At longer exposure times, you will still gain 3 stops: if you use a shutter speed of 1/25 second shooting hand held without image stabilization, the amount of blur will be equal to an image made at a shutter speed of 1/3 second and applying image stabilization.
With some luck you may obtain a usable image at even longer shutter speeds, when you're prepared to make a small series of images. In the Olympus E-M5 test you will see an example of an image made at a focal length of 600 mm @ full-format and a shutter speed of 1/8 second.

Color reproduction in daylight

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Color reproduction (Delta E 94) Olympus OM-D E-M5 in daylight

  • Average: 4,0 (RAW) / 4,7 (jpg)
  • Best: 3,5 RAW @ 1600 ISO
  • Worst: 7,1 jpg @ 12800 ISO
  • Skin tone: 3,0 (RAW) / 4,9 (jpg)
  • Natural colors: 2,9 (RAW) / 4,2 (jpg)
  • Bright colors: 3,6 (RAW) / 4,0 (jpg)
  • White balance: 3,7 (RAW) / 3,1 (jpg)

Color accuracy at daylight is one of the trump cards of the Olympus OM-D E-M5. The Olympus OM-D E-M5 delivers RAW and jpg files (natural picture style) with a very high color accuracy. For the naked eye even direct comparison of the Olympus OM-D E-M5 images and the original test chart are hard to distinguish. Top performance.

The illustration shows the color errors of an ISO 200 color jpg image taken in daylight. The further the ideal color (square) is removed from the color reproduction of the camera (round), the greater the color difference. For the test method and explanation of terms, see FAQ.

Color reproduction artificial light

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Color reproduction (Delta E 94) Olympus OM-D E-M5 in artificial light

  • Average: 9.8 (RAW) / 10.3 (jpg)
  • Best: 9.3 RAW @ 200 ISO
  • Worst: 10.8 RAW @ 6400 ISO
  • Skin tone: 10.2 (RAW) / 11.8 (jpg)
  • Natural colors: 7.9 (RAW) / 8.6 (jpg)
  • Bright colors: 8.4 (RAW) / 8.4 (jpg)
  • White balance: 12.7 (RAW / 8.8 (jpg)

We tested the color reproduction of the Olympus OM-D E-M5 jpg files with the standard picture style. The Olympus OM-D E-M5 delivers RAW and jpg files with a reasonably good color reproduction in artificial light. But in artificial light you cannot blindly rely on the auto white balance for both jpg and RAW files, as clearly shown in the results shown for a 200 ISO jpg file.

See our Olympus E-M5 review for sample images and conclusions.

Ivo Freriks
Author: Ivo Freriks
With Camera Review Stuff I hope to make a modest contribution to the pleasure that you get from photography. By testing cameras and lenses in the same way, evluating the results and weighing up the pros and cons, I hope to help you find the right camera or lens.

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Comments (2)

  1. Paul Racicot

Great review. Now if I could get my hands on one of these little jewels, it would be wonderful. The quality gap is narrowing between the APS-C sensor and the Micro 4/3rds sensor. Match this camera with a good lens, and you can produce an image...

Great review. Now if I could get my hands on one of these little jewels, it would be wonderful. The quality gap is narrowing between the APS-C sensor and the Micro 4/3rds sensor. Match this camera with a good lens, and you can produce an image that rivals any crop-sensor - in a much smaller package.

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  1. Ivo    Paul Racicot

Thanks for the compliment. And there are many nice micro-43 lenses available to match this body.

 

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