New vs Old (OM-1 + Zuiko 50mm f/1.4 in background)
Not much time to use the camera last night, but I did play with it a bit more and one big lesson learned. I had been trying to figure out why the exposure on shots tended to vary pretty wildly, but what seemed like a good stop or so under or over. Yeah, turns out that when you enter an exposure range in the bracketing setting in the menu, that isn’t what will be bracketed when you enable bracketing, that DOES enable bracketing. Opps. Also, I’ll chime in now, Olympus, why don’t you have the option to tie one of the function buttons to bracketing instead of the kludgy menu “solution” for bracketing?
For the function buttons, at the moment I am not using the 4-way controller customization for anything, though I may down the road. Right now I have the Fn1 button set to AEL (Auto Exposure Lock). Also if interested, as you can see on the LCD, I am generally using it for the Super Control Panel (SCP) and not live view…though sometimes I switch to that (but hitting Ok brings the SCP back up, overlayed on the live view).
95% of my shooting with digital cameras, and I presume that will continue with the E-M5, is in aperture priority mode (with pretty much the rest in manual). So the top rear dial is Exposure Compensation in 1/3 EV steps and the front dial is aperture control in 1/3 EV steps. For Shutter priority mode the front dial switches to shutter speed. For manual mode the front dial is aperture and the rear is shutter speed.
Fn2 is set to ISO control and the Record button is set to Manual focus and I have Manual focus magnify enabled. Even though I wish Olympus would do focus peaking as it seems very nice, at least the implementation on the E-M5 (the E-PL1 does not have this that I can find) for manual focus + magnify is nice as the instant you turn the focus ring on a m4/3 or 4/3 lens, the image is magnified where the focus box is located by the amount you specified for the size of the focus box (I have mine set to x10) and once focus has been held steady for about a second or a tiny bit longer, it returns to the full image view.
Other than occasionally enabling manual focus, I always shoot in S-AF mode, triggered off half a shutter depress, which also has Image stabilization enabled for a half shutter depression (and Image stabilization in Magnify view is also enabled). For video recording, which I rarely do, I have it set to S-AF+Manual focus since even with the increase focusing speed of the E-M5, for the most part I prefer to initially lock focus, then press the shutter the rest of the way to begin recording and then it is generally less jarring to just use the manual focus ring to change focus if needed than let the AF system pull-push focus until it locks again.
This is my typical EVF view. I am using it in mode 3 as I like having the widest possible view finder view and don’t mind some data overlay on the picture. You can also see I had been shooting in RAW+JPEG LF, though last night I shifted to just shooting in RAW. I am getting used to light room and it isn’t taking that much time for any images that have a little value to them, quick converting them to JPEGs for the web, printing or archiving after doing some adjustments. You can also see that I am shooting in 720p 60fps video mode. I don’t shoot much video, but in general 720p is high enough quality for me and still keeps video sizes reasonable. I have only shot one video on the E-M5 so far, but it turned out pretty decently.
A 3 series image comparison I did last night of a nice high contrast scene to show the Out of Camera JPEG engine, versus basic RAW and then massaged RAW using Light Room 4.1.
Sigma 30mm, f/3.5, 1/13s, ISO640
Out of Camera JPEG
Uneditted RAW from LR
Highlight slider pulled all the way down and shadow slider pulled all the way up.
A fair amount of detail can be brought back/viewable and, at least at ISO640, noise does not visibly increase (though I am not showing you a 100% crop or full image sizes because I am a cruel and terrible person. Really I am just lazy and saving that for a full review instead of just an overview post). Even just the basic RAW with no editing has just a bit more detail both in the highlights and the shadows visible, but at least at ISO640 pixel peeping noise and sharpness detail is pretty similar between the unedited RAW and the JPEG. The little that I have compared though, once you get up around ISO1250 or much higher, the RAW files noise and detail wise do start to look appreciably better than the OOC JPEGs, though the JPEGs still look pretty good up through ISO3200, if not quite as good.
Panasonic 14mm, f/3.5, 1/20s, ISO200. Dinner last night, well not all of it (Grilled cheese, Tomato and pepper soup and wine or milk depending on the age of the dinner).
Sigma 30mm, f/2.8, 1/10s, ISO25,600. I cleaned up the Chroma noise a bit, converted to B&W and increased the highlights and brought down the shadows to increase contrast some. ISO25,600 won’t win you any sharpness or noise contests, but considering that it is ISO twenty-five thousand six hundred, pretty damned good and in an emergency, or for B&W prints for where you WANT to have a bunch of noise for artistic reasons, usable.