Some of you may recall that when the original Olympus E-M1 was released 3 years ago, quite a controversy was stirred up by its handling of long exposures. Basically, the noise level for the E-M1 was much higher than that for it’s much cheaper predecessor, the E-M5. At the time, I was able to compare an E-M1 and E-M5 side-by-side, and wrote up the results for public scrutiny.
So, now that the E-M1II is available (if only in limited quantities so far), I thought it’d be interesting to compare my copy of it to my E-M1 that helped make such a stir (while I still own it). I’ve also got an E-M5II on hand, so thought I should throw it into the mix as well.
This weekend, the local honeybees were giving some echinacea blooms in our yard a good workover, so I thought I was overdue in documenting their work.
Normally, the bees seem to prefer working solo. But even though we’ve got a swath of echinacea for them to work on, sometimes they need to “double up” in order to keep working. I used an Olympus E-M1 and 60mm macro for this shot, BTW.
For a brief period of time, I owned three wide zooms that worked well on my OlympusE-M1 body — so I thought I should take the opportunity to compare their performance on a quick walk around a neighborhood park. Actually writing up this review took a bit of time, and was prompted by an excellent comparison of two of these lenses over on Small Camera Big Picture.
A warning to pixel peepers: what follows is a real-life experiential comparison.
I stumbled across something interesting on micro-4/3 camera forums, and thought it worth pursuing. It’s been said (here, and here, and here) that the Olympus E-M1 has a problem with long exposures. I’d noticed what looked like grain in my E-M1 images, so thought maybe it had a similar cause.
Since I’ve got an E-M1 and an E-M5 camera, and a bit of history with debugging, I thought I was well-placed to do some characterization testing. To get a fair comparison, I first ran pixel mapping on my E-M5 and E-M1 bodies (to take care of any obviously “hot” pixels on the sensors), then took dark images (with the lens cap on) under the same conditions with both bodies:
60 second exposure
Noise Filter set to Standard
I did this twice for each camera body — once with Noise Reduction off, and once with it on. I took all 4 RAW images, converted them to JPG using Olympus Viewer 3, then grabbed a 400×400 pixel crop out of the center of each.