DxOMark rates the Olympus Pen E-P1 RAW performance

DxOMark rating fails to flatter the E-P1

The authoritative Paris-based digital imaging consultancy, DxO Labs, has added the Olympus Pen E-P1 to its DxOMark database. DxO Labs also produces the Optics Pro RAW conversion and image enhancement software package, although at present no Four Thirds cameras are supported.

DxOMark ratings are comprised from a series of tests that focus on camera RAW file performance. Despite a lot of feedback from reviewers and users of the E-P1 that indicate the E-P1 has significantly better high ISO capability than any Four Thirds platform camera to date, the DxOMark ratings make rather sobering reading for Olympus fans.

Results for the E-P1 from DxOMark indicate virtually identical performance compared with the Olympus E-30, which uses the same LiveMOS sensor, but an earlier image processing engine than the E-P1. The only difference seems to be that the E-P1 goes to ISO 6400, and that is predictably lower in rating than ISO 3200. Indeed, the DxOMark rating for the older E-520 camera model is marginally superior. There is also no evidence in the DxOMark data that supports the increasingly popular theory that ISO 200 is the optimal low ISO setting for the E-P1, rather than ISO 100.

The Pen E-P1 is the first Olympus camera to make use of the latest generation Olympus TruePic V image processing engine. Much of the perceived improvement in high ISO performance with the E-P1 is attributed to the new engine. Unfortunately, DxOMark indicates that there is hardly any difference in RAW image performance. So does TruePic V only apply to JPEG image processing? It is hard to find an answer to this question off the shelf. Olympus doesn't publish a great deal at a technical level on its TruePic technology. One avenue of investigation could be some controlled testing and comparison of RAW and JPEG results and we intend to do that here on Four Thirds User.


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