Olympus OM-D E-M5 base-ISO samples as requested

There has been a lot of attention paid to high ISOs on the new E-M5, but what about base-ISO?

After corresponding with a photographer who lamented the lack of low ISO samples from the new Olympus OM-D E-M5, and citing his concerns that the new non-Panasonic sensor in the e-M5 was possibly optimised for high ISO at the expense of low ISO headroom, I felt he had a good point and so I have tried to produce some base-ISO E-M5 samples using one of the cameras that are being exhibited at the Focus on Imaging show this week. I have also produced a set of matching images taken with an E-P3 for comparison. The two sets are exposure bracketed from -2EV to +2EV.

It has to be said that the conditions for producing these samples was far from ideal. The Focus exhibition hall was not blessed with bright light, for a start. The choice of views close enough to the Olympus booth was also limited - it was not possible to take the camera outside for a relaxing photo shoot. and I also had to work fast as there was a long queue of people waiting to handle the camera - one only three that could be mustered for the show. And of course there were lots of people milling around so I had to be patient while waiting for a gap in the traffic in front of the camera.

Please note!

Unfortunately, I overlooked the noise filter setting on the E-M5, which was set to Standard. The E-P3 was set to OFF. So comparing E-M5 and E-P3 JPEGs needs to take this into consideration. If you are using Viewer 2 to open E-M5 RAW files you will also need to change the noise filter setting in the RAW development mode. The E-P3 JPEGs were also recorded in Super Large Fine mode while the E-M5 JPEGs were recorded in Large Fine mode. But I think that all other settings are the same.

Both cameras were fitted with the m.Zuiko 12-50 standard zoom and focal length was set to 20mm, with the aperture in aperture priority mode set to f/6.3 Like yesterday's samples, please not that the E-M5 was a pre-production camera but sporting release firmware.

Make of these what you will, with careful consideration of the above notes. These samples could be useful if you are interested in seeing how well shadows can be lifted and even to see how highlights are preserved at the base ISO of 200. A brand new production E-M5 will be with me in a few days time and I will re-run all these tests again under much more controlled conditions.

Click on the icon you're interested in to open the image in your browser and you can download the image to your computer as well. PLEASE don't reproduce these copyrighted images on other sites.To download the RAW files, just click on the links provided. If you have something to say about these samples and you prefer to discuss your views on another site, please at least provide a link back to us so that others can make use of this resource. Naturally, I hope you will consider discussing this topic on the FTU forum.

Image 1: OM-D E-M5 +1EV