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Andrew Reid

Olympus E-M5 Mark II - love and hate at first sight

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​BTW, you may have heard, with this camera you can shoot handheld, keep it steady, and pretty much have it look like a static shot.  --Something about this special feature the EM5II has built into it.  They call it 5-axis stabilization.  Some say it's kind of neat.

 

Yes, but even the slightest movement, no matter how small, can result in moire that could be distracting enough to lead the viewers eye away from what you are actually trying to show. I consider myself a moire hiding specialist having to deal with that for years, first on my 550d and later on my nex-ea50.

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Yes, but even the slightest movement, no matter how small, can result in moire that could be distracting enough to lead the viewers eye away from what you are actually trying to show.

​I do wonder though, and am tempted to find out, with a 12mm steady handheld on the EM5II, how much would really show?

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​I do wonder though, and am tempted to find out, with a 12mm steady handheld on the EM5II, how much would really show?

​I find moire to stand out much more on close-to-static shots than on those that are moving.

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​I find moire to stand out much more on close-to-static shots than on those that are moving.

​Yeah, the "slow crawl."  Still, it would be a worthwhile test just to get a handle on the actual limitations; knowing how far I could acceptably be able to push my luck, or not, as it were.

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Well, probably can't get a subject more "typical end user" than this. 

 

So here's a few minutes of the EM5II @24fps, 25 shutter speed, Natural Picture Mode, Contrast -2, Sharpness -2, Saturation -2, Gradation Normal, FullHD.  Olympus 12-40mm 2.8 lens.  Uploaded the file to Vimeo in the native file format as shot, no grade, no nuthin.'  Flaws and all.  If you want to download it and watch it 'till your eyes bleed, feel free.

 

Sometimes I prefer motion pictures with edge blur so I shot this with 0° shutter.  That's a particular taste, keep it in mind.

 

https://vimeo.com/122338262

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I just have been looking at your footage in Edius true my hd spark card on a big led screen and if I understand Andrew right this camera produces quality that is "mediocre bordering on crap"? From a normal viewing distance this footage looked just as good as what my gh3 would produce, There is nothing that made me think "it's soft" or "it looks like crap", on the contrary, I found it looked great, overall it looked too "reddish" to me but nothing that was not easily fixed with some simple colorcorrection. 

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There is nothing that made me think "it's soft" or "it looks like crap", on the contrary, I found it looked great, overall it looked too "reddish" to me but nothing that was not easily fixed with some simple colorcorrection. 

​All of it was shot AWB to see where the camera would decide to go with the color; also if it would drift --such as certain Sony cameras have tended to do.  The color and exposure actually looked pretty good in the interior stuff until one of the parents decided to "help" my filming and turned on the overhead lights.  You know how that goes. <_<

I'm not going to deny that the big problem with this camera is moire, but otherwise it's giving me decent stuff.

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​I'm not going to deny that the big problem with this camera is moire, but otherwise it's giving me decent stuff.

​But what is "big", is it worse then what a canon 550d did produce? I didn't notice any moire in your film, so it can't be "that" bad?

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​But what is "big", is it worse then what a canon 550d did produce? I didn't notice any moire in your film, so it can't be "that" bad?

​​I think the frustration with this camera is that moire exists at all.  Especially after a few years of nice camera technology from Sony and Panasonic.  Running around shooting faces with a bit of DOF I don't think'll be a problem.  As I said earlier.  Know the limitations, work around 'em.

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Quick question.

When I was looking at the mediainfo details for the E-M5 II video, I noticed this.

1.thumb.JPG.b542809c356f83f45457017f0d56

It's been a long time since I've read up on this, but isn't BT.601 the color space for standard def and BT.709 for HD. I seem to recall some issue a while back about Canon DSLRs using this same color space and how you would have to take care when editing.

What I'm wondering is if it's possible that my TV and VLC player are showing me the incorrect colors because they assume it's Rec. 709 when in actuality it's Rec. 601. I'm no expert in this, but I'm just wondering if I've been seeing the wrong colors.

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​Looks like moire hasn't scuppered it.

Maybe I'll get and use it for everything except my brick wall montages.

(LOLZ)

I think it's just irritating that moire's an issue still, as there's not much excuse really.... but yes, this shows it can be perfectly usable for the right stuff. While this is the only good 5-axis camera, it's gonna sell a few regardless. Still a shame they couldn't quite go all the way to brilliant though...

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Yeah, that dusk shot of San Fran is pretty much what scares people about this camera.  Oh well. 

​Yep, compare the stills of the same shots against those in the video here: https://www.storehouse.co/stories/r9xml-slomosf

I wouldn't expect video quality to equal still images, but when I compare the video from the EM-5II to my lowly LX100 (even 1080p, forget about 4k -> 1080p), it is in a completely different league than the EM-5II.  The LX-100 stabilisation isn't bad either, as long as you aren't moving around too much with the camera.

The one good thing is that the Olympus blocking seems to be gone in more detailed shots, even if the picture detail isn't there yet.

 

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the Olympus blocking seems to be gone in more detailed shots, even if the picture detail isn't there yet.

​The blocking is gone from what I can tell; haven't pointed the camera at a bunch of leaves blowing the wind, but so far so good.

I think the image caries decent detail, honestly.  The camera is just not going to do you any favors with that moire.  That's the rub.

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​Yep, compare the stills of the same shots against those in the video here: https://www.storehouse.co/stories/r9xml-slomosf

I wouldn't expect video quality to equal still images, but when I compare the video from the EM-5II to my lowly LX100 (even 1080p, forget about 4k -> 1080p), it is in a completely different league than the EM-5II.  The LX-100 stabilisation isn't bad either, as long as you aren't moving around too much with the camera.

The one good thing is that the Olympus blocking seems to be gone in more detailed shots, even if the picture detail isn't there yet.

 

​Exactly right. The major discussion on this forum is about moire. I would consider this a distant number 2 concern to the total lack of detail in the image. Forget the "lowly" LX100, look at the frame grabs I posted comparing the unhacked GH2 (a 2010 camera) to this camera.

The whole moire issue seems to be a distraction. Olympus is way further off than just correcting the moire.

And, BTW, what's so lowly about the LX100? It seems like a great, ground-breaking camera to me. I just hope it doesn't eat into MFT sales.

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Just back from returning mine.  I don't think it's a terrible camera and kind of hated to see it go but there are many foibles that ruin it for me.  I think we will see many coming available as refurbs on Ebay and price drops as well.  Perhaps if it hits $750 I will buy it for stills and special video that IBIS would make possible.  Or they can fix some of it's flaws and I'll be first back inline.

My list for the open letter to Olympus is.

The crop factor is to much: I love m4/3 form factor and was fine with the sensor size trade offs. Now you want to take another ~25% IBIS on or off with all that represents in the old equivalency debate. 

Moire: Not a total deal killer but mix it with the rest equals a no go for me.

Very awkward settings control while recording:  I pick manual mode because I want control your making it to hard and it's annoying.

Video Quality: although workable could be should be better. Shadow noise and harder for me to explain there seems to be a bit of hit and miss going on with detail, lacks consistency. No clue why but in comparison my GH2 Hacked with Sanity seems to be far more consistent/dependable?

Headphones: That headphone jack will cost me another $129 making this camera a bit expensive considering competition and where this camera sits specification wise.

To be fair what's right

The IBIS is just flat out amazing and that made it so hard to let go.

All the settable buttons and customizations but than I hit record and you take it away from me :(

It seems a very solid stills camera with many cool features but I'm looking for a video and stills in this day and age and I think that is one of M4/3s great potentials.

Display and viewfinder are great

High Res mode for me is meaningful and great though it seems not everyone cares :unsure:.

Almost forgot your new pro lenses are awesome it was even harder letting go of the 12-40 but without a camera with stabilization I can't justify keeping it.

 

​Exactly right. The major discussion on this forum is about moire. I would consider this a distant number 2 concern to the total lack of detail in the image. Forget the "lowly" LX100, look at the frame grabs I posted comparing the unhacked GH2 (a 2010 camera) to this camera.

 

​Bob feel free to continue your vitriol at the EM5 mk ii and for that matter me but please be accurate.  If you are talking about my videos you took screen grabs from my GH2 was Hacked with Sanity,  I also admitted to the error of putting curves on the EM5 that further flattened the image out and that's why it looks the way it does my bad.  You presenting it as anything else is a deception on your part.  That being said anyone can take the file put it in a editor bring up contrast and see the files are not hopeless :rolleyes:.  In fact some may wish to get a flatter file for grading my botched test would be better sample of that :D

 

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Just back from returning mine.  I don't think it's a terrible camera and kind of hated to see it go but there are many foibles that ruin it for me.  I think we will see many coming available as refurbs on Ebay and price drops as well.  Perhaps if it hits $750 I will buy it for stills and special video that IBIS would make possible.  Or they can fix some of it's flaws and I'll be first back inline.

My list for the open letter to Olympus is.

The crop factor is to much: I love m4/3 form factor and was fine with the sensor size trade offs. Now you want to take another ~25% IBIS on or off with all that represents in the old equivalency debate. 

Moire: Not a total deal killer but mix it with the rest equals a no go for me.

Very awkward settings control while recording:  I pick manual mode because I want control your making it to hard and it's annoying.

Video Quality: although workable could be should be better. Shadow noise and harder for me to explain there seems to be a bit of hit and miss going on with detail, lacks consistency. No clue why but in comparison my GH2 Hacked with Sanity seems to be far more consistent/dependable?

Headphones: That headphone jack will cost me another $129 making this camera a bit expensive considering competition and where this camera sits specification wise.

To be fair what's right

The IBIS is just flat out amazing and that made it so hard to let go.

All the settable buttons and customizations but than I hit record and you take it away from me :(

It seems a very solid stills camera with many cool features but I'm looking for a video and stills in this day and age and I think that is one of M4/3s great potentials.

Display and viewfinder are great

High Res mode for me is meaningful and great though it seems not everyone cares :unsure:.

Almost forgot your new pro lenses are awesome it was even harder letting go of the 12-40 but without a camera with stabilization I can't justify keeping it.

 

​Bob feel free to continue your vitriol at the EM5 mk ii and for that matter me but please be accurate.  If you are talking about my videos you took screen grabs from my GH2 was Hacked with Sanity,  I also admitted to the error of putting curves on the EM5 that further flattened the image out and that's why it looks the way it does my bad.  You presenting it as anything else is a deception on your part.  That being said anyone can take the file put it in a editor bring up contrast and see the files are not hopeless :rolleyes:.  In fact some may wish to get a flatter file for grading my botched test would be better sample of that :D

 

​Inquisitive, with all due respect, I think everything you've mentioned in the negative column is simply secondary to the lack of detail and softness in the image. I'm really not sure if you're being obtuse or you honestly can't see it. I honestly can't rule out that some people are completely incapable of seeing this or are completely insensitive to the difference between a sharp camera and a soft camera.

The fact of the matter is that you don't even need to use the 1080p mode on your GH2 to better the E-M5 II. You could use the 720p mode and get better fine detail.

If you're one of those people that honestly doesn't see the difference between DVD (480p) and Blu-ray (1080p), then I can accept that. But you should understand that's a failing of your perception. I understand there are genuinely people that can't see the difference. There are some like that in my family. They're very perceptive of color differences but can't tell the difference easily between a DVD and a Blu-ray.

If you're that type of person, you should understand that I'm honestly not making up the difference in detail between these two cameras. Have you tried displaying the frame grabs I took of your two videos, opening them up at 100% on the same thing and alternating between them to actually see the massive difference. Do you want me to take smaller crops of the two and post them here so it's more clear to you? It may not be that you're not capable of seeing it but just a total lack of experience on your part.

And regarding the Sanity patch, look at the size difference between the Olympus and Panasonic files you uploaded. Have you noticed that the Panasonic is 1/3 the size of the Olympus. That means it's about 1/3 the bitrate. And there's this truly awesome program called Mediainfo that just gives you the bitrate of the video. Maybe you should try it. Your video was at 26.9Mbps. I'm not ruling out that this is a hack (as I'm not familiar with all of them), but, again, it's the lowest bitrate hack I've ever seen. The standard unhacked bitrate is 24Mbps (I believe) on the GH2. For reference, I'm running Moon T7, which does 77Mbps at 24L and 136Mbps at 24H.

For all intents and purposes, your camera is unhacked. It doesn't really matter if you've actually applied one or not. Running at 26.9Mbps is too low to see any benefit from a hack.

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