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PostPosted: Wed Nov 11, 2009 6:59 am 
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I've had my e520 for around a month and found myself shooting in low light more often than I thought I would (or rather admitted I would since I loved the Olly after picking it up). This, I think, is Olympus' Achilles heel with poor high ISO performance, and AF issues.

I've also found myself changing lenses more often than I thought I would as I got used to using my old superzoom, so I have a few options in the future.

#1. I could go for the 14-54 (or ideally 12-60) which would give me a little more reach requiring less lens changing - esp for portraits. Also the wider f2.8 would maybe allow for a lower ISO than my kit lens' f3.5

-how much a difference in shutter speed would this make?

#2. Eventually move to another system (eg Nikon with their excellent 18-105 needing fewer lens changes) with better and/or higher high ISO. My e520 maxes out at ISO 1600, which is often pretty ugly. Maybe a future Olly body would offer higher ISO with less noise and faster AF?

Both these options are not urgent. I would really like to be able to use my two compact kit lenses on a less noisy body though, and aside from low-light performance, I thoroughly enjoy using my e520.

Any thoughts?

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 11, 2009 7:17 am 
From 3.5 to 4 it is 2/3 stop, not much different but you will lose depth of field.

The Nikon D90 is about 1 1/3 stops better in low light than Olympus 4:3

So changing to Nikon D5000 or D90 will help more than investing on Oly 12-60mm.

If you plan to stay with Olympus, you might consider a tripod or flash.

if you want to take low light candids like indoor sports, you will be out of luck with Oly.

Even if you use Nikon D90 / D5000 and shooting at ISO 1600, you will need to get f/2.8 or better lens. Fortunately, Nikon has many inexpensive prime lenses for low light shooting.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 11, 2009 10:31 am 
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Hi kimchi,

Are you taking full advantage of the E-520's image stabilisation by using aperture priority and the ISO of choice? Obviously you get to a point where even the best hand-holding technique (holding the camera really steadily and using the gentlest of presses on the shutter release) fails to help because of motion blur of the subject but maybe there's room to improve?

If that zero cost option doesn't help then maybe shooting in RAW and trying out some third conversion and party noise reduction software might help. Searching the posts in our Imaging and Video Editing Software section might offer some clues as to what other members use as can doing a Google search such as this one. Maybe something like Noise Ninja or DxO Optics Pro to name but two of many. I don't use anything other than the Canon software that came with my camera and PhotoShop's built in routines so the previous two suggestions aren't endorsements but you can download trial versions and see if they help.

If you are still struggling to get the quality you want then and you don't have the option to add your own lighting then it's probably going to be an expensive fix as you'll be looking at either a new camera system and the relevant quality lenses or possibly buying one of the Olympus "Top Pro" lenses. But, as Enche says, the brighter the lens the more issues you may have with shallow depth of field.

My apologies if you already knew any (or all) of the above. :oops:

Bob.

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OM-D E-M5, H-PS14042E, Gitzo GT1541T, Arca-Swiss Z1 DP ball-head.
Astrophotography: TEC 140 'scope, FLI ML16803 camera, ASA DDM60 Pro mount.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 11, 2009 11:16 am 
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Thanks for those useful suggestions.

Bob - I've used the 2s timer, and held my breath to capture some shots , wide F# etc. when I couldn't find a suitable makeshift tripod (I have one which I obv. don't always carry). I just think that I need something (or a system) which copes better in low light. I'm not sure if I should upgrade my lenses (I have the cheapo but decent kit lenses) or look for another system which copes better with limited light (eg - Nikon, apparently).

My old 2004 superzoom has an f2.8 wide open which seems to make a bit of difference at an equivalent ISO.

I don't really want to have to spend time on PP if there is another system/option which can avoid this.

So what's the deal? go up a notch on ISO and lose IQ or go down a notch on shutter speed and lose sharpness?

And Enche Zein, I'm not sure I know what you mean by:


Quote:
The Nikon D90 is about 1 1/3 stops better in low light than Olympus 4:3


do you mean the camera ISO performance or the kit lens speed, or something else?

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 11, 2009 12:46 pm 
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kimchi wrote:
...I don't really want to have to spend time on PP if there is another system/option which can avoid this...

Operating your camera near its performance limits as you are I really think you should consider investing a little time in PP. It might take a few hours to get up to speed but if you find software that does the job noise wise and which, like any decent PP package, offers batch processing then once you have stored a preset or two which you know works with the majority of your images then you can pretty much automate your post-processing except for those very special images you want to spend time on.

But all this presupposes that such third party software can actually improve on your camera's built in processing. My feeling is that it will but as my last Olympus was a film camera I'll leave those who actually own an Olympus DSLR to offer advice on that one...

Bob.

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Olympus OM-D E-M1 + M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8, Lumix 7-14mm f/4, Leica DG Summilux 15mm f/1.7 ASPH, M.Zuiko Digital 45mm 1:1.8, M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm 1:1.8.
Leica D Vario-Elmar 14mm-150mm f/3.5 - f/5.6 ASPH.
OM-D E-M5, H-PS14042E, Gitzo GT1541T, Arca-Swiss Z1 DP ball-head.
Astrophotography: TEC 140 'scope, FLI ML16803 camera, ASA DDM60 Pro mount.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 11, 2009 3:41 pm 
The ZD12-60 is a very good lens that offers very fast AF. If you haven't read/seen Gordon's review you should definitely check out the review section.

I agree with Bob that you should really take a look at the noise reduction (and other) possibilities of post-processing. It can often clean up shots considerably without (noticeable)
loss in detail.

Your question made me wonder about whether lens quality affects noise effects so I started a new topic about that here. It might be of interest.

Ben
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 Post subject: Upgrades
PostPosted: Sun Nov 29, 2009 12:31 am 
Hello,

I faced the same decision a while back and decided to go with the 12-60... I found a used one ebay for a fair price. I was immediately impressed with how it felt to use it as well as the images it was able to take. The focus is fast, and the IQ is great. I also found that I could lower my iso, and use the wider aperture of the lens to together compensate in lower light. I was in Rome, in lots of churches, using this setup and was able to get some great shots using the same sort of techniques you are using (2sec timer, holding breath, leaning on stuff). Additionally, the 12-60 is much heavier and larger than the kit lens. So much so, that typically, I'll hold my left hand under the lens, which you don't really need to do with the 14-42. I found that the extra weight made me balance the camera more carefully, also that with the extra weight, it was easier to do so.

I'll also echo the positive comments about photoshop and say that Lightroom 3.0 beta supposedly deals with oly RAW images really well. I haven't tried it yet, but I intend to, after all it is a free download.

Good luck!


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2009 4:27 pm 
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Also, keep in mind that bodies lose their value, fast. In 4 years, that D90 will probably suck in terms of noise performance, when compared to newer models.

Fast glass on the other hand, will keep it's value.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2009 8:40 pm 
Hi Iso, the reason I didn't buy olympus. How's that for a flame bait? LOL

In all fairness the EP-1 is meant to have good High Iso performance, but I still woulnd't bother. I won't go into why. It's just my choice.

Why not BOTH?


Citruspers wrote:
Also, keep in mind that bodies lose their value, fast. In 4 years, that D90 will probably suck in terms of noise performance, when compared to newer models.

Fast glass on the other hand, will keep it's value.


Yeah, that may be true, but that doesn't mean everyone is out there to chase the technology wagon, and will feel like their gear doesn't cut it anymore. Maybe in four years my D700 won't be that great - compared to everything else. It will still be an awesome camera though. People still use D2X and D2H etc for sports with great results. I still use my D80 for the odd macro shot, or where I need more reach. A body may not be that great next to what's out there, but newer technology doesn't make older equipment redundant (ok, I hardly use my D80 anymore, but can you blame me?)


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2009 5:19 am 
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I've tried to download lightroom beta and do some RAW procesing. I've only recently started playing with PS Elements 8 and Lightrroom looks to be a little too complicated for now.

I think I need to spend more time with my post-processing technique

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