Olympus PEN E-P5 Ken McMahon, July 2013

Olympus EP5 vs Panasonic Lumix GF6 vs Fujifilm XM1 quality RAW

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To compare real-life RAW performance I shot this scene with the Olympus PEN E-P5, the Panasonic Lumix GF6 and the Fujifilm X-M1 within a few moments of each other using their RAW settings.

To eliminate quality differences due to lens factors I used the Panasonic Lumix G Vario 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 II on both the PEN E-P5 and the Lumix GF6 on this page, although you'll see results with the Olympus kit lens later in this review. Meanwhile, the X-M1 was fitted with the new Fujinon 16-50mm f3.5-5.6 OIS kit lens

For the PEN E-P5 and Lumix GF6 the lens was set to its 14mm (28mm equivalent) wide angle setting. At its wide angle setting, the 16-50mm Fujinon lens has an equivalent focal length of 24mm and the X-M1 sensor has a 3:2 aspect ratio compared with 4:3 on the Micro Four Thirds models. I zoomed in marginally with the X-M1 to produce an equivalent vertical field of view.

All three cameras were set to Aperture Priority exposure mode with the senstivity set manually to the base ISO sensitivity setting.

  Olympus PEN E-P5 results
1 Olympus E-P5 Quality JPEG
2 Olympus E-P5 Quality RAW
3 Olympus E-P5 Noise JPEG
4 Olympus E-P5 Noise RAW
5 Olympus E-P5 Sample images

The image above was taken with the Olympus PEN E-P5. The E-P5 was mounted on a tripod and the stabilisation was turned off. Aperture priority mode was selected and with the aperture set to f5.6, which produces the best result from the Lumix kit lens. With the sensitivity to 200 ISO the camera metered an exposure of 1/125000. At its base 160 ISO setting the Panasonic Lumix GF6 selected 1/1000 at f5.6 and the Fujifilm X-M1 at 200 ISO selected 1/900 at f5.6.

The cameras were left on their default settings for this test. The PEN E-P5 RAW file measured 15.5Mb and, as usual, the crops are taken from the areas marked by the red rectangles.

I processed the files from the PEN E-P5 and Lumix GF6 in Adobe Camera RAW using identical settings: Sharpening at 70 / 0.5 / 36 / 10, Luminance and Colour Noise Reduction both set to zero, and the Process to 2012 with the Adobe Standard profile. To further reduce any distracting visual differences between the crops I also set custom white balance to 5500K. These settings were chosen to reveal the differences in sensor quality and isolate them from in-camera processing. The high degree of sharpening with a small radius enhances the finest details without causing undesirable artefacts, while the zero noise reduction unveils what's really going on behind the scenes.

At the time of testing the Fujifilm X-M1 RAW format wasn't supported by Adobe Photoshop Camera RAW, so I processed the X-M1's RAF raw file in the supplied Raw File Converter application. I tried as far as possible to produce similar results to the Camera RAW processed files, setting sharpness to exagerrated, turning off all noise reduction and developing the result to a .tif file. While the resulting crops provide a useful idea of what the X-M1 RAW file can produce, it's not intended for comparison with the Camera RAW processed files, so I'll confine my comments to the Olympus PEN E-P5 and the Panasonic Lumix GF6. I'll update the X-M1 crops and comparisons when Camera RAW support is becomes available in Adobe Photoshop Camera RAW.

So what about the crops from the E-P5 and GF6? Well, they look strikingly similar with levels of detail and noise that are so closely matched you'd be hard pressed to tell them apart. This confirms that the differences we saw in the JPEG results were due to different in-camera JPEG processing workflows and if you're shooting RAW, there's practically zero difference in the quality of the results you'll get from these two models.

You can see how these models compare at higher sensitivities in my Olympus E-P5 Noise results.


Olympus PEN E-P5 RAW
Panasonic Lumix GF6 RAW
Fujifilm X-M1 RAW
f5.6, 200 ISO
f5.6, 160 ISO
f5.6, 200 ISO
f5.6, 200 ISO
f5.6, 160 ISO
f5.6, 200 ISO
f5.6, 200 ISO
f5.6, 160 ISO
f5.6, 200 ISO
f5.6, 200 ISO
f5.6, 160 ISO
f5.6, 200 ISO

Olympus PEN E-P5
results : Quality / RAW quality / Noise / RAW Noise

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