Saturday, January 4, 2014

Olympus answers our "issues" with long exposure noise

I know it has been a while since I've posted anything to the blog.  I have been extremely fortunate to have had event photography gigs and engagement sessions to keep me extremely busy during the winter holiday.  Although I wish I could make photography a full-time job, my current 9-5 position keeps the bills paid and the hobby going, thus the blogs neglect. I appreciate those of you following for being patient and understanding.  

Not too long ago, I posted a blog post about long exposure noise with the Olympus OMD E-M1 with the camera set to Noise Reduction off.  Well, it seems Olympus was listening to our complaints, but not in the way some astro-photographers would appreciate.  Below is a list of all the updates Olympus has made with Version 1.1:

• Live Bulb image quality while noise reduction is on has been           improved 
• Improved AF operation 
• Image stabilisation in sports, children mode and C-AF has been        improved 

• Chromatic aberration caused by LUMIX G VARIO 14-140mm         1:3.5-5.6 ASPH/POWER O.I.S (H-FS14140)

It is quite interesting to see a firmware upgrade that addresses an issue that crosses lens brands in the Panasonic 14-140mm. However, I find it puzzling that they did not address a major complaint that many photographers have made on forums about the noise issue when taking long exposures.  As a quick reminder, many astro-photographers choose not to turn the NR On, as it doubles the length to process a LE shot (IE - a 10 second shot takes 20 seconds to write to the memory card).  This is problematic for shooting star trails or certain landscapes.  Again, NOT a problem for me, as I shoot mainly landscapes and structures that do not move.  It's still early in the E-M1's lifecycle to worry that this will not be fixed. The following images were all taken at night with exposures longer than 5 seconds.  There seems to be a certain range where hot pixels and noise becomes truly apparent, but I haven't found a definitive length.  

Despite my apparent complaint about the camera, I must admit, after several months of use I am floored about the usability of the camera.  The button layouts and the dedicated HDR/Bracketing function facilitates its use and makes it a joy to shoot in bracketing mode.  When I had the E-M5, I remember it being a chore navigating in and out of the menus to get to the desired HDR mode; heck, the Panasonic G5 did a better job in this department.  With the E-M1, I now think about HDR as a primary goal during an outing rather than an afterthought or "something cool and different to try out".  I went to Disneyworld with every intention of trying this out and I think it functioned like a dream.

Thanks again for stopping by.  I definitely plan on being more up to date and active on the blog in 2014.  I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season and an even better new year.    

So say we all,

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