Noise and JPEG processing, low ISO sensitivities

Default-quality JPEGs are reasonably clean through ISO 800 and good through ISO 1600, but as you'll see in the next slide, they could be a lot better.
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Photo by: Lori Grunin/CNET / Caption by:

ISO 100, JPEG vs. raw

Olympus' default JPEG compression still results in ringing artifacts -- the halos on edges -- among other slight issues. I didn't push the raw color noise reduction as much as I could have, so you can see a little more in the way of colored speckling than I'd like on the raw sample, but you get the picture.
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Photo by: Lori Grunin/CNET / Caption by:

Noise and JPEG processing, high ISO sensitivities

Shadowed areas show a lot of processing artifacts at ISO 3200, but well-illuminated areas like the text can hold up OK. By ISO 6400 there's generally too much detail degradation. While shots like this look pretty bad at high ISO sensitivities, depending upon display size and scene content you may be able to still use them.
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Photo by: Lori Grunin/CNET / Caption by:

ISO 100 JPEG

The E-M1's default-quality JPEGs are a bit less crunchy than the E-P5's and much improved over the E-M5's.

(1/125 sec, f6.3, ESP metering, AWB, ISO 100, 12-40mm lens at 29mm)
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Photo by: Lori Grunin/CNET / Caption by:

ISO 200 JPEG

This is a little too crunchy for my taste, but the raw comes out very nice.

(1/250 sec, f7.1, ESP metering, AWB, ISO 200, 12-40mm lens at 40mm)
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Photo by: Lori Grunin/CNET / Caption by:

ISO 400 JPEG

Detail still holds up very well at ISO 400, as you'd expect from this class of camera.

(1/50 sec, f1.8, ESP metering, AWB, ISO 400, 45mm lens)
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Photo by: Lori Grunin/CNET / Caption by:

ISO 800 JPEG

The AA-filter-free sensor allows the camera to resolve detail like this a little better in low light.

(1/125 sec, f1.8, spot metering, AWB, ISO 800, 45mm lens)
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Photo by: Lori Grunin/CNET / Caption by:

ISO 800 raw vs. JPEG

If you're willing to go a little grainier, you can get much sharper detail in the midrange ISO sensitivities, at least compared with the default Fine-quality JPEG.

(1/125 sec, f1.8, spot metering, AWB, ISO 800, 45mm lens)
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Photo by: Lori Grunin/CNET / Caption by:

ISO 1600 JPEG

Processing artifacts in the default-quality JPEGs become obvious by ISO 1600.

(1/60 sec, f2.5, spot metering, AWB, ISO 1600, 75mm lens)
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Photo by: Lori Grunin/CNET / Caption by:

ISO 6400 JPEG

Shots like this at high ISO sensitivities look OK scaled down to about half-size -- that's actually pretty good for ISO 6400.

(1/100 sec, f3.2, spot metering, AWB, ISO 6400, 12-40mm lens at 26mm)
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Photo by: Lori Grunin/CNET / Caption by:

ISO 25600 JPEG

While this is noisy and full of artifacts on close inspection, it does pretty well at preserving the tonal range and detail, so some folks might find its images usable at this high ISO sensitivity.

(1/60 sec, f3.5, spot metering, AWB, ISO 25600, 12-40mm lens at 40mm)
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Photo by: Lori Grunin/CNET / Caption by:

Bokeh, 12-40mm lens

The lens delivers pretty nice out-of-focus highlights and clarity, especially for a "kit" lens (a pricey one) with a seven-blade aperture.

(1/1250 sec, f2.8, ESP metering, AWB, ISO 200, 12-40mm lens at 40mm)
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Photo by: Lori Grunin/CNET / Caption by:

Color

Olympus defaults to a Natural color style, and as a result delivers very nice, accurate color without clipping highlights or shadows.
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Photo by: Lori Grunin/CNET / Caption by:

Dynamic range

While gone is gone on really clipped highlights, it does a good job on moderate cases. In low ISO sensitivitiy images you can bring up shadow detail without introducing noise.

(1/100 sec, f4.5, ESP metering, AWB, ISO 200, 12-40mm lens at 40mm)
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Photo by: Lori Grunin/CNET / Caption by:
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