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advice on poor image quality / contrast


prollic

New Member
Mar 1, 2018
1
0
1
singapore
#1
Hi. i am using olympus epl6 (for a few years) + 25mm f/1.8 prime.

I find that the contrast and resolution look poor.

Any thoughts or advice on it?

dropbox.com/s/hdqet7vcln0076m/P4230253.JPG?raw=1
dropbox.com/s/m4or9ewtaiie6ew/P4270041.JPG?raw=1

cant post link. add the w w w please.



 

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thoongeng

Senior Member
Jan 26, 2010
1,336
24
38
#2
I'm also using EPL6. I find the quality is good. However I have not used the 25mm f1.8 before, but I've seen reviews and they are generally very good.

From your photos, looks like it was a overcast day, so contrast will not be as good as when there is direct sunlight
The images are a bit soft, could be due to the photos are not focused correctly, or there was movement causing the blurring

You might want to take some test shots on a tripod eg of a flat surface and isolate the problem.
 

dennisc

Senior Member
Oct 24, 2002
2,050
6
38
Freezing Upp Thomson/Mandai!
#3
I tried selling my Olympus 12-40 2.8 pro once to a EM10 user, he tried... found banding on certain range, forfeited the purchase. I went home tried on my EM1 and Panasonic, worked perfect. It's his defective camera!
Bought a used epl6 (had it before, impressed me) last week for traveling, grainy, water-colourish and bad bad flares using kit lens. Changed it to a leica 15mm, tack sharp!!! Now I'm set to travel
So you might want try a different lens and see
 

zaren

Moderator
Staff member
Oct 27, 2003
10,982
34
48
#4
what were your camera settings?
 

Feb 26, 2014
136
4
18
Singapore
#5
Your pictures are fine

Do not shoot at 1.8

Learn a little post production
 

Bluesubm6

New Member
Feb 29, 2016
109
0
0
The Woodlands in the North
#6
Assume you’ve updated the firmware to 1.3. Try using f/11 or f/16 on the 25mm. It is a very good lens. Also pay attention to the metering that you use for different scenes. ESP and centre-weighted can produce different readings.
 

Octarine

Moderator
Staff member
Jan 3, 2008
12,664
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Pasir Ris
#7
First pic taken has a lot of depth, you took it at f/3.5 - and you are surprised about lack of 'resolution and sharpness'?
First, resolution is defined by your sensor. What you might refer to is the details in the pic. Simply, by using the wrong aperture and focusing somewhere at a point between foreground and background you have a lot of image area out of focus. Do read up about Depth of Field and especially 'Hyperfocal Distance'. Apply this knowledge and your images will improve rapidly.
The second image with f/5.6 but has a rather flat scenery at a larger distance, likely focused on the tree area. Reasonable sharp result. The 'lack of contrast' comes from the overcast sky and the shadows under the trees. Here you can start using RAW and do the adjustments in post processing (lifting shadows, dim the sky, adjust Vibrance and Clarity). You can already use a GND filter to dim the sky.
 

Octarine

Moderator
Staff member
Jan 3, 2008
12,664
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Pasir Ris
#8
Assume you’ve updated the firmware to 1.3. Try using f/11 or f/16 on the 25mm. It is a very good lens. Also pay attention to the metering that you use for different scenes. ESP and centre-weighted can produce different readings.
This will only introduce diffraction, which is detrimental to sharpness.
 

thoongeng

Senior Member
Jan 26, 2010
1,336
24
38
#11
Its not so bad on a smaller sensor.
I took test shots myself and found obvious softening at f11 and beyond when using micro 4/3 cameras. I avoid above f11 unless I really need the depth of field or starburst effect
 

Bluesubm6

New Member
Feb 29, 2016
109
0
0
The Woodlands in the North
#12
I merely suggested that the TS try out f/11 or f/16 since the second photo sample looked like scenery/landscape.

The reason is so that the TS can see the results of max. depth of field when taking scenery, and TS can decide whether TS likes or dislikes the results. (I may be assuming too much that TS knows how to use A mode or M mode, but lets leave my ignorance to me alone)

I certainly want to avoid telling people not to use f/11 because it is soft, or not to use f/16 because it is detrimental to sharpness. I want to make it clear no one has said anything like this in this thread either.

I would like to tell people to try (new) things and see the results, what they like, what they dont like.

And I certainly respect the views of the seniors who posted here. So I wont comment further.
 

thoongeng

Senior Member
Jan 26, 2010
1,336
24
38
#13
I merely suggested that the TS try out f/11 or f/16 since the second photo sample looked like scenery/landscape.

The reason is so that the TS can see the results of max. depth of field when taking scenery, and TS can decide whether TS likes or dislikes the results. (I may be assuming too much that TS knows how to use A mode or M mode, but lets leave my ignorance to me alone)

I certainly want to avoid telling people not to use f/11 because it is soft, or not to use f/16 because it is detrimental to sharpness. I want to make it clear no one has said anything like this in this thread either.

I would like to tell people to try (new) things and see the results, what they like, what they dont like.

And I certainly respect the views of the seniors who posted here. So I wont comment further.
Agree that you should try out new things, and test out different settings to see which one you like best

There's also no fixed rule to use f11/16 for landscapes. If f5.6 gives enough depth of field for the scene can try that out too. I'm using f5.6 when using ultrawide lens on the Olympus EPL6 most often.

Just sharing what I have tried and works best for me

However I will still suggest TS to do a controlled test with your equipment, as there might really be a problem with your camera body or lens that may need to be fixed
 

Oct 12, 2004
499
8
18
davophoto.wordpress.com
#14
It really depends on your scene. If all your subject is at infinity or a great enough distance then there might be adequate dof even at f1.4 although that probably wouldn’t be my preferred aperture in most situations shooting at infinity.
Don’t just equate dof with aperture. Take into consideration the focus distance and the amount of depth in front and behind this that you want in focus.
 

dennisc

Senior Member
Oct 24, 2002
2,050
6
38
Freezing Upp Thomson/Mandai!
#15
Depends lor, like ppl say is light lah... I took picture in caves and lotsa walls reflecting light BOOM it went blurry and washed out like your pic, with epl6 that was 5days back. Heck, once I took pic of a pretty DJ against sunset turned red washed out magenta but everyone loved and that was using an L lens still can lidat. Light UV lah... seriously I don't bother by cameras let the pics do the talking.

some pics taken with epl6 just 3days back
Chinatown
Chinatown1
 

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Octarine

Moderator
Staff member
Jan 3, 2008
12,664
53
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Pasir Ris
#16
It really depends on your scene. If all your subject is at infinity or a great enough distance then there might be adequate dof even at f1.4 although that probably wouldn’t be my preferred aperture in most situations shooting at infinity.
Don’t just equate dof with aperture. Take into consideration the focus distance and the amount of depth in front and behind this that you want in focus.
Keyword: Hyperfocal Distance. Two nice links with explanations:
https://photographylife.com/landscapes/hyperfocal-distance-explained
https://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials/hyperfocal-distance.htm (with calculator)
In addition, one can download one of the several apps for smartphones that do the Maths for Hyperfocal Distance.
 

Oct 12, 2004
499
8
18
davophoto.wordpress.com
#17
Keyword: Hyperfocal Distance. Two nice links with explanations:
https://photographylife.com/landscapes/hyperfocal-distance-explained
https://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials/hyperfocal-distance.htm (with calculator)
In addition, one can download one of the several apps for smartphones that do the Maths for Hyperfocal Distance.
Hyperfocal distance aims to maximize dof front to back.
My advice is far more generic. It could be my focus is the eye but I want to extend my dof fron the tip of the nose to the ears. Or two rows of people and I want everyone in focus.
My point was that I see far too often people equating dof only with aperture whereas something like focus distance and focal length plays an equally, if not more important role.
 

one eye jack

Senior Member
Jun 11, 2011
900
28
28
#18
It's easy to be armchair critic with hindsight. To be honest I will make the same mistakes if I'm just a tourist and casual photograher.

Let's do some analyses on what are the causes and reasons.Is there something wrong with camera? NO... Is photographer lacking in skills? NO...well..

It's just awareness of what a camera is designed to do.A digital camera is a powerful tool and with everything automatic I don't blame user for thinking it is very smart and can read the mind of the photographer on what he thinks is right or asthetic/beautiful. By default the camera is set to take photos in a NATURAL rendering that means accurate colours and lighting intensity.Which means that in shady or cloudy overcast sky the photo will turn out quite dull or lacking in contrast.It's particularly good when scene is bright and sunny as in 1st. photo. I personally prefer natural or accurate colour.So if you are just a casual photographer you might set the camera to take VIVID photo setting where colours are more saturated and contrasty in jpeg. Exposure compensation has to be made for acceptable results.

Autofocus is another thing most people are not aware of...in the olympus it's using contrast detection.This means camera will consider a point/area in focus if it has the highest contrast.Normally a bright spot opposite a darker area.Depending on what you want to be in focus the selection of focus point or many points, example single center spot or larger area with many points.
I think a larger area was selected in 1st. photo and probably why the right hand side of photo is in focus and sharp.Note the details on lower and upper roof.This is because the highest contrast is in this part of the photo.Bright sunlit roof and black (dark) cloth banner below the roof.

Unfortunately using a prime lens did not help as the visual interests are at both sides of the frame and being shot at F3.8 is not the sharpest for this lens like F5.6 in 2nd. photo.So know at what F stop a lens is sharp
for best results.Also being at the sides I can see CA (chromatic aberations)
or purple/red fringing at the edges, the parts where I have arrowed in red of the 2 ladies.You can only see it from the full sized image.This also make image appear not as sharp.

1st. photo_Original
$pic1paint.jpg


Now for the 2nd. photo...

The camera actually rendered it accurately but of course it is not visually eye catching or appealing as the human eye will concentrate on bright areas first which is the sky but it is also overcast and dull.

It is better to expose correctly as you get the best resolution and details.
Overexpose and you can't recover details and when underexpose no details are recorded.So it's a compromise and editing is last resort or can make a well exposed photo look better.If you shoot in RAW also know it will not look sharp in the raw software.It's just the reality and also know only do sharpening at the LAST stage after other adjustments.

I have taken the liberty to edit the 2nd. photo for illustration to improve it. Do know that I'm using an old version of Lightroom (version2) as it is good enough for this purpose. As always editing is a compromise as increasing brighness and contrast will lose some details as shown in closeup photos
visually.Overall it is acceptable although there is colour skewing but because of the colour wheel theory humans can accept the variations for example green foliage of plants and trees from green yellow to green blue.
Also note the highlights in the water is overblown but the details at the ground of the trees and granite slope show more detail.The sky is also blown
almost white, no detail. Everything is a compromise..which photo would you prefer original or edited? Of course you can do much more sophisticated editing with Photoshop using layers and masking but I'm not skilled in that! So in the end knowing what to do with camera controls makes a big difference.
Hyperfocal distance... I'm a bit anal about this..also lazy and I trust the camera and lens..haha.Oh...reviewing photo with magnification on LCD helps at that moment..once in a lifetime opportunity that is.:) Please understand editing is not a cure all, correct exposure is many times, easier and less work.

2nd.. photo original
$pic2resize.jpg

After edit.
$pic2adj.jpg


Loss of details...when edited.

Before
$pic2zoomorig.jpg

after
$pic2adjzoom.jpg
 

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Oct 12, 2004
499
8
18
davophoto.wordpress.com
#19
Autofocus is another thing most people are not aware of...in the olympus it's using contrast detection.This means camera will consider a point/area in focus if it has the highest contrast.Normally a bright spot opposite a darker area.Depending on what you want to be in focus the selection of focus point or many points, example single center spot or larger area with many points.
I think a larger area was selected in 1st. photo and probably why the right hand side of photo is in focus and sharp.Note the details on lower and upper roof.This is because the highest contrast is in this part of the photo.Bright sunlit roof and black (dark) cloth banner below the roof.

1st. photo_Original
View attachment 13974
Sorry but your paragraph on autofocus doesn't make sense. That blue vertical line you drew is not how focus plane works.
Your focus point is a plane all a certain distance from the camera. Everything within that plane is in focus (meaning all the subjects that are the same distance away from the camera corresponding to your focus distance are in focus). Everything in front and behind are out of focus but depending on your dof, it may still be considered 'sharp enough.'
Your blue line starts from the foreground at the bottom and goes all the way to well into the background at the top where the roofs are, encompassing a huge range of depth. The only way to alter your plane of focus anything resembling what you've drawn is with a tilt-shift lens.
It's not clear in the small version posted but downloading the larger file from the dropbox link, the plane of focus is very near, somewhere around the first drain on the cobble path. Everything behind that gets progressively more out of focus. The two people sitting on the left are in front of the focus plane and are therefore out of focus.

The soft results are a combination of dof (or lack thereof), soft lens, and small amounts of subject movement.
But I actually don't find the global contrast to be an issue in these.
 

one eye jack

Senior Member
Jun 11, 2011
900
28
28
#20
Sorry but your paragraph on autofocus doesn't make sense. That blue vertical line you drew is not how focus plane works.
Your focus point is a plane all a certain distance from the camera. Everything within that plane is in focus (meaning all the subjects that are the same distance away from the camera corresponding to your focus distance are in focus). Everything in front and behind are out of focus but depending on your dof, it may still be considered 'sharp enough.'
Your blue line starts from the foreground at the bottom and goes all the way to well into the background at the top where the roofs are, encompassing a huge range of depth. The only way to alter your plane of focus anything resembling what you've drawn is with a tilt-shift lens.
It's not clear in the small version posted but downloading the larger file from the dropbox link, the plane of focus is very near, somewhere around the first drain on the cobble path. Everything behind that gets progressively more out of focus. The two people sitting on the left are in front of the focus plane and are therefore out of focus.

The soft results are a combination of dof (or lack thereof), soft lens, and small amounts of subject movement.
But I actually don't find the global contrast to be an issue in these.
You may be right as I find the vertical signage above the ladies is sharp and which is opposite the said drain?
High contrast area too? Only TS knows...
 

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