7 Tips On Optimizing Dynamic Range For Olympus OM-D

By | September 15, 2019


Hi my name is Robin Wong and here are
seven tips to optimize dynamic range for Olympus OM-D cameras. I know it is really
frustrating to hear people say that Olympus OM-D cameras using tiny micro
photo sensors will never get enough dynamic range and that if you want
better than the range you will have to go to full-frame cameras. Well i don’t
deny the fact that full-frame cameras will have some advantages when it comes
to the dynamic range but hey i am an Olympus OM-D shooter, i am a professional
photographer, I’ve been shooting with the Olympus OM-D for so many years and
the dynamic range has never let me down. So here i am sharing with you not three
not five but seven useful tips to help you to maximize the dynamic range that
you get from the Olympus OM-D cameras. Tip number one – use ISO200. I’ve
mentioned this many times in my previous videos and I will say it again in this
video ISO200 will give you the best dynamic range you can get from your
Olympus OM-D’s image sensor. i know it is very tempting to go below ISO200
especially when we deal with overexposure or shooting in very bright
situations there are a few options that’s ISO LOW 100 and ISO LOW 64,
these are basically expanded ISO from the ISO200. ISO200 is the base and
a native ISO for Olympus on the cameras at this moment. Now going below ISO200
these numbers are fake numbers they are not real they are basically expansion so
the ISO200 images were taken and they’re being overexposed to achieve the
similar values to iso 100 or 64. Therefore these images are originally
overexposed and corrected by software in-camera to look like ISO100 and ISO64. This fake numbers already lose one or more stops of dynamic range and
therefore you will not get the best result if you choose to shoot anything
below ISO200. Also bear in mind that if you go above ISO200 the further away
you go from 200 the more dynamic range that you lose so be very careful not to
increase or decrease the iso numbers unnecessarily. Tip number two – to get the best dymanic
range ever shoot RAW. Shooting RAW ensures that you record as much data as
possible into the Olympus OMD camera from the highlight & shadow region and
in post-processing stage we can stretch the file we can pull and we can recover
as much details as possible which we will never be able to do if we shoot in
JPEG. You can enable the RAW shooting from the super control panel all the way
down here select RAW and if you’re not comfortable shooting just RAW you may
also shoot raw plus JPEG. Now here is an example of an extremely underexposed
image because it was shot in RAW I can recover more than two stops of exposure.
This was severely underexposed but hey recovering the detail was not a
problem. Checking it closer we still have very good color and the details are
still intact. There’s no issue. I can recover about three stops with no
consequence using Olympus OM-D. Some people will think oh you know it’s
already underexposed it’s overexposed I can’t recover any details no this is about
three stops underexposed as you can get very good details easily just by a
single RAW file. Of course this image will require a little bit more tweaking
I need to do some gradient filter by selectively toning down the bright areas
in the sky to achieve a more balanced image. Yes Micro Four Thirds is not that bad
when it comes to the dynamic range, in fact if you look at the DXOMark
site they actually claimed that Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II has close to 13 stops
of dynamic range. 13 stops that is a lot even the best full-frame cameras today
will have about fourteen or so more stops of dynamic range and Olympus OM-D
camera which is having a micro 4/3 sensor has 13 stops. To me it has more
than sufficient and such a tiny little sensor that Olympus is using
that’s pretty incredible. Now on to the next example this was an
actual shot that I was delivering to a client this was overexposed by two to
three stops again this was shot in RAW, so I have no issue recovering the details in
the sky. Although it was a severely overexposed, this was a single shot and I
can achieve balanced color balance, details and balanced dynamic range with
no issue. The reason I overexposed this image was so that I can get a balanced
skin tone. To me I always expose to the people, to get the skin at the right
exposure. There you go before and after, before and after. Easy, everything done
with a single RAW file. Shoot in RAW guys if you want to get the best out of
your camera. Tip number three – get your exposure right.
Do not severely underexpose or severely overexpose your shot.
Now you may slightly underexpose to protect the highlight details or
slightly overexpose to reveal more shadow details, you may over or under expose
by one to two stops but anything more than that if your overexpose by three,
four even five stops the chances of recovering is very very slim. I mean if
you really want to overexpose by five stops something is really wrong with
your shooting methods! Ensuring that your exposure is as accurate as possible
we can easily maximize the dynamic range within a single image. Now to help to
achieve the right exposure this brings us to the next tip. Tip number four – enable the highlight and
shadow clipping warnings. The highlight and shadw warning is very useful when
you have overexposed region it warns you if the red color on the screen and when
it’s underexposed you get blue warning. This is very useful because as long as
we don’t get the blue or red on the screen pretty much we are pretty safe
and we can recover the details in post-processing. Now to enable this
warning go to menu under the cogs go to D1 then we go to live view info here
enable highlight and shadow similarly go to the display playback display info and
enable highlight and shadow here as well so that we will get the warning when we
review our images this is very useful because you get the warning while you’re
still shooting and before you even click the shutter button you already know if
your image is going to be overexposed and there are any clipping in the image. For the remaining tips 5, 6 & 7
these tips are applicable if you shoot in JPEG. Olympus OM-D cameras has some
very useful features to stretch and maximize the dynamic range if you are a
JPEG shooter. Tip number five – use highlight and shadow control. In Olympus
OM-D cameras the highlight shadow control once you have activated it it
allows you to control the shadow and highlight regions of your images
separately you can selectively choose to tone down the highlights without
affecting the exposure of the rest of the image. Similarly you can control the
shadow as well so you can either bring back all the details to create a flatter
looking image where you preserve details in the highlight and shadow regions or you
can crush the highlight in shadows into blacks and whites so they look really
contrasty. To enable the highlight and shadow control press the FN2 button.
now once the FN2 button is pressed you will get this curve so you can
control the highlight and shadow separately by turning the command dials –
the rear dial will control the shadow whereas the front dial will control the
highlight – you can increase or decrease both the shadow and highlight and they
can create a different look when we play around with the curves individually bear
in mind that when you press the info button we get to control the mid-tones
as well we can raise or we can decrease the mid-tones now to bring everything
back to the straight again just press and hold ok. The highlight & shadow control is
stretching as much details from the highlight & shadow region from a
single photograph, now that is not sufficient when the dynamic range gets
really really difficult in situations where this extreme bright light and very
dark shadows in one single photograph. Now to bring this high dynamic range a
little step further Olympus has HDR mode built into the camera, so tip number six –
use HDR mode. For high-end OMD models you do get a shortcut for the
HDR function so just press that to activate HDR. When HDR is activated the
camera will take four photographs from underexposed to normal exposure to
overexposed image and the camera will immediately combine all these images and
process it into a single high dynamic range shot, now this resulting image will
have a lot of information in the highlight and shadow region and will look
flatter than the original non HDR image. Now you do get HDR one or two actually
HDR one is less aggressive than HDR two HDR two will give you the more painterly
look and of course it is a lot more aggressive to tone down the highlights
and the shadows Sometimes HDR one works better Sometimes
HDR 2 works better and well why don’t we just take two and just choose whichever
that works later. Bear in mind this HDR resulting image is only available in
JPEG not raw. If you are using an Olympus camera that doesn’t have an HDR shortcut
just go to the menu navigate to camera number two there you’ll find HDR from
HDR one and two the camera will give you a description on what the differences
are from HDR1 and 2 and press ok. Tip number seven – use gradation auto.
When we are not using highlight and shadow control or the HDR mode the gradation
also ensures that image don’t get too high in contrast and it will look a
little bit more balanced. What gradation Auto does is to give a little bit of
boost in the shadow region in the image so that there is more detail and a
little bit more brightness in the darker regions in a photograph. The gradation
setting can be found in super control panel by default it is normal so we can
go to auto or normal as you can see that the description says shadow adjust now
when this is enabled you will actually see that it will lift the shadow quite
noticeably bear in mind that there is shadow this gradation low-key and
gradation high key please don’t use these settings they actually will screw your
images up because they go to the extreme highlights and shadows.
I’ll just stay within normal or Auto That’s all the tips I have to share
about optimizing dynamic range for Olympus OM-D cameras. I hope you have
found these tips useful. Please give me a thumbs up if enjoyed watching this video
please also share with everyone what other tips you have to optimize telomere
range when it comes to Olympus OM-D cameras, I would love to hear from you in
the comments below please consider to subscribe to this channel until the next
one please go out and take more photographs. Bye bye!

56 thoughts on “7 Tips On Optimizing Dynamic Range For Olympus OM-D

  1. Seham Alawadhi Post author

    Wonderful tips , thank you Robin. Now I can’t wait to start shooting with my new Olympus Mark III camera 📷

    Reply
  2. Steve Grooms Post author

    Robin, you are unmatched when it comes to explaining things well without repeating yourself. You move briskly to make points without needless (and boring) introductions. Other YouTube presenters should study you as a perfect model for putting out videos that say what they have to say and then say goodbye.

    Reply
  3. Aaron Smith Post author

    Good video! Dynamic Range is such a trick…because boosting that can come at the expense of contrast and the illusion of sharpness. An interesting follow-up might be a video about iso-invariance (intentionally under-exposing to reduce noise) and "expose to the right" (intentionally over-exposing to reduce noise). They seem a bit contradictory… An Olympus example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rGH6catL2fM

    Reply
  4. jaclu Post author

    I tend to shoot a bit to the right, but I am making sure to not go too far up. It's not like I have made scientific research on the topic, but to me at least it seems that if I expose to around 85-90% pixel saturation, colors really pop and stand out, if expose it brighter, the colors start to become less saturated, and everything starts to drift towards white. So my suggestion would be don't expose all the way to just before you get clipping, stay a bit beneath that level for items you want to have a rich color!

    Reply
  5. Rui Miguel Da Silva Pinto Post author

    Good video. I have encountered some problems with Dynamic Range when capturing certain challenging landscapes, in my case I bracket my shots and bring them together using Aurora HDR. I was impressed by the number of pictures I was able to rescue (from my EPL7 and my OMD cameras). Aurora HDR is able to with a single RAW file or JPEG file, the software is amazing…

    Reply
  6. Norbert Vieilles Lames Post author

    Hello Robin
    I discovered your channel not long ago! Thank you, thank you very much for your tips with omd cameras! I'm French and I don't speak so much English, so I'm progressing in photography and English with you!

    Reply
  7. James Wong Post author

    Haha..good to see some hometown images….the waterfront/TPK. Great video

    Reply
  8. Steve Kunder Post author

    Once again you give great advice, especially needed with so many attack’s against M43 quality. I only wish I could get similar results as you.

    Reply
  9. Linde Post author

    This is quite misleading, some of the settings are not found on my EM10 III camera. Pls include in the title that these settings only apply for EM1 II/X models.

    Reply
  10. Giovani Marcos Post author

    Useful tips, thank you Robin. BTW I use omd em5 mark i. What is the best and economical (I prefer free 😁) program to edit raw file for olympus? I saw your editing program looks good.

    Reply
  11. Dave Nelson Post author

    Sir, if you are not employed by Olympus, you should be! Everything here is great info to know to make your photos the best they can be. THANK YOU for sharing your knowledge!!!!!!

    Reply
  12. Edgar Steele Post author

    Awesome video, thanks Robin! Along with the tip on using live view highlight & shadow clip warning, for me it’s also very helpful to disable the live view boost, unless I’m shooting with flash or in studio. Live view boost enabled does not give accurate image of exposure

    Reply
  13. Hendrik Nahler Post author

    Thank you for clarifying the L64 and L100 settings in comparison to ISO 200. – I will make sure to stay away from these low ISO settings.

    Reply
  14. 1957PLATO Post author

    Thanks for the useful tips. Did not know about base ISO and the fake low ISO.
    I bought a used em 5 Mark II last december and just picked up a barely used em 1 Mark II just the other day. As a long time Canon shooter I am now an Olympus convert. The Oly system is incredible and packed with features. So light and compact with incredible image quality. My Canon 5 d III is just sitting on the shelf now, although it’s an amazing camera.
    One snag, the Oly menu’s are so exhaustive and sometimes confusing or Illogical. I think many people miss out on a number of features because of this.
    That’s my only criticism. The rest is only Olympus love.

    Reply
  15. Robin Wong Post author

    I am doing a series of Optimizing Olympus OM-D camera videos, in case you have not noticed! If you have missed a super important video of me sharing 5 tips on getting the best sharpness out of OM-D cameras, check it out here NOW: https://youtu.be/4jQMI5HPkvg

    Reply
  16. Total Stranger Post author

    I dumped my Nikon 7000 with many lenses. I now have the OMD Mark lll with prime lenses. All the other OMD videos were getting old. You’re the new kid on the block. Thanks for the new prospective. Liking you #505

    Reply
  17. schnief86 Post author

    What wrist strap are you using? Mabye you've answered that before, but I only realized now

    Reply
  18. Robert Gorden Post author

    Another great Video Robin. What image editor were you using?

    Reply
  19. Impostertot Post author

    Awesome tips Robin, really enjoying this series and all your channel content! Thanks so much.

    Reply
  20. MissMyPie Post author

    Thank you so much! Because of you and another vlogger I get my Oly everywhere without fear to shot "wrong way". You videos always are so positive, so motivating, so helpful! Better than chocolate to cheer up. Love my Oly more and more after you video. Wish you all the best!

    Reply
  21. Etienne Courtens Post author

    Rob in, you do make Great video’s. As for dynamic range I’m more than pleased with the em1 m2. I never use hd3 1 or hdr 2 I usualy take the 5 or 7 shots. As you mentioned the gradient tools in Lightroom help a lot on the raw file to bring up shadows or bring down highlights in parts of the picture.

    Reply
  22. tizio54 Post author

    Great tips Robin.

    I was wondering however: what are your thoughts on using HDR either WITH or WITHOUT a tripod?

    To put it another way: to what extent does the built-in image stabilisation help with HDR i.e. are the sequential images aligned on the basis of the image stabilisation mechanism or is image alignment done via in-camera jpg processing (as doing HDR with post-processing tools)?

    Reply
  23. ExoEffects Post author

    Very usefull videos for me as a beginner photograher who starts out with the em10 m2!

    Right now i am shooting with the omympus 45mm 1.8 and the 17mm 1.8

    Also enjoy your way of explaining 🤘

    Reply
  24. Antonio Saldaña Post author

    Thanks for the great video. I know some settings dont affect the raw file, only the jpeg. But do adjustments like gradation get included in the metadata in the way white balance does ( I think), so that you can leave it as shot whe developing in lightroom?

    Reply
  25. tizio54 Post author

    If I may add an 8th tip:
    What about exposure bracketing in RAW and then doing HDR in post-production? It's a bit more cumbersome, but might yield somewhat better results.

    Reply
  26. Carl Wheeler Post author

    I have been shooting Olympus professionally since 2005 and have never been asked by a client regarding dynamic range of my images. But they do love the look of the images. Have been shooting RAW files since before the OM-D and find this to be superior in many ways especially dynamic range. You are correct in all your tips and I will have to try some of the last three regarding jpg images. Great stuff Robin, thank you.

    Reply
  27. Flyfishnfoto Post author

    Hi Robin,
    Your channel is a must for OMD users along with Rob Trek and Peter Forsgård. Thanks very much for your hard work.

    Reply
  28. KlutzCopSu Post author

    More great tips. I need to watch this a few more times to make sure I am using all the tips. Hehe.

    In a field where everyone is trying to find the best of the best… I love that your videos are all about showing how to get great photos with what you have. I especially love your kit lens video.

    Too many people toss it aside for what they deem a better lens, but their photography skills still need work. coughmecough Your videos really teach so much without superfluous chatter.

    Reply
  29. MrDeadzaku Post author

    I didn't know that my camera can warn me about Shadow and Highlights. Thank you so much!

    Reply
  30. Steve Knight Post author

    Very useful, and well explained – thank you. What photo editing application are you using here? Can you do the same thing with the sky in Photoshop?

    Reply
  31. fthprod photo-video Post author

    Great channel and explanations ! To all the full frame preachers : just try an m43 camera combined with stellar optics such as the Olympus pro 2.8 and 1.2 line or pana-leica lenses : you will change your mind

    Reply
  32. Hooked on Photography Post author

    0:41 and you've been doing very well with it too! 😊

    Reply
  33. David G Post author

    Thanks Robin, informative as always. 4:10 Would love to see a video on your post-processing and tweaking tips.

    Reply
  34. David G Post author

    6:17 What about bracketing, say 1/3 or 1/2 stop over and under as well as the recommended exposure? When I shot film I always bracketed.

    Reply
  35. RAMESH ATHIKUNTE Post author

    Thanks for your valuable tips. I am having both EM1MII and EM1X. Please tell me which software you use for processing.

    Reply
  36. joseltp Post author

    thanks for sharing your knowledge about Olympus OM-D, Robin! you are awesome!

    Reply
  37. NOE G Post author

    Hello Robin, which editing program are you using in this video? Thanks

    Reply
  38. יונתן נחום Post author

    Love your videos Robin! Very helpful and I learn a lot from them! Thank you!!

    Reply
  39. Clayton Henry Post author

    Robin, I really like your tips and other videos. I've learned a lot from them and I'm getting more out of my Mark II. Thanks for the hard work I really appreciate it!

    Reply
  40. benicetoyou Post author

    Tip No. 8: Shoot multiple pictures using Exposure Bracketing then choose the file that is best suited for post or blend 2 or more files together if necessary. 😉

    Reply
  41. Mark Mathosian Post author

    Good morning, please tell me what software program you are using to process the images for this video? Thanks, Mark

    Reply

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