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Thread: Skin tone differences bewteen 4/3 and m4/3 cameras

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    Default Skin tone differences bewteen 4/3 and m4/3 cameras

    Folks,

    I think a few years ago this was mentioned, but I can't find the thread. I still shoot with an E-300 alongside the EPL-7 PEN and when shooting portraits the PEN doesn't look as good to me. Other types of photos the PEN does well when compared to the E-300. I first noticed it when when using adapted 4/3rds lenses and thought maybe there's the issue. Shortly after I bought three Sigma lenses (19, 30, & 60mm f/2.8) and the portrait images just seem so flat. I've played with the white balance in camera and manually and picture modes and "portrait" and "vivid" makes things better but images from the the E-300 just feel better.

    Maybe I need to get used to the switch from CCD to CMOS sensors? For those of you that made the switch have you noticed the same?
    Jesse

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    Olympus: EPL7

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    Olympus: 14-45, 14-54Mk-1, 40-150Mk-1, 35, EX-25, EC-14, HLD-3, ME-1, & RM-CB1
    Fotodiox: Pro 4/3 to m4/3 adapter
    Sigma: 70-200 (m4/3) 19, 30, & 60mm f/2.8 lenses

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    Default Re: Skin tone differences bewteen 4/3 and m4/3 cameras

    Jesse,
    A lot of what you see is the result of the megapixel war. The E-300 has 8mp, the EPL-7 16mp. The bigger pixels simply gather more light which results in richer and smoother colors, which naturally are very important for reproducing skin tones. I have also noticed, coming from an E-510 (10mp), my first digital camera, that although there have been great gains in sensor design and in recorded detail, the richness and crispness of the old 510 is not there. I have no intention of going back... just sayin'.
    Do you shoot raw? I only shoot raw as it gives me the most freedom in processing and lets me get the most out of the files.

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    Default Re: Skin tone differences bewteen 4/3 and m4/3 cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Bradley View Post
    Do you shoot raw? I only shoot raw as it gives me the most freedom in processing and lets me get the most out of the files.
    More to the point, I think, is that if you are shooting jpg you are seeing the results of the jpg engines in the 2 cameras. I should think that they are far enough apart in years that Olympus has probably made a lot of changes to the way they process jpgs.

    In fact, comparing my E-M10 to my Canon 60D and 80D (both considered somewhat higher-end cameras than the E-M10), the jpgs out of the E-M10 look quite a lot more vivid to me, even when all cameras are mounted with high-quality lenses. I really doubt that the Canon models are worse than the Oly. I think what we are seeing is jpg differences.
    Rich
    Olympus E-M10; Panasonic GM5
    m4/3 lenses: Oly 75-300; Oly 14-42 f3.5-5.6 II R; Oly 17 f1.8; Oly 40-150 f4.0-5.6 R; Oly WCON-P01 adapter; Rokinon f7.5 fisheye; Sigma 19 f2.8; Pan 20 f1.7; Pan 12-35 f2.8; Pan 12-32

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    Default Re: Skin tone differences bewteen 4/3 and m4/3 cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Bradley View Post
    Jesse,
    A lot of what you see is the result of the megapixel war. The E-300 has 8mp, the EPL-7 16mp. The bigger pixels simply gather more light which results in richer and smoother colors, which naturally are very important for reproducing skin tones. I have also noticed, coming from an E-510 (10mp), my first digital camera, that although there have been great gains in sensor design and in recorded detail, the richness and crispness of the old 510 is not there. I have no intention of going back... just sayin'.
    Do you shoot raw? I only shoot raw as it gives me the most freedom in processing and lets me get the most out of the files.
    Thanks for your reply Daniel,

    Yes I shoot raw files 95% (or so) of the time and I do adjust contrast, tonality, and color as needed. The richness (as stated above) is what seems to be missing with the Pen when compared with the E-300. I don't have the money to shoot with an additional camera system or to move entirely into another camera system at the moment. I'll keep my eye on the EM-1 MKII and the Panasonic GH5. They're not going to be cheap, but I think they'll not approach the pricing of other mirrorless options on or coming to the market.
    Jesse

    Cameras
    Olympus: E-300
    Olympus: EPL7

    Lenses and Stuff
    Olympus: 14-45, 14-54Mk-1, 40-150Mk-1, 35, EX-25, EC-14, HLD-3, ME-1, & RM-CB1
    Fotodiox: Pro 4/3 to m4/3 adapter
    Sigma: 70-200 (m4/3) 19, 30, & 60mm f/2.8 lenses

    Lighting
    Olympus: FL-50
    Altman: 650 watt Fresnel
    Smith-Victor: (2) 720SG focusing floodlights
    FJ Westcott: (2) TD-5 Spiderlites

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    Default Re: Skin tone differences bewteen 4/3 and m4/3 cameras

    What program do you use to edit your photos? I use Adobe Lightroom and found that if I select a different Profile (eg. Camera Natural) in the Camera Calibration section of Develop module, I get more natural colours. Have you looked into that ?
    flickr | "God made the integers; all else is the work of man" - Leopold Kronecker

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    Default Re: Skin tone differences bewteen 4/3 and m4/3 cameras

    Jesse
    Olympus claims to have been able to work some magic and overcome the laws of physics by increasing the dynamic range and decreasing the noise levels in the new sensor, while increasing the resolution by 4mp. I HOPE they are right! But seeing is believing, so we have no choice but to wait and see. Huge progress has been made in the last years. Just look at what is coming out of the newest generation smart phones. Amazing for such tiny sensors and tiny cameras!
    In the end it is all just a bunch of ones and zeros, which brings us back to software, and that is where they seem to be making the real progress. I don't really care HOW they do it, IF they in fact do it. If they can give us good clean 20mp files to work with, then it is up to us to get the most out of them in post.
    Tom's point about the profiles (which are nothing more than some color adjustments etc.) is a good one, and in fact, Lightroom lets you create your own profile. I did that with a Nikon D7000 as I didn't like any of the profile presets. Works very well, and gives you a starting point in PP that is closer to your needs. You can even set Lightroom to make the adjustments as it is importing the files. Nice feature.

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    Default Re: Skin tone differences bewteen 4/3 and m4/3 cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by cifcap View Post
    Thanks for your reply Daniel,

    Yes I shoot raw files 95% (or so) of the time and I do adjust contrast, tonality, and color as needed. The richness (as stated above) is what seems to be missing with the Pen when compared with the E-300. I don't have the money to shoot with an additional camera system or to move entirely into another camera system at the moment. I'll keep my eye on the EM-1 MKII and the Panasonic GH5. They're not going to be cheap, but I think they'll not approach the pricing of other mirrorless options on or coming to the market.
    On the used market, the E-M1 mk I is a stellar value, and will probably become even better as the mkII becomes available. Even new they've been on sale a lot lately.

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    Default Re: Skin tone differences bewteen 4/3 and m4/3 cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by cifcap View Post
    Folks,

    I think a few years ago this was mentioned, but I can't find the thread. I still shoot with an E-300 alongside the EPL-7 PEN and when shooting portraits the PEN doesn't look as good to me. Other types of photos the PEN does well when compared to the E-300. I first noticed it when when using adapted 4/3rds lenses and thought maybe there's the issue. Shortly after I bought three Sigma lenses (19, 30, & 60mm f/2.8) and the portrait images just seem so flat. I've played with the white balance in camera and manually and picture modes and "portrait" and "vivid" makes things better but images from the the E-300 just feel better.

    Maybe I need to get used to the switch from CCD to CMOS sensors? For those of you that made the switch have you noticed the same?
    For me, when I was buying my initial DSLR, the E-300 seemed to have more reddish skin tones compared to its then only rival, the E-1. Now, both of these cameras used Kodak sensors, but the E-1 had an external white balance sensor, and the E-300 did not and only did color processing through the lens. I imagine that if I went to the trouble of setting the white balance, instead of using the camera's auto white balance, the things would be more equal. And of course there is the issue that there is no such thing as a single skin tone, and I can imagine different cameras will work differently. Even the external white balance sensors on the E-1 (and later E-3/E-5) had their problems -- I recall discovering that when I was shooting in parts of Boston towards the end of the day, the external sensors would pick up reflections from the cobblestones and turn the image bluer.

    When I moved to the E-510 and later cameras, I did discover like you that Vivid tended to give me colors more like I originally saw with the E-1 than normal or muted modes did. I never did like the colors on the E-510, and was glad when I upgraded cameras and I sold it.

    Now in terms of lenses, all 3 of my Sigma lenses (2 that are now sold, and the 30mm that I haven't used in awhile) give a yellow tint to the photos.

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    Default Re: Skin tone differences bewteen 4/3 and m4/3 cameras

    I really like Sigma's color cast (for photos of people of course). The 30mm 1.4 is just lovely.

    I started shooting jpgs almost exclusively this year so I will have to study difference in color signatures from cameras I have...Before (with RAW) I had so much more latitude with color now - not so much.
    Cameras:E-5; E-3; E-1; E-620; GH-1
    Lens: 12-60mm 50mm f/2; 50-200swd; Ex-25; 70-300; 40-150mkI; 35mm f/3.5; 25mm f/2.8; 14-140 u43
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