Micro 4/3 Love my E-P3 - high ISO, hand-held images at night...

I went to a night-time photo exhibition of 'art photography' last night but it turned out to be just 12 photos of small sections of body parts so that was all over in 10 minutes. Hmm, what do I do next?

I strolled down to Sydney's Darling Harbour precent and got my Olympus E-P3 with the Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 lens, set the ISO to 2000 and snapped away. Even though I could not use my favoured Camera RAW, I got to say the low light noise handing of the E-P3 left me gob-smacked. Here are some shots...


The Pumphouse iso2000 by peterb666, on Flickr


Waterfall under the motorway iso2000 by peterb666, on Flickr


Stepping Stone iso2000 by peterb666, on Flickr


Darling Harbour iso2000 by peterb666, on Flickr


Darling Quarter iso2000 by peterb666, on Flickr


Darling Harbour at Night ISO2000 by peterb666, on Flickr

CC welcome.
Very nice images, Peter. Thanks for sharing. Do you have any sense about the E-P3's high ISO abilities compared to the E-P1 or E-P2? Acknowledging that it's the same sensor I'm wondering if its low light ability has been tweaked up a bit in the E-P3.
. . . David


That's a question I'd be interested to hear the answer to, too ... noise seems a very variable feast on my E-P2, chroma noise especially - noise at 200 can look awful, while noise at 800 or 1000 can look as restrained as Peter's E-P3 ...


I've had mine on auto ISO 200-1600 since day one. The worst noise is basically when you'd expect it - when the shot is underexposed and/or has odd mixed lighting involved. But I am also impressed that even the jpegs have a good amount of room to pull up from shadows. The RAW files are OK, but I am only using the freebie Irfanview to convert them, so I suspect I'm not extracting the maximum benefit from them.

Nice set of shots - makes me keen to try out a local spot with some brickwork and dramatic lighting.


Great shots! The more I see of jpegs such as these (and my own) at high ISO, I wonder if playing with RAW (when Apple supports the E-P3) will be worth it. Especially in Aperture, it's a lot of effort to manage noise (I use the Nik plug-ins). The in-cam results are pretty darn good! RAW may be my choice for low ISO only...
Thanks guys. Do note that while these are jpg files, I shot in RAW+JPG (just in case I couldn't use the RAW file) but wound up processing the RAW files in Olympus Viewer 2 and processed them essentially using the default settins before exporting as uncompressed TIFs. I then worked with the images in Adobe Camera RAW with some getting further treatment in Photoshop CS5.

Although this sounds complicated, it allowed me to work with mainly my normal workflow. Overall the processing is fairly simple and not much time spent on each photo.


A little higher ISO...no RAW

Inspired by Peter (and a review touting B&W as the way to go with high ISO, so hope you don't mind another experiment in high ISO...

Went to another concert in the park last night. I had only my Oly 40-150 and needed the 'long end' (and higher f-stops). Failing light forced high ISO, so I set Mode to Monotone,cont +1. The first two are OOC jpeg, with a little cropping and blackpoint adjustment. The last is jpeg cropped about 50% and pushed up a full stop (12,800 equiv?)

I'm pleased. What do you think?

iso 6400 150mm f5.6 1/125
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iso 3200 150mm f5.6 1/200 (those are freckles on her arms, not noise...)
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iso 6400 47mm f4.7 1/40
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Thanks, Peter. I actually underexposed that last shot - pushed it up a full stop in PP. I believe that makes it ISO 12,800 equiv. doesn't it? In any case, I do think I'm seeing about a stop improvement compared to my E-P2, as you say. The first shot is properly exposed ISO 6400. Some hit to DR, but detail and grain are OK IMHO.