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Howto (EM5): Full time/range DOF + exposure + ISO previewHowto (EM5): Full time/range DOF + exposure + ISO preview

Micro Four Thirds Talk Forum: Digital Photography Review - forums.dpreview.com
For those who don't know about it, here is a small howto that explains how you can get a full time WYSIWYG Live View preview of DOF (depth of field), exposure (shutter time + aperture) and ISO on the E-M5 and maybe other Olympus cameras.First some background information: In stills modes (PASM etc.) you only get a limited preview of the final image. Not only does the camera keep aperture wide open all the time (no DOF and no real exposure preview), but it also limits preview to what it calculates to be +-3 EV. Furthermore this preview is not affected by ISO settings at all.On top of this preview you can set one of the buttons for DOF preview. This will change the aperture from wide open to the F value you (or the automatics) have set for as long as you keep the button pressed. At the same time it resets the preview exposure on screen to a level that corresponds to +-0 EV exposure compensation. As soon as your chosen aperture leaves the limits of this +-0 preview you will get a different exposure preview compared to not using the DOF preview button. For example, it will get darker when you use a high F number, but only once you leave the limits of the automatic screen exposure process.In short this means that preview - including blinkies and histogram - is somewhat reliable in the middle of the spectrum, but hit and miss towards the extremes, or even utterly wrong.?Now, how do I get a real preview out of the E-M5 (and maybe other Olympus cameras)?1) Use ?Video mode? on the mode dial!2) Switch the video format to SD (640x480) to get a full 4:3 preview, or any other format to get a cut-down 16:9 preview.3a) Turn off IS to get a 100% preview.3b) Turn on IS to only get a 90% preview (5% cut from all edges), but with the advantage of full time IS without having to half-press the shutter button and being nearly noise-less (no "woosh" or humm). The final image will be 100%, the edges are only cut in video, not in stills.4) To experience the full preview range of all three parameters (exposure time, aperture and ISO) use "M" mode and play with those parameters. The camera/preview will react in realtime and even allow full black/white exposure previews with extreme parameters. Automatic "P", and semi-automatic "A" and "S" will work, too, but their automatics will keep parameters within more sane limits.5) While blinkies are not available in Video mode you can use a histogram. And the good part is that it is just as WYSIWYG as the Live View preview image itself. This means that the final JPG image's histogram will pretty much look exactly the same the the preview histogram!What are the limitations of shooting stills in Video mode compared to using Stills modes?There are some disadvantages of using Video mode for shooting stills:- ISO range is limited to 200 - 3200, higher ISO settings are not available.- AutoISO range and minimum shutter speed cannot be changed. ISO range always is 200 - 3200 and shutter speed uses whatever you or the automatics set.- Using IS means to get only a 90% preview frame (final image is not affected). Furthermore IS 2/3 are not available during video recording (bug?), so they may or may not be available in stills shooting while using Video mode (can someone test this properly?)! Battery life may suffer from full-time IS when IS is enabled.The combination of these IS related drawbacks may mean that tripod users are the ones getting the biggest advantage from shooting stills in Video mode.- No Live View blinkies available before shooting (but available in image playback). And while the histrogram is much more reliable than in Stills modes, it still only is a luminance histrogram (RGB only available in playback).- No SuperControlPanel and generally a lot less options to control the image parameters via OK menu. You can find more options under Menu -> Shooting Menu 1.- No preview of 3:2, 1:1 or 3:4 is available, only 4:3 and 16:9. You still can choose any of these formats via Menu and the final image will be cut down to what you choose, but you will not get a preview in Live View.- Flash control does not seem to be available at all and I cannot get the clip-on flash to fire. So you either need to use manual flash or better not use Video mode for flash stills at all.- Less options for the buttons are available (no Underwater shooting for example).
Date: Feb 8, 2013   



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