skip to Main Content

E-M1 review and long exposure test. E-M1 camera of the year at


Image courtesy: Seldomscenephotography

Seldomscenephotography (Click here) posted that long exposure E-m1 vs E-m5 comparison. And also Photolisticlife (Click here) tested the E-M1 long exposure “issue” that was mentioned on other sites. He says it’s basically a non issue:

“I guess I’m trying to say that 99.9% of people taking 60 second or longer photographs will most likely leave the Noise Reduction on auto therefore making this a non issue.  For the rest of you, shoot a dark frame and you can subtract most of the noise out in post processing in no time at all so worry not.”

Admiringlight (Click here) posted a full E-M1 review:

“It’s a lot of money for a mirrorless camera, but given all the features, the extremely tough body with pro-grade weathersealing, the supreme responsiveness, outstanding viewfinder, super deep buffer and excellent autofocus, it’s worth the price.”

And (Click here) selected the Olympus E-M1 as camera of the year:

With oodles of manual, customizable control, fantastic image quality, a superb new EVF, and full weather sealing, the E-M1 is a true, professional-caliber mirrorless camera. Paired with Olympus’ new 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO lens, the E-M1 was our favorite camera of all that we tested in 2013.

E-M1 Store Links:
Olympus E-M1 body at Amazon, Adorama and BHphoto, Amazon DE (via DL), Amazon UK (via DL), Amazon ES (via DL), WexUK, Topshot FI, CameraWorldUK.
Olympus M. Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO Lens at Amazon, Adorama, BHphoto, AmazonDE (viaDL), Amazon ES (via DL).
Olympus E-M1 with 12-40mm Lens kit at Amazon DE (via DL), WexUK and CameraWorldUK, Amazon UK (via DL), Amazon ES (via DL).
Olympus E-M1 with 12-50mm Lens kit at Amazon DE (via DL), WexUK, CameraWorldUK, Amazon UK (via DL), Amazon ES (via DL).
Olympus EP-13 Eyecup for E-M1 at Adorama and BHphoto.
Olympus HLD-7 Battery Grip for E-M1 at Amazon, Adorama and BHphoto.
Olympus LC-62D Metal Front Lens Cap for 12-40mm at Adorama and BHphoto.
Olympus LH-66 Lens Hood for 12-40mm at Adorama and BHphoto.

  • Tom

    The results of the E-M1 with NR Off still should not be happening. So, Olympus goofed up and thus should give an explanation and a fix.

    • Tom

      It is possible, NR Off on the E-M5, is really not “Off”.

      • Jolyon Smith

        The comparisons I have seen written up make it quite clear that even if NR OFF on the E-M5 is not truly “off”, neither is it the same as NR ON on the E-M1 (with dark frame subtraction). You would notice that a dark frame was being taken even with NR-OFF on the E-M5. Whatever NR is taking place on the EM-5 that is not taking place on the E-M1, it isn’t the same as turning ON NR on the E-M1.

        The bottom line is that you would expect the same performance from two cameras housing ostensibly the same sensor. And you certainly would not expect quantitatively worse performance from the more expensive of the two.

        Even if it only affects certain types of shot, that is not an excuse for owners to have to simply grin and bear it.

        We bought an E-M1 for my fiancee expecting it to be at least as good as the E-M5 plus the additional features. We did not expect to now be concerned that we have paid a hefty premium for those features at the expense of inferior performance in certain areas that should be considered “core” functionality.

        • Tom

          I totally agree with you. I have mine pre-ordered at and am rethinking my purchase. I sold my Nikon D7000 system for to get the E-M1. On Sunday Nikon is having new rebates offers, I might get the D7100 instead. I am without a camera on Thanksgiving and I need one in my hands in 3 weeks.

        • Michael

          “The bottom line is that you would expect the same performance from two cameras housing ostensibly the same sensor.”

          Noise reduction is done in software, not hardware.

          • Jolyon Smith

            The software can only work with what the hardware gives it.

            In this case the E-M1 can only do with it’s software what the E-M5 achieves when supplied with some additional input from the hardware that the E-M5 software doesn’t need to achieve the same – and sometimes still better – result.

        • yaa

          “The bottom line is that you would expect the same performance from two cameras housing ostensibly the same sensor.”

          It isn’t the same sensor however, considering how one has pixels dedicated to phase detection and the other doesn’t.

          Additionally, noise reduction and filtering (note, those are 2 different things) are first of all a matter of software.

          “And you certainly would not expect quantitatively worse performance from the more expensive of the two.”

          That is a bit of a simplification really.

          First of all, you get better dynamic range, at ISO 200, but still at ISO 1600. Better dynamic range does mean better signal to noise ratio overall, and a bit more headroom. This all gets you slightly better performance, not worse.

          There is also one situation in which it performs less well, long exposures where you cannot use the NR = auto or NR = on setting, and where using a dark frame isn’t an option either.

          That case is not exactly ‘core’, the large majority of photographers seldom ever does long exposures, and those who do still find themselves in a situation where one of the 2 proposed solutions work quite well. Hence, the situations in which you do indeed encounter worse performance are rare, and calling it ‘core functionality’ is in my opinion a bit silly, a bit of a ‘the sky is falling’ attitude really.

          As an aside, the E-M5 is cleaner at longer exposures, but not to an extend that you can just leave NR turned off and don’t bother at all with dark frames, its just slightly more extreme cases where you really start needing them.

          • Jolyon Smith

            As the numerous investigations have shown, the issues with the sensor are not directly related to the PDAF sensor sites – the distribution of the noise covers the entire frame.

            Yes, the sensors are obviously different since the E-M1 sensor has the PDAF capability that the E-M5 sensor does not. But, the two cameras are part of the same range and the E-M1 is positioned as the superior model. Nowhere will you find anything in the specifications of the two that says “The E-M1 sensor offers PDAF capability AT THE EXPENSE OF IMPAIRED LONG EXPOSURE PERFORMANCE”.

            It is reasonable to presume that the price premium commanded by the E-M1 is for IMPROVEMENTS over the lower priced camera’s capability, not TRADE-OFFS.

  • Fleace

    Th long exposure weakness (at high iso also WITH NR turned on) of the E-M1 chip is simply a fact. It’s not subtle, the difference is HUGE (e.g. compared to E-M5).

    If you don’t do long exosure / high ISO photography (e.g. night or with ND filters), that is obviously no problem. If you do, the E-M1 is a very bad camera for you.

    A lot of people fell in love with the E-M1 at first sight and (subcontiously?) try to defend it – who wants to admit that his new baby he paid a lot of money for is not as good as he would like it to be. Yes, it is a nice camera, but housing a chip with extremely bad long exposure performance.

    • Duarte Bruno

      We’re in the 21st century for quite a while and I still find it unbelievable that are a lot of cameras that don’t perform a default dark noise subtraction by default. :(
      Canons has been doing it probably since since the times of the first Rebel.

      Sensors have a noise signature. Even if it varies in time, by exposure, by temperature etc, you could have stored that signature. If the user doesn’t want to double the exposure time for as long as it takes to calculate the dark noise frame, at least subtract a default signature. It could be one for each combination of ISO and shutter speed or it could be derived from a base as a function of those variables. Hell, make it a process you can call on demand, like pixel refresh! That would address most issues (temperature, sensor ageing).
      I’m sure it would kill +90% of the noise.

      Manufacturers are just going the cheapest way on this issue. All it would take was some more RAM.

      • Anonymous

        The E-M1 and all Oly cameras do dark fram subtraction by default. The only difference is that Oly allows you to switch it off.
        Which is what somebody has done here.
        This is not an issue, despite the comments here, unless you are into astrophotography where it might be a problem in some circumstances.

        • Fleace

          Would be nice if this was true. Unfortunately it isn’t.

          At high ISOs and long exposures the E-M1 images are much worse than E-M5 ones – even with NR turned on.

          1.) Bracketing and the new hdr function of the E-M1 disables dark frames. Of course there are solutions to this. But it is much much easier with the older E-M5.

          2.) Again, if you use the E-M1 as a studio camera it’s great… (some irony in here ^^), but if you want to take it out and have the potential to do creative stuff like night scnenes the E-M5 is doing much better.

      • Horaciux

        Except bulb mode, right?

  • Four Thirds Is Doomed

    I wonder how much the corporate crooks at Oily-Limp-Puss paid Reviewed-Dot-Con for this result?

    • Sigma82

      At least they got paid, u write bs for free…

      • MarcoSartoriPhoto

        Bullseye! :)

    • Obviously this moron didn’t click the link to see the review of the EM-1 enveloped in Canon Rebel ads.

  • MarcoSartoriPhoto

    On Em5 I use(d) to keep auto NR and LOW. I use Em1 with noise reduction turned off, simply because its noise looks much more like real grain, and I like it in black and white photos.
    Right now I’m using Em1 at a jazz concert in dim lights, and I’m really enjoying it.

    • Fleace

      You write “I use Em1 with noise reduction turned off”.

      Long exposures are simply NOT USABLE with E-M1. The image breaks down completely.

      • If that level of noise is “NOT USABLE” then pretty much every 4/3 camera up to this point produced “NOT USABLE” images above ISO 100 on every photo. Maybe you never noticed blue skies or dark shadows from an 4/3 sensor before. That noise couldn’t even be corrected for properly.

        These random hot pixels get corrected in any decent raw software. The formula is simple. If the contract of one pixel is drastically different from the surrounding pixels, then set the color of that pixel to the average of the surrounding pixels. It works well with this type of noise because that describes the noise perfectly- single hot pixels not adjacent to each other. And it doesn’t degrade image quality because RARELY in a photo will you have single pixels that differ so much from surrounding ones. (the chances of your image having an object like that, which fits perfectly in a pixel, is slim to none).

        Anyways, capture one cleans up the test images perfectly by default. As a long-exposure shooter and RAW user of 10+ years, Oly needs to tweak the filter. Or those users need to learn to use D&S filtering properly. If you are such a expert where this photographic result is an issue to you, I would expect you be expert enough to know hot to fix it properly in post. Zing!

    • You mean you use it with noise filer off. Noise reduction in Olympus lexicon means dark frame substraction!

      • MarcoSartoriPhoto

        Andrei, I don’t know what language do they speak in Olympus :) Me, I’m a simple mortal man and have to deal with their smokey menus: I just checked and and I’m using Em1 with noise reduction turned off and noise filter turnrd off too.

        Fleace, I was talking about my every day use of cameras, in this case Em1: I usually don’t take long exposures photos, so I haven’t noticed this issue. I’m saying that for my use Em1 has a better looking grainy noise than Em5, but again it’s a matter of taste, I suppose.

        • zzom

          It’s a problem for night photography on a tripod with 1min and over exposure. BTW, most Panasonic cameras don’t even allow for exposures longer than 1-2min. I sure did enjoy gx7 handling, it’s far superior to any only camera, even em1. BUT. GX7 is limited to 2min in bulb mode. So I will be getting em1 and 12-40 when will be available. EM1 also has much better evf.

        • yaa

          Just an aside:

          Turning Noise Reduction off disables the ‘dark frame subtraction’
          Turning Noise Filter off does however not completely turn off the noise filtering, it merely sets it to its lowest level. That lowest level is still depending on the ISO level you use. ‘Off’ is a misnomer in this case.

      • Fleace

        No, I tested several E-M1 bodies now. When I write “Long exposures are simply NOT USABLE with E-M1” (with NR off or at high ISO) I mean relative to other good m43 cameras, e.g. E-M5.

        Obviously you didn’t test/compare for yourself. I did.

        • mattphoto

          Oh.. I get it now. “simply NOT USABLE with E-M1.”
          oh.. you mean not Simply?
          doesn’t mean what you said at all. Go figure.
          Anyways, you can try whatever cameras you want, you won’t catch up to my knowledge of post processing. And hot pixels happen on every single sensor. Managing them is a post processing issue. Not a sensor issue.

          Anyways, I’m pretty sure I’m one of the better post processing experts here, having authored Photoshop and Lightroom tutorials and articles for years (many published in national magazines)… getting rid of hot pixels is a fundamental skill, east to learn. and seeing the results people are whining about makes me facepalm. These people are better at pixel-peeping than actually being able to manage pixels better in their PP process.

          I’m no loyalist to Olympus. And I think they should have a software control to fix these hot pixels.

          • Fleace

            I prefer to discuss facts (*):

            At long exposures and high iso the images produced by the E-M1 can’t be fixed in post. Of course they can be made better, that’s obvious. But at 120s/3200 ISO nobody can fix it completely in post, no matter how good he or she is – the image completely breaks down. A dark frame can’t totally compensate for this. Everything relative to other good current (m43) cameres like the older E-M5. Of course you could invest a lot of effort in post healing and fixing, but is it worth to do this just to get results which are still considerably worse than images by other cams?…

            In other words, your arguments don’t work because you have to compare
            – images spent time t in post of E-M5 with
            – images spent time t in post of E-M1
            to do a fair comparison of the camera potential. O.k. it would be a valid argument if healing away the E-M1 problems could be done with just one click. Unfortunately this doesn’t work at settings mentioned above.

            (*) OT: I don’t like insulting ppl like you do. And I don’t like boasting about my post processing abilities and stating ‘I’m the best’ like you do. That’s simply childish.

  • Tobias Giesen

    This dark frame with NR off thing is a way to identify sensors. Identical sensors will produce similar noise patterns. This seems to show that the E-M1 sensor is more different than just having no AA filter.

  • sds

    So they cook RAWs in E-M1. That’s all I got out of this image.

    • PixelpeepingPaul

      Then you don’t understand whats going on…

      • sds

        It’s a typo. E-M5 has cooked raws. But I see you are very quick to judge.

        • matt jones

          There is no way the E-M5 is cooking the RAWs to remove this kind of noise, you can try hot pixel filtering in post processing and it is somewhat successful but not as good as a dark frame subtraction. And as mentioned many times the E-M5 is not doing a default dark frame subtraction it simply doesn’t have time between shots. Its a shame the E-M1 has this achilles heel, but there is no reason to blame the E-M5.

          I am sure 90% of people who buy an E-M1 will never come across this problem because they will never do a long exposure or if they do they will have the default noise settings which includes a dark frame subtraction.

          • Garath

            OK Cowboy but what about the other 1%

            • matt jones

              for the 1% there is Leica ;)

              • Bob B.

                LOL! (May be 0.5%).

  • Dandy Don

    This is why one should not jump to buy the next generation camera when you own the previous generation.

    Except for rare cases like the e-m5, the difference will not be very much, or perhaps little at all.

    If you hold your horses, sit on your hands, and wait just a year or two, you will get so much more, whether same brand or another.

    Those who had the GH1. Wow. What a camera. So great. Worth a thousand. Or more. Wait a year or two. You have the e-m5. Like day and night.

    Same with the e-m5. Wait. Wait. Buy next in January 2015. Use the e-m5 well till then.

    • stev


    • Most new cameras have problems: E-M5 shutter shock, D600 oil and dust spots, D800 focusing errors…Some faults can be remediated on the assembly line or with firmware updates (see Fuji X series). Some faults are remediated by the next replacement (D610).

      • Ross

        Yes, & and remember all the noise (discussion, or should I say complaining) about the IBIS noise in the E-M5 before the firmware updates changed it’s mode of operation. Maybe Olympus will have a fix for this (hot pixels with NR off in the E-M1 to bring it up to the same output as the E-M5) in the firmware updates & maybe not, but I am still using my E-M5 for now & it’s serving me well except for AF with the Sigma 150mm macro lens. I couldn’t justify updating my camera for virtually one or two lenses use (but extra features that could be useful). Instead, I’ve decided to add a ‘go anywhere’ light camera to my kit with the Oly Stylus 1 that could be called the ‘Baby OM-D’. ;)

      • Cupid Stunt

        Do they f*ck, MOST new cameras do NOT have problems, it is in the minority but gets blown out of proportion by the usual internet diarrhea. Let’s see if Olympus make any official announcement, like they did for the sticking shutter on the EM-5 or the shutter shock on various models …not.

      • BLI

        It is the *E-P5* that is supposed to have a “shutter shock”, not the E-M5.

        • All Olympus based on IBIS are affected by shutter shock. The E-M1 between 1/60 and 1/100.

          • zzom

            I searched a lot of photos on flicker and other resources, full size of course, between 1/60 to 1/200 and I have yet to find evidence of any shutter shock. I was concerned about it, but not anymore. I simply see sharp photos, no double image, no ghosting etc. Checking this on small lines in photo, should be easy to spot, no?

            • Sadly most photos on flickr are at half, third or quarter of the full-size. Only at 100% you can see the results of the shutter shock…(I’m no pixel peeper but for a stock or a pro photographer blurry images are real crap)

              It’s good that the E-M1 has less shutter shock than all the Pen and the E-M5. Different shutter and bigger size and much weight are a big plus in this regard. Maybe with the HLD-7 grip there will be no shutter shock at all.

              I will get the E-M1 the next spring so I hope they will fix the long exposure issue.

              • yaa

                If you cannot see any blurring at the intended viewing sizes, then for all practical purposes, those images are not blurry, and the issue only exists in your mind because your customer cannot see it.

                There is a difference between wanting excellent quality presentation of your work, pro or otherwise, and trying to eliminate invisible issues.

                And no, thats not to say ‘shutter shock’ doesn’t exist at all, or can’t be an issue in certain cases, but it is to say that it is an ‘issue’ that gets blown way out of proportion by quite a few people.

              • zzom

                I was talking exactly about full size photos. Of course not everyone allows to view their photos full size.

    • sds

      I think it’s a filtering issue. This noise has a physical spatial distribution and in E-m5 the signal below certain value is quite clearly cut off, whereas in E-M1 it is cut off at darker values. The NR Off image E-M5 looks similar to the kind of signal processing that Pentax does in their cameras. Lenstip had a nice review of that in K5 or K30 reviews.

  • Garath

    It’s a screw up, please don’t use this sensor on the E-M6

  • Ahem

    That low-light performance is a deal breaker for me. I take bracketed and stitched cityscapes at night relatively often, and having to do double the exposures is just not feasible, and I bet I’m not the only one who doesn’t want to wait ANOTHER sixty plus seconds just so the camera can get roughly to parity with EM-5.

    • Anonymous

      Well the size of the Nikon D4 is a deal breaker for me.
      And the small optical viewfinder of many APSC cameras is also a deal breaker.
      Does anybody care?
      If the camera doesn’t suit you or your type of photography go and buy something that does. There’s plenty of choice, even within m43

    • THIS low-light performance is a deal-breaker to you?
      Sudently 4/3 is inadequate in low light? This is something you are NOW just catching onto?
      Why the hell are you interested or using 4/3 to begin with? It has been much much worse for years with 4/3. Sounds like whining to me.

  • Boogeyman

    EM1 (with no NR) reminds me of the E-410. The first time I shot (5s exposure), I was shocked to see all the stars though the subject was a flower! These tiny sensors are of very limited use. That is a fact.

    • Ahem

      I have numerous shots taken with EM-5 which don’t have such noise and are otherwise clean, so it’s not the fault of the size of the sensor, but the sensor itself, attached circuitry, or in-camera RAW processing.

  • Terry

    Marco has the right attitude, think of it as an Olympus Art filter you can’t turn off ;)

    • Analagous

      LOL the organic film look

      • Riverdance

        Combine it with a toy holga art lens and you have a winning combination.

  • Robbie

    I thought it has already been said that the reason for the noise is on-sensor pdaf

    • Casual Observer

      Exactly, I also blame the idiotic Four Thirds users who can’t move with the times and want to drag technology back to the dark ages of HUGE heavy lenses and screw up an otherwise good M43 camera.

      • Rchard

        On sensor pdaf is also used for CAF + tracking with m4/3 lenses, just so you know.

      • Robbie

        You can always wait for the EM6, maybe it’s for m43 only

      • What an idiotic and blindingly selfish comment :(
        The 4/3 user base are the ones that kept Oly imaging alive prior to m4/3, having invested in the 4/3 product line and the top-tier Zuiko glass, so it’s an obvious move for Oly to support those customers. The E-M1 is a m4/3 body catered for 4/3 compatibility (finally!), and should you not have such lenses, then bugger off and buy another body. It’s not like you don’t have options. PDAFOS is also beneficial for m4/3 CDAF tracking, so it’s not a 4/3 specialty development anyway.

        Imagine if Canikon should leave their current customer base in the dark w/ a new mount, and from there just not care… Do you think those users will agree with you? Well – think again!

      • yaa

        You may want to do a little fact checking on this. See, when only using m4/3 lenses, but using continuous focus, you quite benefit from pdaf support. The only thing idiotic here is your total lack of understanding of what that means in practice.

  • DK Shooter

    This must be a faulty unit, Robin Wong did some thorough testing and determined the noise on the E-M1 to be superior to that of the old E-M5. I am sure Olympus will fix this persons camera post haste.

    • twoomy

      Well there is a big difference between high ISO noise and long exposure noise. A camera might do great shooting at ISO 3200 but be horrible with a 2-minute exposure at ISO 200. The Panasonic GH2 was like that… it was a bit noisy to begin with, but its long exposures were HORRIBLE.

      For those of us doing time exposures and star trails, having mostly clean images WITHOUT noise reduction is invaluable as the time it takes to do the second black exposure ruins any continuity in a time lapse. The Nikon D800 and the Oly EM-5 are really good at this. It’s disappointing that the EM-1 would have this problem.

      • DK Shooter

        I think you’re over complicating it. I have seen Robin shoot stars he knows what he is talking about and gives great unbiased reviews. The E-M1 is a great camera.

        • Riverdance

          What kind of lala land are you living in? Robin Wong is unbiased? He works for Olympus? The E-M1 is great for shooting stars? Perhaps it is if you want to create your own galaxy of hot spot pixel stars!

          • Eosphoros

            Look at the post’s picture, it is indeed great for shooting stars, point it at a black background, do a long exposure, and voila, more stars than you can shake a stick at !

            You people always complain !

          • Tinommands

            I don’t think we should be blaming Robin Wong for these noisy shots, he probably didn’t have time to test long exposures, he does a lot of street photography and really puts the cameras through their paces. Then has to spend a lot of time writing and editing.

        • twoomy

          DK Shooter… I don’t think I’m complicating things, nor am I ripping on the E-M1. While most sensors these days are very good with noise at normal exposures and high ISO’s, long exposures (30 seconds+, several minutes, etc.) are a different world. Some sensors overheat quickly, some have very bad noise, some have amp glow, etc. The GH2 was particularly bad at long exposures (very noisy), the E-M5 is particularly good (relatively clean 3-minute exposures without noise reduction). The E-M1 might not be as good. In the Nikon arena, the D800 is very good, the D600 not as good (amp glow).

          If you are stacking star trails photos (i.e. you’re taking several 5-minute shots to add up to 1-2 hours of exposure), you do not have time to do long exposure NR as you will miss half of your shot waiting for those 5-minute blank exposures. If the E-M1 isn’t good at this, it’s not the end of the world and it’s nothing to get defensive about as those of us who do really long exposures are in the minority.

  • nygus

    E-Pl2 had same noise issue as E-M1 (even with like 8 sec exposure), also my E-M5 have much more color dots even with 1 second exposure. Problems is, noise reduction kicks from 4 or 5 seconds exposure and I have many bad photos with awful color noise taken on tripod with 0.8 – 4 sec exposure (ISO 200). Olympus make nice cameras, but they are horrible in long exposures… (not to mention AF is totaly unreliable in night city scenes, worst than any camera I’ve ever had)

    • Casual Observer

      Best you leave here now, put your cameras on Ebay and go visit the Sony camp, you’ll be much happier.

      • nygus

        I wish I didn’t sold my Sony A700, even with 60sec exposures and no noise reduction image was clean. When one day Sony will make A7 (or NEX) with sensor stablilization I will switch again back too sony… now I just have to work around Oly issues.

    • Anonymous

      I blame the Sony sensor used by Olympus.

  • nygus

    Olympus cameras always had problems with long exposure noise…

    This is crop from my E-M5:

    This is just 1.6 sec exposure and Olympus noise reduction kicks in only from >4 sec, so this is what you get when you use 1 to 4 seconds exposure times.

    • Onsonic

      It’s not like the blue dot is ruining a wonderfully exposed image though is it? Perhaps you would get better photographs in Auto mode or one of the intelligent scene modes, and it might correct some of the problems you are having.

  • LovinTheEP2

    If it’s simply due to the pdaf, why isn’t it consistent shot to shot every shot. It still seems to have a random dispersion of hot pixels. Otherwise, olympus could easily issue a nearest neighbour averaging and get rid of it easy in raws and jepgs.

    Also, has anyone seen what daytime strong light long exposure are like with dtrong ND filters???

    • nanonymous

      > Otherwise, olympus could easily issue a nearest neighbour averaging and get rid of it easy in raws and jepgs.

      and bring back the softness that was the reason for removing AA filter? no thanks.

      I wonder why no-one mentioned the removal of the AA filter as it is very much related to more noise being present.

  • Ouuf, the E-M1 have many red dots, i think reason is PDAF.

    • Anonymous

      Why ?
      Look at the noise distribution. It is not confined to the PDAF focusing area.
      So, I prefer to blame the bad pixel fairy. It’s as valid as your comment.

  • Cab10886

    And the lesson of the day is…
    If you want to do Astrophotography, then the E-M1 is not the tool for you; but for all other types of photography, the E-M1 will perform wonderfully.

    The amount of noise, without the automatic dark frame subtraction, in the E-M1 seems to be the same amount of noise I get with my E-PM1.

    I made 15 30s exposures of the galactic bulge, and took a few dark frames, and stacked them using DSS. Perhaps I’m missing something in my workflow, but, the noise was impossible to remove and it shows up as dotted lines in the final stacked image. It’s annoying, but, it is somewhat minimized when I re-sized the image to half. Remapping pixels doesn’t help either.

    • matt.jones

      I’ve never used DSS but I have done manual subtractions in GIMP, literally using the “subtract” in layers with a dark frame and it works “almost” as good as it does in camera. I get a little bit of a dark halo around the white pixels but not at all noticeable unless you are pixel peeping. It wouldn’t take long to do 15 images, if it was just for one photo, but I wouldn’t want to do it for a time lapse.

      • Bob B.

        Does The GIMP have anything to do with the Galactic Bulge?

        • Cab10886

          [Joke]The GIMP is well endowed with a Galactic Bulge. ;-)[/Joke]
          I’ll have to try to re-processing the images using gimp.

          I’ve also used my E-PM1 for Fireworks and the noise has not been an issue. I wouldn’t expect the noise in the E-M1 to be a problem either.

  • BJT

    This noise is absolutely not acceptable. I wonder why Olympus does not react – at least with a statement. And, why not having a M1 without pdaf but a nice sony sensor, like the EM 5 one, instead? Just for those, who are using the mft lenses. At least, I definitely expect a solution from Olympus – even a hardware one.

  • Fiacre

    “I guess I’m trying to say that 99.9% of people taking 60 second or longer photographs will most likely leave the Noise Reduction on auto therefore making this a non issue. For the rest of you, shoot a dark frame and you can subtract most of the noise out in post processing in no time at all so worry not.”

    Are you serious ?
    Do you know it is a 1400 euros camera?
    Firstly, lot of people using long exposures can’t use dark frame substitution (Timelapse, fireworks, etc…). And the obligation to take dark frame at same temperature of each speed used, and the use of a specific software (Lightroom can’t do that) for each frame is a silly solution for a “pro” camera. Incredible.

    Secondly, even with dark frame substitution by the camera, try to get back some information from the shadow (RAW or jpg) with a long exposure at same temperature from E-M5 and E-M1 (there are plenty of samples on the web…). You will see the noise problem with the E-M1 (or “poor performance”, as you want). THE PROBLEM IS STILL THERE EVEN WITH DARK FRAME SUBSTITUTION. Silly story for a 1400 euros camera.

    As i do a lot of long exposures, i will avoid this camera until the problem is solved. But i’m afraid it won’t be only a software fixed by firmware, as it looks like a termal problem with the sensor, it could by heated by an electronic board (or PDAF sensors ?). That would explain why an older camera with nearly the same sensor can perform better for long exposure. My message is not to attack Oly, as i’m a king of Oly fanboy, but just to say it is a pity to read that it is not a problem, you can use dark frame. It is not true. :(

    • NeroMetalliko

      I fully agree with you,
      the E-M1 is a great camera, probably overall the best m43 one for stills shooting, it is an improvement over the E-M5 for several aspects, but for this specific feature it is a big step back.

      No matter the workarounds one will try to find to circumvent the issue, this is a plain fact, and given the price and level of the camera, in my opinion it is a sad one.

      In my humble opinion the lack of the AA filter is another step back: no matter what the current trend is, removing the AA filter is simply a mistake.

      That said, I’m not arguing that the E-M1 could not be the real perfect camera for the vast majority of people, but if some flaws are discovered, I think that we have to highlight it, in order to get fixes (if possible) or at least to get even more improved cameras in the future.

      Ciao :)

      • yaa

        “That said, I’m not arguing that the E-M1 could not be the real perfect camera for the vast majority of people”

        Like every camera, it is a compromise, and by definition not perfect. It would be a really good start to realize this, and to realize it being true for every camera. Different compromises? Sure, but compromises regardless.

        “but if some flaws are discovered, I think that we have to highlight it, in order to get fixes (if possible) or at least to get even more improved cameras in the future.”

        Mention it? point it out? discuss it?


        Act as if the sky is falling? Well, if you want a fix, it does help to not try to drive those who have to provide the fix out of business. It also helps to not have an attitude that makes people want to stay far away from you either if you want them to actually hear you.

        Going WAHWAHWAHWAHWAHWAHWAH isn’t going to help anything or anyone.

        • NeroMetalliko

          “Like every camera, it is a compromise, and by definition not perfect. It would be a really good start to realize this, and to realize it being true for every camera. Different compromises? Sure, but compromises regardless”
          What let you feel so superior to the point to teach the obvious? It would be a really good start to learn a more respectful and humble attitude toward the people around you.

          “Act as if the sky is falling? Well, if you want a fix, it does help to not try to drive those who have to provide the fix out of business. It also helps to not have an attitude that makes people want to stay far away from you either if you want them to actually hear you.

          Going WAHWAHWAHWAHWAHWAHWAH isn’t going to help anything or anyone.

          I always tend to be very balanced in my post, paying attention to avoid to hurt people and with the only purpose to contribute in a educate manner to the discussion with some arguments. It is very sad that, no matter of the good attitude there is always someone who will try to screw the things up…

          However, I’m sorry, probably you have simply misunderstood what I have written, because there is no other reason to justify such kind of comments.

          • yaa

            You are right, I misunderstood, or better said, misread your post and I apologize. I suppose the ‘the sky is falling’ tone of a number of people got to me, but you obviously weren’t one of those, and didn’t deserve this reply.

            • NeroMetalliko

              Ok, thanks for your clarification, I have appreciated it.

    • lucer

      +1 I agree with Fiacre dont attack Olympus, they will fix it with firmware and you can eliminate it using the intelligent auto noise modes.

      • Riverdance

        You and and Fiacre must be referring to the intelligent auto noise mode where the E-M1 puts a 1,000 stars in your photo….

      • Reading other Olympus’ responses on other forums, it seems that they will not fix this issue. They probably can’t, not with this camera and sensor. Hopefully the E-M2 will solve this issue.

    • duststormq8

      Life is about choices. There may never be a camera that satisfies all your needs regardless of the price point.
      I am must admit that I am a bit disappointed about this news because I do need to shoot 15-30 seconds when I do star trails and fireworks and the NR has to be OFF for obvious reasons.
      BUT…If this is indeed due to the implementation of PDAF, then I will choose PDAF over the noise issue. For me, it is more important to have accurate focus tracking compared to clean long-exposure image with NR off.
      What to do when I want to do star trails? I will use another camera, of course.

    • yaa

      “Do you know it is a 1400 euros camera?”

      Do you know you can easily spend 1000 times that amount on a ‘camera’ and still end up with a device that has compromises and shortcomings? For that matter, regardless of budget, you won’t be able to buy one that doesn’t involve compromises and shortcomings.

      Price a silly argument, what matters is if this is an issue for the large majority of the intended user base, and how difficult it is to deal with the issue. If something affect 90% of the intended users, its very likely a major problem unless the solution is trivial, regardless of if the camera costs 14 or 1400000000000000000 euros. If it affects 0.01% of the users, its not a major problem, again regardless of the cost of the camera.

      • Fleace

        Of course there are much more expensive cameras (or cars or whatsoever) with ‘issues’.

        But please respect the opinion of others. Some people want to pay 80.000,- for a car only if it has no issues. Some people want to pay 1.400,- for a camera only if it has no issues.

        And from a psychologically standpoint I can understand those people who are angry now if they find out AFTERWARDS of those issues, neither having been told by the company (o.k. I can understand this as well ;)) nor by the first reviews (be it because those reviews are quite superficial, not thoroughly testing the the new device also under non-standard conditions, be it that they are paid by manufacturers or whatever).

        All this critique of demanding users is an important factor in the evolution of better devices. If ALL people said “Well, it’s good enough, I’m o.k. with the compromises. It’s o.k. when the pro model has a worse sensor in certain aspects when it handles better in other respects, I will pay 1.400,- no matter whether the camera has issues or not” the E-M2 would not solve problems of the E-M1 (just a (hypothetical) example).

        • yaa

          Well yes, some people only want to spend their money on a product that is perfect, and I respect that to the point that I certainly won’t point a gun at them to force them to change that. But you have to accept that just like they are allowed to give their opinion, I’m allowed to give my opinion on their opinion. Don’t like that? don’t say things in public. Or put differently, the fact that someone criticizes your opinion does not at all imply you are not allowed to have that opinion.

          As you also point out yourself, only wanting perfect devices is simply unrealistic, and it will just make sure those people will always be disappointed. Pointing that out is not disrespect for those people, its a simple matter of confronting them with reality and with how they make themselves unhappy.

          Also, there is a very big difference between not striving for improvements and accepting that nothing is perfect, the later certainly doesn’t imply the first. Additionally, obviously there will be no customers for an E-M2 if it doesn’t improve on the E-M1, but if that E-M1 doesn’t sell there is no budget or incentive to create that E-M2, and that is exactly what will happen when too many people decide to not buy things because of a theoretical issue that doesn’t affect them at all. Suggesting that that improvement will only happen because of people not accepting the ‘non improved’ version is a rather huge simplification that certainly has some truth to it, but ignores very important aspects.

          My point however was that price is simply irrelevant for this, this in reply to the ‘it is a 1400 euro camera argument’. What does matter is real issues, that is issues that actually affect something. Regardless of the cost of a device, if it has issues that affect you its the wrong choice for you. Its the issues that determine that, not the price. Hence saying ‘its a 1400 euro camera’ simply has nothing to do with this whatsoever, but if you do long exposures, the issue can be extremely relevant to you.

  • Funny reading this. How upset people got a couple of months ago when any dated question the PDAF.

    • Fleace

      You write “Suggesting that that improvement will only happen because of people not accepting the ‘non improved’ version is a rather huge simplification”

      Implyind I would have said that is an even greater simplification ;)

      I just stated that those people who are more critical than others are a (legitimate) chain link in the sociooeconomical processes ;) If all people would just be completely uncritical and buy whatever Oly or Canikon would put in front of them, the world might be pretty dull.

      Actually all this can’t be answered in white or black, in 1 or 0, it all depends (obviously). In the case of the E-M1 I think it is pretty interesting that all “pro’ reviewers praise the camera, most people who paied a lot of money for it and fell in love with it, defend their new baby the extent of becoming completely unrational. They simply don’t want to admit that this camera also has weaknesses. That’s not a big deal for me. I find it much more interesting what happens here from a psychological point of view. They try to talk those weaknesses small. But there is no absolute magnitude: Everyone has to decide for himself.

      From MY point of view, it’s quite understandable that some users having read many reviews and having bought the E-M1 are annoyed finding out AFTERWARDS that it has problems at certain areas. The E-M1 is engeneered (and marketed) towards the creative endevouring amateur. Oly is using astrophotography pics on their website marketing the E-M1 (but recommending customers who are not happy with the horrible long exposure performance of the chip to buy another camera). Night scenes, long exposures at high iso are not sooooooooooo extremely uncommon fields for creative photographers. So in my opinion it is quite arrogant to say “99,99% people don’t care about this. So shut up being critical about this holy mindbogglingly cute cam!”. I would pose the antithesis: There might be some (unknowing) amateuers trying to reproduce great night images they have seen on the web, ending up a bit disappointed and not even knowing that it’s simply a weakness of this special camera model which wouldn’t happen with the older and cheaper E-M5.

      By the way: The argument “99,.. % don’t care about this.” has an intrinsic weakness anyway… With this argument you could probably proof that almost NOBODY should buy this cam!! – Almost everybody buing the E-M1 would be just as happy with some cheaper cam ;)

  • Ragnarok

    Camera of the year. Of course. It won all the starts.

  • This noise is caused by hot pixels? Well so we are told. That being the case then it is entirely possible its the same pixels involved most of the time. So what is needed is a hot (and warm) pixel map in the camera (mapping the sensor is entirely different). This should be a map that is checked every time a long exposure is done with a dark image and updated either in an auto mode or by user acceptance. This dark image could be stored (maybe as a custom filter) and may be used when a series of shots is taken without dark images. Just recall (or edit) and apply as a custom art filter in camera or through Olympus viewer, (preferably to the RAW file and added as an extra file, giving original and modified RAW files). This could be done as a firmware change. (unlike a firmware change for 4k video).

    If however the PDAF cells are the problem. Creating noise in image cells, then removing power to them during a shot would fix that. That may be a firmware fix but more than likely it would require a hardware change to supply power to the cells from a separate switchable source. It depends on the construction used. But if it is pdaf cells interfering then all pdaf on sensor cameras will have a similar problem if they use Sony sensors.

    • Anonymous

      You mean like the pixel mapping that has been present in all Oly high end cameras since 2005?

      • No I don’t.
        “(mapping the sensor is entirely different).”
        read the comment then go look up pixel mapping as you evidently do not know what it is.

  • If I go to a museum, church or a palace with my E-M5 and use the camera switched on for a longer time (maybe from 5, 10 minutes), the camera and the sensors becomes warm. The result are many, many bad pixels and noise with higher ISO from about 1600 (but that is needed in museums, churches, palces where is no bright light and no flash is allowed) even with 1/15, 1/20 seconds. And I don’t have time to switch the camera of every 2, 3 minutes to wait that it is cooled down. So in such situations I always set the NR to on. But it’s nothing new, had the sampe problem with my E-PL2.

    And with exposure times longer then 1 second I generally switch the NR on, even if the camera is not swiched on for a longer time so that the sensor could become warm.

  • Oh, and I forgot, pics with longer exposure times then 1/15 I always make with a tripod (night shots of cities, etc.) and ISO 200 with my E-M5, but I really need then to use the NR on because there would be to much noise if I would not do this. And sorry for all my spelling mistakes in my last and this post, I was at the dentist today, so my brain isn’t working good at this time… ;-)

    • Your dentist slipped with the drill? ;-)

      Just kidding. My sympathies…

  • An Onymous

    How many of you whiny wankers actually own an E-M1 or have plans to buy one?

    • arthur

      bravo, oly, i do nightshots and startrail with the e-m1.
      thx, for giving me “realy sensor output”, so i can handle the denoise to my liking by postprocesing. know-how is what matters to photogs, not simple whining !

      • Fleace

        I tested three E-M1s. All showed the described sensor problem. At “normal” settings the camera works fine. For long exposure + high iso shots it does perform considerably worse than other cams (in this price range), that’s a simple fact. By the way this has nothing to do with “real sensor output”: You imply that other cams just smooth/denoise/etc. already in RAW but would otherwise have about the same “real output”? That’s neither true in general nor the point here; the E-M1’s weak long exposure + high iso performance (also with NR turned on) is simply a consequence of the chip Olympus used in this body.

        Let’s not bet too emotional; it’s just a piece of hardware. It’s a great cam, but not perfect. And one of the weak points is long exposure + high iso.

  • Sapphire

    I had tested the long exposure hot noise with 60s. And I strongly recommended that set the NR to ON but not only AUTO. U can see the noise reduce more with NR ON rather than NR AUTO.

    • I thought NR set to “auto” simply turns on NR at a certain shutter speed. The amount of NR should not vary between “auto” and “on.” It’s just a dark frame subtraction.

      • Sapphire

        I had compare NR ON & AUTO, the photo more clean at NR ON. maybe u can try too.

  • Dave

    My god it’s full of stars

Back To Top

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.

What are Cookies?
A cookie is a small file of letters and numbers that is stored in a temporary location on your computer to allow our website to distinguish you from other users of the website. If you don't want to accept cookies, you'll still be able to browse the site and use it for research purposes. Most web browsers have cookies enabled, but at the bottom of this page you can see how to disable cookies. Please note that cookies can't harm your computer. We don't store personally identifiable information in the cookies, but we do use encrypted information gathered from them to help provide you with a good experience when you browse our website and also allow us to improve our site. You can watch a simple video from Google to find more information about cookies.

Cookies used by our Website
The 43rumors website,, uses the following cookies for the collection of website usage statistics and to ensure that we can . These are anonymous and temporary. By using our website, you agree that we may place these types of cookies on your device.
Read how Google uses data when you use our partners' sites or apps:
Google Analytics Cookie Usage on Websites: Addthis cookies:
Disqus cookies:
Vimeo cookies:
Youtube cookies:

Disabling/Enabling Cookies
You have the ability to accept or decline cookies by modifying the settings in your browser. Please note however that by deleting our cookies or disabling future cookies you may not be able to access certain areas or features of our site. For information about how to disable cookies in your browser please visit the About Cookies website.