The Olympus Pen E-P5 is a stylish modern-day take on an Olympus film camera from the 1960s, packed with new and improved features as well as a clever body design that enhances its handling, writes Tim Coleman. Read the Olympus Pen E-P5 review...
Olympus Pen E-P5 review – Dynamic range
Olympus really upped its game when it introduced its new 16.1-million-pixel sensor in the OM-D – a sensor that is now present in all its current CSCs, including the Pen E-P5. Not only does the higher resolution result in greater detail than in the last generation of models, but the sensor’s performance has also been improved to offer a greater dynamic range (DR). The Olympus CSCs using the older 12-million-pixel sensor have a DR in the region of 10EV, while those using the 16.1-million-pixel sensor enjoy a DR in the region of 12EV – a 2-stop improvement.
Our lab tests indicate that the E-P5 performs best at ISO 200, with a DR of almost exactly 12EV, and it stays above 11EV up to ISO 800. At the low ISO 100 setting, the DR is 11.5EV. The loss of half a stop from ISO 200 is seen in images in the slightly clipped highlights. I’d stick to ISO 200, and thankfully there is a 1/8000sec maximum shutter speed so this ISO setting is usable in bright light even with wide aperture lenses. At ISO 25,600 the DR has dropped to approximately 6.5EV, which is to be expected. All in all, this performance matches or comes close to other CSCs.
Other than a shading compensation option in the Colour/WB menu (which reduces the effect of vignetting), there are no real options to boost the dynamic range in a single frame. Unfortunately, the HDR mode simply records consecutive images with different exposure values, which the user then manually combines post-capture using software. It would be nice to see a true HDR mode included next time.