With a good number of new features, including a 16.1-million-pixel sensor and a touch-sensitive screen, Olympus’s Pen Mini range may have grown up. Richard Sibley finds out just how good the diminutive E-PM2 really is. Read the Olympus Pen E-PM2 review...
Noise, resolution and sensitivity
While image resolution is good for a camera with 16.1 million pixels, it is noise that has previously been a problem with four thirds cameras. Overall, the new sensor is a big improvement. Colour noise in JPEG images is kept to an absolute minimum, even at high sensitivities, and is quite easily removed from raw images.
Luminance noise is also more subtle, although, as expected, luminance noise reduction does cause a loss of detail at high sensitivities. For most photographers, noise shouldn’t be an issue at all.
This is not to say that there isn’t noise visible in the usual ISO 200-800 working range of most photographers. Pixel peeping at images with a 100% magnification does occasionally reveal slightly sharpened edges that look like a small amount of luminance noise removal has been applied, along with edge sharpening.
Given that the intention of the E-PM2 is really to make sure that a photographer has a small discreet camera to get the shot they need, rather than worrying about whether they can make billboard-sized enlargements, I wouldn’t be overly concerned about the hint of luminance noise or its removal.
The sensor is very impressive, and those who were happy with the images from the E-PM1’s 12.1-million-pixel sensor will be very pleased with the images from the 16.1-million-pixel E-PM2 unit.
These images show 72ppi (100% on a computer screen) sections of images of a resolution chart, captured using the Sigma 105mm f/2.8 macro lens. We show the section of the resolution chart where the camera starts to fail to reproduce the lines separately. The higher the number visible in these images, the better the camera’s detail resolution at the specified sensitivity setting.