Getting Sharp Images With Olympus OM-D Cameras

The most asked question thrown at me over the years has got to be "Robin, how did you get such sharp results from your Olympus gear?" It was as if I had some secrets or special techniques (some said sauces) to create magically sharp results from shooting with my Olympus Micro Four Thirds system. I have blogged about this topic before, addressing the question head-on several years ago. However, since I am venturing into the YouTube world, I thought it would be apt to revisit this most frequently asked question and share my "secrets" on getting tack sharp images in a video format!



Nothing new was added to what was already shared here in this blog previously, I was merely reiterating the important steps in ensuring pin sharp results. Shooting discipline is crucial, as always, painstakingly moving the focusing point to exactly where you want the area in the frame to be in perfect focus. I explained in depth with demonstration why I don't trust shooting with center focus and recompose metthod, which is flawed and can cause soft results (slight out of focus) when shooting with wide open aperture. Though Micro Four Thirds may have almost "infinite" depth of field (*cough cough) we still have to exercise extra caution and not be sloppy when shooting. Slight miss-focus means loss of important fine detail, and overall sharpness.

The most common mistake I observe is not using fast enough shutter speed. Yes, the Olympus 5-Axis IS is super effective in mitigating hand or camera shake, but if your subject is moving and you are dealing with dangerously slow shutter speeds, you may still get blurry images (unless the subject motion blur is intended). Dealing with longer telephoto lenses (eg 300mm) also require the use of faster shutter speeds to compensate for lens movements. The longer the focal length the more sensitive the image is to shake.

Image below shot with Olympus PEN-F and M.Zuiko 25mm F1.2 PRO



The other tips I have shared in the video include using Anti-Shock "0-sec" to reduce shutter vibration, stopping down lens aperture to optimize optical performance and finally, for JPEG shooters, don't use noise filter high to preserve fine details and overall sharpness.

I think some people will be surprised to find out that I did not mention upgrading to better lenses to get better sharpness. I cannot deny that getting higher grade Olympus lenses will guarantee you sharper results, as better optics can produce superior images, that is not the point of this article. I want to remind everyone that nothing replaces proper shooting discipline, getting the images right in camera while shooting and doing everything in your power to ensure we get the best out of what we have on hand. What is the point of having the sharpest lens, if we did not even care about proper focusing technique to ensure critically sharp focus, or watching the shutter speeds to mitigate hand/camera shake? Shooting discipline first, getting better lens later!

I know this is not a new article, but I hope it will benefit those who have just discovered this blog, and found me through YouTube. Olympus Micro Four Thirds system is a lot more capable than what most people believe, and I am doing my best to share the best I can on how to get the best out of the system. I shall continue to do so in this blog, and now alongside my YouTube channel.

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9 comments:

  1. Thanx for the article, totally agree about what can be (easily) achieved with Olympus system.
    I had an olympus EPL-7.
    I tried a Fuji X100 because i like fuji colors.
    I like to shoot JPG and I don't like post processing, so I switched to it.
    Also own a Ricoh GR II, love it for the same reason plus portability.

    But I have to say that my sharpest shots were with the Olympus body.
    It's just amazing what Olympus has achieved as far as auto focus and sharpness performance, even with kit lenses.

    I think that with any used Olympus body and the 45mm 1.8 professional portrait quality is easily achievable, as far as sharpness and image quality are concerned.

    Sometimes I miss this, but for now I decided that 2 cameras are enough for me.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for sharing your experience, Giancarlo, appreaciate it. Olympus certainly knows what they are doing when it comes to optics, hence even they can create very admirable small pancake designed kit lenses!

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  2. Thanks, great article and accompanying video! But was surprised to see that a video discussing sharpness was not uploaded to Youtube at something higher than HD resolution! We have great Internet bandwidth at my house and would love to have seen a 4K version of this video!

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    Replies
    1. I am not a videographer, and probably will never be. The 4K resolution would have taken up a lot more space, and I need more time to do post-production, which honestly I have spent too much time on recently even on HD version. Maybe in the future when the channel takes off, or I see a future in video making then I will transition over to 4K territory. I don't even have a 4K monitor to edit my videos!

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  3. Great video. Very helpful. Thanks Robin. Now if I could only figure out the menus.

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    Replies
    1. I did show how I get to the settings in the video! Which part you could not figure out?

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  4. So simple and yet so important!

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