The new Olympus OMD E-M5 MkII has an interesting trick up its sleeve – it can take super high resolution pictures. With a few caveats.
By utilising the in-body image stabilisation mechanism the camera can move the sensor in tiny [less than a pixel] increments. And when the camera is set to its high resolution mode it takes eight images, each very slightly different, and merges them into a single 40 megapixel very high resolution final image.
The caveats are that the camera must be tripod mounted, the subject must be absolutely still and the final merged file is in Large Superfine jpeg, not RAW, even if you have the camera set to RAW.
I took matching photos using the OMD E-M5 MkII and the OMD E-M1, the top Olympus micro four thirds camera, with the same lens on each. I shot RAW in the E-M1 to give it the best chance of matching the new camera. Then I opened both images side by side in Photoshop.
Side by side comparison is complicated by the fact that there is a vast difference in image size – 7296 x 5472 pixels for the E-M5 MkII and 4608 x 33456 pixels in the E-M1. Reducing the E-M5 image to the same dimensions as the E-M1 would give the new camera the unfair advantage of perceptual resolution improvement, and enlarging the E-M1 image would reduce the apparent resolution.
So, what I have done is clip 1600 x 1600 crops from both images.
The difference in resolved detail is quite startling. If you look at the individual strands of hair or the weave of the doll’s face material the difference is obvious. The texture in the eye is sharper in the E-M5 image and when the entire picture is inspected the rendition of detail in the doll’s clothing is much better with the new camera.
Bottom line: the high resolution shooting mode is not a gimmick, it really does improve an image. And Olympus technicians are working on speeding up the capture part of the process to eliminate the need for tripod mounting.
This is the high resolution image from the Olympus OMD E-M5 MkII
This is the image from the Olympus OMD E-M1
CLICK ON EACH IMAGE TO SEE THE 1600X1600 PIXEL ORIGINALS