The internet and the truth, oh well! Sharks swimming in hurricane Sandy´s flood waters at somebody´s backyard. Wow! Olympus E-PL5 having one stop more dynamic range than OM-D. Wow! Olympus E-PL5 having no low-pass filter. Wow! I´m really not speaking here about hurricane damages and some digital cameras in the same context but wondering about the dynamics of the internet. How one post in the internet can cumulate into something big, worldwide and very true. There were sharks swimming in many places, like in flood water among running cars, already during hurricane Irene. So, it is only natural that from now on we see sharks swimming in peculiar places when ever there is a flood.
Blatant faking of reality is of course one thing and honest (miss-)drawing of conclusions is another. Which leads into these two cameras. E-PL5 is the newest in PEN series from Olympus. According to Olympus it has same sensor and same processor and same image quality as their flag ship mirrorless, the OM-D. But, as you know, camera factories simply are not reliable. We have already one test showing that E-PL5 has one stop better dynamic range than OM-D. Also we have now information that E-PL5 has no low-pass filter (while OM-D has). And both facts are circulating the internet as - yes, as facts.
Olympus (like others) has been developing their anti-moiré algorithms all the time to make ever thinner low-pass filters possible. That´s good for image sharpness. Already OM-D has a relatively thin low-pass filter and the importance of algorithms is easy to see if you convert an OM-D RAW file in Olympus Viewer 2 or Adobe Lightroom 4. Viewer 2 software removes moiré nicely while in Lightroom you need to do manual corrections quite often. Viewer 2 gives also an option to leave anti-moiré off. Also all the other parameters can be set exactly the same. This gives us a great possibility to compare these two cameras which have same sensors but the other is with low-pass filter and the other with none, presumably. The difference should be obvious and it is seen below.
Doing tests is difficult because you have to be sure that what you get is what you were after. That´s why I usually even do not show those vertical lines in my reviews . They are more sensitive to the slightest differencies in camera or sensor angles than anything else. Here I know the slight difference we see in them comes from changing the camera, or maybe the sensors in these two individual camera bodies are not absolutely perfectly aligned when compared with each other. Other than that, the only thing we can see in these two images is that there really is no difference at all. Yes, there are very, very slight differencies but they can come from so many little deviations. What I can say is that there is a similar low-pass filter in BOTH cameras or in neither. The former is true here. Actually it is quite amazing that these two camera bodies, one OM-D and one E-PL5, produce such outstandingly similar results! And that is the only thing which surprised me. Tolerancies in making these cameras must be very small.
Okay we have now busted one myth, unless I faked these test target images, of course ;-)
The other claim was that E-PL5 has a one stop advancement in dynamic range over OM-D. I shot this same test target to see dynamic range over a range of 14 stops. Neither of these cameras do not have such a range, of course. I only wanted to be sure. Again, the results were just alike as above. Every pair of similarly exposed images is just as close to each other as above. There is no difference in dynamic ranges between these two cameras. And that´s it!