OLYMPUS OM-D E-M10 and NIKON Df - LOW LIGHT HIGH ISO COMPARISON

Olympus OM-D E-M10 m.Zuiko 25mm f/1.8 Nikon Df Sigma 50mm f/1.4 ART lens

In two previous posts I discovered that the Olympus OM-D E-M10 is actually pretty decent at high ISO's. LINK 1  LINK 2 So I thought I'd see how it compares to the 'full-frame' sensor on my Nikon Df.

First off it's sensible not to get carried away here.

 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
 Olympus OM-D E-M10 m.Zuiko 25mm f/1.8 Nikon Df Sigma 50mm f/1.4 ART lens

Olympus OM-D E-M10 m.Zuiko 25mm f/1.8 Nikon Df Sigma 50mm f/1.4 ART lens

As you see at the high end of ISO sensitivity the Df is clearly superior. It does produce, somewhat remarkably, a useable file at ISO 51200. Plus when you factor in the fact that these shots were processed from raw with all noise reduction turned off, you get an idea of just how good the Nikon is. A camera for any light.

But what happens if we get a bit less ambitious, ISO 3200 say?

  Olympus OM-D E-M10 m.Zuiko 25mm f/1.8 Nikon Df Sigma 50mm f/1.4 ART lens

Olympus OM-D E-M10 m.Zuiko 25mm f/1.8 Nikon Df Sigma 50mm f/1.4 ART lens

  Olympus OM-D E-M10 m.Zuiko 25mm f/1.8 Nikon Df Sigma 50mm f/1.4 ART lens

Olympus OM-D E-M10 m.Zuiko 25mm f/1.8 Nikon Df Sigma 50mm f/1.4 ART lens

As you can see from the OOC jpgs. and raw files the Olympus actually does very well. ISO 3200 with lenses these fast is a good test, since it's representative of an average indoor room with reasonable lighting. Certainly at all the weddings I ever shot I never had to go below that. 

So there is indeed a marked improvement over previous m4/3 performance. And it seems it's down to this new Panasonic sensor in the GH4, E-M1 and E-M10. Mathieu over at Mirrorlessons confirms this since he's been using both the GH4 and E-M5. 

For seriously dim light there's no doubt that the Nikon is the best camera, but for what might be described as every day, 'average' lighting conditions the E-M10 (and the other m4/3 cameras I mentioned) are very useful. So the easy dismissal of m4/3 as producing cameras that only perform well in decent light isn't true any more. A surprising (to me) revelation and of course good news for all 4/3 sensor fans. 

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