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Old Sep 28, 2010, 4:20 PM   #1
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Default EPL1 vs. Pentax Kx - ISO 3200

Almost a month ago I bought an EPL1 but we did not get along very well. Since I already have several old Pentax-mount lenses and I've read plenty of good stuff about the Kx, I found a good deal on Amazon and bought myself one, which arrived last Friday. Obviously I won't keep both. In fact, I may not keep either because each has annoyances that will aggravate the heck out of me. The lack of focus indicator on the Kx bugged me more than I thought it would. In the meantime, before I run out of time with the EPL1, I decided to bring them both to work with me, shoot something different and compare the results. I started by testing the high ISO capability of the two cameras since both have a very good reputation for being great high ISO performers.

This test was not scientific by any means. I simply set both cameras to P mode, center-weight metering, custom WB (tungsten), Ev 0 and ISO 3200. Both cameras had their respective kit lenses on. I chose three different objects with total different characteristics and levels of details, that are sitting on top of my desk.

The pictures were all taken hand-held. Since both cameras offer IBIS, I figured that it would be interesting to see how effective each system was compared to the other.

I then uploaded the images to my PC, edited them in Neatimage and Denoisemyimage to see how clean the images could get and cropped them roughly to the same size. I used the same exact values in each software to process the image alike. So, the programs used the same strength of noise reduction.

Which of the two cameras performed better? Well...take a look. I'll start with the EPL1 and then the Kx. Each set is comprised of three pictures per camera: 1. straight out of the camera; 2. edited by denoise; 3. edited by Neatimage.

EPL1 vs. Kx OOC
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Old Sep 28, 2010, 4:21 PM   #2
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EPL1 vs. Kx Denoise
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Old Sep 28, 2010, 4:22 PM   #3
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EPL1 vs. Kx Neatimage
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Old Sep 28, 2010, 4:23 PM   #4
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EPL1 vs. Kx OOC
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Old Sep 28, 2010, 4:26 PM   #5
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EPL1 vs. Kx Denoised
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Old Sep 28, 2010, 4:27 PM   #6
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EPL1 vs. Kx NeatImage
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Old Sep 28, 2010, 4:28 PM   #7
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EPL1 vs. Kx - OOC
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Old Sep 28, 2010, 4:29 PM   #8
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EPL1 Vs. Kx - Denoised
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Old Sep 28, 2010, 4:30 PM   #9
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EPL1 Vs. Kx - NeatImage


It is obvious (at least to me from looking at those images) that the EPL1 does a better job controlling noise and preserving detail at the same time. The calculator shots I tried to focus on #5. When shooting with the Kx, due to the fact that lighting was low and the calculator was black plus the fact that there is no focus indicator light, I could not tell for sure whether the very center of the focus was on #5 or not. Obviously not since #5 does not appear to be on focus. The little figure is about 1 1/2" long by 1" tall. The EPL1 is pulling a lot of detail from it.
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Old Sep 28, 2010, 6:07 PM   #10
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The KX is the model where Pentax does not have anything in the finder to denote the focus points, right? If so, that would really bother me, too.

I think what you are seeing here is simply the better JPEG engine of Olympus at work. Shot RAW and procesed manually, I am sure the Pentax images would be pretty darn nice. You could probably see the same thing comparing JPEG's from the E-PL1 against either Canon or Nikon's JPEG engine from their similar-level DSLR's as well.

I guess it's all about choices and priorities. The DSLR's will give you boatloads of better operational speed than the button-happy E-PL1, at a cost of having to spend more time with the files afterwards to obtain the results you want, or results similar to what the E-PL1 can do in-camera.

I see both sides, use both and would not want to ever give up my DSLR's. The mirrorless system is nice, but needs to get nicer(faster, operationally).
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