USB-RAW processing in OM Workspace useful?

OM Workspace is a RAW file developer, which is for Olympus / OM System camera owners for free. Ist can be downloaded from the OM Digitalsolution website. As it is the OM Digitalsolutions own software it will be renewed on every product launch. Therefore the first one supporting RAW files of a new camera. Beside the possibility to use the computer processor it offers also to utilize the camera processor to process the RAW files. In forums and the social networks it is heavily discussed whether it makes sense to use the USB-RAW processing capabilities or not. With this short article I would like to help.

OM-1 product image

What is USB-RAW Processing in OM Workspace?

A in camera processor has different tasks than a processor in a computer. Therefore concept and design is fundamental different. A camera processor is optimized for the task needed in a camera. Means that the usage of a camera should be possible, without any delay, at all times. For this task the camera processors has special areas, which are optimized for image processing. This means that a camera processor can make image processing much faster than a ordinary computer processor. A ordinary computer processor is optimized for general usage. This is the reason why OM Workspace offers you the option to utilize the camera processor for RAW image development

How can I use USB-RAW Processing?

Preconditions to use USB-RAW processing is that you have installed OM Workspace and have one compatible camera (E-M1 Mark III; E-M1 Mark II, E-M1X und die OM-1) connected via USB to your computer. It is important that you are using the same camera for processing as you have used for taking the images. Also important is that you set the camera mode to “RAW/Control” . In addition it is important that the camera is connected directly to the computer and no hub is used.

After you have startet the software you can activate USB-RAW processing in the icon bar

screenshot how to activate USB-RAW processing in OM Workspace

Or in case you prefer to uses USB-RAW processing all the time you can make the setting also in the option menu.

where the USB-RAW procession option is located in the settings

Now OM Workspace is able to utilize the camera processor to develop your images..

When does it make sense to use USB-RAW processing?

In case you are using the newest version of apple computers, like the Mac Studio, which do have massive computer power, it only makes sense to use USB-RAW processing, if you would get the same image quality as you are getting from in camera JEPG images. For all other scenarios, the development with the camera processor, which is as said optimized for images processing, will be much faster than processing the images with your computer. I do have a MacBook Pro from 2018, the development with the camera processor is 10x faster as with the Intel processor. In case you would like to judge the advantage in your case, make a simple test. I would be happy when you would share your experience down in the comments.

Focus stacking and focus bracketing

Normally in photography one tries to separate an object from the background with the help of the smallest possible depth of field. This helps to reduce the viewer’s gaze to draw attention to the important part of the picture. However there are situations in which the depth of field is too small and needs to be expanded. This is mostly necessary when you make macros and you are very close to the object. For this purpose, many cameras from OM Digital Solutions provide focus bracketing and focus stacking. How these two functions work and what differentiates them I want to show you here.

The differences between focus stacking and focus bracketing

In case you are using a camera of the OM-D series focus bracketing and focus stacking differentiate in the following two points.

  1. With focus stacking you can shot not more than 15 images, whereas in case of focus bracketing you can shot up to 999 images.
  2. With focus stacking you are getting a JPEG file, which is stacked out of the different images and each single shot in addition in RAW/JEPG. In case of focus bracketing you just get the single images and not a final stacked one. Those images can be used for stacking in a dedicated software afterwards.

Both methods are suitable to expand the depth of field of your images. Focus stacking is easier to use, as the result can be viewed directly in-camera. In addition, the camera shows you a small frame, which indicates the area which will be lost after the images are stacked. Focus bracketing does make sense in case the number of images available in focus stacking is not enough.

Last but not least it is important to know, that Fokus bracketing can be used with all Micro Four Thirds, which have autofocus functionality. Whereas focus stacking is usable only with compatible lenses. Which of the lense are compatible depends on the camera you are using and is also changing from time to time. Therefore please have a look at the OM Digitalsolutions Q&A website if needed.

The settings

In “camera menu 2” you find the entry “Bracketing”. Select it, navigate to “Focus BKT” and open it with the right key on the keypad.

Select “Focus stacking” to activate focus stacking or select “off” in case you would use focus bracketing instead.

The amount of images you would like to take is selectable in “Amount of images” In case you have selected focus stacking you can select up to 15 images. Otherwise, up to 99 images are possible.

In addition, you can define the focus difference between every single shot.

Which value to be selected depends on the object, aperture and focal length. Therefore you could not tell which is the best fitting one. Best you start with the standard value 5 and change it in case you see issues in the final image. As a starting point, I determine the distance between the focus points when using the M.Zuiko Digital ED 60mm F2.8 Macro on the closest focus distance

SchrittgrößeDistance of focus points on the object
10.2 cm
20.3 cm
30.5 cm
40.7 cm
50.8 cm
61 cm
71.1 cm
81.3 cm
91.4 cm
101.5 cm

In case you would like to use an external Flash you can choose the time your flash needs to recharge in the flash charging time.

Attention:

As focus stacking is using the silent shutter, the flash is deactivated. In case you would like to use the flash you have to activate it in the camera2 menu under “Antishock / silent”.

Finally, a small animation of images that were taken with different sharpness settings.

After merging the single images the final result looks like this. Compared to the normal image the depth of field is increased.

Out of 15 images merged result

In case you do have any comments please leave them below.

Customize your AF points

The E-M1X and the E-M1 Mark III do have already a lot of AF layout presets, which are usable in many different situations. Customize your AF points to increase your AF hitting rate. You can adjust them like follows

Customi7e your AF points in the menu

1 In the gear menu select A2 “Target Mode Settings” and open the menu with the arrow right key.

2 You can program and save up to four AF field presets.

3 To be able to select those presets you have to activate them under “Mode Settings”.

You also can watch the following film, which shows step by step how to program your AF fields.

Olympus PEN E-P7 and OM-D E-M10 Mark IV compatible with Profoto Air Remote O-TTL?

Silberne Olympus PEN E-P7 liegend

The Swedish flash manufacturer is one of the world-famous. Their studio flash systems are high-quality, very reliable and could be triggered remotely. With Air Remote O-TTL they have a remote control that can control the light amount via TTL. This makes the studio flash photography much easier than before and speeds up the workflow in the studio. In addition, it is easier to operate studio flash systems.

Official compatible Olympus products

On the Profoto website following Olympus cameras are compatible:

  • E-M1 Serie (E-M1X, E-M1 Mark III, E-M1 Mark II and E-M1)
  • E-M5 Mark III
  • E-M5 Mark II
  • PEN-F
  • OM-1

On the list are only high-grade cameras, which have as target group professional photographers in mind. Makes sense as those cameras are bought by poeple, who are very interested in photography and therefore most properly are using them also in the studio.

What about the PEN E-P7 and the OM-D E-M10 Mark IV

Recently Olympus released its own system to remote control their system flashes, which controls the flash intensity via TTL. The PEN E-P7 and OM-D E-M10 Mark IV are the first entry-level cameras that support this system. The basic requirements for this system are surely similar to the ones of Profoto. Therefore I just tested it. Air Remote TTL-O connected to the camera and set to TTL. Flash switched on and put to full power. The camera pointed to a white wall and released. Lo and behold, the settings of the flash are automatically reduced and the white wall is taken neutral grey. Seems that both cameras are working with the Air Remote O-TTL.

Are both cameras compatible with the Air Remote O-TTL now?

No, they aren’t. As long as the cameras are not on the official Profoto website staged, they are not compatible. It is possible that the cooperation with the Air Remote TTL-O no longer works at any time. For example when one of the firmware versions will be updated and the communication with the Air Remote TTL-O will be adjusted. On this occasion, you don’t have any possibility to complain that the cameras have to work. In addition cover my short test, not all functions, which has to be covered to be compatible. For example, it could be that the high-speed sync is not working or the flashes are not 100% in sync.
Therefore I would not recommend buying an Air Remote TTL-O in case you own a PEN E-PL7 or an OM-D E-M10 Mark IV. In case you already own one to use with a compatible camera you also could try it on a PEN E-PL7 or an OM-D E-M10 Mark IV. In case you do, please leave a comment underneath.

Fast selection of images

When using a function like continuous shooting mode, ProCapture or Focus Bracketing you get very fast a lot of images. The SD card gets filled up very fast and not every image is needed. The normal way to delete single images is very time consuming and therefore not helpful. Cameras from the E-M1 series have fortunately do have a fast selection of images to easily select many images in a short time.

How fast selection of images work

Rückseite der E-M1X

1. Press the replay button to see the images on the SD card

Topansicht der E-M1 Mark III

2. Use the thumbwheel to switch from the single image view to the thumbnail view.

Topansicht der E-M1 Mark III

3. Select the first image, which you would like to select. Press and hold the movie record button.

Topansicht der E-M1 Mark III

4. Rotate either the forefinger wheel or thumbwheel to select the other images. You can select up to 200 images.

As soon as you have selected the images you can either delete or mark them as protected or share them with OI.share.