OMD E-M5 MKii Infrared High Res Mode

It has taken me some time but I have finally got my hands on an Olympus OMD E-M5 Mkii to test out it’s Infrared capabilities, particularly with respect to High Res mode.  There are not really a lot of choices for native Micro Four Thirds Infrared lenses, but the 9-18mm is a stand out.  I’ve never experienced any hot spots with this lens and it’s nice and wide.  Of course using it on an off the shelf camera (not infrared converted) you expect some long exposure times, but using the High Res mode on the E-M5 you need a tripod anyway, so a good fit.

All shots taken with Olympus 9-18mm f4-5.6 wide zoom, and cheap $13 no name 720nm Infrared filter from Ebay.   As mentioned in previous posts, I have tried $100 IR filters and I see no difference at all compared to the cheap ones.
Buriram Castle IR single left IR high res right

left is standard single image, right is high res mode

Both images taken on a tripod with the same exposure, 4 seconds @f5.6, 18mm.  The High res mode takes longer with it’s multiple images and then it’s stitching.
Buriram Castle zoom castle

zoomed in pixel peeping, 316% on the single image left, and 200% on the high res image right

The extra resolution is apparent when pixel peeping.  There were people walking about constantly during these shots, Buriram castle is a bit of a tourist attraction.  In the single exposure at 4 seconds the people just blend away and become invisible.  On the High res shot they leave some torn jagged artefacts in the image.  So on the plus side you get extra resolution, on the negative you get some artefacts.


Buriram Castle zoom sign

zoomed in pixel peeping, 273% on the single image left, and 173% on the high res image right

Looking at signs in the image the resolution advantage is quite clear.  I have read some reviews discussing the fact that you need the Oly pro lenses to make the high res mode worth while.  However all the lenses I have tested in Hi Res mode show an increase in resolution, some more than others, but all show an improvement, even the cheap 12-50mm which is the least sharp Micro four thirds lens I have tried does show an improvement in high res mode.


Tree dam IR left single right high res

left is standard single image, right is high res mode

Looking at another example with some wind blowing through reeds, branches and some water movement.  Exposure 2 seconds @f5.6, 11mm.

Tree pond zoom in lilly


zoomed in pixel peeping, 203% on the single image left, and 129% on the high res image right

The 2 second exposure is enough to create some glassy water effects in both the single image and the high res mode.  The waving reeds in the breeze cause a little motion blur in the single shot, and again some jagged artefacts in the high res shot.


tree lake side.jpg

Processed High Res Image 

Just to get a little more extreme it is fun to stitch some of these high res shots together in Hugin to make even bigger files.  The artefacts are there, but you have to really pixel peep to notice.


Tree Dam IR High res Hugin stitch R&B swap.jpg

Processed High Res, Hugin Stiched (3 images) 65Mp 12407 x 5280 pixels

Click for Flickr High res image


Fuji X100 infrared compared to Converted Olympus E-PM1

Just for fun I thought I would compare my IR converted E-PM1 with my Fuji X100, both with an IR720nm filter.  The E-PM1 has the IR blocking filter removed so shooting hand held at any f-stop is no problem.  The fuji is off the shelf but is still good for hand held IR shots at f2 and ISO1600.  At those settings the Fuji X100 shutter speed is normally around 1/30th of a second, which is completely fine for hand held as long as you’re careful.

All the images have been processed in GIMP, if anyone is interested there is a tutorial here ->

The gear used;

Converted Olympus E-PM1 (IR hot filter removed)
Olympus 9-18mm lens (almost no hot spot, great for IR)
ISO 200

Fuji X100 (standard off the shelf)
23mm f2
ISO 1600

Black and white images first
Olympus E-PM1 image on top, Fuji X100 image below

1 Bed lake side processed bw EPM1
2 Bed lake side processed bw FUJI

9 Tree lake front processed BW EPM1
10 Tree lake front processed BW FUJI

Colour processed images of the same scene, E-PM1 (top) and Fuji (below)

11 Tree lake front processed EPM1
12 Tree lake front processed FUJI

A close up scene to show the difference in depth of field.  The Fuji really deals well with lens flare in this situation, the Oly less so, but of course it’s art.   E-PM1 at f5.6 (top) and the Fuji being at f2 (below)

5 Scales processed EPM1
6 Scales processed FUJI

The E-PM1 tends to have more subtle colours, with the Fuji being more bold, the processing used is not exactly the same as the files are quite different, but I tried to make them similar.  E-PM1 (top) and Fuji (below)

7 Tree processed EPM1
8 Tree processed FUJI

3 Boat processed EPM1
4 Boat processed FUJI

Fuji X100

Fuji X100 hand held infrared (unmodified standard camera)

It has been a real delight to find out just how good the X100 is for Infrared, it’s a combination of having a virtually hot spot free lens, and clean files up to ISO1600.
The shutter speeds in full sun with an IR720nm filter at ISO1600 tend to be around 1/30th of a second which is hand holdable this lens, just make sure you take a few shots of the same scene in case on or two end up with motion shake.

The below image is an Out of Camera JPG with the following settings;

  • Infrared 720nm filter
  • Black and White
  • ISO1600
  • DR400
  • Shadow Tone – Hard
  • Highlight Tone – Normal


All the images below have the same settings as above, but a little contrast and curve adjustment in post processing (GIMP).


cane field road line

cane field


Palm Road and truck