When it comes to the micro four-thirds system, one of the biggest complaints I hear is that you’re limited by the sensor. And while you can certainly make that argument, for me it’s more about my needs and usage. But for the times when you do need a larger photograph, both Olympus and Panasonic now offer high-resolution shooting modes in their top-of-the-line cameras, the Olympus OM-D E-M1 MkII, E-M5 MkII and the Lumix DC-G9, which create an 80-megapixel photo.
How it Works
Both cameras work the same way in terms of how high-resolution photos are created. For RAW images, they create a series of eight frames that are shifted by half-pixel increments each time. They then bring the eight frames together to create a final image. This works the same with Panasonic’s JPEG images, but the Olympus creates a 50MP final image instead of 80MP.
Because you’re shifting with each frame, this can create a type of movement in your photograph — meaning, it’s not ideal for people shots. But if you’re shooting landscapes or something that doesn’t move, it’s a great solution. Furthermore, this also means that you really need a tripod when shooting.
For both cameras, you’re limited to a maximum ISO of 1600 and minimum aperture of f/8. But there’s one big difference when it comes to shutter speed — the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II lets you use any shutter speed as slow as 60 seconds, while the Panasonic Lumix G9 limits you to one second or faster.
Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II
With the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II, there are two options in terms of high-resolution images. If you shoot JPEG, you can shoot a 50MP photograph, whereas with RAW you can shoot an 80MP photograph. High Res Shot is also available on the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II, providing a 64MP RAW or 40MP JPEG file.
To get started, go to the Custom Menu (signified by a gear icon). From there, scroll down to the D1 menu. In this screen, you’ll see five options. The fourth option is what you want to select. This gives you the ability to add different shooting modes directly to your Super Control Panel.
At the very end of this menu, you’ll see an icon with two overlapping squares and several dots. Make sure this is checked, and then exit out of the menu completely. This will make it so that you can easily change to High Res Shot in the future, without having to go through the above steps.
If you want to add options like a shutter delay to your high-resolution photos, go to the Camera Settings 2 menu and click on High Res Mode.
From there, open your Super Control Panel. This can be done by hitting the Display button to the left of your viewfinder. Then click OK to edit the settings in the panel.
You’ll see a bunch of options in this panel, but the one you want to change is the shooting mode, right in the middle, below the focus selection point. You’ll be able to change this to the icon you added earlier (located at the end), which will read as High Res Shot once selected.
Out of the box, this will record as a Fine JPEG, which will give you a 50MP image. To record an 80MP RAW image, change card slot 1 (and 2, if you’d like) to select 50M SF+RAW. This will add a RAW recording of the High Res Shot in addition to a Super Fine JPEG image. Alternatively, you can use the same method to record a smaller, 25MP JPEG image or a 25MP JPEG image in addition to a RAW image.
Panasonic Lumix G9
To get started with High Resolution Mode on the Panasonic Lumix G9, go to the Camera Record Settings menu, signified by a red camera icon.
In the fourth section of the Camera Record Settings menu, you’ll find High Resolution Mode. Click that and then customize it to your liking. You can add things like a shutter delay and also record a normal, 20MP image while producing your high-resolution photograph. You can also change the JPEG size to 40MP, in case you want something in-between.
When you’re ready, hit Start.
You can also assign High Resolution Mode to an Fn button on your G9 camera, making it easy to turn on High Resolution Mode without having to dig through the menu system.
With both the Olympus E-M1 Mark II and Lumix G9 providing standard 20MP images, having a high-resolution option is certainly beneficial for when you want to print large images. And while it’s not perfect for every situation, for landscapes, nature and even food, high-resolution shooting is a great option to produce the sharpest image possible.
Just don’t forget that tripod!