The Adobe Denoise AI, litterally breathes new life into older cameras - such as the small Olympus OMD E-M5 from 2012 - whose 16 MP Sony sensor performs admirably while having a rather interesting rendering in both colors, and the way it rolls off the highlight so gently. Normally, digital sensors tend to cut off highlights pretty hard.



Noise at ISO 1600

basically goes down to ISO 200 in its look after you "washed" it with the Adobe Denoise AI plugin. At ISO 800 the camera renders practically noise-free. Black and White images just look gorgeous ! Overall, I actually like the Black & White rendering from this camera very much.


Interesting 12 MP Sony sensor

There is something different about it - which I do not get from the Canon EOS R6, not the Olympus OM-1 camera. Perhaps because the old 16 MP Sony sensor in the Olympus EM5, has more punch. There is something about the colors when translated into gray scales, also having a bit more punch. (Honestly, i have not figured out, what exactly appears to give me the feeling of a difference: if its my settings or something else)


New life

The 16 MP sensor is by nature more noisy than the latest 20 MP sensors in Olympus cameras - but after you use the Adobe Denoise tool - this changes significantly, sparking interestingly new life into that 10 year old camera, with beautiful almost noisefree images. (So far, I have only tested this up to ISO 1600).

It is a cool camera actually !

Very rugged, metal, and solid. A bit chunky in its handling, with only mechanical shutter - to which i put a slight shutter delay which makes it appear "sluggish". But that is because I had counteract the shutter shake for certain speeds (prone to micro blur) with help of an added delay. Because the camera has no electronic silent shutter that could eliminate the problem. Olympus never adressed this issue in the EM5 - so adding a shutter delay was the only way to counteract the issue somewhat.

This old camera gave me a lot of pleasure last night. Partially, because out of all my Olympus cameras, it happens to be the smallest of them all. Yes, it is a bit "clumsy" - but at the same time, it feels refreshing, solid and straight forward. I has IBIS, it is weather sealed - and easy to take with me.

I love the thick typeface on back LCD screen, which in a very clear, intuitive way shows aperture and shutter speeds. Latter camera models, show those important two numbers, with thin, puny letters...


Intruiging nifty

I am still intrigued how nifty the camera is, how solid the body works - and how good the basic AF works as long you have some light left in your surrounding. But in almost total darkness - the camera is BLIND. You see nothing on the LCD nor in the viewfinder. This happenss even earlier if you work with a lens of aperture ƒ2.8 - while with a bright ƒ 1.4 or ƒ 1.7 lens, it get's a bit easier.

But within a city at night - and there is always light somewhere - it is less of a problem. Of the country side however, you are working in the blind...

I would in 2023 have expected that the Olympus OMD E-M5 camera to be much more "crappy" - but that isn't the case. The sensor is actually pretty good, and I like its personality (the way it renders colors, even if that sometimes can be a bit too punchy for some). Blue and Green for example have a tendency to be more saturated than normal, i have noticed. Reminds me a bit of a Leica M9 sometimes (which has a CCD sensor, not a CMOS)


The images below

have all been converted with Adobe Denoise AI - so in this (smaller) publishing format, there is practically no noise visible - which is remarkable for images taken at ISO 1600 from an 10 year old camera.

On my way to the subway Station
ISO 1600

A world of Tunnels
ISO 1600

Shoes in the train cabin
ISO 800

Train depot impressions
ISO 800







Before and After

I tested the Adobe Denoise AI on the Olympus EM5, first at ISO 6400 - the nominal MAX ISO, and then ISO 25000 which is the extended highest ISO on that camera. The Noise and color blotchyness on such RAW files, before conversation - look absolutely frankly horrible.

That you can do something out of them looking reasonably OK - is quite astonishing.

Naturally, it must be said, that when you use this at the highest ISO, the details are getting smoothed out in an unnatural way (this can be counteracted by setting the Denoise AI smoothing slider down a bit - or by reintroducing a little noise back into the photo later on)

I believe that people in general never would come of the idea to walk around, taking images at ISO 25000 with an old Olympus EM5. The ISO 6400 are a much better option, and enough for most low light situations. Or you just hold the camera still, at a lower ISO: After all, the EM5 in 2012 had already IBIS (Image Stabilization).


At ISO 6400 - it's useful

The results at ISO 6400 are very good, even for the 10 year old Olympus E-M5, extending its range at sensitivity levels earlier unheard of. (I used to avoid ISO 6400) and capped the auto-ISO at around 1600, sometimes even at ISO 800, just in order to keep the natural noise at bay.

Also remember, Adobe Denoise AI, allows you to set the smoothing level between 1% and 100%. Usually, already at 1%, the color noise is being visibly filtered - while the grain becomes visibly more smooth at 50% or higher.


Very useful tool for older RAW images

In any way - the new Adobe Denoise AI is a fascinating tool, coping with noise, especially from older camera RAW files. (Plus that you after conversation still have a DNG/RAW file !)

At the same time, if you still have lovely older digital cameras - they can get a new life, due to that you can use them at higher ISO, or at lower ISO with relatively noisy levels - can be reduced to a natural looking level, often several stops lower.

What is there not to like ?


Support of future file formats ?

Adobe said something about that the Denoise AI tool will support other formats in the future, but didn't mention which. As of now, it doesn't work on JPG's (or any other file types). Also; it doesn't work on Leica Monochrom DNG files.


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