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Olympus Hi Resolution mode


  • the Olympus High-Res sensor shift mode was introduced in Feb 2015 with the Olympus OM-D E-M5 II
  • it is a technique first used on Hasselblad medium format cameras, and was introduced by Olympus to further enhance the capabilities and functionality of their amazing sensor based image stabiliser
  • the sensor moves 0.5 pixel between each shot (that is just 0.0002mm from its previous position – with a tolerance of +/-0.0001mm)
  • the camera automatically takes 8 shots with the sensor in slightly different position and then analyses each shot and merges them into one 64mp RAW file then downsizes this to a 40mp jpeg (as there is no significant image detail to be gained from having more than 40mp on this sensor)
  • “Unlike the Hasselblad system, which uses four or six shots, the Olympus method uses eight. This is because it's essentially doing two things: the first four movements shift the sensor in whole-pixel jumps in a square pattern. This is designed to overcome the limitations of the Bayer color filter pattern: moving each red and blue pixel into all the gaps that would normally exist between them and their nearest same-color neighbor, meaning you sample every color at every pixel. The sensor then moves up and left by 1/2 a pixel's width and repeats its square pattern - theoretically doubling the vertical and horizontal resolution.”1)

image courtesy of


  • set camera to HiRes mode, this may automatically set file type to jpeg only, so you may wish to change this to jpg+RAW
  • place camera on a tripod
  • take shot - camera will automatically take 8 shots and combine them to produce:
    • HiRes jpeg
    • +/- HiRes RAW (ORF)
    • +/- normal res RAW (ORI) of 1st frame

processing the RAW files

  • if you are using the new Olympus OM-D E-M1 mark II, and want Adobe to process the RAW files directly, you will need to wait until Adobe releases a new version compatible with this camera's RAW files

ORI files

  • according to Olympus these files cannot be viewed or processed in the E-M5 II camera
  • Olympus Viewer 3 will handle these files and you can export to TIFF
  • this file type is not supported by most image processing software even though it is apparently just a regular RAW file just of the first image the camera takes
  • you may be able to process this file in most software if you change the file name extension to .ORF instead of .ORI (make sure you have moved it to a different folder from your actual high res ORF file, or renamed the filename so there is no duplication with this ORF file) 2)

HiRes ORF files

  • Olympus Viewer 3 will handle these files and you can export to TIFF
  • latest versions of Adobe software will handle the E-M5 II files (eg. Lightroom 6, Photoshop CC 2017 and CS6) but not E-M1 II files
  • older versions of 64 bit Photoshop or CS5 require an additional plugin:
    • Olympus plugin for 64bit CS5 or Photoshop can be found here and the instructions can be downloaded here (pdf)
    • there is no plugin for 32 bit CS5 or Photoshop!
  • Adobe Lightroom 5 requires initial conversion of the ORF file to DNG via the Adobe DNG Converter


  • gives significantly more image detail when you want it than the usual 16mp image
  • gives more colour detail and less moire than a 36-50mp full frame sensor while giving similar base luminance detail
  • more detailed edge-to-edge images than full frame
    • optics of Micro Four Thirds system will generally give sharper image with less aberrations across the image from edge to edge compared to a full frame system (physics of optics means that for a given optical design, aberrations and resolution loss decline - often to the power of 4 - as one moves in distance from the centre of the image)
  • one can resort back to 16mp file sizes when this mode is not needed
  • 36mp+ cameras need to be on a tripod to give 36mp+ image detail so these uses are generally just wasting file size for all their other shots taken without tripods and critical focus techniques - for most photographers, improved image stabiliser is more important in gaining image detail than more megapixels


  • currently requires tripod and static scene
    • the current implementation on the Olympus OM-D E-M5 II takes almost 1 sec to complete the 8 shot sequence and thus any scene motion between shots results in artefacts in the image and thus currently it is limited to tripod use with a static scene and when using flash shutter speed sync is only 1/20th sec due to use of the electronic shutter for each shot
    • Olympus is hoping improved technology will allow the 8 shots to be completed in 1/60th sec and thus requirement of the tripod and static scenes may be substantially reduced3)
  • requires very sharp optics to achieve 40mp
omd/hires.txt · Last modified: 2017/01/03 09:23 by gary1

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