The Olympus E-M5 using Dramatic Tone by Tamer Erdem

The Olympus E-M5 using Dramatic Tone

by Tamer Erdem

Though the basic principles of photography are still valid, digital photography changed the rules of the game when it comes to post/in camera-processing. Post-processing or in camera-processing facilities and potential are almost endless and much more effortless in digital era. Art filters were introduced by Olympus a couple of years ago. After Nikon D300, when I purchased my first Olympus, E-P1, I really fell in love with pinhole effect and grainy black and white art filters.

Then I got E-P2 and like new diorama filter that miniaturize the scene. But the ultimate filter that I can desire was offered by OM-D, E-M5; dramatic tone filter for landscape photography. If you do not have enough time for post-processing and like some punchy, strong and slightly surreal landscape images, go for it without any hesitation. This art filter makes the image, kind of HDR (pseudo-HDR) image by increasing the details in shadow regions and decreasing light exposure in the highlighted regions of image. Also it boosts the color saturation and rendition.
I’d like to show some of my dramatic tone photographs that were taken at Kuşadası seaside in the autumn and Ayder plateau, a unique natural beauty in Turkey. You can also visit Zirkale castle, bridges of Byzantine and Ottoman origin and Fırtına Vadisi ( Storm Valley).

Panasonic Lumix 14mm 2.5, 20mm 1.7 and Leica 45mm 2.8 macro lenses were used.









  1. Hi Tamer, love the essay – some well composed shots. I have visited Turkey 3 times (last in 07) and I have always enjoyed my stay there.

    I have seen this effect employed elsewhere and seeing your work has convinced me to invest in an Oly (a used PEN, I think) just to give it a go. My main reason is because I live in Israel and the light here for the most part of the year is very harsh, very flat. I think this type of effect would be a very useful tool to bring out details in this type of light.

    IF I am happy with that I may invest more in the system.

    Question, as you are an E-M5 user, what do you think about the Oly’s ability to deliver good and consistent colour and noise performance from ISO 100 – 3200? Or is that a weakness the ‘Dramatic” tone helps to overcome (though to what ISO level?)?

  2. I like this filter for seascapes, it works really well with the sea and clouds. You can’t easily crop stuff though as it reduces the effective resolution.

  3. Firstly, I think these images are well composed and i enoyed seeing them. Filters are a devicisve subject, but is 2014, and I think they are as much a part of creative photography as playing with chemicals and dodging and burning once were with film.

    Dramatic tone is “what it says on the tin”; dramatic. Some of these are, for me, a little overdone. But that doesn’t mean using the filter is all wrong. Firstly there is personal taste, if you like the result why not? The second shot works well ai think.

    There have been other posts here with some excellent all round results. If you use the art bracket function you can have the original RAW and a filtered jpeg to give you some post processing clues(I saw that on a post here with some dramatic tone b&w shots of ruins on an English moor and they were fantastic). Personally I use this filter with B&w only, for old buildings on a grey day, pale flowers close up (sounds odd, try it) and even for people shots. When they come out just too much, go back to the RAW file and have a play.

    Whatever, good post, must get to Turkey one day, which I imagine constitutes inspiration….

  4. Sorry, but I think this filter is one of the least useful filters. I own E-M5 and just don’t get this filter. IMO these images could benefit a lot more from a quality time with Lightroom.

    • Sorry too Bak but I LOVE this look and I often use this filter with my EM5. This is really just re-creating the kind of look pro landscape photographers used to get with film after a lot of work with half grad filters. It really isn’t that different and sometimes it really works well. In the shots above for example, the contrast of the warmth of the buildings against the cold landscapes almost makes you ‘feel’ the cold and bleak air. The filter enhances this. i think it’s effective and it doesn’t look like HDR to me, which I really don’t like.
      I think Dramatic Tone is the best filter that Olympus offers..I understand you might not like it, That’s just personal preference. I don’t actually like black and white, but some people ( like Steve) love it.
      Dramatic tone definitely gets my vote! No, it’s not accurate color but that isn’t the point. As Randy Allen says..Dream-like quality.

    • But… Sometimes I feel that it’s special to try to get everything done and ready to be print in camera.
      As a x100 owner I’m always pending between shooting raw and doing hours of PP in Lightroom and going jpeg with 10% of processing time in LR.

  5. I enjoy the grainy B&W art filter, but can’t stand the “dramatic” tone one. I think its like a parody of all the bad HDR stuff I come across on the web. Just a matter of opinion and images themselves are nice, just not a fan of the processing.

  6. Nice work.. Sorry, I’m a film shooter. So I’m partial to medium format and large format. You can get this with dynamic range with medium format

    • Well, not really: this is just an effect, it doesn’t substitute for the dynamic range of medium format film (I shoot MF too), but is a nice tool to get interesting images!

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