Olympus Viewer 2 vs. Lightroom 4

Rather than try to explain how much better Olympus Viewer 2 is than Lightroom 4 with Olympus OM-D E-M5 raw files, I figured I would show you…



  1. Nice information, May I suggest that the background music is a little to loud as it competes with you for attention

    • Thanks for the note Butch! I can hardly hear the music on the devices I’ve used, but I’ll see what I can do.

  2. Thanks, Rob, nicely done. I have an OM-D E-M5 and I have been using LR4 exclusively. I did install Olympus Viewer 2, and I’ve spent a couple of hours reading the in-program Help just to get some basic understanding of it. I wasn’t very impressed, but I admit that I don’t understand it very well yet. It seems that it uses the in camera settings (contrast, color space, etc.) as the “default” settings for processing the .orf file. I was most disturbed about the message telling me that none of my RAW processing settings would be saved once I left that part of the program. Really? I need to figure out how to get it to save the RAW processing settings into some sort of sidecar file before I commit to using the program any further. Is there some other source of information that you can point us to that we can use to learn this program?

    • Thanks Gregg,
      You’re right, Oly Viewer does not save your settings or changes to raw files. You have to save the files as a tiff or jpeg to save the settings. If you figure out how to save the OV2 settings as an XMP file please let me know! I don’t know of a good OV2 learning resource. I learned everything I know about it from my friendly neighborhood Olympus rep. The only thing I really use it for is raw conversion. Other than that is is really too slow for my normal workflow.

  3. Rob – Very interesting. Does this mean you no longer rely on jpegs for the majority of your work or do you mainly go through the ORF/Viewer 2 process for certain shots that are destined for publication, dramatic enlargement or gallery display?

    • David,
      You’re right, it depends on the output. If I’m working on something important I will shoot raw and convert in OV2. I do the same if I plan to do a lot of editing in LR, PS, plugins, etc. The raw and/or tiff files contain much more data for editing.

  4. Thanks for that video. I’ve got my camera coming tomorrow, and will grab the Oly sofware to try out.

    Have you tried to create a preset in LR4 to match results in the Oly software? Or do you think it’s not really possible to do this?

    Also, have you tried any other RAW processor such as DxO/

    • Marc,
      I tried to match the Oly jpegs in LR4 for quite a while. I get good results from LR, but the Olympus software produces more detail and lower noise. I only learned about this when a friend of mine challenged me to get the same detail from a raw file in LR that he was getting in OV2. I fully intended to prove that LR4 was superior to the Olympus software, but my tests actually proved the opposite.
      Enjoy the new camera! Let me know how you like it.


  5. This was an amazing eye-opener Rob, thank you so much. Prior to today I hadn’t opened the Olympus Viewer at all, even though I had it installed. I have recently started shooting RAW + Jpg so that I can quickly upload jpgs with minimal to no processing, to social media platforms like Facebook. I was previously shooting only RAW, processing in LR and it took me so long to get them to my liking, often times I didn’t upload any photos from a shoot with some nice photos. Your comparison has been so valuable. I’m going to try working OV into my workflow now and try to rely less on Lightroom.

    I now regret having converted my original ORF files to DNG in Lightroom so that I didn’t have the sidecar files to deal with. If I hadn’t done that, or for any I find that I haven’t converted I’ll revisit them with OV now and export JPGs to upload to Facebook now. I’ve just compared today’s shoot in OV. I like the look of the RAW files better than the camera’s JPG, which is interesting compared to Lightroom where the JPG almost always looks better. I’m going to watch your next video now so I can get OV set up better. Thanks so much!


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