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PostPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2009 9:30 pm 
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Joel A wrote:
so here's another question, what are the drawbacks (if any) of the 4/3's system?

It seems on paper that olympus produces great cameras, and great lenses... but why does most of the consumer market still prefer DSLR's like Nikon and Canon?


Maybe they do, maybe they don't. In my case it's not whether they are preferred, it's just that they are available. I went to 2 electronics markets which literally had 100 camera stores and none of them sold any Olympus (1 had a Pentax km). It's a similar situation in other countries - Olympus often have to be actively seeked whereas the Canikons are often sold to the consumer by the salesperson because that's what they have.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 18, 2009 2:12 am 
When I first went into looking for a dslr my initial choice was going to be the Canon 400d. After getting a chance to actually hold one, I didn't too much like the build quality. I got a chance to hold a D80 and I would almost decide to choose one. After checking out Gordon's E-520 review I saw just how much it had over the competition at the time (in terms of features). I saw shots taken with the E-520 online that made me feel confident in buying the camera. I feel that with Olympus you get serious bang for your buck in terms of features and image quality.

The downside? 4/3rds cameras produce more noise than their larger sensor brethren, but is it really that big of a problem? Sure if you're only going to be looking at your image on a monitor and look at it @ 100% and the "per pixel sharpness" and the test charts and all the other stuff...Most of the noise that people complain about is not really present when printed. I have 8x10 prints of the E-3 @ iso 3200 that look fine. I have 8x10 prints of the E-520 @ iso1600 that look fine.

If you're only going to rely on the in-camera processing engine then perhaps you will be disappointed in the four thirds high iso performance, but then again software post production does make the playing field more leveled in my opinion.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 18, 2009 4:39 am 
I have a Zune. It is awsome. So I suppose I will fit nicely into the Olympus group.

I've been surfing camera labs like all of you. I don't see any pics of the day from any Olympus users.

I held the E-620. It was a fine size. didnt seem to small. I like the 5XX grip though. The E-620 seemed like a great camera. But starting to get too flashy. With built in filters and what not. I like to keep things simple.

I first started looking at Digital SLR's and the field was all open to me. What do you do? It is a big job to start the research. So first I based it on looks. And the camera I liked the most. based on looks alone were Olympus. Then I went by price. Olympus. Then I went by specs. Olympus held its own. Then I went by feel. Olympus. It won out on almost all fronts. Plus I love the name. Don't mess with the gods.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2009 12:03 am 
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Format-je wrote:
Always IS in every lens you ever buy.


Unless you're cheap and you buy the E-420/E-450!


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2009 7:56 am 
Some of the listed advantages make no sense to me.

Smaller: The sensor is smaller, but are the cameras actually smaller? You're not going to be able to fit an E-620 in your pocket right? The E-620 is just 50g lighter than the Canon 500D. Will you actually notice the difference? Similarly the E-3 is just 30g lighter than the full frame (i.e. 4x larger sensor) Canon 5D mk II. Lenses aren't too different either. Canon 24-105L is 95g heavier than the Olympus 12-60. Carrying a full camera system around, you're going to be looking at a difference of less than 150g. Is that going to be noticeable?

Lenses: All manufacturers make good lenses. Nikon, Canon, Sony, Pentax and Olympus users all swear earnestly that they're lenses are awesome. Reading a side like Photozone.de, I can't see anything that would make Olympus lenses stand out. Don't get me wrong, they're good lenses. But so are the rest.


Now here are some obvious drawbacks which have prevented me from dabbling with the 4/3rds system.

4/3 ratio: I print quite a bit and the most common print ratios are 3:2 not 4:3. Shooting 4/3 means that I'll have to crop all photos. In addition to the workload, this means that I'm going to lose part of my carefully framed composition.

Olympus: Buying a DSLR is investing into a system. That's why it's also important to think long term and not just focus on the current offerings. The flagship has not been updated in quite a while. Even then, the Olympus flagship appears to be competing against the D300s and 7D which aren't flagships in the slightest. This means you have a lack of upgrade options since there are cameras positioned above it in the Canon, Nikon and even Sony (w00t!) camp. The lack of updates will make you guess at the direction Olympus is heading with it's 4/3 cameras. Will they focus on micro 4/3 instead as that seems to be doing better? Who knows. That's the problem.

There are other "downsides" that people like to fixate on. Higher noise, lack of dynamic range and to be honest those aren't real problems unless you go hunting for them. If you're buying a camera and are not likely to move towards the high end, then by all means go for the Olympus 4/3 system. If you think that photography is something you might develop, you'll want to bear what I've said in mind.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2009 8:09 am 
pgtips wrote:
Some of the listed advantages make no sense to me.

Smaller: The sensor is smaller, but are the cameras actually smaller? You're not going to be able to fit an E-620 in your pocket right? The E-620 is just 50g lighter than the Canon 500D. Will you actually notice the difference? Similarly the E-3 is just 30g lighter than the full frame (i.e. 4x larger sensor) Canon 5D mk II. Lenses aren't too different either. Canon 24-105L is 95g heavier than the Olympus 12-60. Carrying a full camera system around, you're going to be looking at a difference of less than 150g. Is that going to be noticeable?

Lenses: All manufacturers make good lenses. Nikon, Canon, Sony, Pentax and Olympus users all swear earnestly that they're lenses are awesome. Reading a side like Photozone.de, I can't see anything that would make Olympus lenses stand out. Don't get me wrong, they're good lenses. But so are the rest.


Now here are some obvious drawbacks which have prevented me from dabbling with the 4/3rds system.

4/3 ratio: I print quite a bit and the most common print ratios are 3:2 not 4:3. Shooting 4/3 means that I'll have to crop all photos. In addition to the workload, this means that I'm going to lose part of my carefully framed composition.

Olympus: Buying a DSLR is investing into a system. That's why it's also important to think long term and not just focus on the current offerings. The flagship has not been updated in quite a while. Even then, the Olympus flagship appears to be competing against the D300s and 7D which aren't flagships in the slightest. This means you have a lack of upgrade options since there are cameras positioned above it in the Canon, Nikon and even Sony (w00t!) camp. The lack of updates will make you guess at the direction Olympus is heading with it's 4/3 cameras. Will they focus on micro 4/3 instead as that seems to be doing better? Who knows. That's the problem.

There are other "downsides" that people like to fixate on. Higher noise, lack of dynamic range and to be honest those aren't real problems unless you go hunting for them. If you're buying a camera and are not likely to move towards the high end, then by all means go for the Olympus 4/3 system. If you think that photography is something you might develop, you'll want to bear what I've said in mind.



50g is roughly 10% of the weight of an entry level body. It all adds up. However I myself am not too concerned over weight. I have an E-3 and usually have the battery gripped attached.

And Olympus lenses are not just good, theyre affordable for the quality they deliver. I still have yet to see a lens that rivals my 12-60mm 2.8-4 in all aspects; this was largely the reason for my staying in 4/3 format instead of going to Nikon or Pentax.

And as far as not having a Full Frame to upgrade to, consider this: the VAST majority of dSLR buyers will just buy the entry level model and NEVER upgrade the body or the lens, keeping the damn thing on Auto more times than not.
The SLR owners that DO know what theyre doing and upgrade, are hugely over represented online because those are the ones that actually care enough to go and find a community for their hobby.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2009 8:32 pm 
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Concerning lenses, I've found the Olympus 12-60mm to consistently out-perform the Canon 24-105mm in overall sharpness across the frame and coloured fringing (even on Canon cropped bodies), and of course it's also a stop brighter at the wide-end. The 7-14mm is also excellent.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2009 10:05 pm 
Pgtips- I completely hear what you're saying, and that's a very valid argument.

For me however, I don't estimate in any short amount of time that i'll be upgrading to a much better (more expensive) camera then something that is a "budget" model. I'm a college kid, so i don't have a ton of money to spend, nor do i forsee myself making a significant upgrade of my camera in the near future.

Could it happen? Sure.. but if i really wanted to upgrade my body, and found that i needed to change to a different system, I could also "start over" in a sense and sell all of my olympus gear in a package and put the funds towards new gear of my choice.

And i do agree that the slightly smaller size isn't anything to go nuts over.. like you said, it's not a whole lot smaller, and even if it was that wouldn't make me buy it. I'm not buying it because of it's small size, infact i'm thinking that's a drawback for me, and i'm really concerned about that because i have large hands...


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Nov 20, 2009 7:02 pm 
Gordon Laing wrote:
Concerning lenses, I've found the Olympus 12-60mm to consistently out-perform the Canon 24-105mm in overall sharpness across the frame and coloured fringing (even on Canon cropped bodies), and of course it's also a stop brighter at the wide-end. The 7-14mm is also excellent.


Not to mention the 12-60mm has more range and the world's fastest autofocus motors.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Nov 20, 2009 7:20 pm 
pgtips wrote:
Some of the listed advantages make no sense to me.


Lenses: All manufacturers make good lenses. Nikon, Canon, Sony, Pentax and Olympus users all swear earnestly that they're lenses are awesome. Reading a side like Photozone.de, I can't see anything that would make Olympus lenses stand out. Don't get me wrong, they're good lenses. But so are the rest.


Have you ever read the Zuiko 50mm makro and the 12-60mm reviews at dpreview?


pgtips wrote:
4/3 ratio: I print quite a bit and the most common print ratios are 3:2 not 4:3. Shooting 4/3 means that I'll have to crop all photos. In addition to the workload, this means that I'm going to lose part of my carefully framed composition.

Million of compact shooters would disagree with you, as well as most famous painters that painted their works on 4:3 frames instead of 3:2. There is no better format. I personally prefer 3:2 for landscapes and 4:3 for portraits and macros. Given that I love portraits and macros, I don't feel like anything's wrong


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 Post subject: Subtelties
PostPosted: Wed Dec 30, 2009 2:53 pm 
In general, I don't think it's a valid argument to say that any one brand or particular make of DSLR is the clear winner over all others. If that were the case, we would have an iPod situation (the original iPod) where 90% of the market goes to that model. Truth is, any DSLR will take good pictures, and any DSLR can take crappy pictures.

The advantages for the e620 *for me* are:

1. Light weight and compact size. This is important for me because I do a lot of hiking and take trips with my camera, carrying it all over cities and in the wilderness. Weight and bulk make for un-fun excursions. No, it doesn't fit in your pocket -- unless of course you're wearing hiking cargo pants and using the 25mm pancake. ;-) But it really does make a big difference. I can carry my e620 body, 25mm prime, two kit lenses and even a fill flash in a small-ish camera bag on one shoulder, no need for a backpack or bigger stuff. I can of course strip that down with just the camera and a spare lens in one cargo pocket too.

2. *kit* lens quality is above par (not head-and-shoulders better but sharper across the focal plane) compared to other kit lenses out there, and the upgrade path to items like the 50mm prime, the 12-60mm zoom and the 50-200mm (these are in 4/3 terms) which truly are superior lenses makes this a smart move in the long term too.

3. I do think the bang-for-the-buck factor, the number of features and level of control of the e-series is a plus. The fact that, after setting up things maybe once or twice in the menus I can do 90% of what I want from the LCD control panel and/or dedicated buttons at this price point is great.

4. For landscape photography, the lenses that keep better focus at the edge of the frame and the 4/3 DOF are very well suited. That said, I've neither had problems with shallow DOF/blurring of the background in my macros and portrait shots, nor have I had big problems with noise so long as I expose well, and turn off auto-gradation for low light shooting. Faster possible lenses (which are expensive, mind you) make this is non-issue.

5. I like the very good JPEG processing that chooses detail even if it means a bit more grain (I like grain) or possibly noise (compared to Canon's engine) and keeps more natural colors for the most part (though you can argue about whether the infamous Olympus blue is natural). What I see is what I get usually, and I like it that way. Nikons are just as good at this IMO and their greens are a bit better.

6. I think the 4:3 image format gives me more flexibility when cropping. Even though I do a lot of landscapes, I prefer it to a 3:2 proportion which is more limiting, especially when you realize that a pic might be better as a portrait shot instead of landscape. I deally, a square or [sq. rt. of 2] rectangle are the ideal formats, the former because it's the most flexible, and the latter because it aligns with standard ISO paper sizes. More on that later.

Disadvantages I see are:

1. I think the menus are a bit of a liability because the wrench menus in particular are perhaps too thorough. On the other hand, you have access to so many features and controls, someone who knows what they're doing has a lot of power. Someone who doesn't can of course just turn off this option to even see those menus. Still, I think Nikon and Sony have better UIs in the menus.

2. For all I said about high ISO not being an issue, if you *are* off on your exposure, or forget to turn off auto-gradation, or if you are using the slower kit lenses, noise is more of a factor in your shooting. You have to be more mindful about it, I think.

3. [clarified] They can be hard to come by in the shops. Without being able to pick up and play with an Olympus in person, how can you choose it?

4. The e620 grip is small for some, though I think the problem here is exaggerated. Even when walking around town, the camera is around my neck so handling it by the grip alone isn't a factor. When taking pictures, I always support the camera underneath as a good habit so the grip on the e620 is again not a serious disadvantage.

I don't completely agree with the comment that most pictures sizes are 3:2 format. The ISO paper sizes are closer to 3:2 (they're actually [sq. rt. of 2]:1) in countries outside the USA. Here in the US at least, most of our print sizes are closer to 4:3 for medium size prints -- we start with 4x6 and 5x7 but then go to 8x10, 10x13, 11x14 and 16x20 before jumping again to 20x30 and 24x36. Annoying! I prefer the ISO sizes. Really, with digiral imaging, we should drop the 35mm legacy and all go with ISO proportions for sensors and prints. But that would be too convenient so it will never happen.

The Olys and e-series are not for everyone. I don't recommend them for wedding photographers or sports photographers. They're fine for indoor family stuff with the right equipment to deal with the low light, but others are probably better. They're almost ideal for hiking and landscape photography, especially with the weather-sealed lenses and cameras. They're good for street photography (assuming Leica is out of your reach for the street photography, a safe assumption for many) too. They're perfectly good for macro and portrait work though again other systems may have advantages over them. A lot of people do a little bit of everything when they take photographs, they aren't specialists. But they do *tend* to prefer certain kinds of shots or subjects. The Oly seemed excellent at what I do most though not exclusively, and good at most other things.


Last edited by BuonRotto on Wed Dec 30, 2009 4:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Dec 30, 2009 3:42 pm 
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Hello BuonRotto, and welcome to the friendly Camera Labs forum!
To enjoy your stay here please have a look at the house-rules!
----
Very considerate and well worked out first post, but: I didn't get your remark "3. They're hard to find and handle in person." What are you referring to?
And what is your preferred field of photography?

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 Post subject: Hi
PostPosted: Wed Dec 30, 2009 5:02 pm 
Thank you for the welcome. I've been coming to Camera Labs for a while, but I just started coming into the forums. I'll post in the new member area too.

I've tried to clarify what I meant in point #3 above. I think a lot of people don't have a good opportunity to buy an Olympus... Or Panasonic, or Pentax or DSLRs besides Nikons, Canons and Sonys because they simply font have the opportunity to try them out on equal footing. The disadvantage of the Olympus is that it's simply not always available to folks to try out first. It's not a performance issue with the camera of course, but it's a purchasing disadvantage.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 30, 2009 5:16 pm 
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Ah, that makes it clearer.
but I never have experienced it at the shops I visit: they may not carry the full Oly program but at least some Oly-bodies are always there, not only with the specialized photo-shops but also with the large discounters here.
Where do you come from?

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 Post subject: Middle of Nowhere
PostPosted: Wed Dec 30, 2009 5:59 pm 
I'm in North Carolina, USA. The specialty photography shops have Olys, but the big box retailers here like Best Buy, Costco, etc. only seem to carry the big three. (Even though Sony is a relative newcomer to the DSLR scene, they are a de facto big player in the retail world of DSLRs since they have a wide reach of consumer products). The Ritz/Wolf Camera stores of the area don't seem to always carry these smaller brands either. Most people I know have bought their cameras either online, or usually by first going to one of these big retail chains and trying a few out.

Granted, most people I know didn't put a whole lot of research into their choices and usually their big DSLRs gather dust after a while because despite better image quality, they just use them in Auto mode like like their P&S and they're too bulky to carry along after a while.


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