As I started to look around for my first digital camera - be it a compact digital or a DSLR - I had to reveal much of background information about what kind of images I primary would make and how (technically) to shot them.
By using the search engine on the web I found this review site of Gordon Laing, which helped me much in making a preselection of the camera type and vendor. I was suprised by the fact, that most of my terms are realized by Olympus (to that time). These are:
tough body with excellent handling (for me the E-3)
weather-sealing for body and lenses (pro/top pro)
controls for direct access to important functions (WB, shutter mode, focus mode, exposure compensation, ISO button, ...) - I have small fingers, so that's no problem
image stabilization integrated in the body (e.g. for lower shutter modes in inappropriate light situations)
clear staged shutter button (not as spongily as it is with some Pentax DSLR's)
type/dimension of the digital sensor larger than the type used in compacts because of the lower noise level at higher ISO rates
lenses whose optical path is digital optimized (computed) to work ideal with digital sensors
remote flash capabilities (e.g. with build-in pop-up flash)
superior image quality (in sharpness, neutral color tones, contrast, gradation, ...)
menu structure with clear namings
neutral balanced firmware of the camera which doesn't influence the image creation process
But I have to admit that the E-3 is my second DSLR. First I bought a Pentax K-20D. Unfortunately the handling of the K-20D wasn't as I aspected. So I made the mistake in desisting a probe by personally handling the body in the shop. Not so with the second attempt, the E-3.
After a full year in using the E-3 (bought in Q4/2008) my experience amplifies and so justification too. I have to become clear in what I want to do more with a (digtal) camera and what I expect from the FourThirds system in the future:
1) to make inspiring images for me, my friends and perhaps also for interested parties. => That could be done with near all types of cameras if you have an eye for the situation
2) the kind of images: stormy and dark light imaging, people photograhpy, landscape and macro photography. But of the poeple photography all is fine because:
The depth of field in the FourThirds system is through the sensor dimension with a magnification factor of 2x to wide for easily freeing an object which is in close distance to the fore- and/or background. So that isn't as effective as it is with 24x36mm cameras and lenses with fast apertures f1.4 / f2.0 / f2.8. You have to know that an apperture of 2 (f/2) in the FT system is comparable with an apperture of 4 (f/4) in the 24x36mm camera system. Also a FT-apperture of f2.8 will be f5.6 with full frame coverage (24x36mm).
With FourThirds you don't have a hugh range of fixed/single focal lenses especially in super-/wide and standard areas. The offers are smaller compared to other camera bayonets like Canon, Nikon or Pentax with are supported by a wide range of 3rd party vendors (Sigma, Tamron, Tonika). FourThirds is officially only supported by Olympus itself, Panasonic ("Panaleica") and some Sigma lenses. Since that time I own a Zuiko Digital ED 50mm f2 lens, I prefere single/fixed focals over zoom lenses.
Through the minor flange back of the FourThirds system you could combine a massive range of lenses from other camera bayonets by using adapters but considering some limitations (e.g. limited auto exposure, manual apperture setting, manual focus setting, less sharper images and some more). Furthermore you have to realize that with e.g. full frame lenses the focal length will get doubled (magnification of 2) on each foreign lens/adapter pair used with a FT system body
). So I can't be crazy about using foreign lenses with the E-System under the term in getting an moderate wide or standard lens. Because of that fact, I won't prefere to buy foreign lenses. This is by sure a really subjective approach, so don't be offended if you disagree.
But in the end there are more pros than contras, so what I expect Olympus could make better: for example just more 2 to 3 single/fixed focal lenses for wide and standard photography with fast apperture values.
But I'm really sure about the fact that this never would happen, because: the Micro FourThirds (MFT) system will succeed the older FourThirds system by offering:
- smaller and lightweighted bodies and lenses (more professional bodies and faster apperture lenses will come)
- with the same or equivalent technical specifications and functionality
- by keeping the same sensor dimensions and resolutions (or even better)
- by underpricing the price/performance-level of the FT system
These points are also very subjective approaches. Be that as it may you have to wait until Olympus unveiling new products. Along the way, I spend the time by making photos ... e.g. from the nice bunny currently hops in my view field ...
... I'm gone.