4/3rds a locked-in system?

Discussion in 'Digital SLR' started by Darrell, Feb 2, 2005.

  1. Darrell

    Darrell Guest

    Oddly enough Olympus doesn't really make many of "their" digital cameras.
    Panasonic proposed 4/3 system will be a joint venture of Olympus/Panasonic.
    To me 4/3 is looking more like "Digital APS" it is a system of second and
    third tier makers; Sanyo, Panasonic, Kodak and Olympus with Sigma the only
    second party maker that has announced lenses in the 4/3 mount. I don't see
    Canon, Nikon, Pentax and Konica-Minolta jumping on this bandwagon.
    Darrell, Feb 2, 2005
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  2. Darrell

    RichA Guest

    Olympus is using this system of lenses, and it
    appears it's here to stay as they have no intention
    of releasing any SLRs backward compatible with
    Olympus SLR lenses. This is probably a good thing
    since they won't be scrapping an entire program down
    the line (like Advantex or whatever that cassette film
    was called). I'm wondering if they've (Olympus) has
    demonstrated any benefit of this system over conventional
    film SLR lenses used by other DSLR makers?
    RichA, Feb 2, 2005
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  3. Darrell

    Alan Browne Guest

    It's a bit curious. Certainly they can make a lens system that delivers
    'equivalent' images for less dollars.

    The high end lenses are expensive. OTOH you get "600mm" equivalent for much
    less than a 600mm f/4 lens would cost and at f/2.8 to boot as well as smaller
    and lighter. (the Olympus 300 f/2.8 is about $6,500).

    Because the sensor is 'stuck' at that size, they will hit noise limitations
    earlier than full frame 35mm cameras. No other SLR maker has adopted the format.

    I don't know how many pros are using this system or for what purposes.

    Alan Browne, Feb 2, 2005
  4. Darrell

    Stacey Guest

    OM film lenses used on these 4/3's bodies have lower performance than these
    new "designed for digital" ZD lenses do. I'm amazed at how good the 11-22,
    50-200 and 50mm macro lenses perform wide open. The 14-45 and 14-54 zooms
    are just "ok" compared to these other lenses. Most of the OM film lenses
    have to be stopped down to f5.6 to f8 or so to equal the performance of
    the ZD lenses wide open. This is why they didn't bother with making the
    mount backwards compatable, plus the old lenses are all manual focus with
    mechanical aperture linkage, something they wanted to get away from.
    Olympus did mail me a free OM "manual" lens adapter for use on my E300 when
    I asked them if there was an adapter avalible and am going to try it with
    my bellows and 80 F4 macro lens for closeup stuff. Then again the ZD 50mm
    is so good, it might be better than this older setup is?

    As to if these "digital" lenses are better than film lenses used on other
    systems, I'm not =even= going to start that flame war but all I can say is
    these new ZD lenses are sharper than the old OM film lenses are when used
    on this E300 body.
    Stacey, Feb 3, 2005
  5. Darrell

    Ton Maas Guest

    This raises a few questions though. On the list Olympus includes with
    the adapter, those values are somewhat confusing to say the least. For
    instance, the "old" 55/1.2 can be used at 2.8, while the more recent -
    and by all accounts superior - 50/1.2 has to be stopped down to at least
    4.0. The same goes for some of the macros. The 90/2.0 should be used at
    4.0 or smaller, while the 50/3.5 can be used at its maximum aperture.
    Of the longer telephotos, the 300, 400 and 1000 apparently can not be
    used at all, since they are not mentioned on the list. Olympus says it
    is not recommended to use old OM system lenses that are not listed. This
    seems strange, as long telephotos already had somewhat "telecentric"
    This is my observation too. I've been less than impressed with the
    results from using the 50/3.5, the 55/1.2 and even the 90/2.0 on my E-1.
    You're quite right about the new 50/2.0 macro: superb performance all
    the way!

    Ton Maas, Feb 3, 2005
  6. Darrell

    RichA Guest

    Out of curiosity, what made you buy the Olympus rather than say a
    Canon or Nikon DSLR? Was it because you had Olympus products already?
    RichA, Feb 3, 2005
  7. Darrell

    Ton Maas Guest

    I know the question was meant for Stacey, but let me drop in my own

    Yes, I have been using OM-gear since the OM-1 came out in 72. For a long
    time I put off the idea of switching to digital, but after buying a
    digital compact "on the side" (Fuji 5000-S) I saw its potential (and its
    limitations). I then started to do some research into DSLRs. What
    triggered me about the E-1, was that its "mediocre" reviews were
    contrasted by very positive experiences and comments from reliable users
    (reliable in the sense that I had come to appreciate their postings over
    time). Since I was somewhat biased towards Olympus anyway (the OM system
    has always suited me fine) I decided to take a gamble and bought the

    After the comparisons I've been able to make so far - with the 300D and
    D70 owned by friends, the D1 and D2H owned by my brother, and the *istDS
    owned by my wife - I am still very happy with my choice. For various
    reasons. For one, most shots from the E-1 don't require any
    post-processing. Also, since I'm doing a lot of theater photography,
    lack of (shutter/mirror) noise is important. All the abovementioned
    cameras are quite a bit noisier than the E-1. Apart from the kit-lens
    (14-54) I have since then puchased the 50-200 and after some
    disappointment with using two OM macros (50/3.5 and 90/2.0) with the
    free Oly adapter, I got the 50mm macro as well. This lens especially is
    a dream to work with!

    Ton Maas, Feb 3, 2005
  8. Darrell

    Lourens Smak Guest

    For me, I owned a bag full of Nikon gear that would be practically
    useless with a Nikon DSLR. Even when buying a D1x, I still would need a
    new flash, new wideangle, a good standard-zoom (which N didn't have at
    the time), and some of my favorite lenses (85mm F1.4) would not meter
    with some bodies, etc. etc. etc. Instead of being able to use existing
    gear, one ends up with a mess. The 60mm micro was about the only lens I
    had that I would still like, with a DSLR.

    The E1 has many things going for it. First, the budget. People say the
    lenses are expensive, but in fact they offer very good value for money.
    I calculated a lot and *for a complete kit* the Olympus was less
    expensive than others. Comparing it to a pro-level body like the D1x
    makes the difference even bigger... in fact a 3-lens E-system was
    cheaper than a bare D1x body. (which is the camera it most resembles)

    The build-quality and ergonomics are the best; hold one in the shop and
    you'll know... It is pro-level. I keep reading the D70 is a sturdy
    camera, but when I held one it felt like an el-cheapo plastic toy, when
    compared to the E1. Don't even get me started on the S2, slow but good
    internals, but the body is a joke.

    I also like the 4:3 aspect ratio. I take a lot (probably over 75%) of
    vertical shots and the 4:3 format is much more pleasing then, 35mm is
    too narrow for my taste. For me this was a big plus, but your mileage
    may vary...

    The dust-remover. (16000 images and counting, have yet to find the first
    dust-speck. I own 3 lenses and change those everywhere.)

    The automatic distortion-removal... :)
    The geometric distortion is already surprisingly low when one is used to
    nikkor wideangles, but that last little bit can be removed automatically
    to achieve 100% perfection.

    Pixel-mapping. Other bodies have to be sent in for service to do this.

    write-speed and buffer size. (12 RAWs, no need to wait for buffer to

    Lens selection. The funny thing is, that even though the system is quite
    small at the moment (but 7 lenses planned for 2005), Olympus was the
    only one with a F2.8 standard-zoom and a F2.8 wideangle. (apart from the
    1Ds solution, or fixed expensive 14mm lenses) The Nikkor DX 17-55 is
    about $1000 more expensive.

    The size & weight. My other system is 20KG worth of Rolleiflex gear. I
    need something portable, not a second heavyweight kit. The E1 isn't
    particularly small but it is a very nice size indeed. More "compact"
    than small though.

    TTL-flash quality. With many DSLR's, this is a weak point... E1 is good
    and also consistent. (most others I worked with were very hit-or-miss)

    Best out-of-camera JPG'S. Postprocessing each and every shot is a PITA.
    If you want to get rid of that, you need an Olympus. I work for several
    magazines and by far the most images that I send in are not
    post-processed in any way...it's just not needed. I process RAW with the
    right settings and that's it.

    Comments on the web... it was very hard to find any negative comment
    about the E1 from an actual user of the camera, and also the
    www.myfourthirds.com website had some convincing shots and comments.

    That's about it... lots of small (and bigger) points. If I would have
    owned a bag full of Canon lenses I probably wouldn't have bought the E1,
    altough the 10D didn't appeal to me very much. But a camera is just a
    camera and I could live with a 10D probably. It's not a religion for me.

    Lourens Smak, Feb 4, 2005
  9. Darrell

    Basic Wedge Guest

    Lourens. I agree word for word with everything you've written. Excellent


    Basic Wedge, Feb 4, 2005
  10. Darrell

    Stacey Guest

    What really seemed odd was they said to use the 200 F5 wide open but to use
    the 200 F4 at something like F8?

    The 11-22 is just as good. It's amazing to me to find a 11mm lens that is
    sharp wide open!
    Stacey, Feb 5, 2005
  11. Darrell

    Stacey Guest

    RichA wrote:
    Nope, I took my CF card to the store and did some shots with various dSLR's,
    came home and made some 8X10 prints and picked the E300 from the results. I
    had used a 10D of a friends for a few weeks and didn't like the way if felt
    or the interface. The focus screen just seemed cluttered with all those AF
    sensors etc. Also knew I wanted something around a 21-50mm equiv zoom and a
    100mm macro lensm, which this system had. I mainly shoot landscapes at ISO
    100 so wasn't concerned with high ISO performance. It's probably not the
    best camera for a lot of people, but it works great for me.
    Stacey, Feb 5, 2005
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