View Full Version : Right you are, then!

25th October 2008, 01:55 PM
My previous camera history was Oly OM 1s then latterly Canon P&S until I returned to SLRs with the E520 nearly four months ago. I read reviews and followed forums and have worked fairly systematically with my new E-system camera.

Weighing up the arguments I do think that the Oly 4/3 sensor has limitations. It tends to produce soft images that need PP. Its noise performance at anything over ISO 400 is not good. As you have seen, I've worked on these things and now produce decent clear images and use ISO up to 1600 with decent results. But it has been a case of coaxing those results out rather than having them readily produced by the system. Also, the well-known problems with AF in low light have been a bugbear.

The 4/3 system has produced some combinations that are significantly smaller in size and weight than other systems but in general it hasn't been 'the answer'. So - micro 4/3. I've been concerned about what the micro 4/3 standard might mean for future Oly developments: whether it implies that Olympus recognise the limitations of 4/3 at the top end and are concentrating on one rung lower; whether there will be a significantly improved successor to the E3 so that I may look forward to upgrading; what it means for investment in lenses etc.

But cameras are always a compromise. There are very many things I like about the E520 and the E-system. I've played with my neighbour's new D300 (Nikon was the other possible avenue for me) and I don't like its bulk and heft or the controls. Nor is image quality that much better. I have decided to commit to Olympus. I've lately bought the 12-60mm and have just ordered the 50 - 200. The plan is to buy the 9-18 after that, and then possibly the E3 body or - I hope - a successor that addresses and improves ISO, dynamic range and resolution. The E520 with its very good kit lenses will either remain and be used by another family member, or be sold to finance a new micro 4/3 when they arrive.

I see many in these forums who think that any criticism of an Olympus camera is heresy. I don't think anything is gained by Oly owners arguing at great length that their cameras' limitations don't exist: they do exist. Other makes have other limitations. Let's face them.

While I am going for faster glass, I want Olympus to improve its sensor's performance at higher ISO levels. Like in-body image stabilisation, that would 'work for all lenses'. It's important.

I want better AF performance without so much hunting in lower light or low-contrast light levels.

I want more pixels - without deterioration in image quality or noise. I have seen all the arguments here that pixels are meaningless but I don't agree. If more resolution can be obtained at high quality then so much the better. I am very frequently cropping well into a photo for images to print at 300 dpi in a magazine, and need those pixels. My bet is that improvements - even revolutions - in sensor technology will enable substantial improvements in pixel density and sensor responsiveness at all sizes including 4/3.

On size and weight, I look forward to micro 4/3 but it won't produce a good camera that fits into a trouser pocket. Other characteristics such as motion preview and silent operation, and smaller, lighter, cheaper lenses, appeal to me about micro 4/3.

I will still keep a good tiny P&S for the trouser pocket (the new top Ixus looks good...). Why? - because the first thing is to have a camera in your pocket so you don't miss those opportunities.

Well, after mulling things over for a while, that's my strategy! I'm going with Olympus. I will never be looking at top-flight photography with chunky, expensive full-frame DSLRs. At the next level down, Olympus represents good sense and good quality at reasonable values. Fingers crossed.

25th October 2008, 07:39 PM
Hmmm, interesting thoughts.