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Four Thirds User
7th December 2008, 12:10 AM
Four Thirds User (Fourthirds-user.com (http://fourthirds-user.com)) is a sibling site to the e-group.

Here we have our first batch of Olympus E-30 production-level sample images for you to download and evaluate, with special emphasis in high-ISO images.

More... (http://fourthirds-user.com/2008/12/first_olympus_e30_review_image_samples_to_download .php)

Zuiko
7th December 2008, 12:34 AM
Thanks for your work on this, Ian, and as you cooked supper I hope somebody else did the washing up! ;)

To be honest, I was a little dissappointed by the 1600 and 3200 ISO images, but I guess it's how they scrub up in software that counts. I suppose the only way to tell for sure is a direct comparison with an E3 file. Looking good up to ISO 800 though, which I'm sure is no mean achievement for 12mp on a 4/3 sensor! :)

Ian
7th December 2008, 12:41 AM
Thanks for your work on this, Ian, and as you cooked supper I hope somebody else did the washing up! ;)

To be honest, I was a little dissappointed by the 1600 and 3200 ISO images, but I guess it's how they scrub up in software that counts. I suppose the only way to tell for sure is a direct comparison with an E3 file. Looking good up to ISO 800 though, which I'm sure is no mean achievement for 12mp on a 4/3 sensor! :)

I kind of understand where you are coming from, John. But let's add up the variables - 12MP instead of 10MP, no more banding at ISO 1600 and 3200, and good control of chroma noise (which was is also good on the E-3). Yes, there is luminance grain at ISO 1600 and 3200, but you can smooth that out quite easily with the right tools.

I have printed an ISO 3200 image after some PP in Photoshop and it looks very clean and smooth. I couldn't have produced the same quality with an E-3 file without really filling in the dark areas to suppress the banding.

I will compare the E-3 and Nikon D300 wity the E-30 tomorrow and show how poorly one full frame DSLR (Sony Alpha 900) performs at high ISO.

Ian

Zuiko
7th December 2008, 01:08 AM
First impressions are not always correct. I've just run the 3200 ISO image through a basic version of Neat Image and it cleans up really well. It's now that the lack of banding can be really appreciated and I must say I'm far more impressed than when I first viewed it. I now understand what you are saying and look forward to the comparisons you have planned for tomorrow.

Thanks again, Ian.

shenstone
7th December 2008, 10:49 AM
First impressions are not always correct. I've just run the 3200 ISO image through a basic version of Neat Image and it cleans up really well. It's now that the lack of banding can be really appreciated and I must say I'm far more impressed than when I first viewed it. I now understand what you are saying and look forward to the comparisons you have planned for tomorrow.

Thanks again, Ian.

I agree

I've just playes with one of the ISO3200 images in PSP, CS3 and Faststone and in each product I could get a useable image from the processing. Yes at that ISO the image needs a little work, but when you know that.

I may welll have some careful negotiation on my hands in the new year!

On th wider front. If this means Oly have the banding issue sorted then I think this bodes well for the future and they should get an E3+ out ASAP

Regards
Andy

Makonde
7th December 2008, 11:39 AM
They look a worthwhile step in the right direction.

But this is what we're up against: see the flickr pools on ISO 6400 and more (http://www.flickr.com/groups/iso6400more/):

...and even the ISO 25600 (http://www.flickr.com/groups/656382@N25/) pool: where I see an interloper has posted a (rather good) Oly ISO 1600 photo (LOL). At this 'boosted' ISO25600 the shots are, IMO, unacceptably noisy but not so very much noisier than the E30 @ ISO 3200 and well, it's several stops better ...

Zuiko
7th December 2008, 09:41 PM
They look a worthwhile step in the right direction.

But this is what we're up against: see the flickr pools on ISO 6400 and more (http://www.flickr.com/groups/iso6400more/):

...and even the ISO 25600 (http://www.flickr.com/groups/656382@N25/) pool: where I see an interloper has posted a (rather good) Oly ISO 1600 photo (LOL). At this 'boosted' ISO25600 the shots are, IMO, unacceptably noisy but not so very much noisier than the E30 @ ISO 3200 and well, it's several stops better ...

I totally agree. If high ISO is your main priority and if you have the funds you don't buy an E3 - you buy a D3!

However, since I have neither the funds or the high ISO priority I think I'll be sticking with Oly. That being the case, I think the latest sensor is a significant step forward and hopefully still some way short of the absolute best that can eventually be achieved with the 4/3 format.

That's good enough for me, especially after taking the many advantages of the E3 in other areas into account. As for other photographers, only they can decide!

Makonde
7th December 2008, 11:13 PM
That's my conclusion too - I decided that for size, weight and expense I would not be going full frame.

I'm delighted to hear the E30 marks an improvement in noise handling while offering more pixels & I am cheering Oly on in the hope and expectation that they will continue to improve the sensor; and that sooner rather than later there will be other breakthroughs in the way light is recorded digitally.

Ellie
8th December 2008, 01:41 PM
Would it be OK to ask you to try something specific please Ian?

If so - I'd like to know how quickly it responds when using live view/rear screen. My camera doesn't have live view so I haven't a clue how it works or how effective it is for focusing and/or shooting quickly.

For example I have my camera on a tripod pointing through the window, vaguely aimed at our bird table. I can miss shots because by the time I've got my eye to the viewfinder the bird has gone, sometimes because my movement has frightened it away. Being able to use the rear screen might help a bit.

I was thinking too about how live view could be used to take pictures of flying birds, or any fairly fast moving target. Any chance of some samples?

Jim Ford
8th December 2008, 02:56 PM
For example I have my camera on a tripod pointing through the window, vaguely aimed at our bird table. I can miss shots because by the time I've got my eye to the viewfinder the bird has gone, sometimes because my movement has frightened it away. Being able to use the rear screen might help a bit.

You don't need to use the any viewfinder with shots of birds on a feeder. Just set the view initially with the camera viewfinder to cover the feeder, and watch for the birds externall to the camera - ie. not through the viewfinder. Use a remote control and when a bird comes comes onto the feeder, fire the shutter. That's the way I do it:

http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/506/Greenfinches.jpg (http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/showphoto.php/photo/2459)

Jim

Ian
8th December 2008, 03:05 PM
Would it be OK to ask you to try something specific please Ian?

If so - I'd like to know how quickly it responds when using live view/rear screen. My camera doesn't have live view so I haven't a clue how it works or how effective it is for focusing and/or shooting quickly.

For example I have my camera on a tripod pointing through the window, vaguely aimed at our bird table. I can miss shots because by the time I've got my eye to the viewfinder the bird has gone, sometimes because my movement has frightened it away. Being able to use the rear screen might help a bit.

I was thinking too about how live view could be used to take pictures of flying birds, or any fairly fast moving target. Any chance of some samples?

I would agree with Jm that you would be better off composing the shot and then using a remote release. But if you wanted to use Live View, the E-30 has about a 0.3 second delay from pressing the shutter release. Earlier E-System cameras with Live View (apart from the E-330 in Mode A) had a delay of around 0.6 seconds.

Live view times out after about a minute in order to save power and to prevent the sensor from getting too hot and introducing noise.

I do use it a lot for critical focus (using a magnified focus view) in manual focus mode.

Ian

Ian
9th December 2008, 12:12 PM
Links to the RAW files in the E-30 samples gallery have now been added :)

http://fourthirds-user.com/2008/12/first_olympus_e30_review_image_samples_to_download .php

Ian

Ellie
9th December 2008, 12:52 PM
Lovely picture of Siskins Jim *chr

I haven't got a remote cord for my camera.

the E-30 has about a 0.3 second delay from pressing the shutter release
Thanks Ian, and than you too for all the sample pictures :)

Makonde
9th December 2008, 12:58 PM
Hi Ellie

I find the fractional but noticeable delay when using Live View and clicking the shutter, means that I don't use it for moving subjects at all (E520). I find I use it only for: static, tripod mounted macros and tripod mounted night shots.

I'm very interested in the real-time EVF with the Lumix micro 4/3, and the fact that there's no mirror to flip up and down...

Ian
9th December 2008, 03:26 PM
Hi Ellie

I find the fractional but noticeable delay when using Live View and clicking the shutter, means that I don't use it for moving subjects at all (E520). I find I use it only for: static, tripod mounted macros and tripod mounted night shots.

I'm very interested in the real-time EVF with the Lumix micro 4/3, and the fact that there's no mirror to flip up and down...

The E-30 halves the delay compared to the E-520. Olympus has definitely speeded up the mechanics.

There isn't, unfortunately, a great improvement with the G1 because just like the E-30, the shutter needs to be closed before it can re-open to make the exposure. The lack of a mirror in this respect is practically no help in the mechanical cycle.

Ian

Nick Temple-Fry
9th December 2008, 03:35 PM
The E-30 halves the delay compared to the E-520. Olympus has definitely speeded up the mechanics.

There isn't, unfortunately, a great improvement with the G1 because just like the E-30, the shutter needs to be closed before it can re-open to make the exposure. The lack of a mirror in this respect is practically no help in the mechanical cycle.

Ian

Why

Unless the sensor needs to begin/end its exposure cycle in darkness. Which I suppose it must otherwise we wouldn't need a shutter, merely an on-off switch for the sensor (+ perhaps a shutter fall at the end of the exposure).

Nick

mike_j
9th December 2008, 03:41 PM
Lovely picture of Siskins Jim *chr

I haven't got a remote cord for my camera.



One of the best investments you can make. I have an Ebay cheapie and it is fine.

I bought the radio version for about 16 but have not made use of the remote function much, nearly always I use it as a simple wired unit.

Ian
9th December 2008, 05:47 PM
Why

Unless the sensor needs to begin/end its exposure cycle in darkness. Which I suppose it must otherwise we wouldn't need a shutter, merely an on-off switch for the sensor (+ perhaps a shutter fall at the end of the exposure).

Nick

The sensor can operate as an electronic shutter - this is how the live view, with up to 100fps can be operated. The photosite (representing each sensor pixel) collects photons, building up a charge and then at the end of the exposure the charge is transferred to a temporary holding cell under an opaque mask, and then its value is read off and the cycle is repeated.

I believe that using a mechanical shutter avoids detail smearing and enables the imaging pipeline to use a dark frame analysis to filter out noise. These issues are not so problematical for motion picture output (like live view) but are critical for high quality still photography.

Ian

mike_j
9th December 2008, 08:12 PM
Ian,

In general, how do you think the handling and output of the G1 and e30 compare? I appreciate they are different beasts but are alternative ways forward from my e510.

Ian
9th December 2008, 08:26 PM
Ian,

In general, how do you think the handling and output of the G1 and e30 compare? I appreciate they are different beasts but are alternative ways forward from my e510.

Oooh, they are very different. The G1 is much more compact and light. It does handle well - I like the single front mounted wheel that toggles between modes by pressing it. I can do most things while keeping my eye to the finder, though if you do have chubby fingers or a large hands that may be not the case for you.

The E-30 is bigger and heavier, much more conventional, but - if anything - better to use than the E-3. I really am in the mind to declare that the E-30 is the best DSLR Olympus has produced yet. Both it and the G1 are excellent in their own different ways.

What do you want to use these cameras for?

Ian

dbutch
10th December 2008, 09:15 AM
Hi Ian

Seen the images over at four Thirds and they look good

Can I ask a quick question, which I guess I'm after a gut feel response to!!

What is your feel on toneality of the image, I ask because I still like the feel of my E-1 pics over the 510/400 I own, have shot with E3 a couple of times and pretty happy with what I've seen.

I'm asking this from a portrait point of view.

Cheers

Dave

Ian
10th December 2008, 09:17 AM
Hi Ian

Seen the images over at four Thirds and they look good

Can I ask a quick question, which I guess I'm after a gut feel response to!!

What is your feel on toneality of the image, I ask because I still like the feel of my E-1 pics over the 510/400 I own, have shot with E3 a couple of times and pretty happy with what I've seen.

I'm asking this from a portrait point of view.

Cheers

Dave

Give me a few days to answer that...

Ian

Makonde
10th December 2008, 09:53 AM
Thanks, Ian.

I take your comment on the G1 to refer to the Live View on the LCD but is there a similar delay in the electronic viewfinder, or is that showing the visual truth in real time with instantaneous shutter?
Thanks again - very useful to have these insights from closer inside the camera world.

Ian
10th December 2008, 10:54 AM
Thanks, Ian.

I take your comment on the G1 to refer to the Live View on the LCD but is there a similar delay in the electronic viewfinder, or is that showing the visual truth in real time with instantaneous shutter?
Thanks again - very useful to have these insights from closer inside the camera world.

The G1 viewfinder is exactly the same as the external live view in this respect. The view freezes for a moment as soon as you release the shutter. I haven't timed the G1 delay, but it's quite small, though not as brief as a conventional DSLR.

There is no way around this without some kind of trick shutter as far as I can see, though most of the time it won't be a problem. Delay can happen for a number of reasons on a conventional DSLR too, due to AF, for example.

Ian