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CaptainD
17th February 2008, 09:05 PM
I have been spending some time thinking about the possibility of adding the EC-20 2 times convertor to my Olympus gear. I have seen a couple of threads on our great forum about particular lens and EC-20 cobinations. I wonder if any of you who own or have used the EC-20 tele convertor could spare a few moments to give me some of your observations.

I must admit, I wonder if the EC-20 is really only going to be really useful if it is paired up with the serious fast F2.0 Zuiko Digital lenses such as the 150mm or the 35-100mm or perhaps the mighty 90-250mm lens.

Any real world shooting tips or thoughts on the effects on image quality would be most appreciated to help me decide if it is really a contender for my cash.

Cheers

Chris

PeterD
25th February 2008, 02:25 PM
Chris,

I hope you don't mind me joining you on this thread but crunch time for me has arrived.

I mentioned on another thread that I was consideering the Bigma or EC1.4 converter.

Well now is decision time and I would appreciate helpful comments.

My leaning towards the Bigma was that I was dissappointed in the performance of the 70-300 in terms of sharpness and reach. I thought that the Bigma might be a one stop upgrade to solve my problems. That is until this morning. Two things happened and both are User improvements, nothing to do with the hardware.
The first thing was shooting in shutter priority with the 70-300 lens This had a marked improvement on my RAW files but also the effect on aperture surprised me. At full reach the 70-300 has a minimum aperture of 5.6 and I was able to push the shutter speed to 1/1600 with ISO at 1000. Noise was not a problem and if I wanted more DOF then reducing the shutter speed to 1/1000 gave me a good result. Admitted that this was after 9am in overcast conditions and it may be a different tale before this time or in the early evening.
The second thing was to save RAW+jpg and, following some good advice from Peter (art frames), setting sharpening at +2. Comparison of the same shots in RAW and jpg showed a marked difference. The RAW had already improved from previous shooting but the jpg was better.

So, what have I learnt from this.
1. Do not be afraid to push for better performance. I imposed too much limitation by thinking high ISOs will degrade the performance too much, high shutter speeds will give DOF problems and RAW files can be OK without PP.
2. There is nothing wrong with my 70-300 lens and I shall keep it. My problems were caused by self imposed constraints.
3. There should be enough scope to use the 70-300 lens with either the EC 1.4 or EC 2.0. Thoughts of the Bigma are receding.

So what do I need help with?
I have a quote from Ian Kerr for the EC 2.0 @ 269 or the EC 1.4 @ 229. So what do I go for?

Sorry its so long but thought it important you can see my thought processes.

Cheers for now

PeterD

HughofBardfield
25th February 2008, 05:57 PM
My tuppence: 2 stops is a lot of light to lose unless you are starting with a bright lens.

I had the Olympus 2X-A in OM and hardly ever used it. Although it was optimised for the other lenses I had, a 2-stop drop in light just meant shutter speeds were too low. Digital gives more freedom, of course, not least to dial up the ISO at any time, whereas 35mm meant either finishing the roll or rewinding part-way.

On the other hand, I have used my EC-14 successfully with my Sigma 55-200 and ZD 50-200. That got me out to 560mm in old money, of course, with nice results (read: results I was reasonably happy with). I haven't yet felt the need to try it with my Sigma 135-400, but only losing a single stop wouldn't worry me unduly. Two is pushing it rather, it seems to me. I do agree that people worry too much about noise, especially given the improvements that can be made with Neat Image or Noise Ninja if required. However, if you are already at ISO400 for an acceptable shutter speed and aperture to give reasonable DoF at the longer end, ISO1600 is starting to get a bit crunchy...

CaptainD
25th February 2008, 07:09 PM
Dear Peter,

To be honest I have yet to be convinced that the Bigma is a good tool but I will have to wait until mine returns from repair. The Bigma is the first Sigma lens I have owned and to me it does not feel as nice as the Zuiko Digitals that I have. The Zoom is quite stiff and the finish does not seem to me to be as good as the ZDs. To be fair to Sigma though, I have hardly spent much shooting time with it due to the problems with mine and for that matter with me not getting it back to Sigma sooner.

But returning to the EC-20 I am still nervous about actually buying one as I still am worried about loosing 2 F stops. This makes me think that perhaps its real use for birding will be with the Pro F2.0 lenses. I own a EC-1.4 and have been very impressed with the IQ when I have used it. I still am trying to get a feel for just how good the IQ is with the EC-20 from other users.

So like you I am sitting in the wings watching and waiting for reviews and samples to help me make my decision on the EC-20. My advice would be if you are forced to make a choice is to buy the EC-14 which is a very nice bit of kit that will not limit you too much in pursuit of that killer bird shot.

I can give a great recommendation if wish for a specialist Olympus American dealer who ships at low cost and is 100% reliable who always offers a great price. My father and I have bought many Olympus items from him.

Cheers

Chris

PeterD
25th February 2008, 07:31 PM
Thank you Hugh and Chris for your comments which I value. Both of you have been very level headed in this forum and I am sure that you are giving sound advice.

I have decided on the EC1.4. Not only for the reasons you both have given but also because its very likely that I would be able to fit it when I go out 'walking' and forget it. From my experiments of yesterday and today with the 70-300 lens, I know I still have a lot of headroom in respect of DOF in daylight conditions.

Hugh, the E3 easily copes with ISO 1600. I like you was very cautious but its worth finding out and getting confidence. It certainly opens up the self imposed boundaries and allows you to consider things that would have been out of the question previously.

Maybe later, I shall invest in the EC2.

Thanks again

PeterD