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Olympus E-3 E-3 specific discussion.

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  #1  
Old 28th February 2008
dennisg
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Question New review of E-3 in DpReview

Hi all,

I have been home with the flu and read the review on the Olympus E-3 at dpreview.com.

To start the overall rating of the E-3 is a 9 of 10 and it is highly recommended. So let's give recognition where it is due. But there were some tell-tale signs of the discussions that we have been having here at the user's group in the past several months.

The overall JPEG quality was found to be very good and better than the previous Olympus E models. But the Raw files suffer. The Dynamic Range of the E-3 has been widen over the prior models but only on the black side of the spectrum. Thus the white side of the spectrum still gets clipped and thus when we shoot Raw files we assime we have more data to work with in Photoshop. According to the review, due to this, the JPEGS are not far behind in quality from the Raw files. According to the review, "But anyone used to pushing raw files to the limit will be disappointed with the E-3; resolution aside, there's little latitude for exposure changes; push it more than an a stop or so you'll see noise in the sahdows even at ISO 200, pull back and you'll find there's precious little highlight headroom." Again the JPEGS produced by the E-3 are very good and campare considerably well against the four other cameras the review put the E-3 up against. It is in the RAW format the there there is a significant difference.

Exposure or metering errors are occuring because the exposure of the shot is dependent on the point of focus in the AF point in the multi AF mode. Thus there could be differences in exposure values within the frame dependent on the focus point chosen.

In regards to the focusing issue, the review states, "New mulit point AF system seems easily confused, single point AF is a lot faster". In low light conditions it is stated that, "Foucus hunting in low light conditions". So FINALLY, there is an outside source that validates the current focusing issues being seen by users. In addition, when zooming is at the longer MM range the AF slows down as well. The report stated that inside sporting events would not be an advantage for the E-3 with a zoom lens.

It was clearly stated that this is NOT a point an shoot camera. A lot more care and finess is needed to get good results with the E-3.

With all this stated here, if I were to spend $1699 for the body, $999 for the new 12-60 zoom, extra battery, state tax here, and an extented warranty; the total out of pocket would be around $3300. This is certainly a lot of cash for what I have read thus so far in this review. If you remember, I was the one who asked why the photo magazine have not picked up on these issues and now they are clearly pointed out.

So, if I were at the Riviera, site seeing the Alps, attending a pro soccer match, what and hiow should I use the capabilities of this camera based on what was stated in the dpreview review of the E-3? Years ago you chose the film for color and grain, the lens, camera body and you set the f-stop and opening and you were on your way. All that mattered then was who was processing and printing your prints? Today we do it all via the digital photo venue. Thus how much time is spent setting and reviewing settings and how much time is spent "Taking the Shot"? It may be that we have finally come against issues that instead of helping us, is really slowing us down!

I strongly recommend that you visit www.dpreview.com and read the entire review of the E-3. It has 34 sections and is done quite completely and is very informative before you respond. I still would like to purchase the E-3, but I still have some reservations. When there are repetitve output problems, that is a photographers worst nightmare!!

Dennis Goldensohn
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Old 28th February 2008
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Re: New review of E-3 in DpReview

Hi Dennis,

Welcome to the e-group forum!

I have inserted some responses below in blue:


Quote:
Originally Posted by dennisg View Post
Hi all,

I have been home with the flu and read the review on the Olympus E-3 at dpreview.com.

To start the overall rating of the E-3 is a 9 of 10 and it is highly recommended. So let's give recognition where it is due. But there were some tell-tale signs of the discussions that we have been having here at the user's group in the past several months.

Ian: I think this is an important point - some of the less than positive remarks made by Simon Joinson should be taken in context; they are relative. The camera would not have had a 'Highly Recommended' rating if there was a significant and fundamental problem with the camera.

The overall JPEG quality was found to be very good and better than the previous Olympus E models. But the Raw files suffer.

Ian: My take is that Simon finds less latitude in the RAW files than others, but there is still latitude and RAW files are still eminently usable over the very good JPEGs the camera can produce.

The Dynamic Range of the E-3 has been widen over the prior models but only on the black side of the spectrum. Thus the white side of the spectrum still gets clipped and thus when we shoot Raw files we assime we have more data to work with in Photoshop. According to the review, due to this, the JPEGS are not far behind in quality from the Raw files. According to the review, "But anyone used to pushing raw files to the limit will be disappointed with the E-3; resolution aside, there's little latitude for exposure changes; push it more than an a stop or so you'll see noise in the sahdows even at ISO 200, pull back and you'll find there's precious little highlight headroom." Again the JPEGS produced by the E-3 are very good and campare considerably well against the four other cameras the review put the E-3 up against. It is in the RAW format the there there is a significant difference.

Ian: The E-3, in my opinion, does exhibit more luminance noise than some of its rivals, but chroma noise is extremely well controlled - pretty much the best in its class (maybe except for the Nikon D300, which I haven't yet tested). Luminance grain is very easy to filter out and may even be desirable if you wish to create 'film' like images. I also recommend the use of the black level adjuster available in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom and Adobe Camera RAW 4.x in Photoshop CS3. This can deal with noise very effectively in shadows.

If you are concerned about highlights, change you metering defaults. The E-3 recovers well from under exposure, so it shouldn't be a major concern.


Exposure or metering errors are occuring because the exposure of the shot is dependent on the point of focus in the AF point in the multi AF mode. Thus there could be differences in exposure values within the frame dependent on the focus point chosen.

In regards to the focusing issue, the review states, "New mulit point AF system seems easily confused, single point AF is a lot faster". In low light conditions it is stated that, "Foucus hunting in low light conditions". So FINALLY, there is an outside source that validates the current focusing issues being seen by users. In addition, when zooming is at the longer MM range the AF slows down as well. The report stated that inside sporting events would not be an advantage for the E-3 with a zoom lens.

Ian: The C-AF and mult-point AF system are extremely complicated. There are many options that can dictate the efficiency and effectiveness of these modes - the AF point sensitivities can be adjusted and the release priority option can mean the shutter could be tripped before AF is locked. It's even been suggested that because the new 12-60 and other SWD lenses have mechanically linked focus - even in AF mode - that some users may be inadvertently knocking the focus prior to the exposure being made. And of course there is the admitted issue with some 12-60 lense that have a faulty component in the AF.

AF speed - well, Olympus says SWD is the fastest; that may be a meaningless statement as it's all relative, but if you try the E-3 with the 50-200 SWD, it really does snap from infinity to closest focus at 200mm (400mm equivalent) - I've never experienced AF speed like that on any other lens of that telephoto range. Yes, it's slower with non SWD lenses, but compare it to Canon and Nikon AF and it's not distinctly slower, though I do concede that Canon USM is hard to beat for overall elegance of operation. Hunting at low light - well I found that the E-3 and 12-60 would lock focus at lower light levels than either a Canon EOS-40D or Sony Alpha A700.


It was clearly stated that this is NOT a point an shoot camera. A lot more care and finess is needed to get good results with the E-3.

With all this stated here, if I were to spend $1699 for the body, $999 for the new 12-60 zoom, extra battery, state tax here, and an extented warranty; the total out of pocket would be around $3300. This is certainly a lot of cash for what I have read thus so far in this review. If you remember, I was the one who asked why the photo magazine have not picked up on these issues and now they are clearly pointed out.

So, if I were at the Riviera, site seeing the Alps, attending a pro soccer match, what and hiow should I use the capabilities of this camera based on what was stated in the dpreview review of the E-3? Years ago you chose the film for color and grain, the lens, camera body and you set the f-stop and opening and you were on your way. All that mattered then was who was processing and printing your prints? Today we do it all via the digital photo venue. Thus how much time is spent setting and reviewing settings and how much time is spent "Taking the Shot"? It may be that we have finally come against issues that instead of helping us, is really slowing us down!

I strongly recommend that you visit www.dpreview.com and read the entire review of the E-3. It has 34 sections and is done quite completely and is very informative before you respond. I still would like to purchase the E-3, but I still have some reservations. When there are repetitve output problems, that is a photographers worst nightmare!!

Dennis Goldensohn

Ian: You only need to check the results produced by E-3 users shown here, on fourthirds-user.com, fourthirdsphoto.com, myfourthirds.com and, yes, even dpreview, to see that there are many many photographers getting remarkable results from their cameras in all sorts of conditions. I spoke to Simon briefly about his E-3 review the other day and he says it's a very good camera but it's big problem is the Nikon D300. There is plenty of evidence to suggest the D300 is a remarkably good camera. And that's fine and dandy, but not everyone wants to buy a Nikon. The E-3 can do a few things the D300 can't (articulating screen, more usable live view (I challenge anyone not familiar with a D300 to work out how to switch LV on without the manual!), Zuiko lenses, among a few). The E-3 is a very good camera in its own right and a great alternative to a D300 and several other cameras to a good number of people.
I hope my comments are useful.

Ian
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  #3  
Old 28th February 2008
dennisg
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Smile Re: New review of E-3 in DpReview

Ian,

Thank you so much for your expedicious reply. The only reason why I posted this, is that it seemd to take all the fluff away from the camera, the manufacturer, and the magazine ads. I would think that the camera can stand very tall on its own merrits, but reading some of the "cons" made me take a step backwards and ponder the issues presented.

I have taken some wonderful shots in Florida this past month with ,my E500and I plan to post them in a galery. Thus my expectations for E-3 are quite high to say the least.

One thing that I failed to mention is that the dpreview's post did state that Olympus really needs to find a better 4/3 sensor to resolve the issues posted, thus would take this camera and any other to follow in the Olympus line to where they belong in the pack.

Regards from over here on this side of the pond,

Dennis G
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Old 28th February 2008
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Re: New review of E-3 in DpReview

Quote:
Originally Posted by dennisg View Post
Ian,

Thank you so much for your expedicious reply. The only reason why I posted this, is that it seemd to take all the fluff away from the camera, the manufacturer, and the magazine ads. I would think that the camera can stand very tall on its own merrits, but reading some of the "cons" made me take a step backwards and ponder the issues presented.

I have taken some wonderful shots in Florida this past month with ,my E500and I plan to post them in a galery. Thus my expectations for E-3 are quite high to say the least.

One thing that I failed to mention is that the dpreview's post did state that Olympus really needs to find a better 4/3 sensor to resolve the issues posted, thus would take this camera and any other to follow in the Olympus line to where they belong in the pack.

Regards from over here on this side of the pond,

Dennis G
As I said - it's all relative. For example, the E-3 is a big leap ahead of your E-500 in all departments, so if you are already happy with your E-500, believe me, you will love the E-3. But be warned, the E-3 is bigger, heavier and more expensive

Ian
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Old 28th February 2008
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Smile Re: New review of E-3 in DpReview

A camera and its' lens is only an instrument to be used by the person behind it. It really is inmaterial as to which manufacture you choose because if you have the eye for composure, the knowledge of settings then you are away to the races. I say this not because I am an expert but I would suggest that you look at the results of people like Jono Slack who has a penchance for trying and buying all of the good cameras like the Olympus E-1 plus newer models, Nikons and yes, the famous Kodak pro camera. In every case he makes them sing great anthems in cathederal like settings .... he proves without a doubt that it isn't really the instrument that plays the tunes but the player!

Just my humble opinion for what it is worth.
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Old 28th February 2008
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Re: New review of E-3 in DpReview

Ian,

I have used Mamiya 645s, Mamiya's 220 and 330 Twin Reflex cameras and the weight will not be a problem. At times it's nice to feel the camera.

Since I do own the 12-54 mm and the kit 40-150 mm zooms, and a FL-50 strobe already, the body is reachable. I will probably hold on to the 500 and have a backup since that trade-in value at the time of purchasing the E-3 will be not worth the trade-in value

Again, thanks!

DG
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Old 28th February 2008
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Re: New review of E-3 in DpReview

Quote:
Originally Posted by dennisg View Post
Ian,

I have used Mamiya 645s, Mamiya's 220 and 330 Twin Reflex cameras and the weight will not be a problem. At times it's nice to feel the camera.

Since I do own the 12-54 mm and the kit 40-150 mm zooms, and a FL-50 strobe already, the body is reachable. I will probably hold on to the 500 and have a backup since that trade-in value at the time of purchasing the E-3 will be not worth the trade-in value

Again, thanks!

DG
Try to get to see an E-3 and check it out first hand. Compare it with the competition. One big revelation will be the viewfinder view, which is now enormous thanks to the new tilted pentaprism Olympus uses. The size and weight is about the same as its competitors, which some have criticised because of the Olympus marketing message of Four Thirds being a compact platform. But for a camera of this type, the users have dictated over the years that the size and weight that has evolved is ideal for best handling, especially when used with big lenses.

Ian
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Old 28th February 2008
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Re: New review of E-3 in DpReview

Bill, (sending this again do not think it went through the first time)

I agree with your observations. But as we learn in Lean Manufacturing and Six Sigma that it is the Process that counts not the individual itmes. Thus it all boils down to the Man, Machine, Material, Method, Measurement and sometimes the Environment. Thus if any of these conditions are out, the processd cannot be successful.

Thus the Camera-Machine is an important element here.

Thanks for the insight!

Dennis G
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Old 28th February 2008
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Thumbs down Re: New review of E-3 in DpReview

Another question I have about the AF system. Say you are in Aperture Mode select an F stop of f8 and the camera does its thing and then use an F stop of f4. Does this have a negetive outcome on the shot?

My though is, if the 11 point AF system picks different points to focus on, the F stop chosen can affect the outcomes due to fact a subject can be either behind or in front of the point you want focus on.

In standard mode, the depth of field needs to be considered by the photographer with standard gear, but a complex focusing system, more information can confuse the situation leading to less than desidable results.

Thanks!

Dennis G
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Old 28th February 2008
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Re: New review of E-3 in DpReview

Quote:
Originally Posted by dennisg View Post
Another question I have about the AF system. Say you are in Aperture Mode select an F stop of f8 and the camera does its thing and then use an F stop of f4. Does this have a negetive outcome on the shot?

My though is, if the 11 point AF system picks different points to focus on, the F stop chosen can affect the outcomes due to fact a subject can be either behind or in front of the point you want focus on.

In standard mode, the depth of field needs to be considered by the photographer with standard gear, but a complex focusing system, more information can confuse the situation leading to less than desidable results.

Thanks!

Dennis G
You would really only be advised to use multi-point AF if you needed it specifically, (actually, after writing this - it's kind of obvious!) - anyway, I use the single central AF point 99% of the time.

Normally the use of the other points would be either during action photography with continuous AF or in a static scene, possibly on a tripod, where you want to maintain focus on a particular off-centre part of the scene.

So I can't see that selecting the aperture in the way you describe would be critical in any way.

If I have got this wrong - I'd love to hear what you meant and apologise in advance if I misunderstood you

Ian
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Old 28th February 2008
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Re: New review of E-3 in DpReview

Ian,


No. I just think too many cooks in the kitchen can spoil the meal. So the photographer has to use the KISS principle to keep the process in order. I cannot tell you how many times at Grand Prix Horse Jumping events I had the horse dead over the jump, but the f stop and or shutter speed selected screwed up the entire frame. Luckily with digital you can review the exif file data on the spot to make the necessary corrective actions. But stuff happens.

Dennis G
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Old 28th February 2008
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Re: New review of E-3 in DpReview

Hi again Denis
This has nothing with the topic but I noticed that you live in a very historical town. I remember well when it was built right after the war to accomodate returning veterans. I bet you are the son of one!!I am a veteran of that era and like you I have used everything from 4x5 press cameras to Rolleis, 1/4 plate Hassies and all kinds of digital. The E-1 is the greatest digital camera which I had and the E-3 is technological wonder which I am struggling to conquor ... I will but it will take a bit longer because the wizardery of this instrument is amazing ... for example ... I think I will stick with spot metering because it is simple and for all the reasons that we have been reading about re the 11 point system!!
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Old 28th February 2008
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Re: New review of E-3 in DpReview

Bill,

You are absolutely correct. Leveittown, New York was built so that the returning vets from WWII could have their own homes and not have to live with their parents. 17,774 homes were built and the stating price at the time was $6990 (refridgerator, washer and TV included)place?

My father was in Paton's 8Th Army as a medic who took bodies out of B26s and B17s after their missions over Europe. I even have recorded letters home to my grandmother from your man in the service. They are on 78 RPM records and were recorded on base while in training and were done by Pepsi Cola. A nickle a bottle back then for 10 oz versus 7 oz for Coke a Cola.

All of the homes here in Leveittown have servived gracefully over the fifty years since they were built. After the first project was finished here in New York, Levitt and Sons built another Levittown in Pennsylvania, and then in Florida.

We are very proud of our second and third genration hom owners in Levittown and it just defines what the boys were fighting for "Over There" back in the 1940s.

Dennis G
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