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Olympus E-400 E-400 specific discussion.

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Old 29th December 2008
Maczero Maczero is offline
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So How Noisy is the E-400?

I guess that most people here have moved beyond the E-400. I remember that when it was reviewed it was seen as a good, but noisy camera (possibly because it wasn't applying aggressive in camera noise reduction). However, it's my only camera at the moment and although I would like to add another body, that isn't on the cards yet.

Since then, it has been superseded by the x10 and x20 series cameras, as well as the E-3. How much better are these cameras at dealing with noise than the E-400 (I do use ISO 800 from time to time, but ISO 1600 hardly at all because of my concerns about noise)? And if the Kodak sensor in the E-400 is noisier, does it have any DR difference (better, worse, the same) compared to the Panasonic Liveview sensor in the later models?
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Old 29th December 2008
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Re: So How Noisy is the E-400?

I too have an E400 as my only digital SLR and upgrade is not really on the cards for me either so I started looking at Raw processors...it looks like I am going to spend out on Capture One 4 as it handles the E400 files better than anything else I have 'played' with



This shot on the E400 at ISO1600
The astrophotography I do is usually at 800 ISO and I have no real noise issues providing I use B so that the auto dark frame is done

What to upgrade to...just have to see what the Oly mFT is like
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Old 29th December 2008
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Re: So How Noisy is the E-400?

I don't know if this helps, but I use the E400 and the E510 and I posted a thread about my findings when I compared the two of them

http://e-group.uk.net/forum/showthread.php?t=2955

I had intended to keep the 510 for low light (it has IS, live view and all that) and keep the E400 for bright days (the 400 is supposed to clip in a less violent manner than the 510)

In fact I use the E510 almost all the time, with IS switched on almost all the time. The E400 gets used from time to time only because its smaller and lighter.. There is not a big difference in noise or resolution, but if you look really close there is a small difference.. :-)

Hope this helps

Pete H
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Old 29th December 2008
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Re: So How Noisy is the E-400?

Crimbo

Thanks for the quick reply. How do you rate Capture One compared to Aperture (if you have tried it)? One reason I moved from LightRoom to Aperture was that I thought it did a better job with the E-400 Raw files.

Maczero
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Old 29th December 2008
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Re: So How Noisy is the E-400?

I am a PC man so Aperture not available though you can get a Mac Trial version of Capture One so try it and see if there is a large enough difference
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Old 31st December 2008
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Re: So How Noisy is the E-400?

I haven't tried Aperture but have a copy of CaptureOne4 which I'm happy enough with. Mine came free, from a code that was with a Sandisk CF card, I don't know if they still do it though.

Quote:
I guess that most people here have moved beyond the E-400. I remember that when it was reviewed it was seen as a good, but noisy camera (possibly because it wasn't applying aggressive in camera noise reduction).
I think the E-400 is a jolly good camera, it's my only camera too. I had thought we might be able to afford an upgrade in 2009 but the economic situation doesn't seem to be going our way so I'm likely to be staying with it.

I do sometimes find it a bit noisy at high ISOs, so I avoid using anything too high. I think it depends on the sort of pictures you like taking, whether the noise would affect detail and the size any picture is likely to be printed because the best way of getting rid of noise seems to be to print small.
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Old 1st January 2009
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Re: So How Noisy is the E-400?

I don't have my E400 anymore, but although noisier than say the E520 that I now use, it could be easily cleaned up using Noiseware Pro.

The biggest issue I had was the size of the RAW files. For processing there was a time when I tried most of them, and came to the same conclusion, that Capture One 4 gave the most accurate colours, came with the best interface, and was the quickest to process as well.
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Old 1st January 2009
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Re: So How Noisy is the E-400?

Do not get the impression that this is an advert for Capture One ...
the year ended with this view of Venus and the Moon shot at the 300 end of the 70-300 at ISO 400 for 2" as a raw capture



Pixel peep it and ...



lots of 'hot pixels'
So further processing is required - if I could only find a PS action!

But as us 'Cinderellas' have already said ... its unlikely there will be funds for a major purchase so I am sure we will continue to produce wonderful images from a wonderful camera
(and yes I do have the 'red line' of pixels)
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Old 1st January 2009
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Re: So How Noisy is the E-400?

Thanks for this. I have downloaded a copy of Capture One to try out v Aperture (although it may have to be pretty good for me to replace it).

I too saw the moon and Venus last light and tried some pictures with the 14-50 (at the 50 mm end - the aim was to have some foreground foliage in for context, but it ended up with too much context and too little moon). Your efforts are much better than mine - I should definitely have tried a different lens.
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Old 2nd January 2009
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Re: So How Noisy is the E-400?

If you think the E400 is noisy at high ISOs you should see my E1...

Seriously, I think people worry too much about noise. Software like Noise Ninja or Neat Image (my preferred solution) cleans up an awful lot, but as a relic of the days of film, I'm pretty amazed to get an image at all in some situations. Does a bit of noise really matter unless you are a working pro?
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Re: So How Noisy is the E-400?

Quote:
Originally Posted by HughofBardfield View Post
If you think the E400 is noisy at high ISOs you should see my E1...

... but as a relic of the days of film, I'm pretty amazed to get an image at all in some situations. Does a bit of noise really matter unless you are a working pro?
I think there is much truth in this.. I have been scanning some of my slides from 10 years ago when I used a Nikon FE2, Nikkor lenses with Provia and Sensia transparency film which I got processed at the local pro labs. Despite what I would have thought was a fairly careful approach.. I am amazed at how soft and grainy these images are by my current standards

So, no, the E400 isn't that bad for noise, (its also not much worse than my E510).

My only grounds for complaint about the E400 is that the RAW files are large (20Mb+) and it is slow to write them to CF card. Also, it could have been a better camera if Olympus had given it some software upgrades.

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Old 2nd January 2009
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Re: So How Noisy is the E-400?

Quote:
Originally Posted by HughofBardfield View Post
but as a relic of the days of film, I'm pretty amazed to get an image at all in some situations. Does a bit of noise really matter unless you are a working pro?
Yes, I remember the days of film too and am very pleased with the results by comparison, but realistically, when I'm using a digital camera I expect a different result. I do still think it's a good camera, for its' time and clearly Olympus was pleased with the trial sales (limiting the E400 to Europe) otherwise they wouldn't have bothered with the updated models.

Quote:
Originally Posted by snaarman View Post
My only grounds for complaint about the E400 is that the RAW files are large (20Mb+) and it is slow to write them to CF card. Also, it could have been a better camera if Olympus had given it some software upgrades.
I don't think there's even the remotest chance of an update, although I'm sure it wouldn't be too difficult for them. I think this has been discussed somewhere else on here too The camera is a couple of years old, it doesn't seem to be listed amongst the DSLRs on the website now.
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Old 6th January 2009
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Re: So How Noisy is the E-400?

This has been quite interesting and spurred me to borrow an E-520 from my local camera shop to carry out some comparative tests with my E-400. The following are straight JPEG conversions of the original RAW files with no PP other than the default applied by the Aperture RAW engine. There isn't a massive difference in noise terms between the shots, although brightness and WB of the E-520 are noticeably different from the E-400.

First set - exterior shot in Perth on a grey day:

E-520:



E-400:



Second set - inside the shopping arcade (just before security moved me on as a threat):

E-520:


E-400:



I have extracted what I hope is relevant EXIF data and added it to the notes in the gallery, since I have no idea if it has survived the conversion and importing process.

PP of the E-400 files to get them to about the same level of brightness as the E-520 seems to require about an additional stop of exposure. The files do respond to some cleaning up in noise reduction software and sharpening, although none has been applied here.

So what? The E-400 is perhaps not as noisy as I thought (and I take everybody's points about scanned film photographs). However, the RAW files are almost 3 times the size of the E-520's and it lacks IS, which may make a difference in low light conditions. I don't know whether it has an equivalent DR or not.

Maczero
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Old 7th January 2009
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Re: So How Noisy is the E-400?

I am sorry but you are not comparing like with like...the 400 was the camera that proved the point for Olympus - the 'digital OM' is an object of desire. They have moved on in time and technology.
So, yes, when funds allow I aim to upgrade to a 520 (or 530) body
As thing are I am pretty happy with my 400 and an upgrade is not top priority
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