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Old 2nd December 2007
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Question Built in E-System disadvantages

In the Amateur Photographer dated 24 Nov 2007, the editor of AP wrote in his column

“Is it possible that the Four Thirds system can survive with its in-built disadvantages? Until I tried the Olympus E-3 recently I would have worded my answer very carefully, but now I can see more than a hint of a chance that he system can work.”

Now what would those disadvantages be? The inbuilt dust reduction, in body IS, the only digital system designed from square one for the format, etc etc. This is just the latest in a long series of comments I have read that never give a positive impression of Olympus to entice new photographers to choose our favoured brand. Perhaps I am even asking the wrong people via this forum for their views. Is it simply just me being a blinkered Olympus fan but I do get the impression that Olympus repeatedly gets unfavourable or no coverage at all in the mainstream photography publications. Please do tell me if you think I simply have a chip on my shoulder. However, I find the press coverage is very biased towards the wonderful world of Canon and Nikon.

Sorry for having to let off some steam, I really would be interest in everyone’s frank and honest views on this subject

Regards

Chris
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  #2  
Old 2nd December 2007
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Ian Ian is offline
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Re: Built in E-System disadvantages

Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptainD View Post
In the Amateur Photographer dated 24 Nov 2007, the editor of AP wrote in his column

“Is it possible that the Four Thirds system can survive with its in-built disadvantages? Until I tried the Olympus E-3 recently I would have worded my answer very carefully, but now I can see more than a hint of a chance that he system can work.”

Now what would those disadvantages be? The inbuilt dust reduction, in body IS, the only digital system designed from square one for the format, etc etc. This is just the latest in a long series of comments I have read that never give a positive impression of Olympus to entice new photographers to choose our favoured brand. Perhaps I am even asking the wrong people via this forum for their views. Is it simply just me being a blinkered Olympus fan but I do get the impression that Olympus repeatedly gets unfavourable or no coverage at all in the mainstream photography publications. Please do tell me if you think I simply have a chip on my shoulder. However, I find the press coverage is very biased towards the wonderful world of Canon and Nikon.

Sorry for having to let off some steam, I really would be interest in everyone’s frank and honest views on this subject

Regards

Chris
This topic has been debated heavily at our other site, fourthirds-user.com, complete with contributions from the editor of AP and two of his staff

The perceived 'disadvantage' is in having the smallest of the sensors available in DSLRs. As most of us here will already know, this is a widely misunderstood fact which leads to all sorts of unfair conclusions.

Ian
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  #3  
Old 2nd December 2007
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Re: Built in E-System disadvantages

The real problem with the 4/3 system is that the big players, Cannon and Nikon, have had a strangle hold on the photography market. People have grown up with the impression that they reign supreme.

The Olympus E system has come of age and really will start to make its mark with the E410/E510 making an impact on the consumer market, leading to the E3 for the PRO experienced amatuer market. It was very important for the E3 to be introduced as it provides a natural upgrade path. This was partly the secret of Canon's and Nikon's success.

Thats what I think anyway.

Kind regards

PeterD
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Old 2nd December 2007
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Re: Built in E-System disadvantages

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Originally Posted by PeterD View Post
The real problem with the 4/3 system is that the big players, Cannon and Nikon, have had a strangle hold on the photography market. People have grown up with the impression that they reign supreme.

The Olympus E system has come of age and really will start to make its mark with the E410/E510 making an impact on the consumer market, leading to the E3 for the PRO experienced amatuer market. It was very important for the E3 to be introduced as it provides a natural upgrade path. This was partly the secret of Canon's and Nikon's success.

Thats what I think anyway.

Kind regards

PeterD
Indeed. While the E-1 was, in many ways, an impressive first model for the E-System, it was kind of behind the times for such a high-spec body (only 5MP and only 3fps) and the E-300 was too unconventional to generate large volume sales. The E-500 was a design that the public could tune into better. The E-330 was another design out on a limb that indicated that Olympus was not afraid to innovate. But the E-400 really showed that Olympus was moving up a gear and the E-410 and E-510 - the latter especially - are really good sellers at last. The E-3 is just what a lot of E-1 and other early E-adopters needed to prevent them from jumping ship to Canon and Nikon. It's a camera that has also attracted newcomers, too.

In terms of unit sales for the second half of 2007, I expect Olympus to move up to 3rd place behind Canon and Nikon. Sony is a force to be reckoned with, but the A100 is looking outdated now and the A700 is a high-end model so volume sales aren't its thing. Sony doesn't have anything to compete with the Nikon D40x, Canon EOS-400D, or Olympus E-410/510. Their next model is set to be an even higher-end model, so they don't seem to interested in volume sales at the moment.

Ian
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Old 2nd December 2007
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Re: Built in E-System disadvantages

Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptainD View Post
In the Amateur Photographer dated 24 Nov 2007, the editor of AP wrote in his column

“Is it possible that the Four Thirds system can survive with its in-built disadvantages? Until I tried the Olympus E-3 recently I would have worded my answer very carefully, but now I can see more than a hint of a chance that he system can work.”

Now what would those disadvantages be? The inbuilt dust reduction, in body IS, the only digital system designed from square one for the format, etc etc. This is just the latest in a long series of comments I have read that never give a positive impression of Olympus to entice new photographers to choose our favoured brand. Perhaps I am even asking the wrong people via this forum for their views. Is it simply just me being a blinkered Olympus fan but I do get the impression that Olympus repeatedly gets unfavourable or no coverage at all in the mainstream photography publications. Please do tell me if you think I simply have a chip on my shoulder. However, I find the press coverage is very biased towards the wonderful world of Canon and Nikon.

Sorry for having to let off some steam, I really would be interest in everyone’s frank and honest views on this subject

Regards

Chris
Well to be honest Chris the E system does have some disadvantages, the smaller sensor leads to more noise at high ISOs though with the E3 Olympus have made up a lot of ground in this, it is more difficult to get shallow depth of field, until the E3 the viewfinders have tended to be smaller than the competition, the sensors have less pixels than top of the range larger sensor cameras and being a newer system there are less independent lenses and flashguns available.

Having said all that there are many advantages, the lenses tend to be smaller and lighter with wider apertures, which negates the need for higher film speeds. The lenses, especially wide angle, do not suffer from the darkening to the corners that other brands do, if you have never seen this have a look at an EOS 5D with the 24-105mm. All the Olympus lenses are over specified for the current sensors being designed to be able to resolve 20 million pixels. The quality of the standard lens range is fantastic, compare the 14-42mm with the Canon 18-55mm, the Canon is a milk bottle by comparison. As you stated the sensor cleaning is the best on the market. Olympus are the only manufacturer with a weatherproof body and a full range of weatherproof lenses and flash. As I stated earlier it is more difficult to get a shallow depth of field on the other had it is easier to get a large depth of field and I know which I find more useful. Then you have the things which are difficult to measure such as the Olympus colours, I have always found both Nikon and Canon tend to blow out reds with only the slightest over exposure. I could go on and on but I'll sum up by saying every system has advantages and disadvantages but on balance I feel the 4/3 system has far more advantages than disadvantages.

You have to remember magazines tend to blow minor differences out of all proportion, if their tests said all the DSLR cameras are good and will give good results there wouldn't be much point in reading the tests. Lets face it what is important about a camera is the results you get from it not what a magazine says or any one else thinks.

Ian C.

Last edited by ianc; 2nd December 2007 at 02:47 PM. Reason: Jibberish
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  #6  
Old 2nd December 2007
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Re: Built in E-System disadvantages

Quote:
Originally Posted by ianc View Post
Well to be honest Chris the E system does have some disadvantages, the smaller sensor leads to more noise at high ISOs though with the E3 Olympus have made up a lot of ground in this, it is more difficult to get shallow depth of field, until the E3 the viewfinders have tended to be smaller than the competition, the sensors have less pixels than top of the range larger sensor cameras and being a newer system there are less independent lenses and flashguns available.

Having said all that there are many advantages, the lenses tend to be smaller and lighter with wider apertures, which negates the need for higher film speeds. The lenses, especially wide angle, do not suffer from the darkening to the corners that other brands do, if you have never seen this have a look at an EOS 5D with the 24-105mm. All the Olympus lenses are over specified for the current sensors being designed to be able to resolve 20 million pixels. The quality of the standard lens range is fantastic, compare the 14-42mm with the Canon 18-55mm, the Canon is a milk bottle by comparison. As you stated the sensor cleaning is the best on the market. Olympus are the only manufacturer with a weatherproof body and a full range of weatherproof lenses and flash. As I stated earlier it is more difficult to get a shallow depth of field on the other had it is easier to get a large depth of field and I know which I find more useful. Then you have the things which are difficult to measure such as the Olympus colours, I have always found both Nikon and Canon tend to blow out reds with only the slightest over exposure. I could go on and on but I'll sum up by saying every system has advantages and disadvantages but on balance I feel the 4/3 system has far more advantages than disadvantages.

You have to remember magazines tend to blow minor differences out of all proportion, if their tests said all the DSLR cameras are good and will give good results there wouldn't be much point in reading the tests. Lets face it what is important about a camera is the results you get from it not what a magazine says or any one else thinks.

Ian C.
Well stated Ian

PeterD
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Old 2nd December 2007
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Re: Built in E-System disadvantages

What seems often forgotten is that magazines can rarely be totally impartial, especially in a marketplace as overcrowded with titles as photography.

If the majority of their consumers are Canon/Nikon buyers then the magazine will not garner loyalty by saying "sorry folks - you got it wrong, you've wasted your money on the wrong system". Whatever the private views of their staff they will 'sugar' the message. So praise for the outsider (unless it is a definite niche player or gloriously/outrageously expensive) will be guarded.

Remember an awful lot of folks have a lot of money tied up in their choice of system and on the whole they (and indeed all of us) like to hear points of view that reinforce our own choices.

Within that caveat I believe the E-system has been getting some pretty good coverage over the last year. Maybe because it has released some pretty good cameras
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Old 2nd December 2007
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Re: Built in E-System disadvantages

Thanks to all of you who have responded so far. It is a subject which really interests me, please keep your own views coming. It is nice to have an open debate where both the positive and negative points are mentioned. I do not want to become blinded by my own preference for Olympus.

Thanks a lot

Chris
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Old 2nd December 2007
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Re: Built in E-System disadvantages

Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptainD View Post
In the Amateur Photographer dated 24 Nov 2007, the editor of AP wrote in his column

“Is it possible that the Four Thirds system can survive with its in-built disadvantages? ”
Sorry but there is one massive disadvantage that we all have to honestly admit and it nearly made me switch away from the E system recently. It's the lateness of everything in our fitting and the limited number of alternatives. As Nick says - once our in a system it's preferable to stay with it, but it can be hard...

Early this year I was looking for an affortable long telephoto for wildlife work and the Sigma 135-400 liiked the option. BUT it was out in every fitting except 4/3. I tried ordering, but there was no way that the lens could be got to be before my departure date.

Then Olympus announced their 70-300 which was better lens for me bcause of the weight difference when I'm on a long hike. So I tried ordering that before my next trip away (october) and that was another waste of time.

It got so frustrating that I even considered getting a Pentax to be able to use all my old film based kit!

The only thing that will really help us all is enough kit coming through fast enough to convince the Canikon crowd that ther is a real option out there. Then the magazines will follow with articles by users.

Come on Olympus help us all - reduce the lead times between announcement and delivery !

Last edited by shenstone; 2nd December 2007 at 04:50 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old 11th January 2008
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Re: Built in E-System disadvantages

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Originally Posted by ianc View Post
... on balance I feel the 4/3 system has far more advantages than disadvantages.

You have to remember magazines tend to blow minor differences out of all proportion, if their tests said all the DSLR cameras are good and will give good results there wouldn't be much point in reading the tests. Lets face it what is important about a camera is the results you get from it not what a magazine says or any one else thinks.
I can only compare my camera with those of my friends, and I think my little E-400 wins hands down almost all the time because it's so much easier to use, very responsive, lovely lenses and it doesn't suffer from dust specks.

The main thing that lets me down is my recent photographic experience, or lack of it. That said, a friend bought her (more expensive) camera at about the same time as I did. When we go out together, pictures I take with my E-400 tend to look clearer and sharper when viewed unedited on the same computer screen. I'm not going to say what camera she uses.

It's easy to say that reviewers pick on minor differences, but if that's all a newcomer to digital slrs has got to read about their buying options it can distort the facts somewhat, and moreso if they can't read between the lines and realise that one camera's probably as good as another. It's so true that it's the results that are important - but you don't know until you've spent your money, so to some extent you have to rely on a professional reviewer's impartiality and also that somebody in a shop actually knows what they're talking about.
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Old 11th January 2008
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Re: Built in E-System disadvantages

While some may view the higher noise to iso ratio as a flaw, I like to look at is as an advantage. At least to me, in the E-3, the higher iso noise looks a lot like film grain.

But that all aside I am no high iso shooter typically so it was never an issue to me.

Factually, besides technology being where it is in regards to noise, etc. and this perceived "handicap" of 4/3's ... it really comes down to the one behind the camera.

If you are being paid to get no noise photos at iso 6400 then Oly probably isn't for you. Of course if you are being paid for such photos hopefully you are also being supplied with the $$$$ or the pre-procured equipment.

It's my opinion and probably more of a fact that many camera magazines should run a sub-title that says "A Canon publication" or "A Nikon publication" even though they typically will feature other camera brands ... and it appears to me that some of these magazines like to run these other brands just to find fault and beat up on the little guy.

Insecurity? Probably just money, because money talks, it makes the world go 'round. But yeah sure Nikon and Canon both make good cameras and good lenses lest they would not be around. But Oly, makes good cameras and good lenses too ....

Some of these magazines are just fronts because of the jink they get paid from the big brothers of the camera industry. I would carry the salt when reading many of them. What's true for you is true for you right?

I am very happy and very secure with Olympus. Every system has its faults ... my life and my income don't hinge on the faults of Olympus, real or imagined. Things will only get better with Olympus ... it's not like they are going to lay down and die or stop developing technology....

My two pennies for ya ... cheers!

Solar
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Old 11th January 2008
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Re: Built in E-System disadvantages

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Originally Posted by Solar View Post
While some may view the higher noise to iso ratio as a flaw, I like to look at is as an advantage. At least to me, in the E-3, the higher iso noise looks a lot like film grain.

But that all aside I am no high iso shooter typically so it was never an issue to me.

Factually, besides technology being where it is in regards to noise, etc. and this perceived "handicap" of 4/3's ... it really comes down to the one behind the camera.

If you are being paid to get no noise photos at iso 6400 then Oly probably isn't for you. Of course if you are being paid for such photos hopefully you are also being supplied with the $$$$ or the pre-procured equipment.

It's my opinion and probably more of a fact that many camera magazines should run a sub-title that says "A Canon publication" or "A Nikon publication" even though they typically will feature other camera brands ... and it appears to me that some of these magazines like to run these other brands just to find fault and beat up on the little guy.

Insecurity? Probably just money, because money talks, it makes the world go 'round. But yeah sure Nikon and Canon both make good cameras and good lenses lest they would not be around. But Oly, makes good cameras and good lenses too ....

Some of these magazines are just fronts because of the jink they get paid from the big brothers of the camera industry. I would carry the salt when reading many of them. What's true for you is true for you right?

I am very happy and very secure with Olympus. Every system has its faults ... my life and my income don't hinge on the faults of Olympus, real or imagined. Things will only get better with Olympus ... it's not like they are going to lay down and die or stop developing technology....

My two pennies for ya ... cheers!

Solar
Hi Solar,

Thought there was another insomniac on line then remembered you are from the USA.

I agree with you that Oly has good cameras and lenses. Its a hard battle to fight your way up with the Nikons and Cannons. A lot of it though is fighting perceptions as well as improving the hardware. Its the perceptions battle that is the hardest battle to fight.

Kind regards

PeterD
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Old 11th January 2008
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Re: Built in E-System disadvantages

The problem with some testers is that they over emphasize the miniscule and thus mislead the consumer. Think of it of a beautiful model walking down the cat walk in a stunning creation. They will see the single grey hair appearing at the brow, the blemish on the cheek is hormonal imbalance and the slight grimace on the corner of the right lip is due to the pain from an in growing toe nail. Its still a nice dress on a pretty woman but the headlines will mention the trivia. Limp performance from aging wannabe.

H
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Old 11th January 2008
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Re: Built in E-System disadvantages

The thing I notice about C& N users of which most of my friends are is that Olympus DSLR is right out of their comfort zone. Mostly Nikon users they actually view my E1 with great suspicion and often ask questions about it. They seem to think I know something that they don`t. I get the feeling that in a way they feel a bit threatened by it, because the pressure as I quite rightly remind them of, is that their cameras are the best on the planet (their words) so they better deliver... I mean woe betide the D200 that takes a less than perfect picture... naturally when this happens I do not rub it in......much!

Personally I do not give a xxxx about the technical differences, its only technology and that machine carries on regardless. By the time you have had the argument the technology has changed. Who really cares? Right now and as ever Olympus cameras are greater than the sum of their parts. That has been proven on this very forum time and again. I quite like the fact that our kit is different and unique in its own way.

When the wheels fall of 4/3 s technology it will be because it has run its course like everything else, not because it was beaten down by other systems. In the meantime the standard of E system pictures is still turning heads. Ultimately the camera is only a tool, and your 10 year old car still gets you to work.

John.
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Old 11th January 2008
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Re: Built in E-System disadvantages

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Originally Posted by shenstone View Post
Early this year I was looking for an affortable long telephoto for wildlife work and the Sigma 135-400 liiked the option. BUT it was out in every fitting except 4/3.
One disadvantage of 4/3s has been the lack of independent lenses, with only Sigma supporting the mount, but with only a limited range of lenses available.

However, there was an article on Wikipedia last month (maybe earlier) about sightings of prototype 4/3s Tamron's at their head office in Japan fitted to E400 bodies - it went into quite a bit of detail, and said that their entry into the 4/3s arena would be announced early this year with lenses available from the summer.

The detailed stuff has now been taken off Wikipedia, but the Tamron entry still says that 4/3s lenses will be available in the summer -

"Most contemporary lenses are available for Nikon, Canon, Minolta/Sony, and Pentax mounts. It is rumoured that Tamron will start producing lenses for the Olympus/Panasonic Four Thirds mount in early 2008, and that they will be in retail shops by the Summer of the same year."

I think the more independent lenses that are available the more appealing 4/3s will be to new users.

If Tamron do come on board, then only Tokina of the major independents will be without 4/3s lenses in their catalogues. And the more sales made by Olympus, Panasonic & Leica the more likely it is that Tokina will also join in, and the more likely that something approaching the full range of Sigma and Tamron lenses will be available in 4/3s.
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