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Thread: ClubSNAP @ Olympus E-3 Tokyo Launch

  1. #1
    ClubSNAP Admin Edmund's Avatar
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    Default ClubSNAP @ Olympus E-3 Tokyo Launch

    ClubSNAP has the honor of being invited to participate and witness the launch of Olympus's latest flagship DSLR, the Olympus E-3 in Tokyo.


    Room with a great view


    The last row of seats were reserved for "Foreign Press" - media participants from Singapore and Malaysia


    Auditorium filling up with participants who were mostly from the Japanese media


    Seats for 4 members of the Olympus Imaging Corporation Management who presented at the event

    This part of the launch event was mainly in Japanese but Olympus were very thoughtful to have provided us with:
    • wireless audio devices (that white thing over some of our ears) that relayed English translations via a translator
    • press information kit in English

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    ClubSNAP Admin Edmund's Avatar
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    Default ClubSNAP @ Olympus E-3 Tokyo Launch - Day 1

    The event started off with an impressive video clip that showcased the capabilities of the E-3 in use in Africa for wildlife photography.

    Next, Olympus Imaging Corporation President, Mr Masaharu Okubo, kicks-off the launch event of the E-3.


    Olympus Imaging Corporation President, Mr Masaharu Okubo


    Presenting... the Olympus E-3 !!!


    The Olympus E-System

    Since the specs of the E-3 have been detailed in the press release over here, I will not rehash those but rather just highlight some of the key features of this new flagship camera:
    • World fastest AF System with 11-point all Twin-Cross sensor (Among digital SLR cameras available as of October 17, 2007. Based on Olympus' in-house measurement conditions - ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 12-60mm f2.8-4.0 SWD lens paired with the E-3 at a focal length of 60mm; 120mm [35mm equivalent])
    • Image Quality (10 Mega-pixel Live MOS, in-body Image Stabilization, giving a maximum of 5 stops)
    • Live View (A 2 axis [horizontal/vertical] swiveling Live View monitor)
    • Reliability (1.15x magnification view finder with 100% field of view, a high-powered, always-on Dust Reduction System, splash proof and durable magnesium alloy body, shutter design tested to more than 150,000 releases)
    Also launched were 3 new lenses (ED 12-60mm F2.8-4.0 SWD, ED 50-200mm F2.8-3.5 SWD, ED 14-35mm F2.0 SWD) along with a 2.0x teleconverter (EC-20).


    The new lenses and teleconverter


    A look at the real stuff...


    The launch presentations ended on a high note with a splash of wildlife photos taken during the Africa expedition. (Unfortunately, I do not have any photos of those wildlife photos - didn't think it will do those any justice if I did.)

  3. #3
    ClubSNAP Admin Edmund's Avatar
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    Default ClubSNAP @ Olympus E-3 Tokyo Launch - Day 1

    Photos of the E-3


    LCD Monitor open


    Large eager crowds surround the product displays


    The E-3 on hand


    E-3 front view

  4. #4
    ClubSNAP Admin Edmund's Avatar
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    Default ClubSNAP @ Olympus E-3 Tokyo Launch - Day 1

    Close-Ups of the E-3


    Battery Grip rear view


    Battery Grip front view


    E-3 "head-shot" 1


    E-3 "head-shot" 2

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    ClubSNAP Admin Edmund's Avatar
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    Default ClubSNAP @ Olympus E-3 Tokyo Launch - Day 1

    Photos of the E-3 Live View setup


    One of the photographers from the Singapore media team tries a self-potrait


    Close-up of the self-potrait

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    ClubSNAP Admin Edmund's Avatar
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    Default ClubSNAP @ Olympus E-3 Tokyo Launch - Day 1

    Internals of the E-3


    E-3 Internals


    E-3 Internals


    E-3 Internals


    E-3 Internals


    E-3 Internals

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    ClubSNAP Admin Edmund's Avatar
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    Default ClubSNAP @ Olympus E-3 Tokyo Launch

    Internals of the E-3 (Continued)


    E-3 Internals


    E-3 Internals


    E-3 Internal Assembly

  8. #8
    ClubSNAP Admin Edmund's Avatar
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    Default Re: ClubSNAP @ Olympus E-3 Tokyo Launch

    E-3, Lenses and Accessories


    E-3, Lenses and Accessories


    E-3 and Accessories


    E-3 Accessories


    Lenses Galore!!!

  9. #9
    ClubSNAP Admin Edmund's Avatar
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    Default Re: ClubSNAP @ Olympus E-3 Tokyo Launch

    Interview session with Olympus Imaging Corporation management

    After the launch presentations and short hands-on, the Singapore and Malaysian media team had an interview session with Olympus Imaging Corporation managment.


    Olympus Imaging Corporation managment with participants from the Singapore and Malaysian media


    Mr Matt Kobuchi, Senior Manager, Asia Middle East Business Group, starting our session with an introduction. He also spent alot of time with us throughout our stay and took very good care of us


    Mr Masaharu Okubo, President of Olympus Imaging Corporation managment making an opening speech

    Olympus currently has a market share of 7% - 8% globally in the DSLR industry and aims to increase its share to 20% within 4 - 5 years. Mr Masaharu Okubo says that Olympus believes that with the highest image quality, highest mobility, highest reliability with incorporated technology will help them to achieve this target.

    Many questions were asked during this session and an interpreter was on hand to translate "on-the-fly" between Japanese and English.


    Our translator, whom I believe also did the translation for the earlier presentations, did a great job here

    Here are some excerpts from the Q&A session:

    Posed Question:
    With all the effort that has been put in, although it is very difficult to choose, what is the feature that the team is most happy with and proud of that represents the product?

    Answers:
    (Haruo Ogawa, Division Manager / General Manager, Product Strategy Division, Design Center) - AF System and additionally, the Image Stabilisation which gives a max of 5 stops compensation.

    (Yasuo Asakura, General Manager, Product R&D Department) - Agrees with Mr Haruo Ogawa but wanted to stress the highest Image Quality that is also a very key area (greater dynamic range, sensitivity, speed of processing, etc)

    (Masaharu Okubo, President) - Feels that the E-3 has been the crystalisation and consummation everyone's dedicated hardwork and in particular of the development team and he is most proud of that.

    Posed Question:
    Product cycle - many fans have been waiting for a long time for the E-3 to arrive, will Olympus be committing to shortening the product cycle?

    Answer:
    (Haruo Ogawa) - The product cycles will not be as long as has taken for the E-3 and are sure that, in the coming years, they will introduce new products every year.

    Posed Question:
    Competitors Nikon and Canon have a very strong following in the Professional market. Does Olympus see this as a very important market to tackle and if so, how is Olympus going to draw more professionals users to actively use the E-3?

    Answers:
    (Toshiaki Gomi, Director, Member of the Board, Division Manager, Global Sales & Marketing Division) - Professional users carry a "big voice" and this is a very important market. Such users have also been deeply involved in the development of the E-3. In the past, for a while, Olympus chose to stay quiet in this segment. However, now in chapter 2, with such good technology on hand, they are now going to actively pursue this segment.

    (Haruo Ogawa) - It is also expected that with the introduction of the E-3, the user's workflow will also be greatly eased and simplified.

    Posed Question:
    Olympus is well known for its underwater housing. As the E-3 is developed for nature, will Olympus be developing the underwater housing itself or will it develop with a partner? Also, when would it be expected for release?

    Answer:
    (Haruo Ogawa) - In the E series, it is already available for the E410. For the E-3, Olympus plans to develop in conjunction with a partner who is strong and experience in this are. Hence Olympus recommends to use that company's underwater housing for use with the E-3. The timing of the announcement will more or less be concurrent with the commercial launch of the product.

  10. #10
    ClubSNAP Admin Edmund's Avatar
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    Default ClubSNAP @ Olympus E-3 Tokyo Launch - Day 2

    E-3 Hands-on in a studio

    The key highlight of Day 2 was the trip to a studio location rented by Olympus specially for members of the media team from Singapore and Malaysia to experience the E-3. When we reached the studio, there was almost enough E-3s for each one of us to use at the same time (a couple short but nothing enough to stop us from having a good go). There were also many flashes and lenses (all the new lenses were there).


    E-3, lenses and flashes galore!!


    Don't you wish your arsenal looked this plentiful??


    E-3 handgrips and more

    First off, a quick run through of the settings and functions of the new E-3, then it was time to shoot some still objects, models and especially the much anticipated wireless multi-flash capabilities.

    As I mentioned earlier, there were more of us than there were E-3 cameras, but while this was the case, the ratio really wasn't that bad and I had my hands on an E-3 approximately 90% of the time that we were there (4hrs including a quick lunch).


    Mr Koichiro Saito, a professional photographer who was commissioned to take some of Olympus' product shots, led the way for the setups for our E-3 experience


    Some of our participants trying out the E-3 taking photos of one of the two Japanese models

  11. #11
    ClubSNAP Admin Edmund's Avatar
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    Default Re: ClubSNAP @ Olympus E-3 Tokyo Launch - Day 2


    In the heat of the action


    The Zuiko Digital ED 14-35mm f2.0 SWD in action


    Wireless Multi-Flash Photography in the studio - This was an actual photo taken with the E-3's Live View and swivel LCD, i had the E-3 perched high above some white reflective boards. Without Live View and swivel LCD, I would have had to climb up on a chair or ladder to get this shot


    Studio location that was used for our E-3 experience


    Thanks to this mini-bus and its driver, we got around Tokyo without hassle

  12. #12
    ClubSNAP Admin Edmund's Avatar
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    Default Re: ClubSNAP @ Olympus E-3 Tokyo Launch - Day 2

    My Thoughts and First Impressions

    Having little time to acquaint myself with the camera, I chose a completely non-structured approach (we'll attempt a more complete review at a later stage when we'll hopefully get an E-3 for a proper review) and my comments are based on whatever little time I had with the camera. I also deliberately set White Balance, ISO to auto to see how the camera handled itself.

    What struck a cord with me:
    1) Customisable buttons/wheel
    The E-3 had the ability to customise the use of some of its buttons and the "wheels". Typically, the wheel under the shutter button was used for adjusting Aperture/Shutter speed and the back is also used for adjusting picture magnification in the LCD but these can be easily customised otherwise. Not a big deal for many people and its probably a do once and forget function but it left a impression on me. With this, anyone can customise the wheels/buttons to the function that is most useful for them that is in line with their shooting style.

    2) Live View mode with swivel LCD
    While this has more or less been a staple feature of consumer Point and Shoot cameras and even some of the Prosumer range cameras, DSLRs have traditionally not have this feature as some view this feature to be "not professional", "kiddish looking", "why frame with the LCD when you have a proper optical viewfinder??", etc. However, more and more DSLR manufacturers are starting to recognise the usefulness of Live View mode and have began incorporating this into their latest DSLRs. What sets the E-3 apart from current offerings is the fact that this DSLR has Live View WITH a swivel LCD screen. As can be seen from my earlier post with my photo on the "Wireless Multi-Flash Photography in the studio", it certainly made life alot easier and spontaneous rather than having to grab a chair/stool/ladder to capture shots like this. I also did frame several other shots which were more cumbersome or impossible (without an angle finder attached to the view finder) without Live View and the swivel LCD.

    3) LCD screen quality
    Olympus calls their LCD monitor on the E-3, a "dual-axis flexible angle HyperCrystal LCD monitor with free horizontal/vertical swiveling". In actual use during the shoot, this simply blew me away. Some of the shoots were done just outside the studio and I shot with both the E-3 and my Canon EOS 1Ds. As I had to share my E-3 with a media colleague, it immediately struck me how easy it was to review the images under direct sunlight and how it was comparatively almost impossible to see the images on my aging 4 year old EOS 1Ds under a similar situation without shielding the LCD from the direct sunlight. Some might argue that its a case of my camera being old but I disagree and I'm sure media colleagues with me who have seen the E-3's LCD would agree with me on how bright the E-3's LCD monitor was.

    4) Easy to "get comfortable" user interface
    For a person who has had more exposure to other camera brands, I found the user interface of the E-3 easy to learn and allowed me to concentrate on the more important aspects of photography. Of course, I am commenting from an experience based on less than 4 hrs of use and that's not designed to be any form of review, let alone an exhaustive features review.

    What I felt could have been better:
    1) No real-time auto-focus with shutter release button in Live View mode
    When I first tried the Live View mode on the E-3 at the interview with Olympus Management during the Day 1 event, I was puzzled why half-pressing the shutter release button did not cause the live image displaying on the LCD to get focus. It was only then that I was told Olympus had purposely designed the focus to take effect when the AEL/AFL button was pressed while in Live View mode. Personally, I felt that it was more intuitive to focus when the shutter release button was half-pressed. In the end, what I had to do was to press the AEL/AFL, wait a bit for the image to be focused, frame properly, then use the shutter release button to focus, recompose if necessary and shoot.

    2) Wireless Multi-Flash requires the built-in flash to be activated
    I spent some time together with media colleagues trying to figure out the entire wireless multi-flash system and finally confirmed with an Olympus staff that in order to remote control the rest of the setup flash, the built-in flash had to be open (activated). The presence of an external hammer-head flash meant that it had to be removed for this feature to be used. I would have liked to be able to use an external hammer-head to be the master remote control as well just like what Canon and Nikon both offer.

  13. #13
    ClubSNAP Admin Edmund's Avatar
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    Default Re: ClubSNAP @ Olympus E-3 Tokyo Launch - Day 2

    Pre-Production Samples of the E-3

    Note
    : All photos are do not have any exposure compensation added and are unedited, direct from the camera. Click the photos below to view the original full-sized images (Warning: Large files!).


    Static Object shoot with over-blown highlights


    Zuiko Digital ED 50-200mm f2.8-3.5 SWD in use


    Outdoor shoot with Japanese model


    Indoor shoot with Japanese model using a wireless multi-flash setup


    Indoor shoot with Japanese model using a wireless multi-flash setup

  14. #14
    ClubSNAP Admin Edmund's Avatar
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    Default Re: ClubSNAP @ Olympus E-3 Tokyo Launch - Day 2

    Pre-Production Samples of the E-3

    Note
    : All photos do not have any exposure compensation added and are unedited, direct from the camera. Click the photos below to view the original full-sized images (Warning: Large files!).


    Indoor shoot with Japanese model using natural light setup with panel reflectors - taken using Live View and opened LCD (with a non-swivel LCD, this would have required either an angle-finder or the photographer proned down on the ground)


    Indoor shoot with Japanese model using natural light setup with panel reflectors


    Indoor shoot with Japanese model using natural light setup with panel reflectors


    Indoor shoot with Japanese model using natural light setup with panel reflectors


    Indoor shoot with Japanese model using natural light setup with panel reflectors

  15. #15
    ClubSNAP Admin Edmund's Avatar
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    Default Re: ClubSNAP @ Olympus E-3 Tokyo Launch - Day 2

    Concluding Thoughts

    While I have not had the luxury of time to give the E-3 a good run-in, all in all, I believe Olympus has a winner in the E-3. After over 4 years of keeping quiet, the wait is over for Olympus fans and the E-3 is a worthy successor to the previous flagship, the E-1. The 3 newly launched lenses are quiet, fast, easily hand-holdable and also great at covering the wide end to the medium telephoto range. Through the launch event and the hands-on session, Olympus has given me a very good insight of the direction they are pursing and I believe most consumers would welcome a worthy competitor to the current market leaders, Canon and Nikon.

    As a DSLR camera system, Olympus does still have some bits to tweak (for example, getting wireless multi-flash to be able to be triggered from a hammer-head flash mounted on top of the E-3) but I guess those aren't show stoppers and they will get sorted eventually.

    Some might also ask, would I switch to Olympus? Highly unlikely is my answer as I already have too much investment in Canon equipment (same reason why I won't switch over to Nikon even though the D3 looks really good). However, if I ever decide to build a 2nd system, I will definitely have the E-3 in my priority list for its fast AF, Live View with swivel LCD, crystal-clear LCD and light-weight lenses.

  16. #16

    Default Re: ClubSNAP @ Olympus E-3 Tokyo Launch

    Thank you for the report and the images. I bet you enjoyed every minute of it, as much as I would have done. Now I just have to wait until I can feel the camera in my hands. Hopefully, it will soon get to Sweden as well, but the more I look at the images of E-3 and the more I think about the camera, the more I am convinced it is simply made for me.

    I really wish Olympus good luck with this body and the new lenses and other E-system components.

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    Default Re: ClubSNAP @ Olympus E-3 Tokyo Launch

    Mentioned about introducing new products every year.

    Does that mean product life cycle of E-X will be shorten to compete with current competitions?

  18. #18

    Default Re: ClubSNAP @ Olympus E-3 Tokyo Launch

    Thanks Edmund, for you efforts.

    Wish I could have been there though!

  19. #19
    ClubSNAP Admin Edmund's Avatar
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    Default Re: ClubSNAP @ Olympus E-3 Tokyo Launch

    Quote Originally Posted by ryuggen View Post
    Mentioned about introducing new products every year.

    Does that mean product life cycle of E-X will be shorten to compete with current competitions?
    Not necessarily to compete with "current competitions" but yes, that's what I understood from Olympus during the interview session.

  20. #20
    ClubSNAP Admin Edmund's Avatar
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    Default Re: ClubSNAP @ Olympus E-3 Tokyo Launch

    Quote Originally Posted by drakon09 View Post
    Thanks Edmund, for you efforts.

    Wish I could have been there though!
    Glad to be able to share, and IMHO, the E-3 is indeed a worthy successor and competitor. Buy! Buy! Buy!

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