What Olympus is lacking


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Maltese

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#1
I've recently been out with a friend to decide on an entry level DSLR and finally decide to get the E330 because of the live view, the colour as well as the adjustable LCD. With the kit lens and the 40-150, I try to track a bird this evening but seems that the camera and lens speed are seriously lacking. I'm seriously considering getting a set for myself so would like to know what I'm lacking in.

Is the equipment not high end enough or there anything wrong with the settings or my technique. I'm happy to know more about Olympus equipment as well as the performance for general applications like :
1. Landscape
2. Portriats
3. Action
4. Macro
5. Nature
6. Night
7. Underwater
8. Astro
 

ykkok

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#2
Maltese said:
I've recently been out with a friend to decide on an entry level DSLR and finally decide to get the E330 because of the live view, the colour as well as the adjustable LCD. With the kit lens and the 40-150, I try to track a bird this evening but seems that the camera and lens speed are seriously lacking. I'm seriously considering getting a set for myself so would like to know what I'm lacking in.

Is the equipment not high end enough or there anything wrong with the settings or my technique. I'm happy to know more about Olympus equipment as well as the performance for general applications like :
1. Landscape
2. Portriats
3. Action
4. Macro
5. Nature
6. Night
7. Underwater
8. Astro
Wow... that's not really general, but almost everythig under the sun! Well, there's no perfect camera but if weight and costs is not under your consideration, then I think there are lots of better camera system out there.

But using a 40-150mm lens for bird and in the evening with lights thinning, it would be stressful to other system as well, if we are comparing the same level of camera and lens class.

Alternatively, try this E-330 with LCD Info off, switch to sports mode, and give it a 50-200mm lens. A fast (bright) tele lens is necessary to let the AF works better.
 

Maltese

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#3
oh...definitely I'm not saying that the E330 will do well in all the below, I'm basically looking at the performance in this areas with reference to E330 and Zuiko lenses. I was told by almost every person I know about Zuiko lenses that they are optically better thatn Nikon and Canon and is in par with german optics like Carl Zeiss. While I do understand marketing gimmicks but Zuiko does not uses as much fluoride and DO lenses as Canon and almost only on ED lenses (pardon me if I'm wrong as I'm rather new to Oly with only a few days of intensive research). Nikon uses ED but their lenses are not even mention to be in par with Zuiko. I would have expect that Zuiko SHQ lenses or their HQ lenses would be comparable to Canon L lenses since Oly quality are suppose to be better?

For the bird tracking, I'm shooting at f3.5 at ISO1600, C-AF with the E330 and have no problem with f8, ISO400, AI Servo under the same lighting condition with a EOS 20D. The lenses I used for Canon are also standard lenses and not any L lenses except it has IS which the E330 has it in-build on the body already. I'm thinking whether does the USM in canon and AFS in Nikon has anything to do with this. Does Zuiko have this feature or its a common understanding to Oly users that all Zuiko lenses are "born" with it and need not mentioning like what Nikon and Canon lenses does either for marketing or for consumer knowledge.
 

tomcat

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#4
For each of these applications, there are general techniques and there are specific techniques related to the camera and lenses used. I dare say that there is no camera available that excels in every one of these applications. And even an expert in one of these applications would be hard-pressed to reproduce the quality of shots that's similar to what he has normally gotten with his usual gears, if he is using a different branded camera that he's picked up for the first time with a lens that he is also unfamiliar with.

As for your comparison of lighting conditions, I seriously doubt that a difference of 3.5 EV between f/3.5 and f/8 in aperture size can be offset by increasing the ISO speed by 2 EV from 400 to 1600. So the shutter speed used for the E-330 must have been must slower than that used with the 20D. You did not say whether you are shooting a flying or stationary bird or a walking bird and if walking, in what direction - towards you or across the frame, etc. Different cameras have different capabilities as far as continuous AF tracking is concerned and the lens used also plays a very significant part in this. So the performance of a particular camera system cannot be generalised and simplified just like that. In any shots of moving subject, IS will be of no use unfortunately since it is only useful to minimise the effect of handshaking when shooting a stationary subject. If the subject is moving, then the only way to freeze it is to use a high enough shutter speed.

In any case, do note that like Canon and Nikon SLRs/DSLRs, Olympus also does not have IS built into the camera body like you mentioned. The IS is in the lens and the first 4/3 lens with IS is by Leica for the forthcoming Panasonic L1 DSLR and is not commercially available yet. I certainly hope that you did not tell your friend that the E-330 has in-built IS like Konica-Minolta and Sony A100 DSLRs, and he had made his buying decision based on this. Or is it you who bought the E-330? ;)

I have always been using Canon gears since the SLR days and have owned all the Canon DSLRs from D60 to 10D to 20D and still have the D60 and 20D. Then one day, I bought the E-300 to play-play and was shocked that the 2 kit lenses were so much better than any of the consumer grade Canon lenses that I have, even those with IS notwithstanding. And they were so light too... for the first time, I could lug the entire DSLR camera system on oversea vacations without breaking my back. I love my 20D body, but to get similar or better quality than those from the E-300/E-330 out of it, I would have to get 'L' lenses or some of the more expensive EF-S lenses or 'L'-equivalent third-party lenses. So, yes, I do believe like others that Olympus ZD lenses are generally better than their equivalent Canon lenses as far as optical quality and value for money is concerned and that Olympus SHQ and HQ lenses are as good if not better than equivalent Canon 'L' lenses... and lighter as well. Which is why I find myself slowly but gradually drifting towards the Olympus camp and investing in more and more of their SHG and HG lenses (something that I cannot bring myself to do when I was shooting Canon) :dunno:

But do note that 'optical quality' or 'optics' as you put it, is just that - those qualities arisng from the quality of the glass used, the design of the optical path and lens element configuration, etc. It does not include any focus enhancing features put into lenses like USM (Canon), AFS (Nikon) or HSM (Sigma). Such features do help focus to snap in faster but that does not necessarily ensure accurate focussing though. USM is also present in some of the consumer grade Canon lenses but it does not improve the optical quality of these lenses or the accuracy at which they focus. Focus accuracy has a lot more to do with the camera body and their relationship with a specific lens. Canon, for example is infamous for problems with focus accuracy especially in their semi-pro DSLRs. There are lots of complaints of front- and back focussing problems every time a new DSLR body is launched. On the other hand, front and back focussing problems are almost unheard of in Olympus E-System DSLRs and lenses. I must agree that ZD lenses do not feel like they can snap into focus as fast as equivalent Canon lenses with USM but then their focussing accuracy is way more reliable and I do get much less OOF shots with my Olympus than with my Canon gears.

Like they say, there is no perfect camera or camera system... and all camera systems are good in their own way. As in life, everything is a compromise and you should choose a camera system that meets most of your specific photographic needs which could be very different from those of the next person. Unfortunately, sometimes we have to learn the lesson the hard way and only find that a particular camera system is not really that suitable for our needs after investing much of our hard-earned money into it. But that's life, dude ! :)
 

hammer_400

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#5
hahahaa... while the AF speed is not as quick as canon, of cos anyone wud want more speed :p , but it still is sufficient to capture birds in flight! even when i was using the slow sigma 55-200!!! now most of the time with the 50-200, it is user error that causes mi to lose a shot:sweat: here's a small pic to share :)

 

tomcat

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#6
Laurie Sippu, a well-known nature and wildlife photographer, also shoots with Olympus E-System gears and have no problems shooting birds and other wild animals for a living. Check out his osprey shots here....

http://web.mac.com/lsippu/iWeb/Photo%20Gallery/Osprey.html

Ah-but-then, I'm not saying that he shot these with a kit lens of course, being a professional photographer that he is, but it goes to show that Olympus is NOT lacking behind any other brand in such photographic applications. Any failure to achieve such qualitied images could be attributed to the lack of opportunity, will-power and patience, and the skill of the person behind the camera. But since he can achieve this much with his Olympus gear, there is hope for the rest of us that our Olympus gear will not let us down if we put in the time and effort to master them. :)
 

#7
Hi Maltese! Welcome to the Olympus family! I don't tink I wanna add my own input on your bird tracking and what Oly is 'lacking' :p I'm on the E system as well and I switched from Nikon... I've got a long list of lenses and bodies that I've owned and when I found Oly... I had one of "those" experiences - was totally blown away. I'm now on an E-1 system and I trust Oly 100% for paid event/wedding shots as well as for nature shots! :) my bro hammer_400 has also shown that even the 'slow' sigma 55-200 lens can be used to track a bird! Whee!! :D

welcome again :)
 

AQVA

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#8
I feel its more to "What am i lacking" rather than "What olympus is lacking" having switched from Nikon as well i can say i got no regrets so far... weather sealed lens, pixel mapping, dust reduction... simply :thumbsup: the rest depends on the user liao.
 

Red-I

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#9
Just to share my experience. Bought the E500 last November. It's my first Dslr; it rekindled my interest in photography. For someone who has been out of touch for more than 15 years the E500 was a joy to use.

However I developed an interest in bird photography and began to see limitations of the Oly system in their long focal length lenses. I have the 50-200mm which is an excellent lens and at around 1.6K new, quite good value given it's relatively fast at F2.8-3.5. However, even with 2X crop the 35mm effective focal length of 400mm or even 560mm with EC14 is barely enough for birding. The other long lenses in their system are the 90-250mm and the 300mm prime. These are expensive toys, costing 9K and 11K respectively. They are beautiful lenses I'm sure but out of reach for most mortals..... I've also experimented with using Nikon lenses through an adaptor. Results are not bad but manual focusing is tough...

To me it's ironical that Oly did not capitalize on the 2X crop and leave the wide gap between the 50-200mm and the 300mm market segments. I have since bought a brand C Dslr and long lens just for birding and I spent additional 5K, with 5K to spare compared to getting an Oly 300mm! And also begining to see how liberating Image Stabilizer function and low noise high ISO capability are!

I have not sold off my Oly because I love the colour of Oly and Zuiko lenses, and ironically to me, their best lens is the wide angle 11-22mm. I cannot find another lens by C or N of the same calibre. I'm keeping Oly system for all my other photographic needs and travel (lenses are relatively lighter).

So really, it depends on what we shoot most of the time. Other than birding or sports photography or anything that requires long lenses, I think Oly is a very good all round system for most hobbyists.
 

Maltese

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Mar 21, 2005
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#10
thks for all the inputs. The fact I didn't put in the technical details like the directions the subject is flying, subject size, EV etc is that I don't suppose many would find these so helpful after all since given the best of the situation, even a P&S would be able to capture.

And again I'm not asking that a Oly can do all of the above photography majors but just how good they are. For. eg. season C & N users will know that C lenses are faster while KM has the most innovative flash system etc.

Tomcat is close to guess that I'm interested in the Oly system if not I wouldn't be posting here for comments. But the fact is after shooting decades of Canon, like you mention about the familiarity thing, yap, I did find a entry level Canon better to handle than a Oly. :confused:

My Canon system is film and because I'm very disappointed with Canon digital bodies, I sold off my 20D after a few months of using it. They are way overprice for the feature as compared to Nikon and now even further after I discovered about Oly.

I didn't need to advice anything for my friend and in fact at that shop, C, N and Oly was there for comparison and after the introduction by the salesperson, we are just so sick and disgraced about believing in C, N and S (yes we went to the gallery to check out before that) that we decide to get the E330 immediately.

I dare not comment anything about Oly lenses as I don't have the decade long experience to back on but feature wise they are still a distance from C but optically, as heard from others, at least they are not lower.

Generally speaking, unless u are a season bird shooter, equipment will help to improve the overall success rate and that is why when I use the E330 firing at the flying sparrow (left to right) about 10m-20m away, I got 100% of the bird in the frame but none of them are sharp. While my friend using the live view doesn't even get 1 at all.

After that incident, I was thinking maybe its just the lenses since they are entry level as well as how well the camera locks the subject. I'm thinking maybe the AF and metering mode may play a part also. But since we are all new, I suppose posting here to get a better idea will definitely help.

Be sure that I'm not comparing O vs N vs C thing as I respect and understand different people have different preference like I dun really like the E330 rectangular body but love the features :dunno: .

I was particularly laughing away at myself when I went to the Oly Japanese site about the live view advantages and swearing at canon for the $300 angle finder which I have to pay for low angle shot which is easily achieve using the tilted LCD of the E330. I also remember my leopard crawl at Korea taking photos bottom up and the extra thousands of dollars spend on tall tripods and monopods as well as the backaches I have to suffer on travelpods.:thumbsd:

All these can actually be achieved by an inexpensive body which C & N would have blown it up in marketing to charge their advocates piles and piles of $$$.:devil:

For my friend, its a simple decision to be made but with an arsenal of Canon stuffs at home, switching for me is not an easy decision just like many of you who have already pull the trigger.
 

tomcat

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#11
Wow, I would really like to see someone shoot a flying sparrow from 10-20m distance with any camera and succeed. A sparrow is so small and so fast I wonder how anyone could track one and still capture it sharply unless very, very lucky.:confused:

Canon 20D is actually a very good camera (body) and is severely let down only if coupled with their consumer grade lenses except for the cheap and good 50mm f/1.8 or good third party macro lenses like the Sigma 50mm EX and 105mm EX. I still like mine a lot and only use it with these Sigma macro lenses. :)
 

#12
hammer_400 said:
hahahaa... while the AF speed is not as quick as canon, of cos anyone wud want more speed :p , but it still is sufficient to capture birds in flight! even when i was using the slow sigma 55-200!!! now most of the time with the 50-200, it is user error that causes mi to lose a shot:sweat: here's a small pic to share :)
Does Oly DSLRs have generally slower AF?

At times SP500's AF is quite exasperating.:sweat:
 

Maltese

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#15
tomcat said:
Wow, I would really like to see someone shoot a flying sparrow from 10-20m distance with any camera and succeed. A sparrow is so small and so fast I wonder how anyone could track one and still capture it sharply unless very, very lucky.:confused:

Canon 20D is actually a very good camera (body) and is severely let down only if coupled with their consumer grade lenses except for the cheap and good 50mm f/1.8 or good third party macro lenses like the Sigma 50mm EX and 105mm EX. I still like mine a lot and only use it with these Sigma macro lenses. :)
Can lah my friend, even with my rusty skills I can capture them in all the 15 shots I fired off but its just that they are not so sharp and is too small like you say because of the focal length.

Recall I use "pin sharp" i.e can see the shape, colour etc but cannot see the eyes, pimples etc with some ghosting lah. With a faster fps maybe a bigger aperature and a higher grade oly lens I'm sure I can get them sharper. Like you mention before, maybe I'm not used to a oly body yet and with higher grade of equipment, the chances will be raised. Maybe I'm lucky the sparrow didn't get gold for IPPT since in city no natural predator so no need to ask PTI :angry: to train them to fly fast fast :think: Maybe they want to "how lian" in front of me and dare a Canon user to use a oly body correctly ;p. The sparrow fly here and there and sometimes fly very near to us so when I capture them maybe they are closer than 10m but there is definitely a distance away from us since they are not tamed birds like some of the pelicans in australia when I can even touch them and snap at their beaks.
 

nightpiper

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#16
actually Oly has many things that's "missing" but as what Hammer & Hitman have demostrated, no cam is too low end for great pics like those. :thumbsup:

lets juz look at the list one at a time:

1) Landscape - u might find the 4:3 ratio is not as panoramic as 3:2. this can be a personal preference but the lack of MP to capture details might not be a good choice for landscape junkies.

2) Portraits - any DSLR can do portraits. Oly certainly has no problems with that (indoor/out).

3) Action - Oly's AF speed is really lacking here. if u use Oly, u need more skill (like in the old 80's film days) & less reliant on equipment to nap that shot. lots of anticipation for the event u r shooting. this might not be appealing to u if u r the type that rely heavily on ultra AF speed & multi AF points.

4) Macro - No issue here. the new E330 juz made it easier for difficult positions/angles.

5) Nature - What kind? birds in flight? enangered species? Safari in Africa? Antartica Penguins? Sahara desert? if u r a nature lover, u wud want a pro body with pro lenses to take on the forces of nature. so far Oly's jaded E1 is not in any condition to compete with the new gen of pro bodies out there but its still a very robust cam. if u r looking for a shiny new powerful pro body, i suggest u look elsewhere.

6) Night - again what kind? Clubbing? Pubs? streets? skyline? personally i find the CMOS from Canon does a very good job in low light & long exposure photography. it has less noise & doesn't get too hot generating hot pixs during long exposure.

7) Underwater - Oly has their own range of UW equip. even if u dun own an Oly DSLR, there r other UW accessories from big player in this field. what Oly did is made it convenient but i heard the UW gears r not meant to go really deep so pro divers wud want to choose higher end stuff (reads very expensive).

8) Astro - i think this area, any DSLR also can do. its just a matter of getting the right adptors to fit the telescope. nothing special & for more info, u can PM Wai. he did many nice astro stuff with his Canon.


thats nothing really missing, juz some features that needs improvement & hopefully Oly can do it fast cos they r losing market share to the next gen of DSLRs with loads of power. the alpha is creating lots of storm in japan recently & i foresee the new Nikon D80 will also do the same. Canon definitely will also not sit around to watch & do nothing. i have compared the images from 5MP (Oly E1 & Nikon D1x) with 10MP (Alpha & D200) DSLRs & i must say the details diff is really huge. i can only hope Oly has a trump card in hand soon to battle the feature packed 10MP cams.

seems like a trend... every 2 yrs, the MP will go up by 2MP. :) the next 2 yrs, we'll likely see 12MP DSLRs at the entry level.
 

zuikoku

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#17
1. Landscape >> Great performer
2. Portriats >> Nice colour n good tonal reproduction
3. Action >> Canon/Nikon/Sony win the battle over Olympus
4. Macro >> E-330 rocks !
5. Nature >> Nice except following fast bird...
6. Night >> Canon is the best due to low noise on long exposure
7. Underwater >> Olympus is great performer !
8. Astro >> Canon , since for astrophotography need long exposure like night photography
 

ch5800

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Jun 7, 2004
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#18
Nice shot! You do justice to the 40-150mm (best money-value zoom)
However, that's a big bird, our friend is interested in small bird, flying sparrow

Oly is great in lots of thing, but never heard about it been famous for bird shooting.
Maybe C/N camp better with this speciality with faster autofocus, IS (when bird is
stationary), more affordable >= 300mm lens to choose from, low noise higher
ISO => higher shutter speed for freezing birds in flight, faster frame rate (machine gun
hit rate, sure can kill one), more AF-points... all which will help the photographer in one way or the
other.

Olympus gear is still a bit more stressful on the photographer.

Hitman said:
Here's what the 40-150mm lens can do... ;)



ISO 100
f/7.1
1/500
 

Red-I

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Dec 29, 2005
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#19
Hi! Yes was seriously considering that... but decided to try C anyway because of the better high ISO performance and IS. But I still like Oly colours.. that's why I'm still keeping Oly system; especially for wide angle I can't find another lens better than 11-22mm..... :)
 

Red-I

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#20
Hitman said:
Here's what the 40-150mm lens can do... ;)



ISO 100
f/7.1
1/500
Wah solid man :thumbsup:
 

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