Originally Posted by erikzen
I have been looking through some of the camera thread and don't find anyone who particularly likes the Olympus or the 4/3 system. I don't really understand why nobody seems to like these cameras.
If you're looking for an entry level DSLR you should be looking at these cameras and even if you're an advanced photog, the E-3 is a sweet camera with some high quality glass available.
The Olympus cameras come with much more features than the comparably priced Nikons and Canons. The kit lenses are also superior. It's true that the choice of lenses is limited but if you're an enthusiast and not a pro, and you don't have gobs of money to spend, how many lenses do you need anyway?
So show some love for Olympus DSLRs!
I think what you're seeing in terms of choice is the enthusiast market in Head-Fi. We love our gadgets - and lenses, and flashes, and remotes etc - and it's more to our liking when we have a large supporting aftermarket available. Trouble-shooting and tips are also easier to come by because of the large user base. Photographers are a conservative lot... we may not welcome completely new systems because they are unknowns in terms of performance, reliability, and durability. If the 4/3rds system is abandoned by manufacturers in favor of going to FF systems like it seems to be trending... photographers will be left with lenses and camera that go obsolete and no way to recoup their investment.
|First and foremost, when I went to the camera store and held the Canon, Nikon, Sony and Olympus, the Oly just felt better in my hands. It has a nice grip, it's not too big or heavy, but doesn't feel like a toy. I like the way the controls are set up and the menu access. If I had to find fault I'd say that there is no dedicated menu screen as it shares time with the photo display. But it really doesn't bother me and contributes to the size and manageability of the camera.
The features that come with this camera can't be touched for the price. It has an excellent dust control system, in body image stabilization and live view through the LCD. Dust control is essential if you are going to be changing lenses and Olympus has a proven system.
Features aren't everything. What are the features of the 4/3rd system that is better than the incumbent Canon/Nikon systems?
Built-in IS? Most kit lenses come with IS now, and a lot of the semi-pro/pro lenses are popping up with IS everywhere. The IS kit lenses are surprisingly good optically - the Nikon 18-55 IS is very good in build and IQ, and I would be happy using it for most circumstances. I wish the Canon 18-55IS was its equal, but it's not far behind.
Dust removal? Everyone has that, too. The dust issue is also overblown for most users - smart lens-change technique will prevent a lot of dust from entering. Keep the camera body/lens bottom pointed downwards and make gravity your friend. Cap the lens rear immediately after removal. Don't change lenses in a dust storm, obviously. Get some shelter.
Live View? Ditto. It's only useful in very limited circumstances, too. Smaller weight and size? That's arguable, because if it's too small or too light it won't be easy to hold the camera down to slower shutter speeds - which is the case for my 450D. With the larger f2.8 or faster zooms and primes it was rather difficult to handhold down to 1/10 or slower without the battery grip I added. My friend's E-410 is weirdly shaped (IMO) and harder to hold more securely, and I can't figure out the controls quickly like I can with Nikon and Canon cams that I haven't seen before.
Ergonomics may vary amongst users, so that's going to be different for everyone anyways.
The argument about less lenses for enthusiasts is also false... pro's don't use that many lenses in most situations. They tend to stick with the L zooms for most situations due to versatility - most wedding/event photographers, newspaper photographers and photojournalists I know use the Canon or Nikon pro-level f2.8 zooms on two bodies (17-40L, 16-35L, 24-70L or 70-200L IS and their Nikon equivalents) and a flash and that's it. Enthusiasts are the one driving the market for more varied, specialized zooms and primes.
To the money/# of lenses question - how many headphones do you need anyways?
The abundance of 3rd party glass is also a boon to enthusiasts - cheaper lenses for their systems, and a huge used market where they can pick and choose. 3rd party manufacturers aren't going to invest in new infrastructure all that quickly... which leaves users with little choice but to go with OEM glass which might be quite expensive.
|The other complaint about the sensor is that it creates noise in low light at high ISOs and blows highlights because of limited dynamic range. This may be true compared to a 2/3 system but the benefits outweigh the drawbacks. Plus in low light conditions or for shots where half of the picutre is underexposed and the other half is overexposed, any camera is going to struggle. If you've got to bump up the ISO to 1600 to take the shot, you're probably shooting under pretty extreme and challenging conditions.
Nikon/Canon's bigger sensors also have an advantage in terms of image quality and noise performance due to the larger sizes... squeezing pixels into a bigger space is a good thing when you want clear, sharp pictures. High-ISO performance is also better - I can get ISO 1600 on my 450D for most situations and be happy with the quality it provides for printing out in 8x10 or bigger. Challenging conditions it may be, but doesn't mean you should just give up (or the camera manufacturer shouldn't cater to that possibility).
Nikon/Canon are also (mostly Nikon right now... cmon Canon!) introducing higher and higher ISO performance into consumer/semi-pro DSLR's... D300's ISO 3200 is quite usable, and D700's ISO performance is just off the scale. I don't think that can be achieved with a smaller sensor.
For those times where the half the picture is over and the other is under... AEB. That's all I have to say to that.
The 4/3rds system may eventually prove to be a wonderful thing - but it still has a ways to grow before being able to challenge the old dogs for the attention of customers.