Saturday, December 15, 2007

Compare digital SLR cameras: Olympus E-1, E-400 vs. Nikon D80, D40x or Pentax K10D; 4/3” sensor rules in Pro hands

Olympus E400 vs Nikon D40xI have already written that the Olympus SLR camera’s guide is not preferable over using a small 4/3 " (18.00 x 13.50 mm) sensor size. However, engineer’s opinion, which based only on physical properties, can be wrong in comparison with photographer’s opinion, which is based on his one's talent and personal experience. Moreover, collecting information about Olympus SLR lenses, I was envious of a great Olympus ZUIKO high quality lenses. For more about ZUIKO lenses look through Choosing digital SLR lenses: 28-75mm f2.8 vs 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3.
The Olympus SLR’s advantages: Pro photographer's personal experience
When I got a message from an Olympus SLR owner, where he preferred the E-1 and the E-400 to the Sony A100, Nikon D40 and even the Nikon D80, I was amazed. However, after viewing Gabriel Michel’s photos I see: this man knows beyond doubt about all of Olympus SLR’s advantages.
Look through Gabriel Michel article
In my opinion, to report from a camera we have to place it in the context, the experience. For what do we want to test this camera? I prefer to pick different shooting fields: sport, landscapes, street photography, portrait, studio and low light.
Sport photography:
The Olympus E-1 and E-400 suck because it has low continuous shooting (less than 3) and just 3 AF points. The E-1 is better than the E-400 because it can record 12 RAW images, thanks to its buffer. The E-3 is far different and can be considered, especially if you have some Olympus lenses.
For this genre the Olympus E-1 has very good colors, excellent metering, but not so high dynamic range. However, the Olympus E-400 sucks. In my mind, only full frames or bigger sensors can record correctly landscapes. The difference between 4/3 and APS is not so important…but I prefer the Fuji S5 Pro for that photo field.
Street photography:
The Olympus E-1 is very good because sold with the very fast 14-54 (28-108mm) f/2.8-3.5. The shutter is one of the most silent I heard. It is well built and very solid. It is not afraid from the rain… The E-400 is also excellent because very small, light weighted but solid built, and can shoot at mid-high ISO. With a Zuiko OM lens (50 1.8 or 1.4 or 1.2, I will talk about the lenses later), the E-400 is even more small. The shutter is not as silent as the E-1s but it is not so bad.
The Olympus E-1 is good because its photosets are not small, and with a good lens (from Olympus of course ;-)), it's okay. Therefore, the portraits are sharp enough. Of course, the colors, skin tones are excellent. Olympus chose a great grey point to balance the colors; for me it is far better than the other brands. Be aware of its resolution, not more than 30 x 40 cm. The E-400 is just for beginners…as good as the Nikon D40x or the Canon EOS 400D thanks to its good kit lens.
Studio, for pro-use:
Unfortunately, the Olympus E-1's resolution sucks for big prints. E-400 can be okay but needs a pro lens. Be aware that the dynamic range is not as good as Nikon's…and not good at all.
Low Light:
In these situations the Olympus E-1 is bad, even with a fast lens, BUT, in a recent wedding (hey I'm a pro!) I had the Nikon D80 with its standard kit lens AND my Olympus E-1 with its "standard" kit lens; I had to shoot with my E-1 at ISO 800 and with the Nikon D80 at ISO 1600 in the church; the E-1's photos were less noisy but they had also less detail than the D80 ones. It is a question of choice… The E-400 is better than the E-1 at this point, but not as good as Canon, but not so different at Nikon Sony A100's mushroomD80/200, Pentax, and better than Sony Alpha 100 in my opinion.
The final very important thing about Olympus cameras are their versatility. Yeah you can mount Canon lenses, Nikon Lenses, M42 lenses, Zuiko OM lenses and some exotic ones! The 4/3 sensor permit that. In addition, the pictures with these lenses are often really good! For more info go to:
Sony Alpha's portraitVerdict:
The Olympus E-1 is digital SLR camera for:
- Learning photography
- Semi-pros to junior pro
The Olympus E-400 is an SLR camera for:
- Street photography
- Beginners
- As a second body
As for me, the Olympus E-1 can be as interesting as…the Pentax K10D and the Nikon D80.
For me the E-400 is better than the Nikon D40x (except for dynamic range), the Pentax K100D Super (except for stabilization…), the Sony Alpha 100 (except for quality built) and the Canon EOS 400D (except for image quality).
To see Olympus photos go there:
To look at some of my pix, it is here.
Now I have a profound respect for any Olympus SLRs. It is necessary for me to look closely to Panasonic Lumix DMC-L10 and DMC-L1, which has the same as Olympus SLRs 4/3” sensor and an excellent Leica lenses. What is more, do not try to compare digital SLR cameras only by there physical properties. For more articles about digital SLR cameras comparison look through: Choosing a Digital SLR. In some situations the lens guide, lightweight or color rendering are much more important. In addition, the personal experience and talent allow the photographer much more than full frame sensor. Thanks for Gabriel Michel.


SiR said...

The comparison shopper - very good blog! Reading Fototramp's articles, I already became the expert at the choice of cameras. I have given advice to my friend-ornithologist (shooting of birds at a great distance), which wanted to get a camera Pentax K100D. However she has bad stabilization of the image. Thus I have prevented a mistake at purchase of the camera.
Other my friend is engaged in water tourism. He the beginning photographer also. He wanted to buy an expensive camera Nikon D300. I have advised to buy Olympus E-1 - digital SLR camera for learning photography. I think, that it is better to drown in the river a cheap camera, than expensive!!! What do you say?

Thanks and nice weekend.
Mystery Photo

fototramp said...

Hi again, Sir
If you want to look at any Olympus SLRs as beginner, it is better to pay attention to the E400 -- it cheaper and easy to use. As for swimming with a digital SLR camera, most likely for me to save my SLR even if the boat go down. Sorry for passengers.

gate valves said...

I used the D40X in one of my events and I love that camera! its so easy to use and all my shots are so sharp. i heard good reviews for the D80 and i saw its pictures and its an amazing camera as well. i havent used a pentax though but a lot of photographers out there use this camera coz of its fast lenses.


aline said...

Thank you for your feedback. It really motivated me.

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Vaibhav Raj said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Vaibhav Raj said...

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