Olympus E300 review

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by David J. Littleboy, Jan 11, 2005.

  1. Dpreview has completed their review of the Olympus E300. Cheaper, smaller,
    lighter than the 20D, usable at ISO 400 (with careful postprocessing). Not
    all bad at all.

    Still, as expected, it's noisy.

    http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/olympuse300/page17.asp

    It looks to me as though the 20D is capturing more detail at ISO 100, But
    the E300's ISO 400 isn't useless: I downloaded the ISO 400 crop, and with
    threshold set to 5, it sharpens up quite nicely.

    Still, if you look at the noise in the color channels individually, it's
    clear that the 20D is a full two stops more sensitive. IMHO, that's a big
    difference.

    David J. Littleboy
    Tokyo, Japan
     
    David J. Littleboy, Jan 11, 2005
    #1
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  2. In article <crvccu$aqk$>, says...
    >
    > Dpreview has completed their review of the Olympus E300. Cheaper, smaller,
    > lighter than the 20D, usable at ISO 400 (with careful postprocessing). Not
    > all bad at all.
    >
    > Still, as expected, it's noisy.
    >
    > http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/olympuse300/page17.asp
    >
    > It looks to me as though the 20D is capturing more detail at ISO 100, But
    > the E300's ISO 400 isn't useless: I downloaded the ISO 400 crop, and with
    > threshold set to 5, it sharpens up quite nicely.
    >
    > Still, if you look at the noise in the color channels individually, it's
    > clear that the 20D is a full two stops more sensitive. IMHO, that's a big
    > difference.
    >
    > David J. Littleboy
    > Tokyo, Japan


    I was surprised it wasn't as much of a noisebox at ISO 400 as I expected
    it to be. Still, I think it's biggest disadvantage is the lensmount,
    which has become kind of irrelevant now that both Nikon and Canon have
    released some excellent ultrawide zooms for their APS-C sized sensors.

    However, it does take pictures and I'll say that if you like the camera
    and it gives you the results you need - then it's the camera for you.
    --
    http://www.pbase.com/bcbaird/
     
    Brian C. Baird, Jan 11, 2005
    #2
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  3. David J. Littleboy

    Stacey Guest

    David J. Littleboy wrote:

    >Still, as expected, it's noisy.



    I don't see how anyone could say this camera is noisy at normal ISO's. :)
    It may be noisy at the highest ISO's but at 100 I don't see any. I don't
    really care what it does at 1600, I'll never use it.


    >
    > Still, if you look at the noise in the color channels individually, it's
    > clear that the 20D is a full two stops more sensitive. IMHO, that's a big
    > difference.
    >
    >



    On the "2 stops more sensitive" the E300 has faster lenses at the same price
    levels and are usable at these f stops due to the deeper DOF from the
    smaller sensor (and sharpness at these stops) so it doesn't -have- to be as
    clean at the higher ISO's, you don't need to use them. Just buy the f2.8
    normal zoom if low light shooting is an issue. I agree if someone really
    needs to shoot at ISO 1600 then yes, they should buy something more
    expencive.


    I wish instead of focusing on high ISO noise, people would notice the total
    lack of color fringing from the kit lens, the autofocus performance, the
    4/3 aspect ratio (more useable pixels in large prints), self cleaning
    sensor, what actual prints look like etc. Unfortunatly all I bet we'll see
    on-line is non- olympus users focusing on the noise at ISO 1600 from
    cropped on screen examples. I was expecting nothing less. :-(


    I bought mine to use for landscapes at ISO 100 shooting in RAW and
    processing with PS's raw converter using the F2.8 11-22 lens and the 50 f2
    macro and have not been disappointed. YMMV

    --

    Stacey
     
    Stacey, Jan 11, 2005
    #3
  4. In article <>, says...
    > David J. Littleboy wrote:
    >
    > >Still, as expected, it's noisy.

    >
    >
    > I don't see how anyone could say this camera is noisy at normal ISO's. :)
    > It may be noisy at the highest ISO's but at 100 I don't see any. I don't
    > really care what it does at 1600, I'll never use it.
    >
    >
    > >
    > > Still, if you look at the noise in the color channels individually, it's
    > > clear that the 20D is a full two stops more sensitive. IMHO, that's a big
    > > difference.
    > >
    > >

    >
    >
    > On the "2 stops more sensitive" the E300 has faster lenses at the same price
    > levels and are usable at these f stops due to the deeper DOF from the
    > smaller sensor (and sharpness at these stops) so it doesn't -have- to be as
    > clean at the higher ISO's, you don't need to use them. Just buy the f2.8
    > normal zoom if low light shooting is an issue. I agree if someone really
    > needs to shoot at ISO 1600 then yes, they should buy something more
    > expencive.
    >
    >
    > I wish instead of focusing on high ISO noise, people would notice the total
    > lack of color fringing from the kit lens, the autofocus performance, the
    > 4/3 aspect ratio (more useable pixels in large prints), self cleaning
    > sensor, what actual prints look like etc. Unfortunatly all I bet we'll see
    > on-line is non- olympus users focusing on the noise at ISO 1600 from
    > cropped on screen examples. I was expecting nothing less. :-(
    >
    >
    > I bought mine to use for landscapes at ISO 100 shooting in RAW and
    > processing with PS's raw converter using the F2.8 11-22 lens and the 50 f2
    > macro and have not been disappointed. YMMV


    The camera is not amazing, but it isn't a poor performer, either. I
    would say that for the price, it delivers a good value even if you might
    have to pay a bit more in the lens department.

    I know, I know, the whole "focal length vs. field of view" argument, but
    the fact is I'm not buying a 100mm f/2 lens, I'm buying a 50mm f/2 macro
    lens and I should pay about what I would from Canon or Nikon: about $150
    less.
    --
    http://www.pbase.com/bcbaird/
     
    Brian C. Baird, Jan 11, 2005
    #4
  5. David J. Littleboy

    Stacey Guest

    Brian C. Baird wrote:


    >> I bought mine to use for landscapes at ISO 100 shooting in RAW and
    >> processing with PS's raw converter using the F2.8 11-22 lens and the 50
    >> f2 macro and have not been disappointed. YMMV

    >
    > The camera is not amazing, but it isn't a poor performer, either.


    Have you used one? Or are you just going by this web review? Did you miss
    where they said it resolves as much detail and color as a 20D? Or just look
    at the high ISO noise page Dave posted? And yes the PS CS converted RAW
    files blow away the in camera jpegs from this camera.

    I've used a 10D in the past (wasn't impressed enough to buy one after using
    it..) and found the E300 images in print to look much nicer and the camera
    handles better to me as well . Nicer viewfinder, lighter weight, more
    balanced with all the lenses etc. Like I said, everyone is all worried
    about noise at 1600 ISO. If you shoot there I guess it's important, I know
    I never will so didn't care.

    > I
    > would say that for the price, it delivers a good value even if you might
    > have to pay a bit more in the lens department.


    So what does a canon/nikon F2.8 equivelant of a 22-48mm lens cost? A E300
    and a 11-22 zoom is $1800, same thing (FOV and f stop) in a 20D is $2800.
    Doesn't sound cheaper to me.

    >
    > I know, I know, the whole "focal length vs. field of view" argument, but
    > the fact is I'm not buying a 100mm f/2 lens, I'm buying a 50mm f/2 macro
    > lens and I should pay about what I would from Canon or Nikon: about $150
    > less.


    And neither have an F2 version. Nor do they use ED glass or work really
    great wide open. And yes it is a 24 deg FOV lens whether you want to pay
    for it or not. :) To get this FOV in a canon Dslr you'd need a 80mm F2
    macro lens, which again they don't make. I know this lens would do double
    duty as a fast portrait lens and a macro lens so it's worth what it costs.

    Like I said, I did some research and for what I shoot, including the -good-
    optics that work well on a Dslr, a canon was going to be a BUNCH more money
    for very little if any gain. I know olympus macro lenses are usually
    fantastic and this one is no exception. Wonderful bokeh, sharp wide open
    etc.

    Some people like the smooth "plastic" look the canon Dslr's deliver, I
    don't. I tried both and I do wonder if you have? It's a different look,
    whether you think it's "amazing" or not depends on what you're looking for
    in the results.

    If you like the look the canon Dslr's deliver, then buy one. If you already
    own canon lenses, then a canon does make more sense. I just think too many
    people who have never used these ditz them because the noise at high ISO's
    they see in crops on web reviews and are used to using slow zooms on the
    canon (so they are forced to use the higher ISO's) and assume they are
    needed on any Dslr.
    --

    Stacey
     
    Stacey, Jan 11, 2005
    #5
  6. David J. Littleboy wrote:
    > Dpreview has completed their review of the Olympus E300. Cheaper,
    > smaller, lighter than the 20D, usable at ISO 400 (with careful
    > postprocessing). Not all bad at all.


    I must confess to being a little disappointed - it is not significantly
    smaller or lighter than most other DSLRs, and yet it lack their full
    sensitivity advantage. I was expecting more from the 4/3 system.

    Cheers,
    David
     
    David J Taylor, Jan 11, 2005
    #6
  7. David J. Littleboy

    BG250 Guest

    I like it. It has a mid sized sensor, so as expected, the noise falls 'tween
    the DSLRs and the compacts/Prosumer. Price is not bad considering the price
    of the 8mp cameras that can't be used above ISO 200 without the noise
    penalty. Of course, it is squeezed in to a market position right next to
    same priced market dominating Canon and Nikon brands.
    bg

    "David J. Littleboy" <> wrote in message
    news:crvccu$aqk$...
    >
    > Dpreview has completed their review of the Olympus E300. Cheaper, smaller,
    > lighter than the 20D, usable at ISO 400 (with careful postprocessing). Not
    > all bad at all.
    >
    > Still, as expected, it's noisy.
    >
    > http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/olympuse300/page17.asp
    >
    > It looks to me as though the 20D is capturing more detail at ISO 100, But
    > the E300's ISO 400 isn't useless: I downloaded the ISO 400 crop, and with
    > threshold set to 5, it sharpens up quite nicely.
    >
    > Still, if you look at the noise in the color channels individually, it's
    > clear that the 20D is a full two stops more sensitive. IMHO, that's a big
    > difference.
    >
    > David J. Littleboy
    > Tokyo, Japan
    >
    >
     
    BG250, Jan 11, 2005
    #7
  8. David J. Littleboy

    TAFKAB Guest

    David,

    Have you read the replies to that review on the DP Review Olympus SLR
    forums? Lynch mob mentality for only rating it "recommended!" Accusation of
    bias against their church, etc, are running rampant, and all Phil did was
    publish his opinion based on his tests. Brutal.

    It looks OK, but why would anyone buy into that system rather than Canon or
    Nikon, who have fully developed systems?

    "David J. Littleboy" <> wrote in message
    news:crvccu$aqk$...
    >
    > Dpreview has completed their review of the Olympus E300. Cheaper, smaller,
    > lighter than the 20D, usable at ISO 400 (with careful postprocessing). Not
    > all bad at all.
    >
    > Still, as expected, it's noisy.
    >
    > http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/olympuse300/page17.asp
    >
    > It looks to me as though the 20D is capturing more detail at ISO 100, But
    > the E300's ISO 400 isn't useless: I downloaded the ISO 400 crop, and with
    > threshold set to 5, it sharpens up quite nicely.
    >
    > Still, if you look at the noise in the color channels individually, it's
    > clear that the 20D is a full two stops more sensitive. IMHO, that's a big
    > difference.
    >
    > David J. Littleboy
    > Tokyo, Japan
    >
    >
     
    TAFKAB, Jan 11, 2005
    #8
  9. In article <>, says...
    > Brian C. Baird wrote:
    >
    >
    > >> I bought mine to use for landscapes at ISO 100 shooting in RAW and
    > >> processing with PS's raw converter using the F2.8 11-22 lens and the 50
    > >> f2 macro and have not been disappointed. YMMV

    > >
    > > The camera is not amazing, but it isn't a poor performer, either.

    >
    > Have you used one? Or are you just going by this web review? Did you miss
    > where they said it resolves as much detail and color as a 20D? Or just look
    > at the high ISO noise page Dave posted? And yes the PS CS converted RAW
    > files blow away the in camera jpegs from this camera.


    I've looked at the shots from a lot of samples and I've said it takes
    nice photos. Not as nice as the 20D, but what more do you want?

    > I've used a 10D in the past (wasn't impressed enough to buy one after using
    > it..) and found the E300 images in print to look much nicer and the camera
    > handles better to me as well . Nicer viewfinder, lighter weight, more
    > balanced with all the lenses etc. Like I said, everyone is all worried
    > about noise at 1600 ISO. If you shoot there I guess it's important, I know
    > I never will so didn't care.


    Again, what part of my "it's a great camera if you're happy with the
    quality" didn't you understand?

    A bit too much righteousness for my taste. I feel the bile for this
    camera's users already.

    > > I
    > > would say that for the price, it delivers a good value even if you might
    > > have to pay a bit more in the lens department.

    >
    > So what does a canon/nikon F2.8 equivelant of a 22-48mm lens cost? A E300
    > and a 11-22 zoom is $1800, same thing (FOV and f stop) in a 20D is $2800.
    > Doesn't sound cheaper to me.


    The f-stop loss is more than made up for by the extra two stops of
    usable ISOs: 800 and 1600. And if you DO spend the money on a faster
    lens, those higher ISOs become that much more useful.

    > >
    > > I know, I know, the whole "focal length vs. field of view" argument, but
    > > the fact is I'm not buying a 100mm f/2 lens, I'm buying a 50mm f/2 macro
    > > lens and I should pay about what I would from Canon or Nikon: about $150
    > > less.

    >
    > And neither have an F2 version. Nor do they use ED glass or work really
    > great wide open. And yes it is a 24 deg FOV lens whether you want to pay
    > for it or not. :) To get this FOV in a canon Dslr you'd need a 80mm F2
    > macro lens, which again they don't make. I know this lens would do double
    > duty as a fast portrait lens and a macro lens so it's worth what it costs.


    But it's a freaking 50mm f/2 lens! The Canon and Nikon 50mm macros,
    both excellent lenses, cost less and are almost identical in design.
    Field of view, field of schmew... the whole point of 4/3rds was I'd get
    that 100mm field of view with f/2 speed for basically the same amount
    I'd spend on a 50mm lens, not the cost of a 100mm macro I could buy from
    Canon or Nikon.

    > Like I said, I did some research and for what I shoot, including the -good-
    > optics that work well on a Dslr, a canon was going to be a BUNCH more money
    > for very little if any gain. I know olympus macro lenses are usually
    > fantastic and this one is no exception. Wonderful bokeh, sharp wide open
    > etc.


    I don't think it would have been that much more money. After all, you
    would be paying the actual price of the lens, not the price of the
    supposed equivalent of the lens.

    > Some people like the smooth "plastic" look the canon Dslr's deliver, I
    > don't. I tried both and I do wonder if you have? It's a different look,
    > whether you think it's "amazing" or not depends on what you're looking for
    > in the results.


    So first you say the E-300 is just as good as the 20D, but the 20D's
    output is "plastic", and wholly unqualified statement? I was willing to
    allow you the E-300 is a fine camera, but now I might have to knock you
    down a notch or two for being a zealot.

    > If you like the look the canon Dslr's deliver, then buy one. If you already
    > own canon lenses, then a canon does make more sense. I just think too many


    I've owned a 10D for nearly three years now.

    > people who have never used these ditz them because the noise at high ISO's
    > they see in crops on web reviews and are used to using slow zooms on the
    > canon (so they are forced to use the higher ISO's) and assume they are
    > needed on any Dslr.


    Are high ISOs needed? No. But they're nice to have. As is image
    stabilization... and the large lens selection you get from Nikon and
    Canon.

    Like I've said, the E-300 is a decent camera, it takes nice pictures
    (especially in the conditions you use) but it isn't the best of the
    bunch and I'd be hard up to recommend it due to the lens system. No
    image stabilized lenses breaks the deal for a lot of people, as does the
    lack of cost/weight savings promised by the 4/3rds proponents.
    --
    http://www.pbase.com/bcbaird/
     
    Brian C. Baird, Jan 11, 2005
    #9
  10. David J. Littleboy

    Stacey Guest

    Brian C. Baird wrote:

    >
    > Again, what part of my "it's a great camera if you're happy with the
    > quality" didn't you understand?
    >
    > A bit too much righteousness for my taste. I feel the bile for this
    > camera's users already.


    Sorry, I guess it was the "It's not a poor performer" that bothered me, plus
    being a little shell shocked from all the canon users flooding the olympus
    online user forums with their -opinions- on a camera they have never used.

    >
    > But it's a freaking 50mm f/2 lens!


    Have you seen the results wide open with this lens? It has really smooth
    bokeh and goes 1:2 macro as well as being deadly sharp at 1:1 with a tube.
    Given it has to resolve more LPMM because of the smaller sensor, it's not
    going to be a cheap lens to manufacture or it wouldn't work as good as it
    does.


    > The Canon and Nikon 50mm macros,
    > both excellent lenses, cost less and are almost identical in design.


    Again I've seen these wide open and they aren't as good as this OM one is
    and they are slower as well. Are the canon and Nikon ED glass lenses?
    Aren't these older designs made originally for 35mm use?

    The canon ends up being a "shorter" lens in use so wouldn't be as useful to
    me either. I'd need an 80mm F2 macro to end up with a lens that would be as
    useful. Ignore it if you want but the FOV does matter as to how useful the
    lens is. A 100mm equiv is more useful for portraits and macro to me than a
    80mm equiv FOV is.


    > Field of view, field of schmew... the whole point of 4/3rds was I'd get
    > that 100mm field of view with f/2 speed for basically the same amount
    > I'd spend on a 50mm lens, not the cost of a 100mm macro I could buy from
    > Canon or Nikon.
    >


    Since you aren't ever going to own one, why do you care so much? :)

    Since it does provide a FOV of a 100mm lens, for my use it isn't a normal
    focal length macro lens. Of course because the sensor is smaller, a lens
    that was OK on a 35mm camera might not resolve enough to work well.

    All that said, I didn't buy this hopeing to get cheaper glass, I just liked
    the look of what it produced. If someone is argueing that 4/3's glass 9or
    olympus glass in general) is cheap, it wasn't me. Their good glass has
    always been real expencive.

    >
    >> Some people like the smooth "plastic" look the canon Dslr's deliver, I
    >> don't. I tried both and I do wonder if you have? It's a different look,
    >> whether you think it's "amazing" or not depends on what you're looking
    >> for in the results.

    >
    > So first you say the E-300 is just as good as the 20D, but the 20D's
    > output is "plastic", and wholly unqualified statement? I was willing to
    > allow you the E-300 is a fine camera, but now I might have to knock you
    > down a notch or two for being a zealot.


    The "output" from any of these are going to be different and some of it is
    going to be subjective. You say the e system is noisy and to me the canon's
    output looks plastic. Given you're a canon user posting opinions about a
    camera they have never used, who is the zealot? :-/


    >
    >> If you like the look the canon Dslr's deliver, then buy one. If you
    >> already
    >> own canon lenses, then a canon does make more sense. I just think too
    >> many

    >
    > I've owned a 10D for nearly three years now.


    Great, so this doesn't make sense for you to buy into..


    >
    > Like I've said, the E-300 is a decent camera, it takes nice pictures
    > (especially in the conditions you use) but it isn't the best of the
    > bunch and I'd be hard up to recommend it due to the lens system. No
    > image stabilized lenses breaks the deal for a lot of people, as does the
    > lack of cost/weight savings promised by the 4/3rds proponents.


    I could as easily say the sensor dust problem with the others breaks the
    deal.


    It depends on what the person is going to use the camera for what is
    important. Olympus is targeting a different market than Canon / Nikon and
    did with the old OM slr's as well. OM's have fit my way of shooting in the
    past and this Dslr does as well. I highly doubt anyone who is now shooting
    a canon would switch, different system design parameters. Canon is more
    tuned into the low light/sports handheld user and this isn't what the OM
    was designed for. They sacrificed some noise for dynamic range and a
    -punch- I didn't see from the canon Dslr I used. It's all about what the
    end users needs are which is the best choice.


    What made me finally decide on it WAS the lens line up. For my use having a
    fast 22-44 equiv wide zoom and then a 100mm equiv f2 macro/portrait lens
    was perfect. 2 lenses that will cover 95% of what I'd ever want to shoot.
    Then the sigma 50-200 (ends up being a 100-400 equiv) that is coming out
    should cover the rest for a very resonable price. The fact the 150 F2 is
    $2400 doesn't matter to me, I don't need that sort of lens.

    I'm glad you're happy with the canon and their system works for many people.
    Like I said I was expecting canon users to focus on the camera noise and it
    seems they have.

    --

    Stacey
     
    Stacey, Jan 12, 2005
    #10
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