Four-thirds?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Charles Schuler, Jul 14, 2004.

  1. Charles Schuler

    Clyde Guest

    How do you define "quality"? That isn't an absolute definition.

    There are plenty of professional photography areas that 5 MP and a tiny
    touch of noise is perfectly acceptable. There are also plenty of pro
    lines of work where smaller, lighter, and still very rugged it more
    important than max number of pixels.

    There is nothing wrong with the Canon 1D Mark II for it's intended use.
    Neither is there for the E-1. If you find that one meets you needs
    better than the other, that doesn't mean the other is crap.

    For example, I would love the MII for my wedding photography. However, I
    don't want to carry it's size and weight around all day. It's also much
    more expensive than the E-1. For my market, the 5 MP will do the 8x10"
    photos just fine. Either of them have the ruggedness that I absolutely
    require.

    Do forget that most pro work is much narrow focused than most amateur
    work. Pros can't afford to do everything. They have to focus on a fairly
    narrow market to make the business successful. So, there tools have to
    be just as focused.

    Clyde
     
    Clyde, Jul 18, 2004
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  2. Charles Schuler

    Clyde Guest

    <snip>

    That's usually irrelevant. Absolute top quality isn't usually a
    marketable feature. The market only cares if it's good enough. Most of
    the time "good enough" isn't the state-of-the-art.

    Clyde
     
    Clyde, Jul 18, 2004
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  3. In-camera noise reduction (beyond pixel subtraction, which is an custom
    function on the 1D Mark II) tends to produce unsightly artifacts, ala
    the Kodak 14n. The Canon 1D Mark II produces cleaner images due to
    hardware innovation. Generally, CMOS sensors require less energy than
    CCDs and produce less heat, therefore less noise. Secondly, Canon is
    very innovative when it comes to their sensors and has been able to
    reduce noise considerably from one generation to the next.
     
    Brian C. Baird, Jul 18, 2004
  4. The E1 Noise filter slows your shooting time by half. It isn't a
    feature the D70, 10D and 300D have by default - it's pixel subtraction
    and it requires taking two exposures back to back. One with the image
    data, another with just the sensor noise. The two are compared and the
    noise subtracted.
    Which says bad things about the E-1. You can duplicate the E-1's noise
    reduction feature fairly easily in Photoshop, which means using the same
    limitations on time and exposure, the D70, 10D and 300D could still
    produce images with MUCH lower noise than the E-1.
     
    Brian C. Baird, Jul 18, 2004
  5. But it doesn't provide the image quality or flexibility pros are after.
    Kind of like tricking out a Pinto - doesn't make it any better in the
    end.
    Yes. Shaking off the dust in a closed, confined area so it can
    redeposit itself immediately afterwards.
    But yet cost $500 less and provide better image quality and features.
    Noise does matter. We've heard your rantings on this subject before and
    we know where you stand. Really, the Oly is useless to you - you don't
    need to shoot above ISO 64, remember?
     
    Brian C. Baird, Jul 18, 2004
  6. Charles Schuler

    Clyde Guest

    Upon what to base that? Everything I've read shows that the build
    quality of the E-1 is equal to the pro level cameras of Canon and Nikon.
    The 10D isn't in that category at all.

    One area that is big if the weatherproofing. Pro level camera can take
    rain, cold, heat, and pounding that the 10D would never stand up to.
    They also have a duty cycle that is much higher than the 10D.

    So, in ideal situations the 10D has a build quality that will match the
    E-1 just fine. However, for 1000 shots a day, every day, in all kinds of
    weather and abuse the 10D isn't close to any of the pro level cameras.

    Clyde
     
    Clyde, Jul 18, 2004
  7. You must be reading the wrong reviews. Every review I've read says the
    Oly is built nice, but underperforms. The underperformance is the issue
    - not the build. I've never knocked the build.
    http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/olympuse1/page22.asp
    http://www.steves-digicams.com/2003_reviews/e1_pg6.html
    http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/cameras/olympus-e1.shtml

    Again, these sites make the same conclusions many do on this newsgroup -
    the Olympus is a nice camera, it takes nice pictures, but it doesn't
    measure up to the 10D, 300D or D70 in terms of image quality and
    performance. It certainly doesn't come anywhere close to the
    performance of the Canon 1D Mark II, arguably the most "pro" dSLR
    available at the moment.

    This really makes you wonder - is there any advantage to the 4/3
    standard? Judging by the performance of the E-1, it's size and weight,
    the size and cost of the lenses... the answer is no.
     
    Brian C. Baird, Jul 18, 2004
  8. Charles Schuler

    Bill Hilton Guest

    Here's something I read when the E-1 first came out that expresses precisely
    what most of us perceive as the major limitation of this system, that it's
    locked into a relatively small sensor size with no room to grow and will likely
    become the APS of digital, withering from lack of interest and sales. The
    article basically praises the E-1 but advises against buying it over the dSLRs
    using 35 mm lenses because it's seen as a dead end.

    <quote>
    I believe that Olympus and Kodak have boxed themselves in with the 4/3 format.
    Here's why.

    Let's begin with two premises that most people can agree with. Everything else
    being equal, larger imaging chips produce bigger prints, and larger pixels are
    cleaner and have lower noise than small ones. Now, let's consider the current
    chip manufacturing situation. The larger a chip gets, the more expensive it is
    to make. By the time you get up to a full-frame sensor (24 X 36mm) the chip
    alone may cost as much as an entire high quality camera. This is because of two
    factors. Imaging sensors are produced on 6" wafers, the same as any other
    semiconductor. This means that while you may get a half dozen large chips on
    one wafer you may instead get dozens, even hundreds of smaller ones. Since
    wafers have a fixed cost to manufacture, bigger necessarily costs more.

    Another issue is yield. Even the best fabrication plants can't make every
    device perfectly. This means that some percentage are thrown away, increasing
    the costs of all the others. If a few chips on a wafer out of dozens need to be
    discarded it doesn't add much to the overall cost. But if one or two out of
    just a handful are bad it has a real economic impact.

    Now, with Chip Fabrication 101 out of the way, it is also true that chip
    manufacturer prices are steadily dropping. One only has to look at the roughly
    50% drop in digital SLR prices during the past 2 years to realize this. The
    Canon 300D Rebel has a 1.6X factor chip and retails with lens for under $1,000.
    Such is progress. A sideways glance at the price of LCD monitors will also
    demonstrate Moore's Law in action. A few of years ago LCD screens were
    ridiculously expensive and only available in small sizes. Now one can buy large
    LCD wall screens, and prices, on the smaller ones at least, are pushing
    traditional CRTs off the shelf.

    We can now look at the flaw in the logic behind the 4/3 format. While larger
    chips (up to full-frame) are more expensive than ones of the 4/3 size today,
    this won't be the case for long. Increasing production volumes along with
    technological advances will bring the price of large chips downwards at a
    steady pace. Will smaller chips always be less expensive? Of course. But will
    the differential be enough to make the downside of using a smaller chip
    worthwhile for very long? I doubt it.

    So, we have someone that buys into the 4/3 format in late 2003 or early 2004.
    They also buy several lenses for this format. But what happens in 2005 and
    2006, and onwards? We will undoubtedly have imaging chips ranging from a 1.5X
    factor to full frame 35mm that don't cost all that much more, and you can be
    certain that companies like Nikon and Canon will be making cameras that use
    them, and which can utilize the huge existing inventory of full-frame coverage
    lenses available.

    Anyone owning 4/3 format lenses then will have no escape. They will be limited
    to using cameras with a 2X magnification ratio because their lenses are unable
    to cover a larger image circle. If we assume that the price differential
    between small and medium sized imaging chips is going to decrease, then a 4/3
    based camera will always suffer from smaller images or lower image quality by
    comparison, because while the number of pixels can be increased (this is
    accomplished by making the pixels themselves smaller), by making them smaller
    image quality is reduced. It's just physics. Anything that Kodak does to the
    4/3 format chip can also be done to larger ones, so the differential will
    remain.

    It seems to me that history is about to repeat itself. Olympus was the champion
    of the failed but elegant little half-frame format of the 1960's, and now
    appears to be heading down the same path. A shame really, because the E-1 is a
    very fine camera in many ways, and deserves better than to be built around a
    format that, like half-frame, may turn out to be just a footnote in the history
    of photography.
    <end quote>

    Copied from http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/cameras/olympus-e1.shtml

    Bill
     
    Bill Hilton, Jul 18, 2004
  9. Lovely noise reduction artifacts - that's why. Another step in the
    process - that's why. You can produce better images using the same
    tools with cameras that have lower noise - that's why.
    If the 4/3 format is going to compete, it will have to compete on all
    levels. Better to have less noise than more - if you really want it you
    can add it back in later.
     
    Brian C. Baird, Jul 18, 2004
  10. Sure... until you lose business to someone who can do images you
    *can't*.

    Wasn't an issue with film - film was film. With digital, you're limited
    permanently by the sensor, and in the case of the Oly E-1, the lens
    mount.

    Again, the Oly is a perfectly fine camera and a decent niche product.
    It is not a GREAT camera, nor does it deliver on the promises of the 4/3
    standard. Considering you can get better performance and a wider lens
    selection from cameras costing $500 less, people are right to be
    critical of the camera and the 4/3 standard. Doesn't mean we hate it -
    but we certainly don't see merits when there are none.
     
    Brian C. Baird, Jul 18, 2004
  11. So you accuse other of not justifying their statements, and then you
    make statements like this? For shame, Clyde.

    To have you know, many pro photographers carry both a pro-level Canon
    dSLR AND a 10D as backup. I haven't heard of any of the 10Ds failing in
    that task.
     
    Brian C. Baird, Jul 18, 2004
  12. Charles Schuler

    Bill Hilton Guest

    From: Clyde
    And of course every one of those areas would be just as well or better served
    by 6 Mpixels with less noise, coming from less expensive cameras using much
    less expensive lenses, lenses which are available in a much wider range of
    speeds and focal lengths.

    Bill
     
    Bill Hilton, Jul 18, 2004
  13. No, you can't. The people who like noise insist on the real thing. Faked
    noise just doesn't look as good.

    David J. Littleboy
    Tokyo, Japan
     
    David J. Littleboy, Jul 18, 2004
  14. Charles Schuler

    Crownfield Guest


    canon at 3200 seems to match the E1 at 800.
     
    Crownfield, Jul 18, 2004
  15. Charles Schuler

    Crownfield Guest


    Based on the graphs, you should have gotten an S2.
     
    Crownfield, Jul 18, 2004
  16. Charles Schuler

    Steve Hix Guest

    "David J Taylor"
    IIRC, Minolta have said they would include the feature in a new dSLR.

    Also, IIRC, Canon looked into several different type of anti-shake
    systems before they settled on their current method. It turned out to
    have the fewest adverse effects on picture quality.

    Which isn't to say that someone else might come up with a better
    in-camera approach. Doesn't look like anyone has yet, though.

    Redundancy is generally considered to be a good thing.
     
    Steve Hix, Jul 18, 2004
  17. Charles Schuler

    leo Guest


    I print 12x16 at Costco for $3. I need no cropping on my 300D pictures. ;-)
     
    leo, Jul 18, 2004
  18. Huh? Why? The seems like the only time I'd regret it in the body is
    if I had more bodies in the bag than IS lenses. Otherwise I'm
    breaking even or winning.
    I very rarely take out less than a bag-full, so I don't expect I'd
    ever experience the hypothetical benefit.
     
    David Dyer-Bennet, Jul 18, 2004
  19. Charles Schuler

    Steve Hix Guest

    The Four Thirds consortium seems to think it does. Among the specified
    criteria for the standard, image circle alone sets an upper bound on the
    sensor size.

    http://www.four-thirds.org/en/index_01.htm
     
    Steve Hix, Jul 18, 2004
  20. Charles Schuler

    Steve Hix Guest

    "Anything?" Seems it matches or beats all but a very few of the
    highest-end dSLRs currently on the market in terms of system utility and
    image quality.

    There is no question that a few cameras, such as the Canon 1D mark II,
    beat it in absolute image quality; but other criteria might outweigh
    that single factor.

    If it didn't, everyone would be shooting 11x14" view cameras.
     
    Steve Hix, Jul 18, 2004
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