Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Grumbling, grousing, complaining

During my previous post, I made a few remarks about my Olympus E-5 that would lead a person to believe that I'm not entirely happy with it.  Nothing could be...closer...to the truth.

When I was shooting sports in Florida, I always wished that the E-1 was better in low light situations.  While I was using it, Olympus introduced the E-300 and then, the E-500, both with a new 8 MP sensor instead of the 5.1 MP sensor of the E-1.  This didn't seem quite right.

I thought to myself, "they'll introduce an E-1 replacement in 2005 with an updated sensor", but that didn't happen.  More time passed and they introduced the E-400 for Europe only and then, the E-330 with a different kind of a sensor that was capable of some video, if only for viewfinder purposes.  The way it was described as low power, low noise,  it seemed to be NMOS technology, but was marketed as Live MOS.  The Panasonic version of the E-330, the DMC-L1, looked a proper range finder camera body, but wasn't and surprisingly, there was a Leica version.

It took Olympus until 2007 to introduce the E-3, which seemed to have the same 10 MP sensor as the recent (at that time) E-410 and E-510 but with better processing capabilities.  I thought "This is the end of Olympus.  They can't produce a decent follow-up camera body."  It seemed a mess.  They learned so much about ergonomics and used those in the E-10 and E-20 Zoom Lens Reflex cameras and gained some fans but the E-3 through most of that away.

The E-3 seemed to be a response to those people who thought the E-1 was too small to be a professional camera body.  As big as it was, there was no room for the mode dial.  They put a dial on the front of the grip and another around the back, but it was up to you to hold tiny buttons and turn dials to switch the mode and several other things that some thought should be done without moving the camera away from your face.  Apparently, the new "fastest auto focus" took up so much space that they needed a bigger body to house it.

Worse, the E-3 had a overly-aggressive anti-aliasing filter, so the best images didn't look very sharp.  They compensated by increasing the sharpening factor in the firmware, which didn't help.  Worst of all was that the body would have been great for 2005, but was introduced about the same time as the Nikon D300, which was much better.

The E-5 fixes a lot of what was wrong with the E-3.  The anti-aliasing filter is not so aggressive and the dual core processor has the power to remove the (phase) moire patterns.  The rather speedy auto focus was retained but I still haven't found it to my liking, though I really tried to see it work for me.  What bothers me most about the E-5 is the noise is all but perfectly lit conditions.

The chromatic noise is well-controlled under any condition.  The luminance noise is not.  I have even been discouraged by outdoor daylight photos where a constant background shows an odd pattern.  At the ISO 200 setting, I shouldn't see anything but the background.  This doesn't seem nearly as good as the E-1.  However, the E-5 was supposedly tested against the best that Nikon and Canon had in 2010 and it was supposedly just as good in good light.  What's better than sunlight?  Studio light.

I recently decided to put some inexpensive studio lights to the test and I was incredibly pleased with the output of the E-5.  However, I cannot carry these lights with me everywhere and say "Excuse me, could you stay in that exact position while I return to my car to retrieve my lights and find an electrical outlet?" because that would be ridiculous.

In the last few weeks, Olympus introduced the E-M5, a new camera body from a new series called OM-D, like the original OM-system cameras which used 135 format film.  The sensor is much, much better than that of the E-5.  The increased resolution doesn't matter as much as the low light capabilities and the lower noise.  It bothers me that my E-5 purchase in November may be met with a replacement to the E-5 within a year, perhaps.  I'm all for better, but should I have jumped on the E-5, knowing what I know now?  I had a feeling that there wouldn't be any more Olympus dSLRs, so maybe I'm just making all the wrong choices.

For those reading, do people who speak your language every day make many mistakes?

Native English speakers seem to do a poor job of English.  Native Japanese speakers seem to be more proficient but I've noticed some written mistakes.  I would expect that every language has its problems and its problem speakers.  (Note the use of "its".  "Its" is possessive and is not a substitute for "it is", which is written "it's" as a contraction.  "Its'" is not valid at all.)  Most European languages seem straightforward but you can remove Finnish, Estonian, Hungarian, and Polish from any semblance of being straightforward.

In any case, I would like to propose a "No Contraction Day" for English speakers, in order to help them learn English again.

Now that I've complained, maybe I can get back to writing something more worthwhile.

No comments:

Post a Comment