Re: To all 4/3 detractors

SMS wrote:
Mark Thomas wrote:

In the paragraph above, you decided that the new way to compare sensors is by *area*. Could you explain why you did that? Might I suggest that the linear percentage increases didn't sound large enough?

Linear percentages are meaningless. It's the total area of the sensor that matters, because it determines the pixel size. Why on earth would anyone compare linear percentages?

Do you actually work in this field, or just pretend? OK, here's an example - you have an 12x8 print, next to a 24x16. Is the larger print twice as big, or four times? If I ask you to double the size of an image that is 3600x2400, do you then do the area calculation? Most folk would simply double the numbers, ie LINEAR.

You would make a great politician.

No I wouldn't, because a) I always tell the truth, and b) I can always see all the different sides of an issue.

a) may be correct. It's b) you struggle with.

Second, if you're going the 4/3 route, spend the extra and get the E-520 rather than the E-510.

Wouldn't such blanket advice rather depend on his shooting needs?

Very unlikely.

There's the proof. It's not about what he needs, it's about what you think...

Yes. Very poor at higher ISOs. Nothing they can do about this since it's directly related to pixel size, and the small area of the sensor precludes them from going to larger pixels. There is essentially no solution.
Yes, it's *slightly* worse. But "very poor"?

Here's what DPReview say about that camera and its issues. I've tried to be fair and leave just the major good and bad points in...
If you want a truly pocketable camera without losing DSLR image quality the E-420 should be right at the top of your awful lot of camera for your money.
Other cameras in this class will no doubt produce output with more per pixel detail... Of course this comment has to be taken in context; you need to be regularly printing at large sizes or zooming in to a pixel level to see the difference once you've added a bit of sharpening.
High ISO performance is far from class-leading, but for most users producing normal prints it won't be an issue. Dynamic range, however, is worth mentioning... you'll find a washed out sky or unattractively blown highlights in your images a little more often when shooting with the Olympus. Admittedly when talking about the E-420's image quality issues we are - to a certain degree - nitpicking.
In conclusion, the E-420 is an ideal walkaround camera with a great feature set and unrivalled customizability. The image quality issues described above very slightly tarnish the positive overall picture but if compact dimensions and pocketability are high up on your list of buying criteria the E-420 should still be one of your favorites. I certainly found myself sticking it into my pocket even on occasions when I would not usually have taken an SLR with me and anything that gets you to take more images can only be a good thing.

Fourth, understand that the selection of lenses and accessories is extremely limited, and that due to the 2x crop factor a true wide angle lens is very expensive. For example, a 35mm equivalent 16-35mm lens for a Canon 1.6x cropped sensor is about $650 (street price), and it's a very high quality lens. For the 4/3 sensor, you can buy the Olympus Zuiko 7-14mm (14-28mm equivalent) for about $1450 (street price). Any savings on the body is more than lost in the higher cost lenses.

So used lenses don't exist?

Very rare for 4/3 since it's so new, and since so few companies make lenses for 4/3. It would be a huge mistake to go the 4/3 route with the belief that you'd be able to pick up used lenses for a low price. It's totally different than for Canon, Nikon, Pentax/Samsung, or Sony/Minolta. If you're basing your purchase of a 4/3 system on the belief that you'll be able to pick up used lenses then you're very naive.

SIGH. Are you unaware that all OM lenses can be mounted to 4/3? Yes, they are manual, but some of us like that sort of thing...

Again, you are very selective in what you
write. Besides, the two-lens Olympus kit is very good value, it covers the usual 28-300 range, and the quality of those lenses exceeds similar Canon/Nikon ones by a significant margin.

Both Canon and Nikon have lenses of better quality than the Olympus lenses

I clearly referred to the KIT lenses! Let me repeat, the Oly twin lens kit is significantly better than the Canon or Nikon equivalent. Which would reduces the benefit of the slightly better sensors for any buyers who go that route. If I was buying an Oly, I would buy the twin lens deal in a heartbeat, but I won't speak for others.

Where 4/3 has the biggest problem is in true wide-angle because the large crop factor makes it very expensive to make true wide-angle lenses. No way around this unfortunately.

A problem for anyone wanting wider than 28mm, anyway. The 'biggest problem'? In your opinion, *again*. And there is that used OM-mount market..

Fifth, the accessory selection is limited. Olympus makes no vertical grips for their digital SLRs, one of the most useful accessories.

Yes, we see that topic come up soooo frequently here. Everyone needs a vertical grip. Sheesh.

It's best to buy into a system with a full line of accessories because as you progress to higher levels you may have a need for them. That's the problem when you go with a niche manufacturer like Olympus. They can't afford the development and tooling costs of accessories because they don't have the volumes to support them. The lack of these accessories affects their ability to sell in volume.

I'm sure you know the market heaps better than they do...

of course there is a class of users that don't care about any of this

Finally we agree.

there's nothing wrong with that as long as they understand what they're getting into. Unfortunately a lot of them _don't_ understand until it's too late.

Yes, I can see forums littered with unhappy Oly system owners... Hmm... actually...

I fail to see how a kludge after-market vertical grip relates to the lack of a used 4/3 lens market.

Except for the fact that you had 'eliminated' the used market to suit your argument.

4/3 may not be as small as it could have been, but when you put the entire twin lens kit beside a similar Canon or Nikon system, it is quite a difference.
And so on..

The E-510 is by no means the smallest D-SLR body on the market.

E510: 851 cc
XSi: 779 cc

So those figures apply to the entire twin lens kit? Again, you twist the numbers to suit your needs. I invite anyone to go to camera store and check out the full story of camera and a lens or two.

You seem extremely sensitive about this whole subject.

Why would that be? I have owned a couple of Oly's, but none of their DSLR's. I have no particular barrow to push, but I think the 4/3 idea is a good one. It has not succeeded as well as it might have for a variety of reasons, not the least being the sensor noise issue and the fact that the sensor to lens distance was kept higher than it needed to be so the lenses ended up being a bit larger than they needed to be. But that is balanced by their portability, general lens quality and innovation (eg live view).

What I *am* sensitive about is people who think their way is the only way. The Olympus DSLRs fill an interesting niche of the market - they are probably the closest DSLR to meeting my needs, even though I am still hanging back from my final system decision.

No one ever said that the Olympus D-SLRs were terrible, just that there are much better choices available
that don't have all the drawbacks of the 4/3 system.

Ya just can't help yourself. Even the use of the term "all the drawbacks" has that SMS ring to it.