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Thread: Is Olympus Professional Caliber?

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    Default Re: Is Olympus Professional Caliber?

    Yes is the answer to your question.

    I used my personal E1, 11-22, 14-54, 50-200, 1.4 and FL50 for two years at my daily newspaper job - shot just about everything with it instead of my company supplied Nikon gear (D1, D1H and the three fast zooms - 17-35, 28-70 and 80-200). One photographer always called it a toy camera (good humored ribbing, not anything more) but it got the job done day in day out with the only problem being the rubber on the grip.

    When the newspaper switched to Canon, I sadly sold it. I am now supplied with two 1D MkIIn's and various lenses. I now work as an editor two days a week and shoot three. Just over a year (when the warranty expired) both cameras blew shutters within a few weeks of each other. On one, the shutter count was 28,000. The other would have been similar. We have probably had 20 1D MkII and MkIIn bodies fail in similar fashion out of about 30. Not something I would expect from $4,000 bodies.

    When I decided to buy some personal gear again - you guessed it. Olympus. I went back to the E1. I've briefly looked at the E3 and would absolutely love one, but will wait a bit for the money tree to grow. Not only are the ergonomics of the E1 hard to beat, the camera is reliable, portable but most of all, the system (camera, glass) is wonderful. I can carry in one small fanny pack a complete system with better coverage in about 1/3 the weight (maybe less) than a similar Canon system.

    In addition to my personal experience, one of the Oly master photographers is a war photographer who has spent a lot of time in Iraq - using E1's - and from his accounts, he has had no breakdowns of his equipment. That is a darn good testament to the durability issues.

    Sorry for the long post ...

    Jeff

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    Default Re: Is Olympus Professional Caliber?

    Quote Originally Posted by lendur2 View Post
    I read somewhere that the 40D is sealed. Don't recall where I saw it. Take it as unconfirmed. No mention of HOW sealed, though. I understand the E-3's sealing is quite impressive. In other words, you're not exaggerating a bit.
    The 40D has seals around the CF door and the battery door. Nowhere else. So it's essentially unsealed.

    Quote Originally Posted by roger h View Post
    The camera and 14-54mm lens tumbled some five feet from my hands into a mud puddle and hit some marble-sized crushed rock. I picked it up, wiped the mud off, and continued shooting. The only real damage to the camera was that the mode dial got a scrape on it. The real damage was to my pride.

    Try that on a commercial shoot with an EOS1 and finish the shoot with the same equipment.
    I doubt any of the sturdy pro cameras/lenses would fare any better or worse than any other. There are plenty of stories of equipment surviving spectacular abuse. Olympus equipment is generally solid, but it isn't made from Unobtainium.
    Chris


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    Default Re: Is Olympus Professional Caliber?

    Wow, Jeff, that is a tremendous testimony. It is long, alright; long on confidence-inspiring testimony from one who's been there and done a whole lot. That is what firm underpinnings are needed to stand opposed to guys who sound convincing and make me entertain second thoughts.

    I have shot a number of cameras of different sizes: Nikkormat, Speed Graphic, Rolleicord, Minolta, Voigtlander, and a newer Nikon (FE?) an old Asahi Pentax, and a Mamiya 2.5" x 3.5"; but the Olympus 4/3 to me takes the crown (stephanos). No more fussing with depth of field (bellows on the 4" x 5"), a 100% viewfinder image, and an excellent lens array, to name just a few.

    Thank you; and thanks also to the others above, for all your contributions. I've only one more query outstanding: about a quality adapter to accept N lenses on the Oly. Given some good testimony there, but need a statement of make/model & where to obtain it; plus a rating of sorts about how satisfactory it (that make/model) is. Friend's last remaining objection to trounce is about being able to tap into his lens battery. All manual? I've lived
    all my life in all and mostly manual. Even practiced up on the rule of 16s. :-) Of course shutters no longer can operate without the juice; and if that's alive, then so is the metering! :-)

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    Default Nikon adaptor

    Hi,

    I couldn't agree more with the consensus above that the Olympus E3 and lenses are very much professional grade. Please don't underestimate the sealing and the sensor cleaning, amongst other things.

    I bought a Nikon lens to 4/3 body adaptor on eBay from a guy named jinfinance. It is from China, and only cost $12.95 but it is well-machined metal, focuses out to infinity and in my opinion is an incredible bargain. I highly recommend that adaptor, and I'm sure there are others just as good.

    Good luck with your decisions!

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    Default Re: Is Olympus Professional Caliber?

    Quote Originally Posted by ckrueger View Post
    In the mean time, carry a backup. If your E-3 fails, whip out an E-510. A pro who relies on a single body for paid work is gambling with his customers' money.
    I agree with your comments sir,

    My E-300 may not sealed, (but it's tough) and I really don't miss it. I'm looking into purchasing another body for the very reason you mentioned. I'm not a professional, but I'm adopting many of their practices. I'd hate to be someplace and my main body goes down and I'm reduced to a P & S...dSLRs have me hooked!

    I don't take offense when a Canon or Nikon user frowns on my E-300. I realize (for the most part) it's the photographer that gets the shot with the aid of the camera. I'm not loyal to any brand and I do check what all of the others have to offer. That said the E-300 has been very reliable and has allowed me to build up on studio gear.

    JW
    Jesse

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    Default Re: Is Olympus Professional Caliber?

    Just pour a bottle of water over their cameras and see what they have to say!
    For quality of the photo I can't find a better camera than my E1. Photos from my E3 are just a bit different but also stunning.

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    Default Re: Is Olympus Professional Caliber?

    Quote Originally Posted by lendur2 View Post
    Ah, thanks so much, Don. My injured feelers are soothed already. I since recalled an earlier comment which I tried to research but found no reference to. He said that pro photogs had told him that Olympus would suffer electrical malfunctions and there would be no place to get them repaired without returning back home. (I hope I recalled it sufficiently correctly; anyhow unreliability was the issue there)

    Ahhhh the typical comments for the big two users. Olympus is just as good if not better than the other manufacturers. Im not getting into it again here..but all I will ever shoot now is 4/3s cameras made by olympus. Any canikon users that try to sway me to their overpriced over bulked systems i just laugh at them... the 4/3s systems is lighter, cheaper and more effective in 99 percent of conditions...
    E-500
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    Sony Alpha 350, lots of goodies with it...

    I have gone to the Max!

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    Default Re: Is Olympus Professional Caliber?

    Yep, an e3 and e1 are in my future plus some higher grade sealed glass for rainy days.

    there are a bunch of nikon users here that their nikon lenses fell apart and nikon would not fix or replace...great service there.
    E-500
    Zuiko 14-45mm
    Zuiko 40-150mm



    Sony Alpha 350, lots of goodies with it...

    I have gone to the Max!

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    Default Re: Is Olympus Professional Caliber?

    If they say that C & N rentals, as opposed to Oly rentals, are available where you're going, just tell them that you have no objection to renting C&N gear if something should happen to your Oly system. And make sure you'll bring the right lenses with you in the first place, so you won't need Oly rentals. What objection could anyone probably have? You'll be just as protected as they are.

    Instead of engaging in their brand pissing contest, just deal with their single major concern, which appears to be serviceability and compatible gear rental while on the road.
    Olympus E-510
    Zuiko Digital 14-42 f/3.5-5.6 ED
    Zuiko Digital 40-150 f/4-5.6 ED
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    Sigma 55-200 DC f/4-5.6
    Sigma 30 f/1.4 EX DC HSM
    Zuiko OM 50 f/1.8 with MF-1
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    And on my wish list: more time

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    Default Re: Is Olympus Professional Caliber?

    I dismounted my lens, put my E-3 on the floor, stood on it, and chatted with a user of the D300 last week about the reliability and toughness in the rough weather of the Olympus E-System. Took a shot with the 35-100mm lens and showed that to him... and this week he is changing system.

    Enough said.
    "A picture, like character, is developed in darkness"

    E-M5, E-3, E-5 + HLD-4, 8 Fisheye, 12-50mm, 17mm, 12-60mmSWD, 14-54mm, 50mm macro, 50-200mmSWD, FL-36R, FL-50, VA-1 & XZ-1.

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    Default Re: Is Olympus Professional Caliber?

    Quote Originally Posted by lendur2 View Post
    You belong on Vaudeville. You could give the Keystone Cops a rollicking challenge.

    I read somewhere that the 40D is sealed. Don't recall where I saw it. Take it as unconfirmed. No mention of HOW sealed, though. I understand the E-3's sealing is quite impressive. In other words, you're not exaggerating a bit.
    The 40D is sealed on the card /battery door only as far as I know.

    You should try finding out from Nikon how many of there bodies and lenses are guranteed weather/spash proof.....in the lens department you will have more luck finding a hens tooth.
    Regards Paul
    One day I hope to be the person my dogs think I am.

    http://www.pbase.com/paulsilkphotography

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    Default Re: Is Olympus Professional Caliber?

    Just as an aside--and this is aimed at nobody here in particular--it's sad that the answer to a question of how to deal with snobby brand loyalists is often to return fire with more of the same.

    All these camera systems work. Each has its advantages and disadvantages. If Four Thirds were truly a universally better system than APS-C or FF 35mm, Olympus would have the biggest market share in the small format DSLR market. Doubt me? Look at the mass exodus from Nikon to Canon the past few years. Amateurs and freelance pros are very willing to switch systems. People shooting Canon or Nikon aren't fools or (necessarily) brand loyalists; there are real and compelling advantages to those systems over Olympus.

    I guess I have two points:

    1) Putting down someone else's choice in system is small-minded.

    2) Four Thirds is a good system, and can generally compete with Canon or Nikon, but it still has some significant disadvantages. It is by no means the "best" system out there, no more than Canon or Nikon is.
    Chris


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    Default Re: Is Olympus Professional Caliber?

    Agree with you on this... there is no "perfect system" on this planet as everyone's needs are different. Thankfully for me, Olympus E-System does it for me perfect. Being a photojournalist I really need a tough camera system and lightweight as I have to be traveling very frequently. Also weatherproofing is top priority, this is again where the E-System shines.

    Olympus releasing the 12-60SWD was the best thing happening for me in 2007... one lens replacing the 11-22 and 14-54 in one package and lightening my camera bag further.

    I do hope for Olympus to be making those super fast primes, but that is subjective to everyone's likings. Personally I feel the Super High Grade fast zooms are brilliant, but everyone will forever be talking about f1.2... the grass is greener on the other side... LOL.
    "A picture, like character, is developed in darkness"

    E-M5, E-3, E-5 + HLD-4, 8 Fisheye, 12-50mm, 17mm, 12-60mmSWD, 14-54mm, 50mm macro, 50-200mmSWD, FL-36R, FL-50, VA-1 & XZ-1.

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    Default Re: Is Olympus Professional Caliber?

    Yeah, let's get Olympus to make a telecentric 90-250/1.2.

    It wil be the size of mars, weigh as much as a mountain and cost the same as Liberias national debt.

    Heck, I'll settle for a 50/1.4 in the future. That would be perfect.
    Olympus E-3 Olympus E400, Oly 14-54, Oly 50-200, PanaLeica 25, 25 Pancake, Oly 14-42, FL-36, FL-50R, Metz AF44, softbox and diffusers, OM-2, OM 28/2, OM 50/1.8, OM 100/2, Vivitar 285, Velbon VEB-3 Tripod
    If your photos aren't good enough - you're not close enough (Robert Capa, who stepped on a landmine and died getting close enough)
    Freelance photographer/journalist and columnist.

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    Default Re: Is Olympus Professional Caliber?

    Quote Originally Posted by nomix View Post
    Yeah, let's get Olympus to make a telecentric 90-250/1.2.

    It wil be the size of mars, weigh as much as a mountain and cost the same as Liberias national debt.
    What about an 11-220/2.8 pancake? Forget about carrying the 11-22 and 50-200 around with you. You can get it all in one fast, pocketable lens! One caveat: it may not be fully telecentric, and when I say pancake, I really mean cake... a wedding cake
    4/3: Oly E-3, E-1, E-520, 9-18, 11-22, 14-54, 50-200, 70-300, 25/2.8, 35/3.5 | Leica 14-50, 14-150, 25/1.4
    m4/3: E-P3 | G1 | 14/2.5 | 20/1.7 | 14-42 IIR | 17/2.8 | 45/1.8 | Nik 20/3.5
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    Sony: A55, A900, 24-85, 70-210/4, 20/2.8, 24/2.8, 30/2.8, 35/1.4G, 50/1.7, Zeiss 85/1.4
    P&S: Canon S90

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    Default Re: Is Olympus Professional Caliber?

    I have a pro friend who upgraded from a Pentax K100D to a K10D (for his pro work). He gets some quite big corporate product work as well as doing some very nice wildflower work. I don't quite get this gear snobbery.
    Alex H.
    Olympus E-500
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    Aperture, iPhoto for iPad, Pixelmator

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    Default Re: Is Olympus Professional Caliber?

    What is this comparison to 'pro'? I worked with a pro as a summer job during college. Granted, that was back in the film ages, but the job wasn't about quality photography, it was about complete and thorough photography. Being in the right place at the right time, setting exposure right, getting people to cooperate, talking your way into the best location, not missing the shot. An artfully composed photgraph just wasn't what the job called for. Our gear? He had a Hassy for events, I usually took one of his Nikon F3's when I was acting as backup.

    Having said that, I look at my experience with Oly SLR gear and find... the intermediate and pro ZD glass have been perfect. Never had to send one back, never had one go wrong on me, work well at any focal length and aperture. Crisp, clear images, no compromise performance. And I look at my E1, and find... it has never let me down. Been through hell, got dunked in a creek at one point, and came up shooting.

    Given my experience with pro work and the necessity for reliability, that sounds like pro gear to me.
    E3, E1, E330, EP1, EM5
    ZD: 7-14, 8FE, PL25 1.4, 14-54, 35-100, 50-200, 70-300 50 Macro, EX-25
    MZD: 12-50, 45 1.8, 14-150
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    Default Re: Is Olympus Professional Caliber?

    Quote Originally Posted by lendur2 View Post
    Well, yes and no. For instance they have said, and I've had it confirmed by others, that the big two can be serviced just about anywhere on the globe; and rentals of an extra lens or some such is also readily available in out-of-the-way places. I didn't mention that they are angling to shoot outside the US, and I gather that some of those places may be somewhat primitive.
    Quite correct. Fast service and availability of rental gear (bodies and lenses) is a major concern for people who take pictures for a living, often more important than specifications. In many countries (and this includes many places in Europe), very few professional photographers use Olympus DSLR's for such reasons.

    Cheers!
    Jimcb
    Photos on www.pbase.com/jimcb

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    Default Re: Is Olympus Professional Caliber?

    I wasn't going to get into this because it seems pointless to me to be behaving like a bunch of guys in a locker room comparing penis size but an incident I had with my E1 should put an end to the issue. I had it set up on the tripod on a log beside a creek photographing wildflowers. The camera was fitted with the 50mm f2 macro. The log was rotten and it collapsed under the tripod and the whole thing came down hard on a rock and then bounced into the creek. The camera was completely submerged and had become detached from the tripod. I picked it out of the water and shook it off and continued with the assignment. I was on assignment in the middle of Frontenac Park a day and a half by canoe and portage from the nearest park access point. If that camera had succummed to it's injuries I'd have been screwed. It has a lovely scar on the CF compartment door!

    The argument that the E1 is "only 5mp" is BS. I've done all sorts of contract work with this camera and the assignment in Frontenac Park is a 2 year project for Parks Ontario (I get paid to go camping!). I have found that if I just do my job and don't tell anybody that the E1 is 5mp they can't tell the difference between it or anything else and I've had no issues with image quality and even enlargeability with any of my clients. I might finish the second season in Frontenac Park with my new E3 but I could just as easy finish it with the E1. It's really that good!

    I recently sent the E1 in for service to get the viewfinder and focus screen cleaned, rubber hand grip replaced and firmware upgrade. It came back in 7 days with a clean bill of health, no charge and looking like new. That's the only time I've ever had service on any Oly product and believe me I don't baby my cameras including the old E500 which actually has more miles on it than the E1.

    'nuff said?
    Bob

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    Default Re: Is Olympus Professional Caliber?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob&Glennie View Post
    nuff said?
    Bob
    I wouldn't say so. Could you say for sure a Canon 1Ds and 100/2.8 would have failed the same test? Or that your E-1 would survive this test again? Or that even a lowly E-410 wouldn't have survived the same test?

    In any case, I hope you had a backup body with you, cause you got pretty lucky!

    Go to any camera forum and you'll find spectacular stories of million-to-one equipment survival. From Olympus to Canon to Nikon, our equipment is much more rugged than we give it credit for. Combine that ruggedness with pure luck and I'm not surprised your camera survived. It might be unlikely, but it's not impossible.


    Quote Originally Posted by TrapperJohn View Post
    What is this comparison to 'pro'?
    Uh oh! That's a whooooole different topic!

    I think "pro" is generally used as an honorific in our culture, while "amateur" has become a pejorative. It's unfortunate that these two terms have become terms to describe the quality of something/someone, because nothing could be further from the truth.

    Professional is for pay, amateur is for enjoyment. That's all there is to it. There's no difference in the quality of the individual or the quality of the equipment required to shoot, say, a football game professionally versus shooting it as an amateur.
    Chris


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    Default Re: Is Olympus Professional Caliber?

    Quote Originally Posted by e_dawg View Post
    What about an 11-220/2.8 pancake? Forget about carrying the 11-22 and 50-200 around with you. You can get it all in one fast, pocketable lens! One caveat: it may not be fully telecentric, and when I say pancake, I really mean cake... a wedding cake
    7-200/2.8 pancake. That would be better.
    Olympus E-3 Olympus E400, Oly 14-54, Oly 50-200, PanaLeica 25, 25 Pancake, Oly 14-42, FL-36, FL-50R, Metz AF44, softbox and diffusers, OM-2, OM 28/2, OM 50/1.8, OM 100/2, Vivitar 285, Velbon VEB-3 Tripod
    If your photos aren't good enough - you're not close enough (Robert Capa, who stepped on a landmine and died getting close enough)
    Freelance photographer/journalist and columnist.

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    Default Re: Is Olympus Professional Caliber?

    Just for a bit of fun check this nice friendly aviation forum that I frequent Here and this story from the photography banter section about Canon service. There is a lot of British tongue in check in humour amongst friends here but the serious point is how this chap was treated by Canon. And this experience is by no means isolated with some makes, especially amongst us non professional types. Its interesting to note that the person in question would never consider changing, so I guess there is no incentive for some manufactures to improve.
    Peter

    Olympus: E-1 w/ HLD-2, E330, FL-50, SanDisk 4GB X3, Zuiko Digital: 11-22, 14-54, 50-200, EC14, MA-1 Photoshop CS3, Studio,
    OM2n, OM4, OMZ 21/3.5, OMZ 24/2.8, OMZ 28/3.5, OMZ 35-105 /3.5, OMZ 50/1.4, OMZ 135/3.5, OMZ 200/4, OMZ 300 /4.5,

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    Default Re: Is Olympus Professional Caliber?

    Quote Originally Posted by nomix View Post
    7-200/2.8 pancake. That would be better.
    No way it would sell, too slow. Make it a 2.0, or better yet a 1.4, and then it might be okay.

    On a serious note: these guys rent and ship Olympus lenses. It's USA and Canada only so far, but they may start shipping to Europe if there's demand.

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    Default Re: Is Olympus Professional Caliber?

    ...as has been alluded to already, what in the heck is a "professional" camera, a "professional" should be able to take any decent camera and go do a job. The "pro" is the photographer, someone who's profession is taking pictures for a living. The camera manufacturers really try to get extra brownie points by referring to the various cameras in their lineups that have more bells and whistles as being "pro level" cameras, I know a "pro" who still does some of his work on beat up old Nikon FE's, and another one who's a street shooter doing his work on a very old Leica rangefinder...
    ...I shoot weddings and portraits for a living, I've been shooting with every version of Oly DSLR since my E-1 was purchased, with the exclusion of the E-330. When viewing my work, nobody has ever asked whether it was taken with a "professional level" camera, there are many professional shooters here on the 4/3rds forum using Oly gear who can vouch for all I've pointed out...
    ...go out and use your E-3, enjoy using your wonderful Oly glass, take marvelous pictures that point to the fact you are a good photographer, only the gearheads will ask what you took the shots with...
    cheers,

    Lorne Miller

    http://lornemiller.smugmug.com/

    4/3rds stuff: E-1 w HLD-2
    35-100 f2, 14-35 f2 SWD, 50-200 SWD
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    Default Re: Is Olympus Professional Caliber?

    Quote Originally Posted by ckrueger View Post
    ...People shooting Canon or Nikon aren't fools or (necessarily) brand loyalists; there are real and compelling advantages to those systems over Olympus...

    2) Four Thirds is a good system, and can generally compete with Canon or Nikon, but it still has some significant disadvantages...
    What do you see as the disadvantages of Four Thirds versus Canon and Nikon APS cameras? I see somewhat poorer performance at higher ISOs. The tracking AF is also probably better in the 40D and the D300. On the other hand, which Canon or Nikon lenses are equivalent to the 12-60 in range, speed, and quality? Which of their lenses can match the 7-14? Do their dust reduction systems work? Do they have in-camera IS? Can you shower with them?

    Depending on what you are looking for, each system has advantages and disadvantages. If I put a higher value on the E-3's capabilities, I might say that, "Canon and Nikon are good systems, and can generally compete with Olympus, but they still have some significant disadvantages for me."

    Jeff

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