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Thread: Is Olympus Professional Caliber?

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    Default Re: Is Olympus Professional Caliber?

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffCharles View Post
    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
    I don't want to start a flame war, but you asked so I'll try to explain how I see it. Please, please don't take this as a call to arms, guys! Here's the things I prefer about my Canon system over Olympus. This is just my opinion, of course:

    * Better noise performance. ISO3200 on my 5D is a bit better than ISO1600 on my (returned) E-3, especially if you consider softness.

    * Better dynamic range. It's easier to pull highlights back and bring up the shadows with my 5D and 40D than my E-410 or my (again, returned) E-3. Bringing the shadows up in particular causes a lot of noise with the E-3 that you don't see with the 5D unless you REALLY abuse it.

    * My Canon images stand up better to extreme PP than my Olympus images. Convert an image to B&W and push the color channels hard and my Olympus bodies show a TON of blotchy noise. My Canon bodies all can take much more abuse.

    * A complete set of primes. Again, a dead horse, but I've got 11 primes for my Canon system, from 20mm to 300mm. I love shooting with primes, and Olympus just doesn't cut the mustard... at least not yet.

    * I much prefer my 5D and 28-75/2.8 to the E-3 and 12-60. This is my most-used focal range, and in this range short DOF is often important to me. The 12-60 just doesn't cut it for me in DOF terms, and would force me to bring some primes along. I'd compare the 12-60 more to my 28-135 stuck at f/8, and in that case my Canon system is actually smaller, lighter, and cheaper. A bit less sharp, but nothing worth writing home about.

    * I prefer Canon's AF. I did a lot of testing in low light, and my 5D handily beat my E-3 every time. Canon 100-400 versus Olympus 50-200 or Canon 28-135 versus Olympus 12-60, the Canon gear could lock in lower light, hunted less frequently, acquired faster, and didn't just give up when focus was way off to start. And that was handicapping the 5D with slower lenses. Also, when I had my E-3, the AF wouldn't stop when you let your finger off the AF button... they've since fixed that, but that was a huge PITA for me.

    * Olympus hasn't delivered on the promise of smaller gear for their high-end stuff yet. Compare a 5D and 70-200/4IS to an E-3 and 35-100/2, or a 24-105/4IS to a 14-35/2. The Canon gear is lighter and much cheaper. On the low end Olympus is spanking everybody, of course, and the 50-200 is fairly compact.

    * Canon's Live View is better. Less shutter lag, no need for a mirror flip-up before shooting, and a "quiet mode" that works extremely well.

    There are definitely things I want to see from Canon. I want in-body IS, and I want some compact bodies and smaller lenses. But to cover your questions, I was sadly disappointed in the 12-60 compared to my other lenses, the 7-14 doesn't do much for me as the few times I've wanted to shoot wider than 17mm I've been on a tripod and wanted to stitch a pano anyway, and I've never had a problem shooting with my unsealed cameras in a light rain. I'm not sure about the dust shaker on the 40D yet. I haven't had the camera long enough to evaluate it. I will say the E-410 is excellent, and my 5D is a pig sty. I've spent an hour wet cleaning my 5D more than once.

    Like you said, to each his own. I'm very happy with my E-410. I look forward to picking up a 25/2.8 and hopefully some more compact primes in the future. I really wanted to sell off all my Canon gear in favor of an E-3, too, but when I went out and shot both side by side, the Canon gear just worked better for me. I think I burned nearly $100 in shipping to/from B&H for my E-3 experiment.

    Anyway, no system snobbery here, just my results. Again, please don't take this as an affront to Four Thirds! I'm just trying to respond to the question.
    Chris


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    Default Re: Is Olympus Professional Caliber?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lorne Miller View Post
    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...
    Lorne,

    One of the best comments in this thread. I appreciate great photography regardless of the gear!

    JW
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    Default Re: Is Olympus Professional Caliber?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lorne Miller View Post
    ...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...

    Exactly.

    its funny tho, my friend sells photos of nature for a side business. and has some amazing shots. and the question he gets asked the most, what do you shoot with canon or nikon.....ha ha, neither, he shoots with sony. he has an a100 and a700. and his photos are amazing.

    He said the same thing I repeat over and over, and will continue to do so regardless of what anyone else says......CANIKON are the last two cameras I would buy. Olympus, pentax, samsung and sony are much better choices for many many reasons.....
    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?

    Quote Originally Posted by ckrueger View Post
    I don't want to start a flame war, but you asked so I'll try to explain how I see it...

    ... Again, please don't take this as an affront to Four Thirds! I'm just trying to respond to the question.
    Thanks for your detailed and informative reply. These forums would not be of much use if people were afraid to post their honest observations and opinions. Fortunately, this website does not suffer from the grade-school-level bickering that frequently occurs in that other place.

    Jeff

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    Cool Shooting teams

    Quote Originally Posted by lendur2 View Post
    A friend has invited me to join his shooting team (currently 3 guys), but has disparaged the Olympus as pro-worthy, and so has one of his partners. Comments like "unreliable" have got my goat. So happens that I LIKE Olympus & 4/3, but have no "ammunition" to counter their arguments. I know that the E-3 is more akin to the D300 & 40D than to the D3 & EOS-1, to name two popular brands for reference; but then THEY are using the E-3 class! Also the comment was made by one that they go for lots of depth of field, usually shooting f/11 or lower. Well, gee whillikers, doesn't 4/3 match that performance at a faster f/stop??? (correct me if I'm wrong)

    Would someone please uphold my preferred camera system? Tell them (and reassure me) that Oly is as good as their "favorite (pro-worthy) brands"? The primary usage would be photojournalism, though not for the usual purchasers (e.g. newspapers & magazines).

    Thank you.
    Just from a shooting perspective, I could see how it would be useful if all people in the shooting group used the same system. That way you can share gear like lenses, flashes, batteries, etc. and provide for backups. If you each shoot different manufacturers gear, then you each have to have the full backup kits. Also, it would save time in post processing, because I could imagine you could use batch processing for the initial cut with the same parameters.

    So, your job now is to convince them to switch to Olympus.

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    Default Re: Is Olympus Professional Caliber?

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Adams View Post
    Olympus, pentax, samsung and sony are much better choices for many many reasons.....
    Steve,

    It's been mentioned here before, but all camera systms have advantages and disadvantages. I understand your choice in sticking with Olympus or possibly Pentax. I've priced some basic and "dream" kits from all, but Sony's lens line-up is perplexing. I must admit I'd like to try the Zeiss 135mm f/1.8 and 500mm f/8 autofocus mirror lens! Either way happy shooting.

    JW
    Jesse

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    Default Re: Is Olympus Professional Caliber?

    Some good points, ckreuger. I agree with most of them. One point I would like to highlight is the availability of 'tweener semi-pro f/4 lenses from Canon. The 70-200/4L IS and 24-105L IS are particularly noteworthy. As a Nikon and Olympus shooter, I have always envied the selection of compact, sharp, and lightweight with IS from Canon that are faster than the consumer zooms yet not as big and heavy as the f/2.8 pro glass.
    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
    Nikon: D90, D700, 70-300/VR, 24/2.8, 35/1.8, 35/2, CV 40/2, 50/1.4G, 60/2.8, 85/1.8, 180/2.8 | f/2.8 zooms | Zeiss 25/2.8
    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?

    Quote Originally Posted by e_dawg View Post
    Some good points, ckreuger. I agree with most of them. One point I would like to highlight is the availability of 'tweener semi-pro f/4 lenses from Canon. The 70-200/4L IS and 24-105L IS are particularly noteworthy. As a Nikon and Olympus shooter, I have always envied the selection of compact, sharp, and lightweight with IS from Canon that are faster than the consumer zooms yet not as big and heavy as the f/2.8 pro glass.
    I'm on a mission at the moment to try to upgrade from my humble E300/E330 pairing. One thing I miss from my film days (Canon EOS and FD) is not having a "standard" zoom starting at 24mm at the wide end. 28mm or equivalent comes up short way too often but my Canon 24-70 nearly always made it. So, I've looked and looked and tried and made a surprising discovery. If, like me, you just can't afford to move to a full frame system, the only choices are Olympus (E3 plus 12-60 zoom to replace the 14-54) or Sony (A700 with Zeiss 16-80 or a Sony option which is a bit soft). That's it! Both are decent kits but what appeals if I buy the Olympus (apart from the fact I have other lenses and would have a second body) is that I would be getting a genuine, tough, no nonsense, all conditions body on my very humble budget. Nice!

    I am stunned that Canon and Nikon don't offer such an alternative for their cropped sensor bodies. In fact, Nikon didn't even offer that for their full frame bodies until quite recently, thought there was always a Sigma option.

    What I am trying to say is there is so much more to a "pro" kit than frames per second and lots of pixels. For my needs there are two options, neither in the established camps! I recently had a major exhibition and was interested to see what sold. One photo which sold straight away was taken on a tiny 5Mp Minox point and shoot, several others on a Sony V3, some taken with slide film and only one was taken with my fancy pants DSLRs. "Professional" means making money, so they are all pro gear!

    Don.

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    Default Re: Is Olympus Professional Caliber?

    yes,

    the new line up looks very interesting tho. the 500mm one of our frineds has it...we thought first, why would you want a 500mm F8 for 1000 dollars when you can grab the 50-500mm sigma, but we did not know at the time it was a/f but still. We are going to try it on my friends 700 soon to see what its really like. and I will always stick to my claim, Nikon/canon does NOT have IS in body which is a MUST right now, and their glass is huge and very very expensive for anything with IS....I dont care what anyone says about having IS lens is better, because its not. you cannot use any lens and have IS.

    thats the main reasons why NIKON and CANON are behind the 8 ball. plus, I find there is less noise with my 510 than with most others....contrary to what others might say here, I do NOT get noise at 1600 shooting raw with my 510. others might, MINE DONT. my mothers XT and 1600 is unusable compared to my 510. As I stated before, your paying for the name on the canikon equipment, as you are paying for the name on leica equipment.
    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?

    Quote Originally Posted by ckrueger View Post
    Anyway, no system snobbery here, just my results. Again, please don't take this as an affront to Four Thirds! I'm just trying to respond to the question.
    Chris, I really, really thank you for this. Though I had my heart set on Olympus, I also dreaded ill-will, even if suppressed.

    I'll try to give both sides fair shrift, and even say a few prayers to the almighty for wisdom.

    Incidentally I read today that the 5D Mk. II will have weather sealing like the EOS-1. You said you favor shallow depth of field; you're a professional and that says a lot to me, even over my own preferences to lots more depth.

    As I said, lots hangs in the balance, and the new posts lend fairness to the other side, and in this case, both were compared by the same shooter in the same situations. Again, I'm very grateful. Honesty and fair judgment are most important to me.

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    Default Re: Is Olympus Professional Caliber?

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Adams View Post
    Exactly.

    its funny tho, my friend sells photos of nature for a side business. and has some amazing shots. and the question he gets asked the most, what do you shoot with canon or nikon.....ha ha, neither, he shoots with sony. he has an a100 and a700. and his photos are amazing.

    He said the same thing I repeat over and over, and will continue to do so regardless of what anyone else says......CANIKON are the last two cameras I would buy. Olympus, pentax, samsung and sony are much better choices for many many reasons.....
    More food for thought. True, I've noticed that Sony is advancing with a vengeance. In a couple of years, it will be one to sit up and take notice of. Little Pentax seems to be trying hard too. While I'm pretty persuaded about Olympus, especially after so much positive testimony/evidence, I'll make an effort to look and evaluate fairly till the day of purchase. Hard, but the right thing to do.

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    Default Re: Is Olympus Professional Caliber?

    Quote Originally Posted by cifcap View Post
    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
    I like what you have said: you are not brand-loyal. That seems to be a self-harming characteristic. I hope that when I have spoken up for Olympus and 4/3, that it was taken as WHAT IT IS, not the shape of the letters on the logo, nor any artwork appertaining. Olympus has features and traits I admire, and the 4/3 system has desirably deep depth of field. Panasonic and Leica are probably up there too, but Panasonic lacks IS, and Leica has a price tag that takes your breath away.

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    Default Re: Shooting teams

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Meissner View Post
    Just from a shooting perspective, I could see how it would be useful if all people in the shooting group used the same system. That way you can share gear like lenses, flashes, batteries, etc. and provide for backups. If you each shoot different manufacturers gear, then you each have to have the full backup kits. Also, it would save time in post processing, because I could imagine you could use batch processing for the initial cut with the same parameters.

    So, your job now is to convince them to switch to Olympus.
    Well, when they see the results others have predicted owing to better glassware from Olympus; coupled with the scarcely obtainable (by them) depth of field, who knows, but miracles might just happen?? :-)

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    Default Re: Is Olympus Professional Caliber?

    Whew. Thanks for not ripping my head off, guys. This really is a great forum.

    Canon's range of more compact/cheaper f/4 lenses (17-40, 24-105, 70-200, 300) are pretty nice, I have to agree. There's a lot of alternatives in general in the Canon system. After 25 years or so there's not many holes left in the lineup. A long/fast tele zoom ala Oly 90-250 or Nikon 200-400 would be nice, as would an end-all UWA like the Oly 7-14 or 14-24 (the 16-35II is supposed to fill this role).

    I suspect Nikon will venture into this affordable lineup soon enough. They've been going for the jugular lately, and lenses like Canon's 24-105 or 70-200/4IS are such huge sellers they should be a no-brainer of a business case.

    I hope it takes Olympus less than 25 years to fill out their lineup! The zooms are already getting there... The 7-14, 14-35, and 35-100 are/will be great fast zooms (although the 35-100 and 14-35 both need a $500+ price reduction!), the 12-60 and 50-200 are great "tweener" lenses as you said, the 14-54 and 70-300 are good affordable lenses, and the 14-42 and new 40-150 are spectacular kit lenses. With the cheaper "8-16" on the roadmap, and perhaps a high-end long zoom like a 100-300/4 or 100-400/5.6, the zoom lineup will look very complete.

    I think Olympus should concentrate on giving us a few of the classic primes... a 20/28/50/100 lineup might skip some useful lenses, but would get the job done enough to bring in those who really want a well-designed compact DSLR but won't make the jump because they're prime shooters. Just please make one ultra-fast portrait lens. f/1.4 or faster!

    We also need more choice for high-end teles. How about a $600 200/2.8? Or a $1000 300/4? Or a $4000 400/4? Or a $6000 500/4? Combine these lenses with Olympus' excellent TCs and you've got a great wildlife system that should compare favorably to any tele zoom except perhaps the 300-800. What other system has the potential to give you a high quality "2000/8"? Or a lightweight "600/4"? Olympus needs to exploit this advantage before someone else runs with the dual-mode feature of the D2X.

    Other than that the Olympus lineup looks pretty solid to me. They've done a great job in a short time. The system is already viable for most users (professional or amateur) thanks to the good zoom lineup and rugged E-3. They just need to fill out the lens lineup if they're going to be considered the Third System by the general public and convert a significant number of shooters. Historically halo equipment has worked very well for camera makers. Canon's TS-E lenses, IS tele primes, and full frame bodies have sold a lot of people on their system. Even if a small percentage of users buy Olympus' primes, their presence alone will sell the system.

    I just hope they understand the urgency, because Sony smells blood in the water, and the combination of Sony marketing and non-Sony engineers is a potent one!
    Chris


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    Default Re: Is Olympus Professional Caliber?

    Quote Originally Posted by ckrueger View Post
    Whew. Thanks for not ripping my head off, guys. This really is a great forum.

    Canon's range of more compact/cheaper f/4 lenses (17-40, 24-105, 70-200, 300) are pretty nice, I have to agree. There's a lot of alternatives in general in the Canon system. After 25 years or so there's not many holes left in the lineup. A long/fast tele zoom ala Oly 90-250 or Nikon 200-400 would be nice, as would an end-all UWA like the Oly 7-14 or 14-24 (the 16-35II is supposed to fill this role).

    I suspect Nikon will venture into this affordable lineup soon enough. They've been going for the jugular lately, and lenses like Canon's 24-105 or 70-200/4IS are such huge sellers they should be a no-brainer of a business case.

    I hope it takes Olympus less than 25 years to fill out their lineup! The zooms are already getting there... The 7-14, 14-35, and 35-100 are/will be great fast zooms (although the 35-100 and 14-35 both need a $500+ price reduction!), the 12-60 and 50-200 are great "tweener" lenses as you said, the 14-54 and 70-300 are good affordable lenses, and the 14-42 and new 40-150 are spectacular kit lenses. With the cheaper "8-16" on the roadmap, and perhaps a high-end long zoom like a 100-300/4 or 100-400/5.6, the zoom lineup will look very complete.

    I think Olympus should concentrate on giving us a few of the classic primes... a 20/28/50/100 lineup might skip some useful lenses, but would get the job done enough to bring in those who really want a well-designed compact DSLR but won't make the jump because they're prime shooters. Just please make one ultra-fast portrait lens. f/1.4 or faster!

    We also need more choice for high-end teles. How about a $600 200/2.8? Or a $1000 300/4? Or a $4000 400/4? Or a $6000 500/4? Combine these lenses with Olympus' excellent TCs and you've got a great wildlife system that should compare favorably to any tele zoom except perhaps the 300-800. What other system has the potential to give you a high quality "2000/8"? Or a lightweight "600/4"? Olympus needs to exploit this advantage before someone else runs with the dual-mode feature of the D2X.

    Other than that the Olympus lineup looks pretty solid to me. They've done a great job in a short time. The system is already viable for most users (professional or amateur) thanks to the good zoom lineup and rugged E-3. They just need to fill out the lens lineup if they're going to be considered the Third System by the general public and convert a significant number of shooters. Historically halo equipment has worked very well for camera makers. Canon's TS-E lenses, IS tele primes, and full frame bodies have sold a lot of people on their system. Even if a small percentage of users buy Olympus' primes, their presence alone will sell the system.

    I just hope they understand the urgency, because Sony smells blood in the water, and the combination of Sony marketing and non-Sony engineers is a potent one!
    Lot of good food for thought there. I'd like to see one more added: a CAT lens akin to the FF 500mm/8. At 250mm actual, it could pick up at least one f/stop; possibly even have a variable aperture! That way depth of field would turn out to be tremendous. Tamron's ancient 500Cat measured about 3.3" in both length and diameter. Quite similar to a 50mm of that day. Goes without saying that a 250 would be even smaller. Or make it a 300? Comments please?

    Afterthought: If they could get it up to f/5.6 or better, even if that meant dropping down to 200mm, then a "matched multiplier", as Vivitar used to call them, would make for an effective 1000mm (or 800mm) f/8 with no signivicant optical loss. Still lilliputian and somewhat hand-holdable, given today's high speeds, and of course IS. :-)

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    Default Re: Is Olympus Professional Caliber?

    To be of professional caliber, a camera system needs to be capable of consistantly producing quality images under the conditions you normally work under. It's that simple. In my 46 years of shooting professionally, I've used a number of cameras and systems. Never once could anyone look at one of my photos and tell what camera recorded it. Once, at a party at my house, the division UPI regional newspictures manager tried to take up the challenge while viewing a number of large prints displayed on my living room wall. Told that the collection was shot with Canon, Olympus Leica and Nikon, he looked and looked, and then pointed to a boxing picture. "That's unmistakedly taken with a Leica." Wrong, it was shot with an Olympus OM-1.

    So if you are interested in making a statement with your pictures more than making a statement with whatever is hanging around your neck, any camera, even a point and shoot, can be considered "professional." It's the end that counts, not the means to that end.

    There is no doubt that Canon and Nikon have the corner on the professional digital camera market. Both have a selection of heavy duty bodies that can record lovely images and both have a stunning array of glass that can cover any conceivible situation. Both have been in the business of supplying professionals with heavy duty (and expensive) cameras for over 40 years.

    But then, what so "unprofessional" about Olympus? While there may be differences in bells and whistles between camera models, there is no doubt that the E-3 (or even the 400-500 series for that matter) can produce images on the street that can equal or exceed the quality provided by Canon and Nikon. It can record them just as fast and can absorb a lot of abuse while doing it.

    To be considered as a true professional instrument, the supporting system needs to offer a photographer a selection of lenses to get the job done. But, your job might be quite different than mine, I really don't care if Olympus is missing a 600-mm F/4, simply because I will never buy one. Sure, it's great to imagine that someday you could win the lottery and purchase an $8,000 beauty, but in reality, when evaluating a system, see if it offers the lenses you will will actually use, not just want. You can leave the slick, full-color lens catalog in the bathroom if that's where you think it will do you the most good.

    Two of the reasons I switched to Olympus is that I was impressed by the 50 to 200mm 2.8/3.5 zoom and the 14-54mm 2.8/3.5. They replaced five Canon lenses, that were not as wide, as long and had smaller maximum apertures. has impressed me with its sharpness and contrast, and fits in my bag. If in the future, I feel need a longer lens with a large f-stop, Olympus has them. Even the kit lenses are tack sharp. Try to find a relatively small 24 or 28mm to medium telephoto 2.8 zoom from Canon or Nikon. There aren't any. The large f-stop glass that they have are all quite big and heavy and do not have the focal length ranges of comparable Olympus lenses.

    As far as the cameras go, I'm confident that I can shoot the E-3 and win against any pro using Nikon or Canon. Of course, if you are Sports Illustrated or Reuters covering the Olympics or Superbowl, and want to transmit RAW files through a small computer in your pocket to a central editing facility, then maybe the Canikons could have an edge. But, get real--will you ever need that capability for your shooting?

    The largest difference between Olympus and N and C right now, is that the Canikons have extremely sophisticated Professional Services infrastructures that can loan out lenses and bodies, and provide for rapid service on pro equipment. It is nice to know that if you get assigned an overhead position at the Republican National Convention, you can call your buddy at Canon and ask him to send you a 600mm, and have it happen with no problems.

    But, come back down to earth for a moment. Most of us will never need or even qualify for this support--we simply need a rugged camera system that can produce quality images under adverse conditions. It needs to have a wide selection of glass and other options available to handle our needs. Using this criteria, the Olympus system is as professional as any out there.

    My suggestion is that maybe your friends should quit comparing cameras and start concerning themselves with the photographs.

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    Default Re: Is Olympus Professional Caliber?

    Quote Originally Posted by lendur2 View Post
    Chris, I really, really thank you for this. Though I had my heart set on Olympus, I also dreaded ill-will, even if suppressed.

    I'll try to give both sides fair shrift, and even say a few prayers to the almighty for wisdom.

    Incidentally I read today that the 5D Mk. II will have weather sealing like the EOS-1. You said you favor shallow depth of field; you're a professional and that says a lot to me, even over my own preferences to lots more depth.

    As I said, lots hangs in the balance, and the new posts lend fairness to the other side, and in this case, both were compared by the same shooter in the same situations. Again, I'm very grateful. Honesty and fair judgment are most important to me.
    Happy to help! I don't want to mislead: I rarely shoot professionally. I've done some portrait work and some sports work, but the majority of my shooting is for my own enjoyment.

    I haven't heard anything about the 5D Mk2 yet... Canon has to be really careful with that one, as if they make the 5D "too good" they'll price the 1DsMk3 out of the market. I doubt we'll see 45-point AF or f/8 AF, and I'd be surprised to see weather sealing. Those, and resolution are the big differences between the 5D and 1Ds... and I know many people are perfectly happy with 12MPixel. I certainly am!

    For the whole DOF thing, I prefer the ability of the 5D to shoot very short DOF without the need for exotic lenses. When I shot crop Canon bodies I often used fast primes like my 50/1.4 or 85/1.8 because the difference in DOF compared to an f/2.8 zoom was substantial in some cases. Now with my 5D I can shoot my f/2.8 zooms wide open and get pretty much the same result. Or I can shoot with my $300 85/1.8 and get the eyes-only-in-focus look that you'd need a much more expensive lens or a shorter working distance to get from a smaller format.

    Of course short DOF is not something to use for every shot; go to a Canon forum and look at the obligatory "show us your 85/1.2 pictures" thread to see how short DOF can be abused to the point of wiping out all context from an image, like a macro shot in a lightbox. Shooting candids I usually shoot my 5D at f/4 (f/2.5 in APS-C terms, f/2 in FT terms) to give myself some "slop" to prevent misfocused shots. It's the capability of getting everything from one cheap zoom lens that I like.

    In the end, if all the bullets I listed above about the E-3 were "fixed", I'd convert to Olympus in a heartbeat. I'd sell all of my Canon gear except my 5D, 580EX, 35/2, 85/1.8, 100/2.8, 28-75/2.8, and my tubes and TCs. Basically, I'd just keep the gear that gives me things that aren't possible in Four Thirds. I'd pick up an "E-5", a 12-60, a 50-200, and both TCs. And depending on how I liked the Olympus 300/2.8, I'd use either that, or keep my 40D and Canon 300/2.8IS. You'd have to twist my arm to make me give up optical IS at this length... "1200/5.6" can get a bit wobbly in the viewfinder!

    Of course you have to evaluate your needs, not mine. If Four Thirds does the job for you, go for it! It's a great system, and it can easily measure up (or exceed) against Canon or Nikon in almost any area, as is obvious by all the great photographers you see here and elsewhere shooting with Four Thirds gear.
    Chris


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    Default Re: Is Olympus Professional Caliber?

    Quote Originally Posted by ckrueger View Post
    Basically, I'd just keep the gear that gives me things that aren't possible in Four Thirds.
    And this comment from someone who shoots with more than 1 system sums things up quite nicely. There is no perfect Camera system and going out and choosing a system that has the features that are most appropriate to your needs.

    It is possible that a single system may not be suitable and to get what you need it is a choice of compromise or use multiple systems. The extreme shallow DOF is something that is simply not possible with the 4/3 format (as 1 example) but on the other side, the deep DOF is not found in other systems either. It is a case of what is required by you.
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    Default Re: Is Olympus Professional Caliber?

    Quote Originally Posted by deep View Post
    I'm on a mission at the moment to try to upgrade from my humble E300/E330 pairing. One thing I miss from my film days (Canon EOS and FD) is not having a "standard" zoom starting at 24mm at the wide end. 28mm or equivalent comes up short way too often but my Canon 24-70 nearly always made it.
    Ah, finally, someone else who wants 24 mm EFL on the wide-end of their standard zoom. I keep recommending the 16-85/VR to people on one of the Nikon forums to get rebuffed, saying the extra 2 mm compared to the usual 18 mm is not a big deal, not that significant... that they'd much rather have the 18-xxx zooms instead.

    So, I've looked and looked and tried and made a surprising discovery. If, like me, you just can't afford to move to a full frame system, the only choices are Olympus (E3 plus 12-60 zoom to replace the 14-54) or Sony (A700 with Zeiss 16-80 or a Sony option which is a bit soft). That's it! [...] I am stunned that Canon and Nikon don't offer such an alternative for their cropped sensor bodies.
    Fear not, Don, as Tokina launched their "24 mm EFL on the wide end standard zoom for APS-C bodies" last spring at PMA 2007... the 16-50/2.8. It's available in Canon and Nikon mounts too.

    You would also be pleased to know that Nikon now has the 16-85/VR for their APS-C bodies. It was leaked at the beginning of the year and announced officially at PMA 2008. Should be available in stores starting this week.

    I would say, however, that the Olympus 12-60 is a better performer than the Tokina 16-50/2.8, the Nikon 16-85/VR, and the Sony/Zeiss 16-80.
    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
    Nikon: D90, D700, 70-300/VR, 24/2.8, 35/1.8, 35/2, CV 40/2, 50/1.4G, 60/2.8, 85/1.8, 180/2.8 | f/2.8 zooms | Zeiss 25/2.8
    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?

    Lendur, a cat lens could be handy for some tasks, but I've always found their background blur to be generally very distracting, to the point where you have to be careful how you shoot lest the background draw more attention than the subject. BIF is OK, but picture a deer in a field with trees behind him, and you'll get that unmistakable double-ridged bokeh.

    Still, it's by far the longest reach per pound out there. If my alternatives for a long lens were a cat lens or no lens at all, I'd be very happy with a cat. Especially on Four Thirds, where a 500/8 becomes a very reasonable birding lens.

    Quote Originally Posted by Captdave View Post
    To be considered as a true professional instrument, the supporting system needs to offer a photographer a selection of lenses to get the job done. But, your job might be quite different than mine, I really don't care if Olympus is missing a 600-mm F/4, simply because I will never buy one. Sure, it's great to imagine that someday you could win the lottery and purchase an $8,000 beauty, but in reality, when evaluating a system, see if it offers the lenses you will will actually use, not just want. You can leave the slick, full-color lens catalog in the bathroom if that's where you think it will do you the most good.
    And there's the rub: some people (pros or amateurs) want/need these exotics. Olympus is blessed to have the Sigma 300-800, which measures up well against anyone's 600/4. But what about an 85/1.2? A 35/1.4? A 200/2? Extreme macro gear? The majority of users don't need equipment like this, but those that do, well... do. And like it or not, the absence of these exotics won't just keep away people who will use them, it will also keep away people who want the option to buy them someday.
    Chris


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    Default Re: Is Olympus Professional Caliber?

    Quote Originally Posted by shrinkpictures View Post
    And this comment from someone who shoots with more than 1 system sums things up quite nicely. There is no perfect Camera system and going out and choosing a system that has the features that are most appropriate to your needs.

    It is possible that a single system may not be suitable and to get what you need it is a choice of compromise or use multiple systems. The extreme shallow DOF is something that is simply not possible with the 4/3 format (as 1 example) but on the other side, the deep DOF is not found in other systems either. It is a case of what is required by you.
    Yep. That's why I also use 2 systems and find defending or promoting one brand silly.
    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
    Nikon: D90, D700, 70-300/VR, 24/2.8, 35/1.8, 35/2, CV 40/2, 50/1.4G, 60/2.8, 85/1.8, 180/2.8 | f/2.8 zooms | Zeiss 25/2.8
    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?

    Quote Originally Posted by e_dawg View Post
    Ah, finally, someone else who wants 24 mm EFL on the wide-end of their standard zoom. I keep recommending the 16-85/VR to people on one of the Nikon forums to get rebuffed, saying the extra 2 mm compared to the usual 18 mm is not a big deal, not that significant... that they'd much rather have the 18-xxx zooms instead.



    Fear not, Don, as Tokina launched their "24 mm EFL on the wide end standard zoom for APS-C bodies" last spring at PMA 2007... the 16-50/2.8. It's available in Canon and Nikon mounts too.

    You would also be pleased to know that Nikon now has the 16-85/VR for their APS-C bodies. It was leaked at the beginning of the year and announced officially at PMA 2008. Should be available in stores starting this week.

    I would say, however, that the Olympus 12-60 is a better performer than the Tokina 16-50/2.8, the Nikon 16-85/VR, and the Sony/Zeiss 16-80.
    Ah! I never seriously considered the third party options, having had some very poor lenses from Sigma and Tamron in the past. However, I have had a couple of awesome Tokina optics (and one dodgy one!) so should look into that option. I'll look into the 16-85 Nikon too but my guess is that, if I bought that and put it on a D300 I might pay more than the currently discounted 5D and 24-105 deals (which I would quite like).

    I'm glad you agree about the difference between 24 and 28 (=16 & 18 or 12 & 14 etc.). For me it is everything and I have been going nuts trying to make do with my 14-54. I really don't want to lug around a third (wide) lens because experience has shown that I never have the right one on the camera when I need it, hence the two body two lens setup I now use.

    Thanks for the heads up, much appreciated.

    Don.

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    Default Re: Is Olympus Professional Caliber?

    Quote Originally Posted by deep View Post
    Ah! I never seriously considered the third party options, having had some very poor lenses from Sigma and Tamron in the past. However, I have had a couple of awesome Tokina optics (and one dodgy one!) so should look into that option.
    Yeah, 3rd party manufacturers' QC are not as good as the camera companies (C, N, O, P). Having said that, the 3rd party lens makers are supposedly pretty good about taking back any lens and re-calibrating or refurbishing it should you have any problems. I haven't included Sony in that list currently because I've heard of a higher rate of problems with their lenses compared to the other majors, and even worse, unsatisfying customer service when customers call to send in said lenses. With the notable exception of the 12-60, Olympus lenses could have the best QC in the industry.

    I'll look into the 16-85 Nikon too but my guess is that, if I bought that and put it on a D300 I might pay more than the currently discounted 5D and 24-105 deals (which I would quite like).
    Yes, the 16-85/VR is definitely not cheap and is a little slower than one would like (f/5.6 at the long end). If you don't need all the capabilities of the D300 body, the D90 is expected to be launched the summer. I predict Nikon will announce it either before the Olympics or at Photokina. It is expected to have the 12-bit version of the 12 MP Sony CMOS sensor used in the D300, but probably the existing 11-point AF from the D80, a 3.5-4 fps burst rate, wireless CLS flash control, and the EXPEED image processor from the D300 with Active Picture Control, Active D-Lighting (same as SAT with Olympus or Advanced DRO with Sony), etc.

    If you don't mind the slightly bigger body and the size of the telephoto lenses required to achieve the same reach (you'll need longer lenses without the "crop factor" of the smaller sensors), the 5D is an excellent value these days. Better per pixel image quality than any APS-C or 4/3 body, especially in low light and high DR situations. Don't know if they have the same deals as before, but around xmas time, they had huge discounts on the 5D AND EF L lenses. So much so that you could have saved literally thousands of $ buying a Canon FF system.

    I'm glad you agree about the difference between 24 and 28 (=16 & 18 or 12 & 14 etc.). For me it is everything and I have been going nuts trying to make do with my 14-54.
    Yep. Having the right focal length and lens is very important. They say you should choose the lenses you want first, look at the system that offers it, and then deal with the bodies. That's what led me to Olympus (the main reason I shoot Olympus is for the 11-22, 12-60, and 50-200 lenses). If I had refined my focal length and speed preferences earlier, I might have started with Canon or Olympus first; instead, I went with Nikon for the 18-200/VR and 70-300/VR (nobody had anything equivalent to the 18-200/VR at the time).

    Although, it turns out that a body is what's keeping me in the Nikon system (but it's not even a Nikon): The Fuji S5 Pro. This thing has almost 2 stops more DR than any other APS-C body and just over 2 stops more DR than any 4/3 body. Just amazing. The drawbacks are that the RAW files are so big that it takes an eternity to flush the buffer to the card and the D200 chassis is a bit heavy for me when traveling.

    And of course, the Nikon flash system rocks too.
    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
    Nikon: D90, D700, 70-300/VR, 24/2.8, 35/1.8, 35/2, CV 40/2, 50/1.4G, 60/2.8, 85/1.8, 180/2.8 | f/2.8 zooms | Zeiss 25/2.8
    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?

    Quote Originally Posted by shrinkpictures View Post
    And this comment from someone who shoots with more than 1 system sums things up quite nicely. There is no perfect Camera system and going out and choosing a system that has the features that are most appropriate to your needs.

    It is possible that a single system may not be suitable and to get what you need it is a choice of compromise or use multiple systems. The extreme shallow DOF is something that is simply not possible with the 4/3 format (as 1 example) but on the other side, the deep DOF is not found in other systems either. It is a case of what is required by you.
    Since I don't truly know, never having been there, all I can do is relate that one of the partners said they usually go for depth of field, shooting at f/11 or below (APS-C).

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    Default Re: Is Olympus Professional Caliber?

    Quote Originally Posted by e_dawg View Post
    Yep. That's why I also use 2 systems and find defending or promoting one brand silly.
    Would you recommend a double-frame (e.g. Hasselblad) as a companion to a 4/3, or is FF enough? Or again a 4x5 press-cam like the speed graphic I got to use once upon a time? Not just shallow depth, but also very large images.

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