Olympus Cameras and Four Thirds System Digital SLRs Forum

Olympus Cameras Forum Discuss Olympus film and digital cameras as well as Panasonic and Leica Four Thirds System digital SLRs - forum moderator is Greg McCary.
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  1. #1
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    E-30 first impressions

    Arrived home today to find the new body had arrived. I'm not going to attempt a full review because there are loads of comprehensive ones about.

    First impression out of the box was that it felt really good in my hand - and well balanced once I attached lenses. Certainly much better than the E-300 it replaced. I had been toying with the idea of a power grip but have now decided that I am going to stick with the spare battery in my bag option. Annoyingly I let my almost new spare go with the 300 body because I had been planning to replace it with a 620. Oh I have largish hands in case you're wondering.

    I was especially keen to test two things: How good is the IS and how bad is the noise. It was pretty gloomy outside so I allowed a 10 minute battery charge before rushing out. Nothing too scientific. I attached the Oly 70 - 300, extended it to 300, stepped out of the back door and pointed it at a tree trunk at the end of the garden and left the factory settings. No reference to the manual so I guess that means its pretty intuitive to use. Part way through testing I realised that IS wasn't turned on by default as I had assumed. One annoying thing about the defaults was that the camera decides when I want to use the flash - that has now been changed.

    First the image stabilisation. I assume the old adage of "shoot faster than your focal length" remains true (and focal length means effective focal length). Sorry guys, the last time I regarded myself as a serious photographer was in the 80s when I made my living with my manual focus 35mm SLR . So on that basis I should be able to hand hold at 1/1000. I stuck to "standard" shutter speeds and ISOs because I had no idea how long the battery was good for - and of course because I'm not the most patient. Olympus claim 5EV and I was expecting 2 so on that basis my first shots were at 1/15th (well that's only 6) and worked my way up.

    I was seriously impressed to discover that the shots at 1/15th were actually usable and looked good if all you wanted to do was put them onto a web album without cropping - no go at actual pixel size though. Only marginally better at 1/30th. Of the two shots I took at 1/60th one was perfect at any resolution and the other was pretty soft at full size. I'd give it a go in an emergency - or holiday snaps. At 1/125th I was satisfied with both my attempts. So if my original assumption was correct that's 3EV and I'm happy with that.

    Now on to low light performance. It was really gloomy by now so I used auto and started at ISO 400 which was the most I would accept on the old E-300. At 1600 the results were pretty comparable to 400 on the E-300 - that is reasonably ok where there was plenty of light and quite grainy at full resolution in the underexposed areas. For the shots I took I would probably not try to reduce this and regard it as usable - so that's another 2EV and suddenly my "slow" 70 - 300 is looking quite usable. Naturally I did go all the way to 3200. The result was pretty good for a web album but I wouldn't use it for anything else.

    I ran the 1600 version through Noise Ninja using the default settings in Aperture and would be happy to print the result. For my test I just ran it on the whole pic within Aperture - personally if I had a decent shot that required that I would do it in Photoshop so that I could use layers to have better control over where I compromise on sharpness. Ideally I would stick to ISO 800 or less but nice to know that I do have the option.

    All this low light, long lens stuff has confirmed that the AF is really impressive.

    Not sure if this is a niggle but at ISO 1600, f5.6, 1/250 I had 4 visible hotspots - is this something I should take up with the dealer? Its a lot less than my old camera but that was almost 6 years old.

    Finally it's worth mentioning the data transfer. I used a 16Gb Sandisk Extreme III card and took a total of 22 shots. Connected the camera to my Macbook, hit import on Aperture and got up to make a cup of coffee only to discover the transfer was done by the time I left my chair. Oops - strike that :mad2: - in my haste to get going I never set the format and the default jpgs are about 1/5th the size of the raws I am used to. Still much faster but I'll give an official verdict later. Hope to get out and about with it on the weekend and post some pics.

  2. #2
    Liz
    Liz is offline
    Moderator Emeritus Liz's Avatar
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    Re: E-30 first impressions

    Congratulations! You picked a winner - and it sounds like you're enjoying it already!

    Looking forward to seeing some pics. :thumbsup:

    Liz

  3. #3
    Senior Shooter Greg McCary's Avatar
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    Re: E-30 first impressions

    If you can get your hands on a 12-60mm you will be over joyed with the low light performance. I agree that 800iso seems to be the limit. I have several 800iso night shots that I have made some very nice prints with. I shoot with the E3 but I think your IQ will be very close to the same or even a touch better.. Congrats. What is your primary lens? You will be able to shoot lower speeds with a wider lens. I can shoot 1/10th of a sec while drinking coffee with my 12-60mm.LOL
    I am like Barney Fife, I have a gun but Andy makes me keep the bullet in my pocket..

    Sony a99/a7R

  4. #4
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    Re: E-30 first impressions

    Quote Originally Posted by Greg McCary
    You will be able to shoot lower speeds with a wider lens. I can shoot 1/10th of a sec while drinking coffee with my 12-60mm.LOL
    Yup - realise this but figured if I was going to test the IS quickly and unscientifically I'd give it the toughest test I could

    Just been for a walkaround at lunchtime with my regular use kit 14-45 attached. Sadly its uniformly grey in this part of England today. Right now I can't justify the cost of the 12-60 but am trying hard to find an excuse for a 14-54. My primes are all OM lenses. Hardly ever use these but might start if manual focus is much better with the improved viewfinder or live view.

    Main reason for the walkabout was to establish a base profile for raw processing. Just out of curiosity do you guys do this in camera or on computer? I have always done this on computer but it seems to make more sense to have (on average) usable pics straight out of the box. Left the cable at home as I do need to get some work done (so it's possible I won't want to change anything)

    Similar question for SAT. It seems to do the same sort of thing I typically do for most outdoor shots - any good reasons why I shouldn't turn this on by default? My understanding is it only adjusts the curves so I could undo the adjustments if neccessary.

  5. #5
    Senior Shooter Greg McCary's Avatar
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    Re: E-30 first impressions

    My work flow is raw, lightroom and then cs 4. I hardly ever shoot jpeg. Only when I am going to shoot a ton of pictures and don't want to process them. Is is on all the time unless I am. using a tripod
    I am like Barney Fife, I have a gun but Andy makes me keep the bullet in my pocket..

    Sony a99/a7R

  6. #6
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    Re: E-30 first impressions

    Going to stick with doing it on computer - might create presets to replicate the camera ones.

    More observations:
    • Was right about USB2 speed. 40 raw images in under 2 minutes using the same card and laptop as before.
    • Used the level thingy. Thought it was a bit gimmicky but a couple of times it was right when my eyes were wrong.
    • Tried my 28mm f2.8 OM lens indoors. Not too hard to focus in the viewfinder and a doddle in live view.
    • Looks like I need to pay more attention when using autofocus (or change the mode).
    • Shading compensation seems to work well. None of the pics below are cropped.


    Pics below all taken in P mode with ISO set at 100 and picture mode on natural. First of each pic is exactly as shot and the second has Apertures build in Lighten Shadows preset applied. Since this improved 3 of the 5 I will set that as my default. Never got around to trying SAT.








    Do focus on the right thing Sean





    For Americans and Canadians that's an FZ1


  7. #7
    Member Iguanamom's Avatar
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    Re: E-30 first impressions

    Congrats on the new camera. I went from an E-300 to an E-30, too and love it. I have a thing for 3s I guess, my favorite manual is my trusty OM-3. : )

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