E-3 report and sample shots

Started Oct 31, 2007 | Discussions thread
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Zoltan2
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E-3 report and sample shots
Oct 31, 2007

pixinfo.com has a report up on the E-3, though you might only want to have a look if you happen to speak Hungarian. I will try to summarise the highlights.

A number of European journalists were invited to Istanbul, Turkey, to hear presentations on and actually take photographs with, the Olympus E-3. They were also granted permission to post full-sized JPG samples, but were asked not to comment on them as they were still taken with cameras sporting firmware version 0.9. A chap called Hans Wiesel presented for Olympus, and the author of the article says that in the middle of his presentation he poured a bottle of water on his demo camera, which had its onboard flash popped up. (I have heard of users washing their E-1s under running water, but never heard of Olympus doing anything similar - they officially claimed the E-1 was only dust- and drip-proof.)

Then the journalists were given E-3s and a number of lenses to try out and interchange among each other. They were not simply let out into town to shoot whatever they wanted. Instead they were given "assignments", which they could accomplish with the help of a pro.

First up was an open-air portrait shoot with portrait photographer Paul Schirnhofer, then they had a photojournalism assignment with war photographer Morten Hvaal. Allegedly he has been shooting with E-1s ever since the camera was launched and, while some have been stolen or confiscated, none has broken down in action. He is quoted as saying he would keep an E-1 in his bag until he is convinced that the E-3 can deliver the same level of reliability. He also has an interesting take on sensor-shift IS: he says it is nice to have long telephoto lenses with built-in optical stabilisation [in othet systems], but when you are on board of a heavily shaking helicopter, photographing a wounded soldier being rescued at night, you don't find much use for long teles, but you still have to take blur-free photos. Sesor-shift IS does the trick for you.

What the author of the article has to say about the camera is positive: ergonomics are great, and the menu system is logical and easy to navigate, in spite of the huge amount of settings. He also mentions that LiveView is only useful when delivered on a fully articulated screen and that the E-3 is the only camera in its class to have it. Of Olympus' claim that the E-3 + 12-60 combo provides the fastest AF in the world, he writes that it might as well be true, for he has found it "worked at lightning speed even in low light". He also praises Olympus for ditching focus-by-wire and putting a mechanically coupled focus ring on the 12-60.

To illustrate just what 5 fps really means, they have included an impressive demonstration, which you can see at

; Wait until the "movie" fully downloads.

Some full-sized JPGs are downloadable from http://pixinfo.com/fgep/Olympus_E-3/tesztfotok/09_PA297142_oa although no info is given on noise filter settings (maybe you can find out about them in the EXIF?). There is a scrollable stripe of thumbnails, clicking on one will result in a bigger but still downsampled picture being displayed. Clicking on the latter will reveal the full-sized original.

I am still reserving judgment as these shots are JPGs processed with firmware version 0.9 and compressed to death (I mean, less than 2 megabytes for a 10mp photograph?). One thing that I am impressed with is the virtually complete lack of chromatic aberrations in the shots taken with the 12-60.
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