On putting money into 4:3 gear ...

Started May 11, 2013 | Discussions thread
Big Ga
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Re: Gareth, I always read your posts and usually find them
In reply to Bobby J, May 19, 2013

Bobby J wrote:

to be accurate and thoughtful.  And funny.  This time I have to respectfully disagree.  You mention that somewhere out there , there is an E-3 that had decent AF.  Mine did.

In fact I never had any problem with that camera at all except for the delamination of the LCD which Oly USA fixed at no charge even though the camera was out of warranty.

I could get decent JPGS up to ISO 800, and with the use of my NIK noise filter software I could get useable images to 1600.

I had no problem with the AF.  It went where I wanted it to go.  It did slow down in low light, as does my E-5, but I found it to be a very useful camera.  When I got my E-5 I sold the E-3 to a local pro who uses Oly equipment and needed a back-up for his E-5.  He used the camera for a couple of months with no problems and bought it.  He does a lot of work around water (water skiing) and need a sealed body.

Don't know why you had such poor luck,

Well, first off, it wasn't just me that had 'poor luck'. There are always dud cameras out there from all brands. However if you go back, starting around Xmas of 2007 or whenever it was when the E3 cams first started to become available, you'll see that there were a number of very capable and experienced people who were noticing AF issues. I was just one of many.

Many of these 'others' really did their utmost in trying to get their cameras sorted. Sending them back to Olympus. getting them back with notes saying there was nothing wrong, but the problems persisted. Some got replacement cameras. most of those gave the same issues. Some were thought to be better, but then a different shooting situation would arise and the AF would start playing up again. etc etc. At this point, as I'd got so fed up of waiting for Oly to release the E3 in the first place, I'd also pre-ordered a D3 and D300, and when those arrived at around the same time and I started to  be able to compare, they were in such a different league, it really wasn't worth me pursuing my own E3 AF woes, so I (easily) proved that my camera was unfit for purpose, and got my money back.

However while I moved over to Nikon for the serious pro work, I still kept a bunch of oly gear and most of the lenses because as I said previously, there is much to like about the system and especially the lenses. Over the years since the E3 release, I saw the E30 and 620 come out, with people saying how they had sorted the AF issues, and the AF adjust was fantastic etc etc. So I gave people the benefit of the doubt and bought both of them. There are still AF issues with both those cameras as well!! With the E30, I even went to a large camera expo where Olympus themselves had half a dozen cameras all lined up for people to try, and I could get each and every one to screw up the focus when it really should have been able to nail it or at least not take the picture in focus priority mode. Hence I'm firmly of the opinion that the AF module/algorithms are flawed. I'm not saying that they don't work at all, far from it, but shoot in certain ways that many pros use their cameras (and depend on it) and you simply won't get the results that you would expect, especially when you are used to shooting with the higher end Canon and Nikon bodies, and lets bear in mind that the E3 was the highest end pro oly body you could buy.

Take your time, shoot at e.g. f5.6 and avoid difficult situations, and you might never see issues even if they are there.

The whole AF thing is VERY complicated. We've even had people putting cameras into refrigerators etc to see if it a temperature issue. But its not in my mind, and I haven't been singled out as somehow unlucky to get a dud camera.

but really I had little to complain about with that camera and a lot to like about it.  I rarely use CAF, and use AF on small normal sensitivity.  I typically will put the center AF sensor on whatever I want to be sharp, half press and recompose.  If that won't do, then I move the AF to the sensor that's closest to my spot.  Never had and problem.  Pretty much the same with the E-5.

For 400.00 I still think it's a good buy.

For some people, I'm sure it is. I don't think we disagree there!

I have just recalled something that happened on this forum. People were getting issues with I think the 14-35/f2 lens. One very regular poster here had it, and was 100% convinced that his copy was working perfectly, thus it wasn't a design defect as such, thus the consensus here was that if you were having problems, it was issues with a particular lens and you should be able to get it 'fixed' or replaced.

Someone else (who I think shot professionally) had the lens, had issues. The gentleman with the working lens kindly offered for him to pop over and try his good copy as they weren't too far away.

The outcome was that the pro went over, and was able to get the 'working' lens to exhibit the same problematic issues when it was shot outside the easy comfort zone that it had only been subjected to up until that point.

So the moral of that is that the 14-35 would still have been a fantastic lens for the user that was operating it within the envelope that wasn't giving any issues, but for a pro or serious user who needs to depend on the performance and accuracy that you'd get from a 24-70/2.8 type lens from big two, then for many shooting situations, its worse than useless if it screws the shots up! And while I'm using the word 'pro' a lot here, this would be equally applicable to anyone who was serious about their photography, and simply didn't want to screw the shot up due to AF issues - could be a bird shooter or a soccer mum. Same principles apply, its just more serious for some than others.

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