Why I Just Bought an Olympus Four Thirds Camera System

Started Nov 12, 2012 | Discussions
kendrab
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Why I Just Bought an Olympus Four Thirds Camera System
Nov 12, 2012

It seems popular for people to "jump ship" from the Olympus Four Thirds camera system these days. I thought it would be refreshing to tell you why I just BOUGHT a new Four Thirds camera system.

1) I was returning to photography on a budget, and operated from a "needs" perspective (i.e. I needed a good D-SLR camera sytem to learn photography again, and realized I was unlikely to do much shooting in darkish conditions, and if/when I did, I would have a decent flash unit).

2) I wanted a camera with a lot more versatility than any point and shoot variety could provide, and didn't like the small size of the Micro Four Thirds cameras.

3) I wanted to get into a system with a set of proven lens options, as I preferred to spend my money building a collection of great lenses rather than the "latest" in camera bodies.

4) I recognized that a 12.3 MP sensor was more than enough for any size image I would want to print out.

5) I wanted to leverage what my money could buy, and realized there were some great deals on used Olympus Four Thirds Lenses

6) I have faith that eventually Olympus will bring out another Four Thirds camera body, and EVEN IF THEY DON'T, I recognize as an amateur novice photographer, the camera I bought would be good enough for at LEAST 3-4 years.

So what did I buy?

1) A new Olympus E-620 camera kit with 14-42mm lens for $447.00 (I had an older E-510 camera I bought from a friend with 14-42mm lens, and sold it locally for $200, so the cost of my new camera came to $247.00). Note that it still has the full manufacturers warranty.

2) I picked up used Olympus Zuiko ED 12-60mm f2.8-4.0 and ED 70-300mm f4.0-5.6 lenses, a "used" but never taken out of box TC-14 tele-converter, and a FL-50R flash for $1050. Each lens came with UV filters at no extra cost.

So, I spent $1300 on what is now a bit of an unpopular camera system. How did that turn out for me?

I have used this system for about a week, and am very impressed with both the imag and build quality. It does everything I hoped for and more. It  delivers noticeably better picture quality than my friends Nikon D80 and his $2500 worth of lenses. Is there anything better? Sure there is, but I recognize what is limiting me as a photographer is experience, and you can't buy that, even if you have that shiny new Nikon D800E camera system.

Kendra

Nikon D80 Nikon D800E Olympus E-5 Olympus E-620 Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 12-60mm 1:2.8-4.0 SWD
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Roger Engelken
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Re: Why I Just Bought an Olympus Four Thirds Camera System
In reply to kendrab, Nov 12, 2012

Welcome to the Olympus Four thirds family, where not everyone has jumped ship and many of us challenge our equipment or are challenged by the equipment.  Enjoy many years of pleasure with your equipment.

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faith_ps
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Re: Why I Just Bought an Olympus Four Thirds Camera System
In reply to Roger Engelken, Nov 12, 2012

Roger Engelken wrote:

...challenge our equipment or are challenged by the equipment...

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archrich
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Re: Why I Just Bought an Olympus Four Thirds Camera System
In reply to kendrab, Nov 12, 2012

Interesting post and congratulations on your recent purchases. There is a lot of new gear out there and it's easy to be drawn into the whole upgrade dilemma. I'm too heavily invested in 4/3rds to abandon the system.  That's alright for me because it still meets my needs and then some.  However like a lot here,  I anxiously await and look forward to an upgrade to the E-5.

Archie

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aja2
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Congrats on your purchase and...
In reply to kendrab, Nov 12, 2012

I hope to see some of your photos soon.

(Yes, we do look @ each other's photos here.)

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OlyChamp
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Accidental tourist
In reply to kendrab, Nov 12, 2012

I stumbled onto the 4/3 system.  I was nowhere near as organised as you.  I accidentally got an E500 (it had DSLR in the sales brief) and it came with twin kit all in excellent condition and well looked after.  Forget it had only 4900 shutter clicks, I found that out by accident too.  Then someone suggested the kit zoom wasn't up to it so I advertised for a new one in this very forum and surprise surprise someone not only in my own country, but he lived just down the road too and he sold me a minter 70-300.  Then  I accidentally started buying more gear and now feel if I won the lottery I'd still keep my E500 because I have not learnt how to drive it properly yet and I love challenges.

So by design my good friend you have entered a fraught but fulfilling world of Oly 4/3.  Enjoy.

Thane

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dave gaines
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Congrats on new Olympus Four Thirds Camera System
In reply to kendrab, Nov 12, 2012

Your list includes most of the right reasons for choosing Olympus, again (you had another one already, right?). Great luck on your part finding a new E-620 still  available. That's a fine camera. Look forward to seeing your posts here. Yes, post some photos. The weekly photo threads are a great way to show your photos.

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RoelHendrickx
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Good thinking!! Enjoy it to the max! I'm sure you will (NT)
In reply to kendrab, Nov 12, 2012
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/Roel Hendrickx/
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my E-3 user field *report* from Tunisian Sahara: http://www.biofos.com/ukpsg/roel.html

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Andy Hewitt
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Re: Why I Just Bought an Olympus Four Thirds Camera System
In reply to kendrab, Nov 12, 2012

Yup, I've been using the cost effectiveness of the Olympus system as a good reason too. Indeed, it was why I first bought into it in the first place, when I got a new E-500 and twin lens kit.

Image quality has always been good. OK you sacrifice a bit of low light noise performance, but even then it's not necessarily all bad once you understand what's going on there.

I haven't been able to afford to expand the kit beyond the basic lenses myself, although moving into 'legacy' glass can be all of fun, cheap and great images too.

I find it hard to compare costs though, as some of us are not in the USA. Here in the UK, we tend to pay effectively double what you pay across 'the pond', as amounts tend to more or less match, but the exchange rate makes it worse (i.e. a $400 camera over there is a £400 camera here - which to you would be over $630 at current rates). So just remember that guys, when you say 'these only cost....'.

Anyway, enjoy your camera.

Regards

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Andy Hewitt
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dt27348
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Re: Why I Just Bought an Olympus Four Thirds Camera System
In reply to kendrab, Nov 12, 2012

Welcome aboard. Hope to see some of your efforts soon.

Dave

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John King
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Re: Why I Just Bought an Olympus Four Thirds Camera System
In reply to kendrab, Nov 12, 2012

Welcome to the Olympus Outcasts, Kendra.

May you enjoy your re-entry into the craft.

There are many references in this thread that will help you in your new beginning:

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/post/34337824

Don't get put off by the "Novice" title. It contains some really terrific references, no matter what level one is at.

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Ulfric M Douglas
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Re: Why I Just Bought an Olympus Four Thirds Camera System
In reply to kendrab, Nov 12, 2012

kendrab wrote:

2) I picked up used Olympus Zuiko ED 12-60mm f2.8-4.0 and ED 70-300mm f4.0-5.6 lenses, ...

Kendra as you're looking for excellent glass at budget money I can recommend you find a MkI 40-150 (That's mark ONE)

Sure, you've got the focal range covered but I still think this is about the best price-to-cost lens available right now.

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John King
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Re: Why I Just Bought an Olympus Four Thirds Camera System
In reply to Ulfric M Douglas, Nov 12, 2012

Ulfric M Douglas wrote:

kendrab wrote:

2) I picked up used Olympus Zuiko ED 12-60mm f2.8-4.0 and ED 70-300mm f4.0-5.6 lenses, ...

Kendra as you're looking for excellent glass at budget money I can recommend you find a MkI 40-150 (That's mark ONE)

Sure, you've got the focal range covered but I still think this is about the best price-to-cost lens available right now.

I second that Ulfric.

I use mine on my E-30, and I reckon it is nearly as good (in practical terms, as good) as my 50~200 MkI. Makes my kit a flaming sight lighter to carry all day

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Regards, john from Melbourne, Australia.
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The Camera doth not make the Man (nor Woman) ...
Perhaps being kind to cats, dogs & children does ...
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I am a Photography Aficionado ... and ...
"I don't have any problems with John. He is a crotchety old Aussie. He will smack you if you behave like a d**k. Goes with the territory." boggis the cat
.
Gallery: http://canopuscomputing.com.au/gallery2/v/main-page/

Bird Control Officers on active service.

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Andy Hewitt
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Re: Why I Just Bought an Olympus Four Thirds Camera System
In reply to Ulfric M Douglas, Nov 12, 2012

Yeah, agreed here too. I've just put one onto eBay actually (UK only though), as I have two, and now use the Sigma 55-200 too.

It's a really great lens though.

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Andy Hewitt
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CollBaxter
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40-150 MKI/MKII ?
In reply to Ulfric M Douglas, Nov 12, 2012

Well err My findings are a bit different. My MKI was not as good as the MKII.  But I was never lucky with that lens. My son lost one ( MKI) , broke one and got one stolen ( MKII's ) . The MKI is better built and slightly faster but can't close focus I found the MKII's much sharper. Actual  which ever one you get they are worth it.

There again I found the 14-45 as soft a pig stuff. 

My super value prize is for the 35mm.

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CollBaxter
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Re: Why I Just Bought an Olympus Four Thirds Camera System
In reply to kendrab, Nov 12, 2012

Welcome.

One always wonders where the older bodies and lenses go. Well they seem to be purchased by smart people who believe all that glitters is not necessarily gold.

Welcome again. As we don't have much new to show 'Yet' we discus taking pictures and how to take pictures  with our equipment an not moan ' to much'  about the pictures we have not been able to take with our cameras.

Enjoy.

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Historicity
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Re: 40-150 MKI/MKII ?
In reply to CollBaxter, Nov 12, 2012

CollBaxter wrote:

Well err My findings are a bit different. My MKI was not as good as the MKII. But I was never lucky with that lens. My son lost one ( MKI) , broke one and got one stolen ( MKII's ) . The MKI is better built and slightly faster but can't close focus I found the MKII's much sharper. Actual which ever one you get they are worth it.

There again I found the 14-45 as soft a pig stuff.

My super value prize is for the 35mm.

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ColBaxter,

Yes, the 35mm!!  It was being panned when I bought mine, but over time I used it more and more and now it is one of my favorite lenses.  I bought the 25mm to use with my e-420s but found the "cheaper" 35mm more satisfying -- given that I use these lenses on hikes.  However . . .

Having had traumatic experiences buying legacy lenses I have learned how to search for fungus & debris in lenses.  I take a small not-too-bright flashlight and shine it through at all angles from both ends of a lens, and I can see whatever is in there.  I'm sure I checked the 35mm when I bought it new.  I didn't expect fungus but who knows something could have come loose in there, but apparently it passed my inspection at the time, but using the 35mm so much on my E-420s in semi-serious weather I got around to checking it the other day and found a lot of dust inside.

I do live in a dusty region and now wonder if the cheaper price of the 35mm means that its build quality permits more dust to get in than a more expensive, better-built lens might.

Not that I intend to give up on this lens, but I am now thinking of buying another.  The dust is too fine to show up in a photo -- at least I can't see any effects (even searching with Lightroom 3), but I suspect the lens won't remain usable as long as a better-built lens might.

In a sense (maybe the only sense) this is my fault.  The lens is not weather-proofed.  I wouldn't take it out on a rainy day, but do take it on windy days and that may be when I get the dust.

Lawrence

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kendrab
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Re: Why I Just Bought an Olympus Four Thirds Camera System
In reply to Andy Hewitt, Nov 12, 2012

Andy Hewitt wrote:

Yup, I've been using the cost effectiveness of the Olympus system as a good reason too. Indeed, it was why I first bought into it in the first place, when I got a new E-500 and twin lens kit.

Image quality has always been good. OK you sacrifice a bit of low light noise performance, but even then it's not necessarily all bad once you understand what's going on there.

I haven't been able to afford to expand the kit beyond the basic lenses myself, although moving into 'legacy' glass can be all of fun, cheap and great images too.

I find it hard to compare costs though, as some of us are not in the USA. Here in the UK, we tend to pay effectively double what you pay across 'the pond', as amounts tend to more or less match, but the exchange rate makes it worse (i.e. a $400 camera over there is a £400 camera here - which to you would be over $630 at current rates). So just remember that guys, when you say 'these only cost....'.

Anyway, enjoy your camera.

Regards

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Andy Hewitt
Using Olympus E-420 and Apple Mac Mini '09.

The Olympus Four Thirds lineup IS relatively inexpensive if you look at the non-current models. When compared to some of those "other guys", it is a solid performer for the money. Too bad the same thing can't be said of the E-5 (it is a pretty good camera, but is priced too high for its performance compared to the competition)

I feel your pain about prices in the UK. I have had to buy a few audio related items direct from there over the last year or two, and got severe sticker shock.

Kendra

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Andy Hewitt
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Re: 40-150 MKI/MKII ?
In reply to CollBaxter, Nov 12, 2012

CollBaxter wrote:

Well err My findings are a bit different. My MKI was not as good as the MKII. But I was never lucky with that lens. My son lost one ( MKI) , broke one and got one stolen ( MKII's ) . The MKI is better built and slightly faster but can't close focus I found the MKII's much sharper. Actual which ever one you get they are worth it.

Can't say I ever used a MkII, but all my MkI's have been excellent performers. For me the slightly faster aperture, and chunkier build is better for me.

There again I found the 14-45 as soft a pig stuff.

I keep reading that, but have owned three, and all of them have been at least as good as the 14-42, of which I've also had three - the first one was never as sharp as it should have been (at least not by reputation anyway).

My super value prize is for the 35mm.

Never even considered that, or even seen it really mentioned that much. I think for most amateur users, a reasonable zoom is a more useful lens these days.

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Andy Hewitt
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Historicity
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Re: Why I Just Bought an Olympus Four Thirds Camera System
In reply to kendrab, Nov 12, 2012

kendrab wrote:

. . .

So what did I buy?

1) A new Olympus E-620 camera kit with 14-42mm lens for $447.00 (I had an older E-510 camera I bought from a friend with 14-42mm lens, and sold it locally for $200, so the cost of my new camera came to $247.00). Note that it still has the full manufacturers warranty.

2) I picked up used Olympus Zuiko ED 12-60mm f2.8-4.0 and ED 70-300mm f4.0-5.6 lenses, a "used" but never taken out of box TC-14 tele-converter, and a FL-50R flash for $1050. Each lens came with UV filters at no extra cost.

So, I spent $1300 on what is now a bit of an unpopular camera system. How did that turn out for me?

I have used this system for about a week, and am very impressed with both the imag and build quality. It does everything I hoped for and more. It delivers noticeably better picture quality than my friends Nikon D80 and his $2500 worth of lenses. Is there anything better? Sure there is, but I recognize what is limiting me as a photographer is experience, and you can't buy that, even if you have that shiny new Nikon D800E camera system.

Kendra

Kendra,

I just reread your note.  What you have done may not be untypical, it seems to me.  Someone "driven" to get the newest and latest won't be happy with the Olympus 4/3 line.  Those people eventually move away to Canon or Nikon.  But those who recognize that Olympus has built a lot of high quality cameras and lenses many of which are floating around on such places as eBay in "very good" condition realize that they can enter the dslr world at a bargain price with nothing to prevent their producing photos as good as those produced by the most expensive Canon or Nikon other than a photographic-eye and a lot of practice.

Assuming the setup you have is in very good condition and you don't drop or break anything along the way, there is no reason why you can't exceed your 3 to 4 years of use and produce a lot of very fine photos along the way.

Being honest with yourself about your needs was a good foundation for selecting the setup you did.  In my case I spend 99% of my photographic time outside, some of it in rough weather, on hikes.  So what I needed was a bit of variety: something lightweight for certain sorts of hikes, but something weatherproof and rugged for other sorts.  No other manufacturer fit those combined requirements as well as Olympus.

I come home with my camera bag full of leaves, seeds, small branches and a variety of bugs.  I dump out the bag and inspect my camera and lens, usually doing little more than brush them off.  I initially expected to be using up cameras and lenses at a rapid rate; so I bought several backups, but unexpectedly my cameras and most of my lenses have been able to handle the rough usage I've put them through -- even the non-weather-proofed bodies.

Lawrence

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