Life on the other side.

Started Dec 11, 2012 | Discussions thread
erichK Veteran Member • Posts: 5,459
Re: Life on the other side.

Stacey_K wrote:

I recently "jumped ship" to nikon DX and thought I would share my experience. My likes and dislikes. In 4/3 I was using an E1, and E300 and an E410. I ended up with a D7000.

This is the one weakness in an otherwise very thoughtful and balanced summary comparison of your experiences: the E-1 is a decade old camera and the E-410 is more than half that old.  Your points about the Nikon 7000 considerably more sensitive and cleaner Sony sensor and Nikon image processing pipeline still have considerable relevance.

First, the extra MP are pretty meaningless to me. In the print sizes I do, the prints don't need more than a good E1 shot at low ISO. Lucky large SD cards are cheap and I have a fast computer with 16GB of ram etc so the larger files don't choke my workflow.

Also, you always have the option of shooting lower MP images, don't you. ( I am increasingly printing large -up to 17x22 - for shows, and want every pixel - though I must say that some images from the E-620 and even a few from the E-1 hold up quite well.)

Second, the nikon RAW software works REALLY good. Capture NX2 has some really cool features. The color management part is confusing at first and IMHO the olypus software does a better job with that. Otherwise the "studio" software was pretty useless for anything other than simply converting a RAW file. The nikon software has very powerful color adjustment tools unlike any software I have used. Then again the olympus colors normally don't need a lot of adjustment.

The Olympus colours, most especially when I get comments from others, are the other thing, besides owning almost a dozen very good to superb Olympus lenses  that keep me using olympus.

Third, at first I was getting blown out colors, mainly reds, until I got a handle on the camera/RAW settings that work. +1 to olympus for better out of the box colors. Once I figured how to adjust things, the colors seem good. I do think the E1 has a better WB system but the nikon is better than the E300 or even the E410.

Again, you really are making an unfair comparison here, because according to all reviews that I've seen the E-5 and even the E-3 - partly because they both, like the E-1, have external WB sensors, do quite well in this regard

Forth, I miss the ZD lenses! I got the 16-85 nikkor which is amazingly good but is slow. But the VR works -really- good and IMHO makes up for the slowness of the optics in use. Especially given the sensors high ISO performance (see below) I rarely shoot for shallow DOF and 4/3 doesn't do shallow DOF great unless using the $$$$$ lenses.

There is a lot more to these lenses - and likely the Nikon equivalents, too - than just wide aperture and shallow depth-of-field.  The excellent diaphragms and highly corrected glass also produce exquisite colours and beautiful out-of-focus "bouquet".  They are expensive, but often go for much less than full retail.  I got my 150f2 used for $1500 or so and my 7-14 supposedly used, but looking completely new for around $1200 and the "Panaleica" 25 f1.4 for around $600, if memory serves.

I do like that older lenses work with no adapter or having to manually stop them down + there are some really good older AF lenses like the 180mm F2.8 nikkor that work on the D7000. The equiv of the nikkor 180mm F2.8 in ZD glass is a lot more than the $450 I paid. The other nice thing is there are some good 3rd party optics made in this mount, the 70-300 Tamron VC seems as good as the 50-200 in use and is $350 new with rebate right now.The VC is really good.

That is a major advantage of using Nikon, and long has been.  The OM-D does pretty well with all the FT lenses I've tried it with, except the 50-200 SWD with which it is twitchy. Because of its shallow flange, it also allows the use of all kinds of lenses of other brand and third party lenses, though without AF, except in one or two cases in which there are, apparently, expensive AF-equipped adapters

Fifth, the build quality and ease of use reminds me of the E1. I wish it was weather sealed more than it is but it handles better than either the E300 or the E410. I also don't care about all the extra focus points. I mean really does anyone need 39 focus points? I mainly use the center one and even the 3 on the E1 was plenty for me. I also think the S-AF on the olympus was slightly more accurate but the C-AF on the nikon is much better.

I suspect that the 39 focus points are most useful in CAF, which is definitely a big Nikon advantage.

Sixth, the flash system on my E300 is the best I have ever used. With an FL-36 and being able to use both the on board and external flash at the same time + balance them individually is amazing. Bounce the FL-36 + fill with the onboard makes for shots that look like natural light. The nikon system has a hole in their flash system between the cheap consumer one and next priced one. They jump from $120 to $350. They removed the $250 level flash from their system which was a mistake IMHO. The small nikon flash does work good enough for my use. I will keep the E300 around just for the flash system.

I never owned an E-300, but certainly find the off-axis pop-up on the E-330 useful, especially as a "catchlight" flash used in combination with bounced or highly difused flash o a bracket, or even the hot shoe.

Seven, The olympus out of camera jpegs, especially from the E1 are better than what I have been able to get from the nikon so far. -None- of the presets give the results that the olympus presets do. +1 to olympus for this.


Eight, this is the reason I switched. The high ISO results are simply amazing. ISO 1600 still looks clean! Even ISO 6400 is useable. The other thing is how well you can pull detail out of shadows with no noise. The DR is way more than anything I am used to from olympus. I really hate to say it but -this- really was worth the switch.

I doubt that even the best Olympus DSLR sensor , the Panasonic sensor and Olympus' much tweaked low- AA filter image-processing pipeline in my E-5 come close to matching it. OTOH, the Sony sensor and Oly processing in my OM-D likely does.  I doubt that there is even a full stop of difference, though that, admittedly, would still be in Nikon's favour.

In summary the lens line IMHO seems more hodge podge than the olympus lineup. Covering 2 sensor formats makes nikon spread their resources thin. I ended up with a mix of DX nikkor, 3rd party plus 2 older lenses to fill my needs. The faster nikon glass is REAL expensive.

That hodge-podge was a major reason I switched back from Nikon to Olympus in 2004.

I honestly wish I could have gotten this level of sensor quality in an olympus 4/3 body. I kept my 14/54 and 50-200 in case olympus does ever release an E7. At some point I probably will get an FX nikon body so investing in the FX nikon glass doesn't feel like a waste of money. I like the olympus glass, AF etc but the sensor technology was the deal breaker for me.

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I'll hold on, for a while and use all the great lenses that I have, but do indeed, like so many others, not intend to wait forever,

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saskatoon, canada
Photography is a small voice, at best, but sometimes one photograph, or a group of them, can lure our sense of awareness.
- W. Eugene Smith, Dec 30, 1918 to Oct 15, 1978.
underwater photos:

 erichK's gear list:erichK's gear list
Olympus E-1 Olympus E-420 Olympus E-620 Olympus E-5 Olympus PEN E-PL5 +23 more
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