On putting money into 4:3 gear ...

Started May 11, 2013 | Discussions thread
John King
John King Forum Pro • Posts: 14,941
Re: On putting money into 4:3 gear ...

Gidday Steve

Just a couple of cents worth from my perspective ...

I get to see quite a lot of different images from a fairly wide variety of cameras, one way and another. Including test shots done by the good folk here at DPR and elsewhere. I often take the trouble to download the RAW files and examine them minutely.

This sort of editing also concerns me:

When all is said and done, I am not all that impressed with images from any camera at over about ISO 1600. Some do somewhat better than others, both above and below this figure, and I do not dispute that; but none do well ... DR suffers; noise suffers; critical sharpness suffers (because of slight misses in focus, noise blurring edges, camera shake, etc).

I will shoot my E-30 at ISO 1250 or 1600 on occasion, and it does much better than film ever did, but the above still applies. Camera shake is mitigated by the IBIS, even when using something like my OM mount f/8 500 mm mirror lens - just dial in the FL for the IBIS, and it works ... The speed of lenses helps to retain some semblance of DR by allowing the ISO to be kept lower for a given shutter speed and aperture setting.

That said, I rarely use higher than ISO 400. Some reasons below.

Things that are extremely important to me are colour correctness and critical sharpness across the frame. This comment applies to perhaps 95%+ of all the images I take. Be they of motorcycles, machinery, landscapes, flowers, cats, people (skin tones / hair colour ... ), etc. I am very sensitive to sky colour and all the myriad different shades of green.

I have seen many people say that if you shoot raw, you can have any colours you want. This is not correct. One is ultimately governed by the colour balance that the particular CFA in a particular camera gives one to work with.
IME, Olympus cameras give one that colour balance.
Even the best of the best using PS cannot keep the colour balance correct if it doesn't start out with some semblance of the correct relationship in the first place. I have tried correcting these things. I have seen those far more expert than I attempting to correct these things. I have yet to see anyone achieve this ...

It is one thing to say that "I am pleased with the colour balance of this picture", and another altogether for one to be able to say "This is an accurate representation of what I saw and photographed". Car and flower colours are particularly unforgiving IME. Many here (as at the photo club I belong to) may be very happy to achieve the first position. I am very unhappy if I cannot achieve the second.

A lot of things that I like to photograph require sharpness across the entire frame, without vignetting. For some this does not matter at all. That's fine by me - but it's not fine for  me.

So I want cameras and lenses that will give me colour correctness at about the level of a Pantone colour swatch, and critical sharpness across the frame. Olympus cameras and lenses give me both of these things. I have not yet come across any other brand that does this well enough to satisfy my requirements. YMMV.

There are lots of other things that I take into account, one important one being that I could not stand having to clean the sensor in my camera, or spend time cloning out dust spots ... There are many others. The word 'balance' sums it up for me. I will leave it at that.

Olympus dSLR cameras and lenses tick more of those boxes for me than any other. I look forward to (even) just getting the OM-D sensor and electronics in an E-30 form factor body. If it goes further, and I get some of the goodies in the EP-5, so much the better.

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Regards, john from Melbourne, Australia.
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