E-300 vs E-1

Started Jan 15, 2005 | Discussions
talent28 Regular Member • Posts: 326
E-300 vs E-1

I've been in the market for an Olympus E-300 for a while. I consider it very good value for its price. I had finally made up my mind about buying it, so I went down to a camera store in the city. There, I looked at the E-300, and alongside it was the E-1 at almost the same price!

Now, I must add, it was the student discount price. But as I am indeed a student, that price clearly applied to me.

This came as a big surprise to me. I was not expecting the pro body to be that cheap, almost the same price as the amateur body. So I went back home without getting a camera, because I couldn't make up my mind.

So this is where i need some help. At the same price (almost), would it be a good idea for me to choose the E-1 over the E-300? As I figure, the E-300 has one big advantage over the E-1, and that is the 8 mp vs 5. Now, I am planning to print at A3+ but not any larger, and if 5mp is enough for this then doesn't the E-1 seem like the better choice? Is 5mp really enough for A3+ prints or will I notice a difference in print quality compared to 8mp?

I am an amateur photographer moving up from the Sony F-828 because of its excessive noise at higher ISO and long exposures. I do a lot of different photography, like landscapes, portraits, macro shots etc. I do not expect I will really need all the pro features of the E-1, but its always nice, I guess, to grow into the equipment. And then there's the superior kit lens that comes with the E-1. Much better than the E-300 lens I figure.

I'm grateful for any help, specifically, reasons why one is better for me than the other.

OP talent28 Regular Member • Posts: 326
Re: E-300 vs E-1

I must add, I could also get the D70 kit for the same price as the E-1 kit with student discount. So I guess that's part of the equation too, although I doubt anyone on the Olympus forum would recommend a Nikon

The E-300 kit is a little bit cheaper, about 300 USD or 250 Euros difference.

AdamT
AdamT Forum Pro • Posts: 58,597
Re: E-300 vs E-1

I think that everyone knows the E1 advantages - the BODY basically which is a full Pro device but the E300 has a few advantages too .. Basically it resolves a LOT more, the downer is that at the moment you have to use RAW to get it as Oly botched the Processing engine. the AF is more sensitive and supposedly faster too, card writes and image reviewing is faster, the Focus points light up also where they don't on the E1 (sounds trivial but it's not when you're trying to spot focus in low light).

The E300 also has a colossal advantage if you want a power grip as the E1's is a horribly overpriced kit with a dedicated battery which fits nothing else and replacements are expensive - the E300's grip is a fraction of the Price and takes TWO standard BLM-1 batteries which not only fit the E1 & E300 bodies but the C5060, 8080 and other olys too.

If I was printing above A3, I'd not be happy doing it with a 5MP camera as I like the most detail in my prints, a RAW shot E300 would be noticably better than even a 10D let alone the E1. The best thing to do is try printing an E1 review photo - the E1's processing engine is very good indeed (they didn't mess that one up) and see how it measures up, the E300 is more difficult if you want to see it at anywhere near its full potential unless you can find a full size file from RAW converted in ACR or master in Edit mode..
I thought I'd post my opinion before the flood of E300 bashing started

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Big Ga Forum Pro • Posts: 18,611
Re: E-300 vs E-1

talent28 wrote:

I am an amateur photographer moving up from the Sony F-828 because
of its excessive noise at higher ISO and long exposures. I do a lot
of different photography, like landscapes, portraits, macro shots
etc. I do not expect I will really need all the pro features of the
E-1, but its always nice, I guess, to grow into the equipment. And
then there's the superior kit lens that comes with the E-1. Much
better than the E-300 lens I figure.

I'm grateful for any help, specifically, reasons why one is better
for me than the other.

I'm sure there will be others along ... and a search here wouldn't hurt, but for a few starter points:

For your macro stuff, if you're sticking with the kit lens, the E1's 14-54 would appear to be the better choic for close focussing. The extra low light ability isn't going to hurt your choiced at low light.

In all other ways, the E1 is also the better camera - apart from the landscape stuff. I'd say the extra megapixels would be an advantage.

However it does depend if you must have sharp detail in those landscapes and if som 8Mp probably isn't enough anyway (again, lots of posts here dealing with that).

I haven't personaly tried big prints with the E1 yet- but as I've got some fantastic 16*20" ones from my 4Mp E-10, I wouldn't worry. With something like genuine fractals, I certainly wouldn't worry.

manolo Forum Member • Posts: 95
Re: E-300 vs E-1

The E-300 has also a built-in flash. Even if it's small, it's useful !
--
Manolo

OzRay
OzRay Forum Pro • Posts: 19,048
Re: E-300 vs E-1

Personally, there's no way I'd forsake all the features of the E1 for a few extra MP. The E300 is a very good camera, don't get me wrong, but these two are chalk and cheese. Also, the 14-54mm lens that comes with the E1 is nothing to be sneezed at.

The 'Pro' features that we are talking about are things like build, weatherproofing, operations etc, anyone will benefit from these features. And don't be misled by the fact that it ‘only’ has 5MP; the quality of images that it produces is excellent.

If the E300 had been out when I got my E1, I would still have got the E1, even at $1000 more. Always get the best quality that you can afford, sometimes even going just that little bit over , in the long-run it's worth it.

Cheers

Ray

talent28 wrote:

I've been in the market for an Olympus E-300 for a while. I
consider it very good value for its price. I had finally made up my
mind about buying it, so I went down to a camera store in the city.
There, I looked at the E-300, and alongside it was the E-1 at
almost the same price!

Now, I must add, it was the student discount price. But as I am
indeed a student, that price clearly applied to me.

This came as a big surprise to me. I was not expecting the pro body
to be that cheap, almost the same price as the amateur body. So I
went back home without getting a camera, because I couldn't make up
my mind.

So this is where i need some help. At the same price (almost),
would it be a good idea for me to choose the E-1 over the E-300? As
I figure, the E-300 has one big advantage over the E-1, and that is
the 8 mp vs 5. Now, I am planning to print at A3+ but not any
larger, and if 5mp is enough for this then doesn't the E-1 seem
like the better choice? Is 5mp really enough for A3+ prints or will
I notice a difference in print quality compared to 8mp?

I am an amateur photographer moving up from the Sony F-828 because
of its excessive noise at higher ISO and long exposures. I do a lot
of different photography, like landscapes, portraits, macro shots
etc. I do not expect I will really need all the pro features of the
E-1, but its always nice, I guess, to grow into the equipment. And
then there's the superior kit lens that comes with the E-1. Much
better than the E-300 lens I figure.

I'm grateful for any help, specifically, reasons why one is better
for me than the other.

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AdamT
AdamT Forum Pro • Posts: 58,597
more useful than you'd think even

you can use it alongside a shoe mounted flash to supplement the main flash being bounced - no other DSLR allows this (I don't know any Digicams which do either)

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Michael Meissner
Michael Meissner Forum Pro • Posts: 25,678
Re: more useful than you'd think even

Adam-T wrote:

you can use it alongside a shoe mounted flash to supplement the
main flash being bounced - no other DSLR allows this (I don't know
any Digicams which do either)

Well there are flashes that have two lights, so you can bounce the main light and have the fill light go straight ahead (my Promaster 5750DX has this). You can also get the Lumiquest 80/20 to achieve a similar effect. Of course the high end Canon, Nikon, and Minolta flashes support using multiple flashes in TTL mode, which Olympus unfortunately does not have currently.

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Big Ga Forum Pro • Posts: 18,611
Re: more useful than you'd think even

Adam-T wrote:

you can use it alongside a shoe mounted flash to supplement the
main flash being bounced - no other DSLR allows this

????

So things like the 20D don't ?
I guess its possible. But I'd have thought they did.

E10/20 allow it.

AdamT
AdamT Forum Pro • Posts: 58,597
Re: more useful than you'd think even

So things like the 20D don't ?
I guess its possible. But I'd have thought they did.

No, in fact there's a switch in the hotshoe to make sure you don't even try

E10/20 allow it.

I tried that once, it didn't raise properly with the flash I was using (Vivitar) so gave up, no doubt this is partly why the E300 is a funny rangefinder kind of shape - though I think the flash issue is a side effect, I guess the real reason for the E300 shape is to attract potential C8080 custom, it doesn't look imposing (looks like a Minolta APS Film SLR actually) - I like this as it makes for great candid work, People freeze when you aim a 1DS at them

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Franklin Veteran Member • Posts: 4,339
Re: more useful than you'd think even

I don't know others, Nikon cameras with SB-50DX can do that. SB-50DX even has a weirdo built-in diffuser to soften the on-camera flash.

Adam-T wrote:

So things like the 20D don't ?
I guess its possible. But I'd have thought they did.

No, in fact there's a switch in the hotshoe to make sure you don't
even try

E10/20 allow it.

I tried that once, it didn't raise properly with the flash I was
using (Vivitar) so gave up, no doubt this is partly why the E300 is
a funny rangefinder kind of shape - though I think the flash issue
is a side effect, I guess the real reason for the E300 shape is to
attract potential C8080 custom, it doesn't look imposing (looks
like a Minolta APS Film SLR actually) - I like this as it makes for
great candid work, People freeze when you aim a 1DS at them

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OP talent28 Regular Member • Posts: 326
Re: E-300 vs E-1

Adam-T wrote:

I think that everyone knows the E1 advantages - the BODY basically
which is a full Pro device but the E300 has a few advantages too ..
Basically it resolves a LOT more, the downer is that at the moment
you have to use RAW to get it as Oly botched the Processing engine.
the AF is more sensitive and supposedly faster too, card writes and
image reviewing is faster, the Focus points light up also where
they don't on the E1 (sounds trivial but it's not when you're
trying to spot focus in low light).
The E300 also has a colossal advantage if you want a power grip as
the E1's is a horribly overpriced kit with a dedicated battery
which fits nothing else and replacements are expensive - the E300's
grip is a fraction of the Price and takes TWO standard BLM-1
batteries which not only fit the E1 & E300 bodies but the C5060,
8080 and other olys too.
If I was printing above A3, I'd not be happy doing it with a 5MP
camera as I like the most detail in my prints, a RAW shot E300
would be noticably better than even a 10D let alone the E1. The
best thing to do is try printing an E1 review photo - the E1's
processing engine is very good indeed (they didn't mess that one
up) and see how it measures up, the E300 is more difficult if you
want to see it at anywhere near its full potential unless you can
find a full size file from RAW converted in ACR or master in Edit
mode..
I thought I'd post my opinion before the flood of E300 bashing started

Thank you very much for your input. So in fact you'd recommend the E300 even if the price is equal?

OP talent28 Regular Member • Posts: 326
Re: E-300 vs E-1

Big Ga wrote:

I'm sure there will be others along ... and a search here wouldn't
hurt, but for a few starter points:

For your macro stuff, if you're sticking with the kit lens, the
E1's 14-54 would appear to be the better choic for close focussing.
The extra low light ability isn't going to hurt your choiced at low
light.
In all other ways, the E1 is also the better camera - apart from
the landscape stuff. I'd say the extra megapixels would be an
advantage.
However it does depend if you must have sharp detail in those
landscapes and if som 8Mp probably isn't enough anyway (again, lots
of posts here dealing with that).
I haven't personaly tried big prints with the E1 yet- but as I've
got some fantastic 16*20" ones from my 4Mp E-10, I wouldn't worry.
With something like genuine fractals, I certainly wouldn't worry.

So you're saying the advantages of the E1 outweighs the superior resolution of the E300? What about printing at A3+?

OP talent28 Regular Member • Posts: 326
Re: E-300 vs E-1

OzRay wrote:

Personally, there's no way I'd forsake all the features of the E1
for a few extra MP. The E300 is a very good camera, don't get me
wrong, but these two are chalk and cheese. Also, the 14-54mm lens
that comes with the E1 is nothing to be sneezed at.

The 'Pro' features that we are talking about are things like build,
weatherproofing, operations etc, anyone will benefit from these
features. And don't be misled by the fact that it ‘only’ has 5MP;
the quality of images that it produces is excellent.

If the E300 had been out when I got my E1, I would still have got
the E1, even at $1000 more. Always get the best quality that you
can afford, sometimes even going just that little bit over , in the
long-run it's worth it.

Thanks for your input. Your statement kind of contradicts the opinion of Adam-T, if I'm understanding you correctly. The E1 seems better value at the student discount price for sure, but I'd really like to have those extra pixels and the superior AF of the E300. Safe to say, I'm still confused.

AdamT
AdamT Forum Pro • Posts: 58,597
depends on your needs

Thank you very much for your input. So in fact you'd recommend the
E300 even if the price is equal?

depends on your needs, I'd not own an E1 period as I have a Pro Body for my job which is a lot more than "splashproof" (almost submersible would be closer to the mark) and a lot more than 5Mp so the E300 far suits my needs better as it adds contrast to what I have nicely..

If you need the weatherproofing and don't want the weight and size of an old EOS1D (despite all the advantages the camera offers) then the E1 could be a very good choice - All I was doing was pointing out the advantages the E300 gives which tend to get ignored such as the AF, size, review speed etc.

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jeff mungar Regular Member • Posts: 306
Re: E-300 vs E-1

to see how rugged the E-1 is , read this post: http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1022&message=11843219

Jeff

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AdamT
AdamT Forum Pro • Posts: 58,597
Wait for the E3 ? ----->

then you can have the advantages of both cameras - the problem is likely to be MONEY so now you have to choose between build, ergonomics & "niceness" (E1) Versus AF & Image quality (E300) - as I said it depends on your needs - if you're shooting in the rain all the time, you've not got much choice, the E1 is the way to go, otherwise, apart from being a "nicer camera" I can't see any real practical advantages to it.

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Richard Pavek
Richard Pavek Veteran Member • Posts: 6,969
Re: E-300 vs E-1

I totally agree with OzRay on this. The E-1 is superb and you will be able to get all the sharpness you want on your A3's. But hang on, I have borrowed an E-300 to do some comparison shots. The weather has been lousey but looks like it will be OK today. So I am going to shoot some comparison shots, 5.5 Mpixels agains 8 Mpixels. I am one of those who believes that the most important thing in sharpness is the lens. I don't think 8 mpixels is enough to get any noticable difference in final print images. We will see and I will post the results. Richard

talent28 wrote:

OzRay wrote:

Personally, there's no way I'd forsake all the features of the E1
for a few extra MP. The E300 is a very good camera, don't get me
wrong, but these two are chalk and cheese. Also, the 14-54mm lens
that comes with the E1 is nothing to be sneezed at.

The 'Pro' features that we are talking about are things like build,
weatherproofing, operations etc, anyone will benefit from these
features. And don't be misled by the fact that it ‘only’ has 5MP;
the quality of images that it produces is excellent.

If the E300 had been out when I got my E1, I would still have got
the E1, even at $1000 more. Always get the best quality that you
can afford, sometimes even going just that little bit over , in the
long-run it's worth it.

Thanks for your input. Your statement kind of contradicts the
opinion of Adam-T, if I'm understanding you correctly. The E1 seems
better value at the student discount price for sure, but I'd really
like to have those extra pixels and the superior AF of the E300.
Safe to say, I'm still confused.

Stan Powers
Stan Powers Veteran Member • Posts: 4,648
Bang-for-the-buck timeline.

For your consideration:

Get an E-1 now (that student price is a killer!) and then grab an E-300 (kit or just body) at a future price drop.

One can never have too many back-ups

Stan - 25 year (Off Wagon) Zuikoholic

talent28 wrote:

I've been in the market for an Olympus E-300 for a while. I
consider it very good value for its price. I had finally made up my
mind about buying it, so I went down to a camera store in the city.
There, I looked at the E-300, and alongside it was the E-1 at
almost the same price!

Now, I must add, it was the student discount price. But as I am
indeed a student, that price clearly applied to me.

This came as a big surprise to me. I was not expecting the pro body
to be that cheap, almost the same price as the amateur body. So I
went back home without getting a camera, because I couldn't make up
my mind.

So this is where i need some help. At the same price (almost),
would it be a good idea for me to choose the E-1 over the E-300? As
I figure, the E-300 has one big advantage over the E-1, and that is
the 8 mp vs 5. Now, I am planning to print at A3+ but not any
larger, and if 5mp is enough for this then doesn't the E-1 seem
like the better choice? Is 5mp really enough for A3+ prints or will
I notice a difference in print quality compared to 8mp?

I am an amateur photographer moving up from the Sony F-828 because
of its excessive noise at higher ISO and long exposures. I do a lot
of different photography, like landscapes, portraits, macro shots
etc. I do not expect I will really need all the pro features of the
E-1, but its always nice, I guess, to grow into the equipment. And
then there's the superior kit lens that comes with the E-1. Much
better than the E-300 lens I figure.

I'm grateful for any help, specifically, reasons why one is better
for me than the other.

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Ken Whelan Regular Member • Posts: 234
Re: more useful than you'd think even

The 575DX flash does not work on a E-300. . . . . Not happy about this.

Michael Meissner wrote:

Adam-T wrote:

you can use it alongside a shoe mounted flash to supplement the
main flash being bounced - no other DSLR allows this (I don't know
any Digicams which do either)

Well there are flashes that have two lights, so you can bounce the
main light and have the fill light go straight ahead (my Promaster
5750DX has this). You can also get the Lumiquest 80/20 to achieve
a similar effect. Of course the high end Canon, Nikon, and Minolta
flashes support using multiple flashes in TTL mode, which Olympus
unfortunately does not have currently.

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