worth upgrading e420 to e3???

Started May 6, 2013 | Questions
brony etr Regular Member • Posts: 140
worth upgrading e420 to e3???

hi everyone, i just have a few quick questions about upgrading from a e420 to a e3 on behalf of a friend

besides size/build quality and weather sealing what other upgrades can he expect?

is the image quality any better? (iso performance mainly), my understanding is that they both have the same sensor?

also is the prism any bigger?

is it even worth upgrading?

and any other info, tips, advise would be great, thanks for your help!

ANSWER:
Olympus E-3 Olympus E-420 (EVOLT E-420)
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Oliver85 Regular Member • Posts: 277
Re: worth upgrading e420 to e3???

brony etr wrote:

hi everyone, i just have a few quick questions about upgrading from a e420 to a e3 on behalf of a friend

besides size/build quality and weather sealing what other upgrades can he expect?

Better handling (better balance with bigger and heavier lenses)

Faster Shutter speeds (most people don't use that fast)

Faster AF with SWD lenses.

Better autofocus system (more af points)

Weather sealing only if you have HG or SHG lenses.

Better IS.

Faster continuous shooting, bigger buffer

Better built in flash. (higher flash sync speed (1/250 sec))

Top panel info LCD.

Vertical grip option.

Body Material is Magnesium alloy

More customization options.

is the image quality any better? (iso performance mainly), my understanding is that they both have the same sensor?

Yes, ISO performance is better (but not as good as E-5). IQ is better (IMO).

also is the prism any bigger?

YES, way bigger.

is it even worth upgrading?

Yes. absolutely!!

and any other info, tips, advise would be great, thanks for your help!

If you only have the kit lens(es), I would get better lenses before upgrading to E-X models. At least 1 or 2 HG.

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SirSeth
SirSeth Veteran Member • Posts: 9,890
Re: worth upgrading e420 to e3???

I'm not sure if this applies because I came from the E-1 and E-330 to an E-3, but the most striking difference for me was the AF. It was so much faster both to change AF points and to lock on targets even in lowish light. This just makes overall use so much more precise and enjoyable.

I would say that if like a robust feeling camera and you like having more direct control at your finger tips, then the E-3 is a great deal. Yes, a vertical grip option is there, but the E-3 is bigger than the E-420 by quite a bit, and the feel without the vertical grip is still good with larger lenses. I think the AF, viewfinder, and tilt/swivel LCD alone are worth the price. The IQ is good, especially in RAW, but I'm not sure how much better since I haven't owned the E-420. I have processed E-520 files, and found that camera to wash out highlights more easily than the E-3.

Best,

Seth

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kallmalm Senior Member • Posts: 1,421
Re: worth upgrading e420 to e3???

I'd say that it depends on what you are after but in most regards the E-3 is better than the E-420. I have had both and had them at the same time so I think I am well placed to compare them.

brony etr wrote:

hi everyone, i just have a few quick questions about upgrading from a e420 to a e3 on behalf of a friend

besides size/build quality and weather sealing what other upgrades can he expect?

The autofocus on the E-3 is excellent and much better than on the E-420 both faster with more focus points and its focus is more reliable. I would say that the AF-system on the E-3 is as good as the AF on my EOS 1D-cameras.
Then of course you have the faster sequential shooting with 5 fps compared to the 3 of the E-420.
The E-3 is bigger and heavier and has more buttons for direct access and is more customisable than the E-420, it balances way better with telephoto lenses both with or without the grip. The grip is not that good by the way, it feels cheap and badly made so you can do without that. 
That screen that swivels is a feature on the E-3 that is not on the E-420 but the E-3 does not have the live view autofocus that the E-420 has.

is the image quality any better? (iso performance mainly), my understanding is that they both have the same sensor?

The image quality is more or less the same, the iso performance is as good on the E-3 as it is on the E-420. I have shot many low light concerts with both and they work equally well. I don't think you'll notice any difference.

also is the prism any bigger?

Yes it is, a lot bigger and the info is in the bottom rather than on the side in the viewfinder so that is a lot better on the E-3.

is it even worth upgrading?

Yes, I would say that it is as there are many things that are excellent about the E-3 and that are more excellent than the E-420.

and any other info, tips, advise would be great, thanks for your help!

Buy a lot of eyepieces as those are rather poor quality and tends to break and fall off and disappear, I think I lost at least ten of those when I used the E-3. And be careful with the screen, it is a bit fragile. But it is a great camera, and it is in terms of handling the best camera I have ever owned.

I think that is about it

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Historicity Contributing Member • Posts: 716
Re: worth upgrading e420 to e3???

brony etr wrote:

hi everyone, i just have a few quick questions about upgrading from a e420 to a e3 on behalf of a friend

besides size/build quality and weather sealing what other upgrades can he expect?

is the image quality any better? (iso performance mainly), my understanding is that they both have the same sensor?

also is the prism any bigger?

is it even worth upgrading?

and any other info, tips, advise would be great, thanks for your help!

Brony,

I have both the E-420 and the E-3 and feel very uncomfortable about the term "upgrade."  I would say "it all depends."  If I were going to do some portraits, which I don't do much of, I would use the E-3.  But if I go on a hike, which I do a lot of, I use the E-420.  The viewfinder on the E-420 is small, but I've gotten used to it.

I don't have a problem with the AF and never noticed that the E-3 was faster in that regard.  No doubt it is as others have said, but it jjust doesn't became an issue on a hike.

And yes, if I were to use a long heavy lens, the E-420 wouldn't be ideal; although I've discovered that if I hold that combination mostly on the lens the balance is fine.  But on hikes I prefer a lighter-weight lens, the 25mm, the 35mm, or the 14-42mm.

So if you're a hiker, the E-3 won't be an "upgrade" over the E-420.  I prefer keeping cameras for different purposes, but if you can only afford one, then it ought to depend upon how you will use it.

Neither the E-420 nor the E-3 is great if you read the analyses of their low light performances, but do you really need extreme low light.   My need for low light is so rare that I would rather use a tripod and a very slow shutter than buy a camera noted for its high ISO performance.

Lawrence

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Bobby J Veteran Member • Posts: 4,572
Re: worth upgrading e420 to e3???

The 420 is an "Entry Level"camera.  Plastic, not built to "Pro" quality level.  The E-3 is a head and shoulders better camera.  IMHO, it is a vastly under-rated camera.  It makes LOVELY images.  The only thing the 420 has on it is light weight.  As somebody pointed out it's a good hiking camera, or travel cam when weight is a problem.

The E-3 weighs about the same as a Nikon D-300.  It has a shutter designed to go 100K cycles plus.  It is a fragile as a hockey puck.  Whole different league than the 420, not that the 420 is a bad camera...it's just not made to the same standard.

Someone said the E-3 is bad in low light.  Well, it's not as good as the Canikons above ISO 800, but to there it will hold it's own if you know how to use it.  For that matter I had useable results up to 1600, so it's not as bad as some might say, but not as good as the competion.  At today's prices it's bargain.

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Stacey_K
Stacey_K Veteran Member • Posts: 8,373
Re: worth upgrading e420 to e3???

kallmalm wrote:

is the image quality any better? (iso performance mainly), my understanding is that they both have the same sensor?

The image quality is more or less the same, the iso performance is as good on the E-3 as it is on the E-420. I have shot many low light concerts with both and they work equally well. I don't think you'll notice any difference.

That is what I was going to say/ask. Why are they wanting to upgrade? If it is for IQ or noise issues at higher iso, then no. I honestly don't believe any of the 4/3 dSLRs after the E-410 series are a big improvement in that regard. For my use, a larger "pro sized" body defeats the whole purpose of 4/3 being a smaller/lighter alternative.

The charts at DXO rating sensor performance seems to be a good indicator of an "upgrade", 2-3 points isn't going to be a visible improvement. 15-20+ will be.

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Stacey

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Historicity Contributing Member • Posts: 716
Re: worth upgrading e420 to e3???

Bobby J wrote:

The 420 is an "Entry Level"camera.  Plastic, not built to "Pro" quality level.  The E-3 is a head and shoulders better camera.  IMHO, it is a vastly under-rated camera.  It makes LOVELY images.  The only thing the 420 has on it is light weight.  As somebody pointed out it's a good hiking camera, or travel cam when weight is a problem.

The E-3 weighs about the same as a Nikon D-300.  It has a shutter designed to go 100K cycles plus.  It is a fragile as a hockey puck.  Whole different league than the 420, not that the 420 is a bad camera...it's just not made to the same standard.

Someone said the E-3 is bad in low light.  Well, it's not as good as the Canikons above ISO 800, but to there it will hold it's own if you know how to use it.  For that matter I had useable results up to 1600, so it's not as bad as some might say, but not as good as the competion.  At today's prices it's bargain.

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BJM

I have an E-3 and don't believe I "underrated" it in any way.  I like it fine.  But when you say the E-3 is a "head and shoulders better camera," you forgot to say better for what.  "better" is not intransitive.  My note was in reply to someone who used "upgrade" as though it were intransitive or an "absolute," but cameras are used for to take pictures of things and he didn't say what it was he most commonly photographed, just as you don't.

A consumer magazine will tell you that my Jeep Liberty is a very poor vehicle, but when you read the actual description you will find that it is a superb vehicle for going off road (the way I often use it), but it is poor when compared to an ordinary sedan for driving comfortably on highways.

Also as I said in my note I have cameras for different purposes.  I have an E-1 & E-3 for inclement weather -- also a Pentax K20d and K7 for the same purpose, by the way.  But the E-420 has proven itself to me.  It isn't cheaply built.  It is very well constructed, and "entry level camera" doesn't really mean anything in terms of build anymore.  You can get all sorts of Canon and Nikon cameras that aren't weather sealed and I doubt many of them are more durable or better made than the E-420.

But we are speculating about how the OP intends to use his camera.  He has been using the E-420 and may be happy with it.  He doesn't say that he isn't, but if he thinks that the E-3 will do something for him that his E-420 won't, I wonder what that is.  He only mentioned low light capability, but has he exhausted his E-420's capabilities in that respect?  Has he taken photos with a tripod, remote shutter actuator and at extremely slow shutter speeds?  How often does he need low-light capability?  I know the camera companies and other advertisers have spent a lot of money convincing a lot of people that they need extremely low-light capability, but I've discovered that I don't.  On hikes when I thought surely I am in low light but have taken a photo anyway (with my E-420, E-1, E-520, or E-500) as often as not the photos have been fine.  Yes, I have some semi-pro weather-sealed, extremely well-built cameras, but day in and day out, having a camera on hand "just in case," I prefer the E-420.

Lawrence

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OP brony etr Regular Member • Posts: 140
Re: worth upgrading e420 to e3???

thank you to every reply, ill pass your info and thoughts on, thanks again!

Art_P
Art_P Veteran Member • Posts: 9,875
For a big jump in IQ
1

and high ISO performance, your friend might be better served by going w the latest 16MP sensor.

So far it's only available on m43 cameras (which can use 4/3 lenses w an adapter, but AF speed takes a hit) but there is a promise of a new 4/3 body later this year.  Won't be in the same price range as an E-3, but it should drive down the price of the E-5 a bit (which is a modest IQ upgrade over the E-3)

Some cameras and how they relate to the 420

E-520 adds IS, bigger grip and battery, IQ should be identical

E-3 upgrades build quality and component specs,  bigger brighter VF, adds tilt/swivel screen and weather sealing.

E-30 (no one mentioned that one yet!) sensor upgrade improves IQ, slightly .  Lacks weather sealing and slightly smaller body than E-3.  Adds art filters

E-620 shares sensor and swivel screen w the E-30, but not it's size or build.  If you're looking to upgrade IQ rather than build quality, don't need weather sealing and bigger VF,  and like the size of the E-420, I'd count the E-620 as the best upgrade path.

Best, and only current 4/3 body is the E-5, which gives you the build of the E-3, the sensor from the E-30, and improves image sharpness by using a weaker internal filter.

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