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Old Sep 13, 2003, 7:20 PM   #1
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Default Are the new cameras that much better than an E20 ?

Nikon 5700
Canon Rebel

Seems like lots of new technology is entering the marketplace. The problem is that I am a stodgy stick-in-the-mud. I have been looking at Oly E20's. They are dropping in price. The 4x zoom is
good (wish it were 6-7x) but the camera has "substance". It feels like something other than a piece of random plastic.

When E20's were $1995 they were pricey but the best for prosumer use. No interchangeable lens and that's fine by me. I don't take low-light shots inside, so no issue there. The price is now closer to $825-950. Sounds great, until I look at the new stuff that is $500-700, like the Fuji S7000, Nikon5700 or Canon Rebel.

Talent, subject and all other variables assumed to be the same, is the quality of the photo with these new camera "better" than the E20 ? Has the technology leaped to the point that a new generation, cheaper camera can/will produce a better picture than an older technology, or is the technology simply trending to a smaller package (something I don't care about... big is fine with me).

That E20 lens seems to be a winner. I just have a hard time rationalizing that a smaller, cheaper camera (and glass) yield a "better" picture.

Opinions eagerly solicited. And, yes, I have gray hair.

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Old Sep 13, 2003, 7:38 PM   #2
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The biggest complaints I see from E20 users on forums is processing speed. It's a very slow camera. Some E10 users that upgraded, have indicated that they wish they would have kept their E10.

Also, depending on how you plan on using it, the 1/640 fastest shutter speed could be limiting.

In Phil Askey's review, he did note some problems with Bayer Pattern Artifacts, some Chromatic Aberrations, and had a few other niggle with it (low light focusing inconsistency, chromatic aberrations, shadow noise -- even at ISO 80, flash color cast, etc.).

Here's his conclusion page:


Are the newer models any better? Well, again, that depends on how you're planning on using the camera.

Even the older model Sony DSC-F707 was able to resolve more detail on a resolution chart compared to the E20, and most of the higher end cameras are much faster than the E20.

The E20 build quality is outstanding, and it does have a very fast lens. However, tith more and more cameras coming out now, I suspect that there will be much better choices for the higher end prosumer market niche, too.
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Old Sep 13, 2003, 11:40 PM   #3
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I prefer the digital rebel since it gives the option of using whatever lense you want to and it uses the same image sensor as the 10d. But with the rebel comes the cost of an extra battery, memory and lenses which can cause the total price to get real high real fast.
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Old Sep 14, 2003, 12:25 AM   #4
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I just use a feeble little canon a70 but I have a few coments on what you have said.
but the camera has "substance". It feels like something other than a piece of random plastic.
That is the way technology works. I remember when I was younger and my family got one of the first vcr's comercially avalable (I think my father paid about 1800$ for that and at the time, that was a LOT of money). It is probably sitting in a land fill somewhere, but were it not, with a tuneup, it would probably still work. That thing was built like a tank. You could get a vcr from walmart for 50$ that would outperform that old beast 10 times over. Of course if you get a few years use out of it before it fatally dies, consider yourself lucky. Obviouslly you could spend a lot more on a vcr and get something well built, with a metal case, that is heavy. Take the cover off and you will see that it is heavy because it has more components. You will also see lots of made in china plastic parts and sub assemblys. The high dollar vcr's will last a lot better than that 50$ walmart special, but they are still a joke, compared to the construction of the old tank vcr. Welcome to mass production.
Find the best dslr camera out there and look inside to see how much plastic there is. I recentlly did a little research on a couple of seiko watches I have. These are good quality watches, and guess what, seiko selectivlly uses several plastic parts.
Have you looked inside/built a computer latlly?

Has the technology leaped to the point that a new generation, cheaper camera can/will produce a better picture than an older technology, or is the technology simply trending to a smaller package (something I don't care about... big is fine with me).
I am no expert, but I would say yes. Digital cameras are becoming mainstream. We are approching the point where most households have a digital camera (obviouslly not there yet), jut like most households have vcr's, and now dvd players, computers did that a while ago, (an older one, microwave ovens). It was not that long ago, that most households, didn't have a computer. Even your high end equipment is going to get mass produced soon if there is enough demand for it.
These little (or big) plastic tinkertoys perform pretty well. In fact they perform extremmly well.
Even after having used the a40 (a plastic tinker toy), when I went to look at the a70 to upgrade (actually I looked at an a60), compared to the a40, it was a tiny plastic pos. It actually scared me away from the camera. I eventually upgraded, and let me tell you, this little plastic pos is amazing.
Just one more example.
Olympus b-300/tcon-17? Higher demand, cheaper mass production, need I say more?
There will always be a market for the professional that says, cost doesn't mater, it must be the best. If not for that, would there be leica? Still, the market and the technology will influence how these are made too.
I am sorry, I am no expert, but I just had to say that. I hope you don't mind.
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Old Sep 14, 2003, 9:55 AM   #5
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Try to be realistic. Except for the multi-thousand dollar DSLRs at the top, the real technological advances have been packing more megapixels in smaller and lighter packages, making them cheaper to distribute and easier to afford. I was trying to shoot weddings with a C4040, and although the pic quality was satisfactory for 8x10, I wanted "real" manual focusing. I was watching the Fuji S1 for awhile (I have alot of Nikon lenses), but there seemed to be a skeleton in the closet in various digital SLR forums--dust on the sensor. One of the main reasons I drifted to digital was the dust on slide scans. And after communicating with a wedding photographer on this forum, as a matter of fact, who also recommended the E10 over the E20 (he has both) I ended up getting one. I bought it reconditioned straight from Olympus, which came with all the original accessories AND the full length Olympus warranty. Even though the C4040 is a little newer than the E10, and I still carry it everywhere, in side by side tests, the E10 has less lens distortion, much leas chromatic abberation at widest angle, and considerably less "noise" in underexposed areas. And although the E10 is no match for the best DSLRs, the 160 and 320 ISO can actually be used when necessary. The C4040 is only good enough for newspaper quality at 200 and 400, never for a wedding. As for processing speed, read Moose Peterson's appraisal of the D100 vs. the D1h. He said it was a great camera, but unsuitable for him because its processing speed was too slow. All that proves is that somebody somewhere can find fault with anything. I'm not saying get the E10 instead of the E20--just that the E20 was still over twice as much as the E10 when I bought. The E10 had everything I needed, along with a few pleasant surprises, at a dynamite price, so I went with it. If the E20 is down to an affordable level for you, I say do it.
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Old Sep 14, 2003, 10:46 AM   #6
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I don't mind the reply at all. In general, I agree with what you noted. However, I was focused more on recent updates to cameras. It is certainly true that digital cameras are mainstream. No question on that. However, are the cameras built/made two/three years ago truely obsolete compared to current offerings ? Has the picture quality substantially improved over that period of time or do we have more pixels than most can use, more features than most can use (or understand), more marketing jive, or.... ? Does having a 6 megapizel sensor mean zip if you are still using a 4 year old Epson 870 printer you can't move the image quality improvements to paper ?

It seems like there is too much techie speak, sort of as if the computer whizzes decided to find a new venue. While it may be interesting, is there value ? Does a new Rebel or S7000 or 5700 yield a better picture in use by an average user (over an old technology E20) or is this techno-wag-the-dog ?

Regardless, thanks for the message ?
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