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Old Dec 12, 2007, 2:09 PM   #1
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I had a wee play with the E3 and Panaleica L10 at Cameraworld after work today. I went into Jacobs and jesops but they had none in stcok or could say when they would. I had the 35-100F2 with me and took a few shots with the E3 + 12-60 and my 35-100F2 at various ISO's from 100-3200.

1. Size and weight - its bigger than the E1 in size which is noticable. I'd say it even looks taller than the Nikon D300 that I played with a couple of weeks ago. The increase in weight is also noticeable compared to the E1 and again it felt slightly heavier than the D300. definetly not as discreet as the E1.
2. Ergonomics - very good. Feels as good as my E1 in the hand and possibly slightly better due to the deeper grip. Not sure on some of the button placement compared to the E1's as i was having to look at the camera to make the adjustments while the E1's is just right there (if you have the E1 you'll know what I mean).
3. Build quality - its excellent feels as solid as the E1 which is a very good thing. All th ebuttons and switches have that same feel as on the E1 - as if MB had made it. Very nice.
4. Viewfinder - As big as the one found on the D300, which impressed me a huge amount and makes the E1's VF look small. Its clear and bright and the LCD Info at the bottom aka E1 is good too.
5. Focusing - with the 12-60 it was very fast as good as the D300 from memory. I'd say the 35-100F2 was nearly as fast as the 12-60 on the E3 near instant lock on. I like the fact that the AF point lights up to confirm focus and the spacing of the 11 AF points is good.
6. LCD - A lot clearer and larger than I thought it would be. Not D300 class but very good esp compared to the poxy 180k 1.8" LCD on my E1 ! Articulated screen - tilt swivel was cool and is somethign taht I;d use. Although I didn;t in the store as the VF was just way to tempting.
7. Shutter sound - definetly not as super smooth as the e1's but its a lot quieter than the D300's.
8. 12-60 ZD - quiet a bit bigger than the 14-54, but you do notice the difference that SWD makes, having 24mm wide is very nice and also that extra reach to 120mm is good.
9. High ISO - I took about 10 shots, all jpeg from 100 to 3200 ISO. i forgot to shoot RAW (:? ) and I'll post the pics on line as soon as I can.

Summary:

I wasn;t sure about the E3 - it looked as if Oly had slapped it with the ugly brush, that it was bigger and heavier than the E1 kind of counted against it in my book but after todays hands on my thoughts are very different. In the felsh it looks very good - more handsome than the pics do it justice, it is slightly bigger and heavier than I'd like but with the 35-100F2 the two seem to be made for each other. The balance with the bigger lens is better than on the E1 and thats good. The Viewfinder was the show stealer - after I had a look at the E3's VF and then the L10 i put the L10 back down - its that much better. Build quality is superb and I can see myself not worrying about dropping it and is as good as the E1's. Focusing definetly seems as good as the D300's in my eyes but i could be wrong but Oly have done a very good job with the AF system on the E3. I've not checked the IQ of the files just yet but will share those with you all so that you can make our own judgment. From what I've seen of ISO1000 - seems to be very good in my eyes.

Thoughts on the L10 - much better build quality and size compared to the E510. very nice button layout, excellent ergonmics, and the LCD is nice and bright - same as the E3's. However, after I looked through the VF - I had to put it down and return the camera. I know I should have taken some shots but I just couldnt see myself ever using the L10.
As a back up to the E3 - i would get the L10 over the E510 but once you've tried the E3 all the other 4/3 cam's just don't seem up to par. I look forward to see what PanaLeica's Pro camera will be like - as good as the E3 or may be even better who knows ? In the meantime, I'm going to have to be good and not splurge out on the E3, well until Jan 2008 at least.

Cheers

Harj





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Old Dec 12, 2007, 6:45 PM   #2
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Hi, Harj

I just received my E3. I bought it because of the apparently good high-ISO performance (and the in-body IS). Because of the abysmal weather here and because of the upcoming holidaysit will take me a while to really evaluate it - I've only been able to play with the menus. (For us amateur astronomers this is the equivalent of "cloudy night" activities.)

My initial impressions are:

1. I bought it despite the whining on DPReview about the weight, but nevertheless I was surprised at the weight. My most critical work is indoors with fast (heavy) glass so the weight doesn't bother me but I suspect I'll use the E-500 with the Leica 14-50mm (with in-lens IS) for outdoor/walkabout use.

2. I did want to stay with Oly menus since when action is happening fast my brain would explode if I had to learn the Pana menus. So the upcoming Pana pro DSLR didn't seem to be an option for me.

3. The E3 menus seem to offer me a lot of convenience over the E500 menus. For example, The E3's choice of recording two different "MyMode" options will be very useful for me - I can set one option to "normal" photography and the other for my customized indoor work. This is a major convenience.

4. That said, I'm irritated with the E3 White Balance menu. My most critical shooting is indoors with incandescent light, and the E500 offers choices in degrees Kelvin. The E3 offers choices with silly pictograms - an incomprehensible change for a "pro" DSLR. At a pro level, who doesn't understand color temperature???

More later when I get time to actually shoot with the E3.

Ted
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Old Dec 12, 2007, 7:59 PM   #3
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Hi Ted

Wasn;t sure if you'd picked up the e3 - good to see you have and also your thoughts on it compared to the E500. I was suprised by the weight, as it definetly feels a lot heaveir than the E1 (inc battery) and is even heavier than the D300 (offical figures). I also didnt take a look at all the buttons but I was suprised that some of the E1's best placed buttons were no longer in the same spot. I didn;t check the menu system either or the WB option as I'd assumed it would be like the e1 and other cams.

When, you get some time post some sample shots, as I'd really like to see how well it behaves in the real world - taking a few shots in a store doesn;t really qualify.

Well as I mentioned E3 iamges, here's the link to the pics - I've uploaded the full sized jpegs as in from the camera. The ISo1000 shot I took with the 35-100 is very clean in my eyes, and considering it was without flash and handheld it looks very good. ISO 2000 - looks more than usable and should print at 8* 12 easily so thats good news.

http://harjtt.smugmug.com/gallery/3985943#231720845

Cheers

Harj

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Old Dec 12, 2007, 8:45 PM   #4
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hi Harj
just quickly coz i gotta run
agree with you on L10, I think its a way better option than 410 for sure, 510 too if you dont hold with IS. How Oly lenses work on it concerns me though. Theyre ditching L1 on Amazon at bargain prices now, so maybe another camera here soon.

E3, built like a tank decribes it, appears to be imron black/grey, might have been designed by Panzer Waffen to take a few hits from a 105mm in a Soviet winter and have the effects washed off with a steam hose. It weighs a lot (which is good because now I need a street camera too but on the job thats just fine.

The OVF is a different world from the 300, its like having been blind and now being able to see. Ive been running it from around iso160 base to 800 and like what I see, noise is very fine in grain and hides easily, but be aware of that on jpeg for the net resizes. For the first time ever I find I have iso AUTO set without much of a care.

Ive been running in program mode too, for the first few days I didnt read the manual at all and just plugged away. It has very good exposure metering qualities, just chooses an aperture a tad wider than I might. For me thats the best part, no blown hilights, no underexposed shaddows, it just nails it.

I find LV makes it very discrete too...

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Old Dec 12, 2007, 8:57 PM   #5
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WB is really very effective too, what a difference the separate sensor makes
these are really tricky lighting situations, and i had absolutely no idea what i was doing (chill out boys, i will get there) so it gives me some confidence that the camera will make a difference.

Riley
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Old Dec 13, 2007, 11:05 AM   #6
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Hi Riley

I like those shots - just shows you that the auto WB does work even in demanding lighting. I've had a good look at the jpeg files from yesterday and I'm impressed with how well the E3 handles noise easily upto 1250. I can see myself easily shooting at 1250 and even higher . I'd like to have been able to do a better test but until I buy one I'll wait for you guys to post some wonderful shots.

I think Panaleica have made a really nice camera with the L10, it feels nice in the hand, build quality is also very good so if your looking for a camera in the 410/510/L10 range the L10 would have to be the camera to get (only if IS was not a major issue). However, you summed up the VF just spot on - I had the same thoughts looking through a Canon 5D and even the D300's- blimey its a "double bay" window. The E3's VF is not as big as the 5D but it is as big as a D300/D200 and that's a major improvement even over the E1. Any new cam will have to have a VF like that, as well as having a mag alloy body and fast accurate AF system.

Cheers

Harj

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