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Old May 16, 2007, 4:06 PM   #11
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NHL wrote:
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and if you're into wildlife (birding) a 2x image stabilized dSLR is the way to go - Imagine a 120-300 f/2.8 zoom on such an Oly... before any 1.4/2x teleconverter!
I agree as far as reach is concerned. But I believe many birders also use Servo focusing. So to those that do (and I realize you prefer not to) the focus systems of the cameras are just as critical. An out of focus shot at 600mm is still out of focus.

Also - do you know of a place that sells the sigma 120-300 for the Oly mount? As best as I can tell it's only available in Canon, Nikon and Sigma mounts. That may change if Oly makes more progress in the DSLR market at the high end but as of today I don't see it available anywhere.


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Old May 20, 2007, 5:27 AM   #12
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No there's no 120-300 f2.8 for Olympus. Sigma has made the 135-400 f4.5-5.6 and the 50-500 f4-6.3 in the four-third mount, however. But I think those are the only two lenses for it that even go beyond 200mm for under $5000 right now.

I'm not sure there's that much an advantage there with those big lenses though. It might be nice to have a 300mm f2.8 be a 600mm f2.8 equivalent. But, in theory, you wouold get almost the same shot by shooting it on a 1.5 crop body, and cropping the image some afterwards. The drawback there is you're losing some megapixels. But if the glass isn't sharp enough, you aren't really benefitting from more megapixels (higher pixel pitch).

And many of these existing lenses were designed for full frame. They'd have to be capable of twice as much resolution to deliver the same lpmm on the 2x crop sensor. For long zooms especially, it gets costly to make them that sharp, so they aren't overengineered by much. So it's not just a matter of making the same lens in this mount. Unless the glass was so sharp it was outresolving the full frame sensor, you really aren't getting any additional reach from a smaller sensor camera than you would just by cropping.

On the other hand, where the Olympus system I think does get interesting is in the zooms they do have up to 200mm which are normally still light enough to hand hold. The Sigma 150mm f2.8 for example gives you a 300mm f2.8 equivalent for $600. The Zuiko 50-200mm f2.8-3.5 gives you a very high quality 400mm equivalent f3.5. The glass Olympus has made themselves is generally sharp enough and then some (much of it is designed to still be good when they're up to around 20 megapixels). And some of the newer third party lenses designed for smaller sensors (like most of Sigma's DC lenses) are very sharp as well. Their 50-150 f2.8 for example might be one that could be introduced in the four thirds mount.

With in body stabilization, improved high ISO performance, a brighter viewfinder, and improved autofocus, the new E-510 seems designed to address the most important flaws in the older E-500. Low light autofocus is one place where I expect they will still trail Canon and Nikon. And still, only 3 AF points. But if they actually deliver as promised, it should be an attractive model at the right price for those who don't aspire to the higher end pro gear where Canon really has a big advantage. And it might even turn out to be a pretty good low light camera.

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Old May 20, 2007, 10:30 AM   #13
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JohnG wrote:
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Also - do you know of a place that sells the sigma 120-300 for the Oly mount? As best as I can tell it's only available in Canon, Nikon and Sigma mounts. That may change if Oly makes more progress in the DSLR market at the high end but as of today I don't see it available anywhere.
I don't believe Sigma is making a mistake by not supplying that lens in 4/3 mount.

The smaller 4/3 sensor is demanding of its glass. While the 120-300 f2.8 may have acceptable performance on a 1.3 crop Canon, and may do ok even on the 1.6 crop, it does soften at f2.8 and may be too soft wide open for the 2x sensor. If so, why pay the very high price and carry the very heavy glass if you need to stop down to use it?

I would like to see the 100-300 f4 made for 4/3 though.
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Old May 20, 2007, 2:14 PM   #14
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fldspringer wrote:
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I don't believe Sigma is making a mistake by not supplying that lens in 4/3 mount.

The smaller 4/3 sensor is demanding of its glass. While the 120-300 f2.8 may have acceptable performance on a 1.3 crop Canon, and may do ok even on the 1.6 crop, it does soften at f2.8 and may be too soft wide open for the 2x sensor.
All this may be why the pros go with larger sensors - full frame and 1.3. Hmm, doesn't makes sense does it? While I'm not discounting excellent strides made by olympus, I find it a curios argument that somehow a smaller sensor is better than a larger one. The 4/3 NEEDs to be more demanding because the sensors are smaller - so to get equivelent quality larger sensors provide with 'inferior' full frame glass they need sharper lenses. I'm not trying to pick a fight - I just don't understand this argument. Watch any major sporting event - see those huge lenses? They're all designed for full frame cameras - and 99.9% of them are mounted on 1.3, 1.5 or zero crop sensors. Why do the pros use these inferior lenses and systems? We're talking about the people that make their living off needing the highest quality results from using telephoto and supertelephot lenses. If these full frame lenses and the systems that use them are so bad, why do all the pros continue to use them? And why do you think Canon & nikon who supply 99% of the pro sports camera bodies haven't invested in the 4/3 system? Why do you think Canon went in the EXACT OPPOSITE direction by going APS-H (1.3x) - and why the pros still stayed with such a system?

I honestly want to know, Fieldspringer, what is it you've figured out that the pros haven't? Surely by your logic they would be better off using a 4/3 camera and a much lighter lens.

Like it or not, lenses designed for full frame are still the choice the world over for Professional photogs. And it isn't limited to sports either - photojournalists, wedding & portrait photogs - they all use full frame lenses. Of course a lot of said photogs seem to think larger sensors, rather than smaller sensors produce better quality photos. Just something to ponder.

I still agre with Ken - if Oly delivers on the 510 as promised it will be a great step forward and will greatly aid their hunt to move up in the DSLR market - so I'm not bashing here. I honestly (seriously, I honestly don't understand) don't understand this notion that full frame lenses and larger sensors are somehow worse when that's the direction the pros who make there living off this stuff are going. What am I missing?
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Old May 20, 2007, 2:52 PM   #15
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JohnG wrote:
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I honestly want to know, Fieldspringer, what is it you've figured out that the pros haven't? Surely by your logic they would be better off using a 4/3 camera and a much lighter lens.
John,

I'm really quite baffled by that heated response. If anything, you would have to take what I said as a hit on the 4/3 system, not a glorification of it.

Keep perspective. Think of Olympus's new 10 mp sensor, and then think of the new 10mp sensor of the new 1D. There are similar pixel counts, but the 4/3 stuffs these in a smaller area. Its density is higher. With me so far?

Now lets design a lens for each system that will resolve to the resolution of the sensor. If I made the lens that exactly matched the resolution of the 1D, and I could somehow mount it to the Olympus camera, it would not be sufficient because there are more lines of pixels per mm than the 1D. The Olympus is more demanding of a lens. Shouldn't be that big of a deal to understand that.

To have a lens made to resolve the 4/3 sensor, I'll have to work a bit harder.

At f2.8, that Sigma lens won't get the same result as if you used it on your 1.3 crop Canon as I would on the Olympus. Your Canon would be sharper. How you twisted that the way you did is beyond me.


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Old May 20, 2007, 3:09 PM   #16
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fldspringer wrote:
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While the 120-300 f2.8 may have acceptable performance on a 1.3 crop Canon, and may do ok even on the 1.6 crop, it does soften at f2.8 and may be too soft wide open for the 2x sensor.
This is why - acceptable performance on 1.3 and OK on a 1.6. That is what I was referring to. This whole marketing blitz that oly is pushing - that lenses not designed specifically for digital are inferior. Sorry if I sounded heated - truly I was not. I merely dispute the concept that lenses designed for film are inferior. Every lens must be taken on a case by case basis - their are junk film lenses and outstanding ones. Just like there are junk digital lenses and outstanding ones. That's all.

I think Sigma does not make the lens in 4/3 simply because there is no market for it. Let's face it, a $2700 is not an entry level lens and right now entry level is what Oly is aiming at (which I think is very smart on their part).

So I apologize if I sounded heated, confused was how I felt when writing it. Thanks for clarifying your statement!

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Old May 20, 2007, 5:35 PM   #17
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And why do you think Canon & nikon who supply 99% of the pro sports camera bodies haven't invested in the 4/3 system? Why do you think Canon went in the EXACT OPPOSITE direction by going APS-H (1.3x) - and why the pros still stayed with such a system?
While I agree that the larger sensor is normally better (if you can afford it), I'm not sure Canon is really going in the opposite direction there. Is the 1D line really appealing primarily to users who otherwise would have purchased the D10, D20, D30 line? Or are they selling to users who might have otherwise gone full frame? It's interesting to me that the 1.3 crop 1D Mark III is a higher priced model than the full frame 5D.

I think the long term trend may be towards smaller sensors, both because the quality is improving, and because they're cheaper.

But with the current technology I think the Olympus system is really only just becoming really attractive on the low to intermediate end of the market, for primarily amature shooters. It will be interesting to see how the new models measure up. I suspect the metering, focus, and image processing systems on the new cameras, while good, might still fall short of the D40x or XTi. That might be reason enough for many amatures to stick with Nikon or Canon, but the in body stabilization, dust reduction, and live view feature, as well as good kit lenses, do make Olympus attractive.

But Nikon seems to be rising to the challenge, now offering what is apparently a very sharp 55-200 VR lens in their 2 lens kit for the D40x. That's a pretty good answer to the both the quality kit lens argument and the image stabilization. And maybe enough for Nikon to remain the bigger seller. Olympus may try to market live view to those moving up from point and shoot, but the truth is the live view implimentation is too clunky for general use. What it's really useful for is tripod work, like landscape, macro, and studio work.

But, if the competition weren't serious, I doubt we'd be seeing that new 55-200 f4-5.6 VR lens that's out now selling for $240, and seemingly available in the kit for less than $150. But more serious amatures and aspiring pros will probably prefer to pair it instead with a D80.

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Old May 20, 2007, 7:21 PM   #18
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Ken - well said as usual. While I'm not an Oly user, I like the fact they push Canon & nikon - in the end, their success benefits me - and everyone in any camera system. All you have to do is look at Microsoft to see how stale things can get when there is no commercially viable alternative. I do think Oly has some very attractive features - so hopefully the 510 will do well.

As for the 1.3 mark iii being higher priced than the full frame 5d that's simple - the sensor is only part of the package. 2 cpus plus the auto focus system (dedicated chips whose sole job is AF control) plus all the other customizations that make the difference to professionals. It's why it is dangerous or at least misleading to focus on just one aspect of a camera. Just like folks that spend all their time comparing MTF charts for lens sharpness. To some folks that's only part of the equation: focus speed & accuracy, durability are also critical to some buyers. You have to look at the forest and not just one tree.
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