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Old Apr 13, 2006, 2:04 PM   #1
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I am considering purchasing the Olympus E-330 DSLR both for it's "live view" and because of the various lens Olympus has produced for it's 4/3's system. I particularly like the 11-22 mm lens and the 14-54 mm lens. I have just finished reading the latest review of this camera, which indicates a lack of sharpness problem and a softness problem due the in camera anti-noise processing, which apparently is still present even after the AN is turned off. This of course would be a serious drawback particularly if the image results are as bad as reported in the dpreview article. The "live view" however is extremely important as I do a fair amount of underwater photography and using a housed SLR is inconveinent at best. So my questions are:

Has anyone actually used the E-330?
Is the image quality as bad as dpreview suggests?
Are there any plans by Canon or Nikon to bring out a "live view" DSLR?

I know Panasonic and Lecia are bringing out their versions of a "live view" DSLR, but since they use the Olympus sensor and technology, I am concerned their image quality won't be much better. Any suggestions?
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Old Apr 13, 2006, 3:40 PM   #2
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I don't have an E-330, but at almost twice the price of E-500, I don't think the live view is worth it. You're better off getting the E-500 and using the $500 you save on better lens.

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Old Apr 13, 2006, 5:10 PM   #3
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I don't have an Oly E-330, but I have seen some other images from it taken at high ISO ratings. Much of the softness comes about from the in-camera conversion to JPEG. If you shoot your higher ISO images in RAW mode, this won't be nearly as much of a problem. Although Phil Askey wasn't particularly impressed with this model, he doesn't get much into the areas of photography where the live view modes of the E-330 would be particularly advantageous.

I have also considered getting the Oly E-330 specifically because of its almost unique live preview capability. From all reports, Mode B works very well for macro photography where you must focus manually anyway and the extra 1 second shutter lag is no big problem. That said, the high ISO performance doesn't come up to quite the quality of the Canon, Nikon, and K-M dSLRs and the lenses don't have quite the brightness. The price premium for the E-330 is also a big stumbling block for me.
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Old Apr 13, 2006, 6:44 PM   #4
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I haven't spent much time with the E330, but we do have one here in the office. Hmmm, that gives me an idea...taking it home for the weekend

Here's a couple quick captures in case these help...

ISO 100, 400, and 1600








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Old Apr 13, 2006, 7:28 PM   #5
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AJ-vi wrote:
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I know Panasonic and Lecia are bringing out their versions of a "live view" DSLR, but since they use the Olympus sensor and technology, I am concerned their image quality won't be much better. Any suggestions?
Olympus sensor and technology?

Olympus doesn't make their own sensors. They have made a few in the past for their higher end models. For example, they made their own sensor for the E-2500L and E-10. But, the E10 had a reputation for hot pixels, and they switched to Sony sensors for the E-20.

Most other non-DSLR Olympus models have used either Sony or Panasonic (Matsushita) Sensors.

The E-1, E-300 and E-500 models use Kodak sensors.

The E-330 uses a Panasonic sensor (and the Panasonic DSC-L1 will use the same sensor).

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Old Apr 13, 2006, 7:31 PM   #6
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I expect the price will drop for the E-330 in a few months as with most newly introduced cameras. When I bought my C-3030 it had just been introduced and even discounted ran $900. Inside of 6 months it was selling for $600, and the C-3040 was being introduced. Anyway, the live view is the selling point here, because for underwater photography, having a 2.5 inch view finder is a hugh advantage. The additional shutter lag in B mode, is a problem, since fish and large marine mammals don't tend to wait around while the camera gets ready. This is particularly true when trying to get the peak of action shot.

After looking at the quick shots posted at 100/400/1600, it is apparent that 1600 produces a good deal of color noise. It also appears that the shots exhibit a marked decrease in sharpness which is going to require alot of post processing to deal with. The question is can it be dealt with in post production to get a razor sharp crisp image for publication.

I have heard Olympus may be updating the E-1 and that it too may have live view, and that a Leica version may use sufficiently different in camera firmware. Anyone have any insite on this?


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Old Apr 13, 2006, 8:00 PM   #7
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Panasonic hasn't even published full specs for the new DSC-L1 yet. Although, it does appear from the specs they have published that it will share many features with the Olympus E-330, including the same Panasonic sensor and live view modes.

Here is their press release if you haven't seen it:

http://www.steves-digicams.com/pr/pa...006_l1_pr.html

But, it's likely to be different in some areas. Until Panasonic gives out more info, we won't know.

As for an E-1 replacement, only rumours exist at this point. Anyone that knows anything isn't going to be able to say what they know anyway.

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Old Apr 16, 2006, 8:02 AM   #8
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Regardless of which company makes the Live-Moss sensor, the point is that it appears to produce noticably soft images, even after post-processing; unless the in camera software is to blame. The is a serious drawback for anyone considering the E-330, and a real disappointment . Hopefully Olympus will take a hard look at this and be able to correct the problem, either through a firmware update or with a better processor. Untill this problem has been addressed and corrected I am going to put off purchasing it. Too bad, it had so much promise.:sad:
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Old Apr 16, 2006, 8:43 AM   #9
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AJ-vi wrote:
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Regardless of which company makes the Live-Moss sensor, the point is that it appears to produce noticably soft images, even after post-processing; unless the in camera software is to blame.
Well, keep in mind that the sensor in the Olympus models is smaller than the sensors used in competing DSLR models from Konica Minolta, Pentax, Nikon and Canon.

Since the sensor is smaller, the photosites for each pixel are also smaller. That means more amplification is needed for equivalent sensitiviity to light (since the photosites will generate a weaker signal, because of less surface area). Physics.

Advancements are being made (improved microlens design, etc.) to help out this issue. But, models from competitors will do better at higher ISO speeds (at least for now).

I'm sure image processing is part of it. You'd probably be better off shooting in raw and using a high powered PC to process the images and reduce the noise later. You can't expect perfect results from a camera trying to process data from the sensor in a split second between shots.

That also goes for other models. Raw is the way to go for optimum results. I shoot almost excusively in raw (or raw + jpeg) with my KM Maxxum 5D.

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