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Tuesday, 04 September 2007

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Oly's not doing that badly. Minolta released the 9000 in '85; the 9xi in '92 and the 9 in '98 ... their first pro DSLR ought to be along in '08. Of course, unlike Oly, they (KM, then Sony) haven't been touting their professional aspirations.

But do you consider this pace to be bad, good, or just plain interesting?

4 years and 4 months is no record: the real record was that rather long dry spell between the OM-4Ti and the E-1 surely?

I've been a long-time Olympus user (since 1974!) and a faithful user of the E-1 for 3.5 years and have bought 4 ZD lenses (all high grade). But I'm beginning to think that they're just too slow for their own good. They make this line of uber-lenses and then piddle around bringing out comparable bodies?! The E510 is nice, but using the finder is like looking down a tunnel!

I just looked at the specs for the 40D and D300 and I'm now considering whether I screwed up 3.5 years ago like everyone told me I had. Yes, I love my E-1, but it's getting long-in-the-tooth. I could REALLY use better AF performance, MUCH higher shooting speeds, and more MP.

:-(

"But do you consider this pace to be bad, good, or just plain interesting?"

Inadequate, I'd have to say, although maybe that's just an historical phenomenon--that is, it may really have only been a problem because of the exaggeratedly fast pace of change in digital technology at the time the E-1 came out. Generally, though, even the people I know who loved the E-1 have migrated away from it out of necessity, including Carl Weese who writes for TOP. Carl might end up buying the E-3, but he was forced to switch to Pentax a year ago just to get a more modern sensor for his commercial work, having hung on to the E-1 (which he still has) about as long as possible. At the very least, Olympus should have grafted its 8-MP sensor into the E-1 body as soon as it had it, just to stay more or less current. (I suspect the reason that wasn't done is because the E-1 is a more lavishly constructed camera than could be built for what would have been its selling price at that time. I suspect the E-3 will not match the E-1 for build quality either--there just isn't room under the "price cap." The E-1 was a really beautifully made camera.)

There's a limit to what "small" companies can do to keep up with the pace of change and with the "biggies," but Olympus fell below minimum standards with its top model.

As far as Dennis's comment is concerned, "Minolta" has also been somewhat negligent in keeping up the side, except that the 7D is a year younger than the E-1 and Minolta left the cameramaking field altogether, which surely absolves it of corporate responsibility. Even though Sony picked up the rights to K-M's technology and designs and hired some of its employees, it's not fair to treat M-->KM-->Sony as if they were all the same company with a coherent strategy. Besides, the Minolta 7D replacement may yet beat the Olympus E-1 replacement to the starting gate...watch this space.

Mike

I too wish Olympus were a little quicker releasing new gear... sort of like Pentax, a favorite of mine for years. But, when both of these companies (reliable companies in my opinion, and both paying attention to producing gear for the photographer as a useful tool for the trade) do update, it's apparent to me in most cases that I can buy their gear with little concern that I'm buying a "marketing" product and not something tested in the real world, by working photographers (possible exceptions perhaps the DS2/DL from Pentax, "bandaids", if you will). I sometimes wish the top two big guys would slow their pace just a little and listen more to those of us actually using the gear all day every day. It's rare that I read the always excellent hands-on reviews from Michael Reichmann (sp?) when he doesn't remind one of the big two companies about a feature that could have been (and perhaps should have been) incorporated in their latest camera body... something that would have been simple and appreciated, if they had only paid any attention to their professional audience the first time around. In my opinion, Pentax and Olympus both do a better job of this. It's well known though and sadly that neither Pentax nor Olympus are as good at marketing their labors...

Olympus was supposed to create a successor to E-1 quite earlier. But, as people from the company say, they were not satisfied with the sensor performance. That's supposedly the reason why E-410&510, and now E-3, have Panasonic sensors, not Kodak.

As an Olympus user, I'm quite happy they don't follow the incremental-update-and-call-it-a-new-model path. I also suspect they simply didn't have the manufacturing ability to do greater volumes such a path would need. Which is not a bad thing per se. See the first sentence in this paragraph.

"I suspect the E-3 will not match the E-1 for build quality either"

Hm. Yes, E-1 has some kind of mil-spec sealing. OTOH, if E-3 is not sealed as well, I think it won't be by much. Smaller numbers and greater care...

Michael Reichmann, as terrific photographer he is, he isn't a great camera reviewer if that camera is not a Canon. Read his review of K10D and see his pleasure in "firsts" that were present a couple of years earlier in E-1. Which he also reviewed.

BTW, Skip, what is that so good in 40D that makes you doubt your choice? If the info on E-3 that was floating around is true, 40D is the least of the new three semi-pro bodies. And D300 will have some work to do...

I used Oly film cameras for years, but was very disappointed and let down by their ability to move into the DSLR market. So out of principle I moved to another manufacturer and would never consider ever buying Oly again. I wasted a lot of money and will not make that mistake again.

I'm not a professional and don't use a camera to feed the family so the even the E-1 still looks great to me(I still don't have a DSLR). What gripes me is that used E-1 prices haven't fallen! It would be just my luck that E-1 owners would hang onto their old cameras as backup even if they did buy an E-3! Guess I'll just hang onto my OM's and Pen f's. Actually, the best viewfinder I've seen in lowpriced DSLRs was a Pentax D110, it just blew away an E500.

I second Skips comments above. I recently got a 510 and like it a lot. Very handy and I love the IQ. I'm ruminating extensively on whether or not to spend a bunch of money on Oly lenses. They really are very good lenses and have been proven of the highest quality. But I'm not droping several thou on lenses for a 510 type camera. The finally arriving E3 better have a lot more up its sleeve than a 510 sensor ... or this cam is going to ebay and I'm heading for Nikon.

John,

There ARE E1 cams available. Check this forum:

http://fourthirdsphoto.com/vbb/forumdisplay.php?f=7

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