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Sunday, 04 November 2007


One hands-on you shouldn't miss:


*That* is splashproof. Don't settle for anything less. :-)

One quick note: this weekend I was in an electronics store and had the opportunity to play around with an Olympus E-410. As I've mentioned before, this is the Olympus camera that really appeals to me, due to its size. Once again, I was amazed at how small and light the camera is. It is roughly the size of my Pentax MX, and I suspect it is significantly lighter. As DPReview has pointed out, the E-410 has all kinds of advanced features and is not crippled in any way. The only problem: the small viewfinder, which is REALLY small. The other drawback is the lack of IS, although based on my style of shooting, I would rather have the petite E-410 without IS than the larger E-510 with IS. Once you move to the larger E-510 body, I find the cameras offered by other manufacturers more appealing. To each his own.

The real motivation behind this comment is slightly different, however. Excited by my experience handling the E-410, I decided to check out the available lenses again. I remembered that Panasonic came out with a 25mm f/1.4 lens, but as you have pointed out, the lens is a monster. I can't even begin to imagine using such a lens on the E-410. But then I noticed that Olympus has both a 35mm f/3.5 macro lens, and a 50mm f/2 macro lens. I think we may have been too harsh on Olympus for not putting out any primes. Granted, both lenses are too long for standard lenses, and the 35mm isn't particularly fast, but I find the idea of the E-410 and the 35mm lens very appealing as a carry-everywhere combo during daylight. The 50mm lens looks like a nice option for portraits.

And the best part is that the 35mm lens costs...get this...$200!!! (ephotozine has a favorable review)


Don't discount the little kit lens for the E-410. The little 14-42mm is really quite a fine little lens, and it's very small and light, almost as small and light as the compact genuine moderate-wide prime that SHOULD be available for such a camera.

BTW in my humble opinion, the E-510 is the perfect size and shape for a camera. It does need a much better viewfinder, but I can ask for nothing more when it comes to size, shape, and weight. Perfect.


Follow-up: Olympus has a $35 rebate going on the 35mm macro lens I mentioned. That brings the price down to $165 at B&H. Unbelievable.

BTW, to follow up on one of my comments to your eBay post, $165 translates to roughly Euro 114. The cheapest price I've been able to find online here in Germany is Euro 200, or approximately $290. Hypothetically speaking, if I can find someone selling an Olympus 35mm macro lens on eBay from within the EU for more than $214, but less than $290, it is worth it to me to buy the lens at that price. $214 is 130% of $165 (the additional 30% represents the customs charges, taxes, etc., but doesn't include shipping). Below $214, I might as well buy from B&H. Above $290, I might as well buy it new in Germany. This may be a trivial example, and it doesn't account for shipping charges and the differences between used vs. new, but this helps explain why some people bid more for camera equipment on eBay than it costs new at B&H.


OK, one more post and I swear I'm done.


I'm not discounting the kit lens. I just have a mental block when it comes to zooms, and I feel like the Olympus zoom lineup tends to aggravate this problem for me. I look at the $200, 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 and think to myself, "Sweet! A small, sharp, light lens for little $$$!" But then I see the Olympus 14-54mm f/2.8-3.5 ($430) and I think, "For just a little more, I can get a lens with a little more reach that's faster to boot. Plus, it's splashproof, whereas the 14-42 isn't. What's not to like?" It's a little heavier (not as much as you'd expect), but no biggie. Great. Then the Olympus 12-60mm f/2.8-4.0 catches my eye. A little wider (to get you down to 24mm-e), possibly a little faster, Super Wave Drive, etc., etc. All of a sudden, I'm spending thousands of dollars on a huge, heavy zoom, when all I wanted was a small, light prime that is as close to 50mm-e as possible.

There is a saying in Germany that roughly translates as "He who has choice, has the agony" or perhaps more succinctly "Choice is torture". With primes, I generally know what I want and what I'm getting. I almost never use my zooms (too big, too slow, too heavy, cover focal lengths I don't use).


P.S. Obviously, choice is a good thing, and I don't mean to pick on Olympus. I actually think its great that they have lenses in every price segment, and that they all seem to be very, very good.

Hi Adam,

interesting thoughts here, and i always like proof that i am not alone - in my consumerist agony ;-))

a few months ago i used a 35 macro on my E-1 for 2 days or so that i borrowed from a friend, and i was surprised in more than one way. the pictures had a certain quality that is hard to describe. they were tack-sharp still looked so smooth, dunno. second i was surprised that the focal length is not so bad, of course always depending on your style. i don't say you should, but i think you could accomodate to a certain focal length. here is the choice dilemma again: my girlfriend had fun with her zenith and 58/2 at home in Poland some 20 years ago. i don't think she had sleepless nights over what to buy next to widen her possibilities. and even here in Austria (which always dropped to the "right" side throughout it's history) one bought a camera along with a fast 50 and maybe slower 28 and enormous 135 TELE! and went along with that for the next decade at least. but now? you know.

i was thinking about the zooms exactly as you. i used the 14-54 till now, and liked it for being relatively small still reasonably fast. i also find the bokeh ok. while growing into this E-1 combo, i was more and more secured about its quality and used it also for "professional" shootings. i am no real pro, but do some assignments ... still working on it ;-)) however, i also start editing my legacy (2 years, wow), but learned that i had most fun with the old nikon d50, 50 1.8, 18-55 kit and sigma 30 1.4. i could do anything needed with that, these were times where i worried less about every little aspect and enjoyed photography more. the point is not that the d50 is superior along with this glass, but it enabled and encouraged me to take it everywhere and also use it. big camera with big zoom doesn't. period.

the bottom line is, i sold (almost) everything and bought a pentax k10d with kit, 35/2, 50/1.4 and flash. i may need a wideangle for interors, but only for this. i don't even think about fancy zooms, better get some nice light, or even better, get some magazines and photo books and visit exhibitions! took me 1 month to learn camera basics, but more than a year to learn these more important aspects. thanks go here for this great blog, which is more than helpful in this respect!

btw. i also got my first 2 issues of jpegmag (http://www.jpegmag.com) and don't regret subscribing.

as usual my 2 cents

On the difference between EU and US prices -- I accumulated a nice set of E-1 equipment, one piece per trip to the US, from B&H and from Arlington Camera, with each piece meeting me wherever I could find business to do. It reminded me of the Johnny Cash song about bringing a whole car home from the plant in lunchbox sized bits. In Israel, we have 17% VAT, European prices or more, and no full time Olympus distributor. I think that is just how life is in that part of the world.

On primes, the 11-22mm Zuiko is sharp as almost anyone's primes, and covers all the wide angles I needed from moderate to aggressive. It's a little bigger than the 14-54, not small. Waterproof, too. The 50/2 IS small, and just a lovely lens. It is slow to autofocus because (with the E-1) it sometimes heads off in the wrong direction for a small shift



How good is the print quality of the printed JPG Magazine?

Best regards,

the reason for primes is not only sharpness (at least for me the least ;-) but small build and fast aperture. but i can imagine that E1 + 11-22 is a nice combo, indeed.

imho the jpeg-quality is very good. and what i like very much is that the content comes from the community, and it is really inspiring for me.

best always

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