The MacBook Air of DSLR cameras?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Phrasikleia, Apr 24, 2008.

  1. Phrasikleia macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

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    #1
    I'm really trying to dissuade myself from buying the new Olympus e-420 with the 25mm f/2.8 pancake kit lens, but without much success. I have to admit that I'm feeling that same sense of fascination in its form factor that I originally felt for the MacBook Air. However, I quickly dismissed the MBA for its shortcomings and bought a MBP instead.

    Since my husband has a Pentax K100D, I suppose the wise thing to do would be to get another Pentax camera so we could share lenses. I also have made an investment in SD cards that I could put to use in a Pentax camera. But the e-420 is so much smaller and lighter than any Pentax!! Especially with the pancake lens--and a fast, wide prime lens is exactly what I will use most. As one reviewer quipped, "if the Nikon D60 is a sedan, the Canon XSi an SUV, and the Pentax K200D a school bus, the E-420's like a Mini Cooper."

    But do I really want a four-thirds format sensor (which supposedly is inferior to all other DSLR sensors)? Do I really want a camera without optical image stabilization? Will I hate using a camera with such a small grip?

    In short, does the e-420, like the MBA, compromise too much in the quest for diminution?
     
  2. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #2
    I don't think it does. I don't really like the way it feels, but if my goal was to buy a small camera, I'd have to take a serious look at the E-420. My D300 is just too big to carry around conveniently.
     
  3. srf4real macrumors 68030

    srf4real

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    #3
    I have no feelings but joy that I have invested in the 4/3 system. (Using L1 now.) Considering the fact that the E-420 is said to have the same sensor as the E-3 semi-pro body I am seriously considering it as my next body purchase. I do not consider image stabilization a plus anyways... a steady lens and fast enough shutter makes for the sharpest images, and with Oly glass you can't go wrong there.;)
     
  4. Grimace macrumors 68040

    Grimace

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    #4
    If your husband has a lot of lenses that you would use -- take a second, third, and forth look at the Pentax. Sharing lenses is really awesome.
     
  5. Phrasikleia thread starter macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

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    #5
    Actually, right now he has only one lens (a Sigma 28-300), but we're getting him a second one (a Sigma 24mm f/1.8) within the next few weeks.
     
  6. CrackedButter macrumors 68040

    CrackedButter

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    #6
    I think the folks at dpreview figured out that it isn't the same sensor.
     
  7. tony-in-japan macrumors regular

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    #7
    I bit the bullet before you!

    Funny you should start a thread on this. I couldn’t resist that compact/DSLR IQ combination and bit the bullet. Last week I ordered the Olympus E420 with Pancake lens (having auctioned off my Canon Rebel & Powershot). Today, I am ordering a Macbook Air for my wife. The key incentive with both orders is having items which do a good job (everyday photography/portable computing) while not feeling weighted down.

    Those Pancakes are selling like hotcakes over here in Japan! They were only released a week ago but my order is on hold. Seems many places have sold out and I have only seen display versions in the most popular stores (e.g. Biccamera).

    Today I went into a store to compare holding different entry-level DSLRs from different brands. The E-420 feels very light and compact in my hands -- I really like it. It is also much more streamlined compared to the others because it does not have a grip (which I prefer). I don’t like the metal strap hooks on either side of the body as it sometimes digs into my fingers, but I realised that the clips can be removed. I also don’t think I will miss Image Stabilisation (as I have steady hands). I had IS on my Powershot but I honestly don’t think the technology really improved the images I took. Also, I don’t think the 4/3rds sensor is that much inferior to the bigger players’ sensors. You only have to do research on the net to see the quality of images that can be obtained from this sensor -- which in my view is excellent. Coupled with high standard Zuiko lenses and suddenly there is the possibility to get image quality up there with the best.

    Personally, I think the E-420 is a great combination of DSLR image quality, portability, value, features (e.g. Live View/Dust Reduction/Shot Preview), while having a superb selection of lenses to choose from. Above all, it’s gonna be fun to use with that ultra-light pancake lens! I certainly know I am going to be out and about a lot more having fun taking shots. :)

    My advice is -- just as with the Macbook Air -- you have to touch it and get a feel for it to know if it is right for you.

    From what I have read, the quality of images is comparable to the E-3 within the lower ISO range (100-400). Images from ISO 400-1600 have more noise on the E-420. Saying that, image quality (dynamic range) has been improved compared to its predecessor, the E-410.
     
  8. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #8
    If you're looking at the E-3 and its sensor, you may wish to read this review:

    http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/cameras/E-3-Second.shtml
     
  9. filmamigo macrumors member

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    #9
    The chance to share lenses, batteries, memory cards, etc. would push me towards going Pentax. (I am biased, though because I own a Pentax *ist DL.)

    If you like sleek and stealthy pancake lenses, Pentax offers the world's best selection. These really are jewel-like lenses with fantastic build quality and superb optics.

    [​IMG]

    As for the body size... the K200D is bigger, but not crazy big. It really is much more like the previous pro-am body, the K10D.

    Pentax have stated themselves that they have two holes in their line-up -- the single digit KxD pro series, and the four digit KxxxxD series. Pentax have also said they are likely to offer a K1000D-class camera first. That could well be just what you (and many Pentax fans) are looking for. A slim, trim body that competes directly against the Oly for size, but delivers the full APS-C sensor and all of the Pentax features and quality. A digital K1000 would be the perfect pair to those pancake lenses.
     
  10. loafer macrumors newbie

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    #10

    The olympus 25mm f/2.8 is not a wide angle prime on their 4/3 sensors. With the 2x sensor crop, it becomes a 50mm f/2.8.

    Pentax has the only true wide angle pancake prime lens on the market with their DA 21mm f/3.2 lens which becomes a 32mm lens on APS(rounding involved) .

    The pentax primes are all metal which is AWESOME! Although I prefer the FA limiteds (because I can use them on my film MX), the IQ is still stunning!
     
  11. cube macrumors G4

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    #11
    The E-420 is a great design. The MBA is typical Apple fashion crap.
     
  12. SLC Flyfishing macrumors 65816

    SLC Flyfishing

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    #12
    The Pentax K200 is one heck of a camera for the price, you've got integrated shake reduction, you've got weather sealing, you've got support for SDM and screw drive lenses. Top notch IQ for the class, and best of all you've got the ability to share lenses with your husband, as much as I respect Olympus, your husband already shoots Pentax and it would be much more cost effective to be able to purchase lenses only once rather than twice because you have 2 brands in the house.

    If you aren't worried about the price of purchasing 2 brands of lenses, think of it this way then. For the price of getting an Oly and Pentax version of consumer grade lenses you could buy an arsenal of the best Pentax professional grade lenses available, I'd practically kill for a 77 mm limited right now, you could have one easily for the money you'd be spending trying to support two systems.

    SLC
     
  13. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #13
    With a 25mm lens you can hand hold down to 1/25 of a second. If it had IS you could shoot even slower without a tripod but woud yu ever want to shoot slower then 1/25th second? Blur due to subject motion is already a concern at 1/25th IS is only useful with a telephoto lens ad you say this would be a one lens camera.
     
  14. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

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    #14
    Speaking as a Nikon owner - I'm seconding Grimace. I think you really really really should go for a Pentax, given that's what your husband shoots. Seriously, you can't discount the advantages of being able to swap lenses with your shooting buddy when you're out and about. It'll also save you a lot of money over the long run.

    In the interest of full disclosure I must admit I was a Pentax film shooter - I had a good ol' K1000 (still do, actually, but never use it anymore).
     
  15. Phrasikleia thread starter macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

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    #15
    Unfortunately, the Pentax pancake lenses are all either too long or too slow for my needs.

    The K200D is a big camera; the body alone weighs over 1.5 pounds with batteries installed, and the lens I want would bring the total weight up to well over 2.5 pounds! The e-420 with its pancake lens weighs in at just over 1 pound. That's a big difference. I've played around with my husband's K100D, and when I have that thing around my neck I feel as though I'm yoked to an ox cart or something.

    Now if Pentax really would come out with a KxxxxD, that would be a no-brainer for me, but I doubt any such release will happen in time for my summer shooting plans.

    Yeah, I should probably have said wide/normal, since these terms are all relative these days. I need the equivalent of something between 30-50mm on a full-frame sensor.

    I have nothing but respect for Pentax lenses, but they are expensive.
     
  16. SLC Flyfishing macrumors 65816

    SLC Flyfishing

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    #16
    FA 31 mm f/1.8 limited is the lens! I doubt very much if you'll find a better 30ish prime anywhere. Though if you're worried about weight, the limited primes are all solid metal and glass, that lens probably weighs as much as an Oly E420, but you know just holding it that it's near indestructible.

    SLC
     
  17. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

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    #17
    Many people are resistant to spending much money on lenses; and it's obviously your money and your decision. But with lenses you definitely get what you pay for. Generally the only "deals" are found by people that only look at one aspect of the lens (e.g. paying attention to sharpness but not to CA, slowness, vignetting, build, of some combination thereof).

    If you don't shoot a lot of low-light stuff, then your stated concerns about the 4/3 sensor probably don't matter. If you don't shoot landscapes, then 30mm or so (full frame equivalent) will probably do you just fine. In the end, you know best what sort of photographer you are, how discerning you tend to be, what you like to shoot, and how much money you want to spend. :D
     
  18. Phrasikleia thread starter macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

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    #18
    I do shoot low-light, but refuse to use high ISO. For the most part, I'll be shooting handheld, indoors, within about 10 feet of my subject. My subjects are stationary, centered in the frame, and rarely backlit. So: vignetting, light fall-off, CA, and high-ISO performance are of little concern to me. Sharpness and dynamic range matter most. Cost matters a lot. Size and weight matter too.

    But yeah, it's ultimately a very personal decision. I really appreciate all the comments I've gotten on this thread; you've all been really helpful.
     
  19. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #19
    I must say that I like Olympus because they're capable of some pretty fast lenses. I mean, I remember seeing a lens that's equivalent to a standard zoom lens (maybe something similar to a 24-70 mm or something), with a constant f/2 aperture. That'll make up for its slightly worse ISO performance.

    Ok, I honestly think that the K200D is very small, and was also going to recommend getting a Pentax. The K100D is very small to me, and I'm sure the K200D would be around the same, but if you think it's big and heavy, then don't buy it. Regardless of lens-sharing ability, don't buy a camera you won't use. Buy the Olympus E-420. You can't tell from the dimensions why people say it's small. After all, the Nikon D40 appears quite similar in terms of dimensions, but in your hand, it'll feel far smaller (too small for me to use on a regular basis).
     
  20. Phrasikleia thread starter macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

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    #20
  21. srf4real macrumors 68030

    srf4real

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    #21
    link please?

    I absolutely love the 2x sensor factor and consider it a plus with 4/3. Zuiko Digital's lowest tier lenses are also far better with image quality than anything in the same class made by any competitor... heck so are the mid and pro grade lenses made by Olympus! They need to design more 4/3 lenses to dispel the notion by some professionals that you can't get your range covered sufficiently with 4/3. In 35mm terms I am covered from 28mm to 600mm with three lenses which take excellent images at all ranges, in less than $1000 worth of glass.

    I almost bought the K10D because of the weather sealing... but instead by a fluke now a 4/3 fanboy lol.:p
     
  22. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

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    #22
    That'd be a pain in the rear, for sure. (speaking as a former K1000 owner)
     
  23. CanadaRAM macrumors G5

    CanadaRAM

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    #24
    Awesome -- Do you have a sister? Is she single? :D
     
  24. srf4real macrumors 68030

    srf4real

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    #25
    Thanks CrackedButter, however in reading that entire discussion topic the facts still seem a bit mysterious... mostly guessing at it.;) The prospect of 4 fps with a high speed card also intrigues me... my biggest concern with the Oly E-420 is my very large hands. I will need to hold one first. Nowadays there are so many 'camera reviews' websites and many are obviously pro - this manufacturer or that one, that it is end user experiences and feedback that I have come to rely on for my final decisions. I still find humor in the "Canon or Nikon is the only choice of professionals" people when we are all getting and selling absolutely fantastic images! Just depends on your own little niche in the art of photography and what suits one's specific needs. I see far more images lost due to poor technique, poor processing, etc... than because any particular model or make or sensor size was used. Every dslr is very capable of disastrous results in the wrong hands haha!

    Tony-in-Japan, I can't wait to hear how you like it!
     

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