Olympus iS-3000/iS-3/L-3

Discussion in 'Modern Film Cameras' started by howardstanbury, Nov 29, 2011.

  1. Back in the spring there was a discussion here on the Olympus iS series, which touched on the iS-3000/iS-3/L-3, the camera at the top end of the range. More recently Mike Gammill did a nice presentation on the Olympus iS-30 (iS-300 in Europe) from 1999, and this followed other presentations on film 'bridge' cameras from the late 80s/early 90s, including JDM's on the Ricoh Marai, which appears to have been co-developed with and manufactured for Olympus as the AZ-4.
    I have always been fond of my iS-3000 camera, my last main film SLR before I moved to digital, some years ago now. The camera dates from 1992, and one accessory I had been curious about was the iS/L Lens B-28 0.8x HQ Converter, an optical converter that made the widest lens setting 28mm instead of the normal 35mm. I found one on eBay recently and for not much more than 10 pounds it was mine.
    All of the following pictures were taken earlier this year on Kodak Color Plus, ISO 200 film.
    The camera itself - presumably the wording on this side of the lens barrel was the same in all regions
    A general view in the local churchyard
    Using the camera's macro setting
    Using the 35mm end of the zoom range
    Using the optical converter to get the equivalent of a 28mm field of view.
    I was disappointed as to how soft the picture became with the adapter fitted.
    The iS-3000 camera with the B-28 0.8x converter attached
    At the telephoto (180mm) of the zoom range (Pier pavillion, Aberystwyth)
    One brass instrument
    Two brass instruments
  2. Mr. Stanbury...
    I too share your good opinion of the IS-3/IS-3000. I have two of them and two B-28 converters. The clarity through my two converters is at least 99% of what I get without. One of the converters has been dropped and rattles when shaken. It still gives 99% of the "without" clarity. Considering my dropped converter that has at least one piece of glass shaking around inside of it gives so much better results than your B-28, I would conclude you have a bad sample, not a poorly engineered product. I've used a couple of other front-of-the-lens converters and have never found any that are as capable as both the "wide" and "tele" converters for my IS-3s.
    At 10 pounds, I'd toss it and get another example. If you get a good one, I'm positive you'll be pleased with the results.
    A. T. Burke
  3. When the photo magazines tested the IS-3 they were impressed with the performance of both converters. BTW, great
    photos. Thanks for posting.
  4. I've never used the converters, but I certainly admire the IS-3000. Thanks for an informative post and some fine images.
  5. Sorry for the late response. I had not visited this forum for a while. I am wondering is it only me that noticed this. The prints and slides from the IS series cameras look sharp, but somehow have low color vibrancy. I used to think that the pictures from them are superb, but after having used primes on the OM series and the 35RC, I think the IS series cannot hold a candle to these cameras. The pictures' low color saturation is noticeable even in the scans on this thread, but is very prominent when you compare the actual slides.
  6. "...the IS series cannot hold a candle to these cameras."​
    I've had an iS-2 for around 10 years and it's capable of producing vibrant colors and snappy contrast. Most of Howard's photos, above, appear to show very good contrast, saturation and sharpness. But like most complex lenses it benefits from a good lens hood or some other method for shading the lens to minimize flare, particularly veiling flare that impairs contrast and color saturation.
    Howard's photo of the white rose with the wide angle adapter shows the effects of veiling flare on that huge front element. I'd bet he'll get better results if he reshot it using a hat or some other object to help shield it from what appears to be very strong sidelight with the sun slightly toward the front right, which would definitely create a problem with veiling flare.
    I've also had two Olympus 35 RC rangefinders and while it's an excellent little camera, the lens isn't inherently superior to the iS-series. By the way, the 35 RC can also benefit from a hood or other method for shading the front element. Mine is fitting with the original Olympus brand protective filter (scarce in that oddball diameter), which makes a hood or shade even more critical.
  7. I'll be happy to try that the next time I put a film through that camera, Lex, but I think the sun was more-or-less behind me
    when I took the picture. The house in the background lies east-west and the camera is pointing south east. You can see
    from the shadows on the roof that the sun was in the west ... But as to your main point, I'd agree that the camera normally
    performs very well and can deliver sharp and well contrasted results. A bridge camera is inevitably a compromise
    compared to SLRs and rangefinder cameras, but the optics of this camera usually delivered good results.
  8. Also, the IS series zooms may perform better than some of the kit lenses that were sold with film SLR's of that time period.

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