What four thirds would you get?

Discussion in 'Olympus' started by rdm, Mar 21, 2011.

  1. rdm


    I am looking for a little guidance. As i am taking a Lighting class this semester and i am finding that it requires me to produce results faster than i have been doing so far with film. I feel that , although i love film to death, a digital camera body is the solution to keeping me from spending thirty extra hours a week in the dark room.
    What would you buy if you had about two hundred maybe two hundred and fifty to spend. You situation or criteria, is that you have many manual focus lenses available, many are fast. Almost all the lenses are for the Minolta MD mount. With focal lengths ranging from seventeen millimeters to, two hundred and fifty millimeters in retrofocal lenses. One five hundred millimeter mirror lens. And an orphaned fifty millimeter f/1.2 in Canon FD mount , that is only .2 faster than a couple of your Minolta lenses. You also happen to alredy have an adapter with focus conformation chip for the MD to four thirds mount.
    Now for used bodies in that price range, I have found a few cameras already. All are used buy now and the ones marked with asterisk are from reputable online camera stores with limited warranties, the others just people from crags list and BIN on eBay. They are an E-300*(210), E-330*($210), E-500*($220), DMC G1 ($225). I also happened to find a dealer selling an E-330 body for two hundred and fifty dollars that was a demo and told me it will come with a full USA warranty.
  2. If you plan to use MD lenses I recommend you any camera with live view.
    Focusing with optical viewfinder is very hard...not impossible but almost only usable for static or very slow subjects.
    I have an E-510 and sometimes got good shots with MC or MD glass even with optical viewfinder...but one problem is my adapter can't reach infinity focusing.
    My advice...try to buy a micro 43 camera...I think it is a better option today..
  3. I'd get the E500.
  4. For manual focus lenses, the key thing is how much the camera helps or hinders in focusing the lens.
    Given you are doing lighting, that would say to me that you are doing your work on a tripod. IMHO, on a tripod, you want to use live view to focus on the screen, particularly if the camera has an option to magnify a particular area (for example, on my E-P2 and E-3, I can select a mode that has a little green square, and I can position the square, and then hit a button, and it will magnify that area 7-10 times so that you can get the focus just right. Obviously this will be completely different how you are used to do it with a film camera using the viewfinder (unless you are using large format and focusing via ground glass). For continuous lighting, you can select modes where the LCD will track your exposure level so you can see how changing the light will affect the scene. For flash lighting, you need to have the background lighting high enough so that the camera sensor can show the scene in real time.
    Of the cameras you list, the E-300 and E-500 do not do live view. The Olympus E-330 and G-1 do do live view. The E-330 has somewhat of a cult camera status, because it was the first camera with live view, and it has a separate sensor in the viewfinder that does live view auto focusing. The G-1 is a micro 4/3rds camera from Panasonic, and only does live view (the viewfinder is electronic, and essentially a live view screen). The G-1 has a twist LCD screen that can be very handy for things like flower shots, where you don't have to lie on the ground to peer through the viewfinder. The E-330 also has a moving LCD screen, but it has fewer degrees of freedom in the movement. Also, for shooting on the tripod, the G-1 takes a wired shutter release, and the E-330 does not (but you can rig up a mechanical shutter release or buy a pre-made solution if you want a wired shutter release). So, my take is the G-1 is perhaps the best camera for your task, with the one hesitation that there are some complaints about using Panasonic cameras with manual/auto flashes. Since I don't own Panasonic cameras, I don't recall what the problem is.
    If you were wanting to use the viewfinder, the E-300, E-330, and E-500 cameras will likely disappoint you in terms of the optical viewfinder compared to your film camera. This is because the 4/3rds sensor is 1/4 the area of a 35mm film, and so the VF is consequently smaller as well, with many users complain that these cameras are like focusing in a tunnel. The E-330 has a much dimmer viewfinder, because some of the light is diverted to the seocndary sensor that allows faster live view auto focusing. The G-1 has an electronic viewfinder, which is just like the LCD, and as long as the background light in your studio is high enough, you should be fine.
    Just in case you weren't aware, because the 4/3rds sensor is 1/4 the area (1/2 length/width) of the 35mm film, it means the legacy lenses you own, will only crop the center of the lens. So your 15mm lens will have the field of view of a 30mm lens in a film camera, but depth of field, and the aperture will be the same. This is great for telephoto type shots, but not as great for wide angle.
  5. rdm


    Thank you all for your help so far.
    Yes Michael I do understand the sensor crop factors. Also i understand the need for a focusing aid like live view. The reason i have the Adapter with focus confirmation chip already, is because close friend has an e-500 i would borrow on occasion (4 or 5 times) and more recently this last year i got to use an E-620 for a couple weeks. Focusing with Live view some of the time at waist level and just using the focus confirmation the rest. I find that the TUNNEL view, as most call it, in the finder work well for a glasses wearer like me, it makes framing the shot easier.
    Currently the E-330 seems to be the for runner in my eye, because it has the the articulating screen for waist level live view focusing; when i get the money i can buy a Split prism focusing screen that I would be able to use in B mode live view (atleast I think I would be able to, in theory), and I already have the Adapter with the focus conformation. Also it has a higher FPS than the G1. I often try to capture moments with my Minolta using the MD-1 motor drive; things like birds flying and water balloons bursting. Although most of my photography shots are set up, and yes I do always have a tripod with me, until now i mostly did natural lighting hand held shooting. Ideally I will using strobes more due to this lighting class. I just checked and the 2 Panasonic G-1 camera bodies i seen for sale are sold. The cheapest ones i see now are for 250 and above. So that prices them out since i would also have to pay for shipping and get an adapter. Unless I find a G1 for less soon, I guess i am getting an E-330. I just wonder if its worth getting the Demo one from the dealer with full Olympus warranty for and extra 47 dollars, as opposed to a used one from a camera shop with their 90 day warranty.
  6. For the difference of $40, I would get the G1. G1 has a more updated sensor, which will give you better dynamic range and high ISO performance. In G1, with the manual assist function and one of the best EVFs, it is quite easy to magnify the area of interest for MF. Although you have to pay $40 more, the G1 is likely to maintain values better. Finally, the G1 is very light and compact, making it easy to be carried around.
  7. rdm


    Hey I just wanted to Update this for anyone that read it .. and thank all that helped me with information .... And to CC Chang I understand that to many people like yourself, that 40 dollars is not much money and would not a make or break anyone.. but for me, Especially at that time, going to school Full time with no full time job and zero savings, it was a lot of money, which I did not have.. My budget at that day in time was $250 USD, & not a penny more and I had to get the camera ASAP.. .
    Fortunately enough for me, because I was checking the auction site one last time on the day that I needed to make my camera purchase so I would have it on-time, i seen someone list a Panasonic DMC-G1 Body in original box with all the accessories Less the lens, for only 199 at a buy it now.. I noticed it was less than 1 hour since it had been listed and I purchased it right away, as well as ordering the cheapest MD adapter I could find on there too..
    Because i was so happy that i found what looked like the perfict camera at the best price for me at that time .. I included a note when i sent payment , thanking him and explaining my situation and i was happy to see this listing that I could afford, for the camera everyone told me I should get..
    As it turned out , that was a very good thing for me to do, because the seller wrote me back, saying that he had made a mistake. He wrote me saying that he did not mean to list it for a BIN and had intended to list the camera for auction with a $199 starting price since that was the lowest he was willing to take, so he was going to cancel my purchase but after reading my note was happy to go through with it and help me out over the little bit more money he might have made if he did an auction and had waited.
    So I had the camera and adapter and was using adapted lenses exclusively. I even spent a little time in the Machine shop at school and adapted an Old TV camera Zoom lens that I had (which was not a c-mount but i mad it fit on a c-mount adapter). It was a fast, constant f/2.5 and only vignetted slightly at the widest angel as long as it was wide open. I was using that lens too along with my Minolta lenses on the adapter, still never having owned an AF lens, up until late last year. I love the G1 and think it is best for legacy glass even after all this time with all the ยต4/3s that came out since (excluding the GH1 which is almost the same thing).
    Anyway .. sorry for the late update.. but I forgot about this thread.. so its nice to finally get to close this out with an ending.

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