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View Full Version : Olympus E-300 "unusable" at ISO 1600?



Norm in Fujino
10-27-2005, 08:18 AM
...well, so goes the common rumor, but it all depends on your technique and what you're looking for. Most important tip I can give is to avoid underexposure, since it definitely causes the noise to jump. But with good exposure, they clean up quite nicely:

These were with the ZD 50mm f2.0 macro and Neatimage:

http://i27.photobucket.com/albums/c197/Peregrinor/PA273676_fa.jpg


http://i27.photobucket.com/albums/c197/Peregrinor/PA273669_fa.jpg

coldrain
10-27-2005, 02:05 PM
Scaled down and with post processing I am sure you can get usable results at times. White subjects will not show the noise and good as darker ones anyway.
Thing is, you will NEED noise ninja or neat image for usable results, the E-300 is noisy above 400 ISO, noisier than the competition from Pentax, Canon and Nikon. That the Nikons can be crap when using very sharp lenses (the sharper the lens, the more chance for moire and other artifacts) at lower ISO values of course may give Olympus fans some ammunition.
Fact remains: noisy above ISO 400

Norm in Fujino
10-27-2005, 05:49 PM
Scaled down and with post processing I am sure you can get usable results at times. White subjects will not show the noise and good as darker ones anyway.
Thing is, you will NEED noise ninja or neat image for usable results, the E-300 is noisy above 400 ISO, noisier than the competition from Pentax, Canon and Nikon. That the Nikons can be crap when using very sharp lenses (the sharper the lens, the more chance for moire and other artifacts) at lower ISO values of course may give Olympus fans some ammunition.
Fact remains: noisy above ISO 400

All you say is true, and no, compared to the competition, the E-300 is not a "high ISO" camera, and it's not my purpose to say it's results there will ever be as smooth as those produced with the Canons, for example. My point is: we choose our solutions based on real issues, not on what other people's needs are. Whatever the case on paper, ISO 1600 is not unusuable for the small proportion of my shooting done at high ISOs (well, sometimes it is, and sometimes it isn't; that depends on how I need to use the photos); in any case, it's well to remember that there are solutions when shooting there is necessary. Scaling down does have a positive effect, no question about it; but then, in one way or another, virtually all of my photo presentation is done scaled down, so what's the difference? For that matter, how many of us regularly print at 1:1 size, anyway? FWIW, I printed out one of these images at A4 (from the original, not the resized print), and while it unquestionably has more noise than an ISO 100 print, it's not a make/break issue--at least not for me; I wouldn't say that in the case of all prints made for all purposes, so YMMV.

This reminds me of something I read recently in an article by Bob Atkins (http://www.photo.net/learn/optics/digitaloptics/) over on Photo.Net. The article itself was talking about differences involved in lens selection when shooting with film+scanning, versus shooting straight Jpegs with digital, but as he noted the differences between the two media he made the following statement:

"Of course it's possible that if I shot everything on Velvia and had professional drum scans made of my slides, film would look better than it does when I shoot Sensia 100 and scan on an FS4000US. In fact I'm sure it would. If I regularly made 20x30 prints, maybe drum scanned Velvia would be significantly better than 10D digital images. Again, I'm pretty sure they would. However the point is that I don't get professional drum scans done, and for most of my work I don't use Velvia and I don't think I've ever had a 20x30 print made from a 35mm slide, so such comparisons, while valid in the abstract, aren't really valid for me and my workflow. I'm just not going to use nothing but Velvia at EI 40, I can't afford to get everything drum scanned and I'm not in the business of making 20x30 prints. So while film may be better in the abstract case, for me it's not."

Point being once again (when applied to present discussion) that we use different solutions for different purposes, and should make our decisions based on what we really use photography for, and not how somebody else might want to use it. Up to this point I've made very few A3 prints (and those I have made turned out very well); I've noted before that if I had to make even larger prints on a regular basis, or lots of A3 prints that required heavy cropping, or if I shot fast-moving sports or stage performances where I genuinely needed ISO 1600 and up as a basic fact of life, I might well balk at the Olympus performance there. But I don't do those things--or I do so so rarely in the real world that it's inconsequential. And there are solutions for the rare cases (in the same way that I assume Canon shooters have solutions for back focusing or skin color, or Nikon shooters for the moire or whatever). The solutions won't always be the same; sometimes I will use a NR program; sometimes I will do a B/W conversion and enhance the noise (a local musician recently used one of my dark, noisy high-ISO shots of her in concert to print on an concert ad).
None of the solutions out there are perfect for 100% of cases, but it's nice to know there are solutions.

Balrog
10-27-2005, 06:06 PM
For that matter, how many of us regularly print at 1:1 size, anyway?

What, stamps? 24mm by 16mm? nope, none of us, i'm pretty sure. :D

Norm in Fujino
10-27-2005, 06:19 PM
What, stamps? 24mm by 16mm? nope, none of us, i'm pretty sure. :D

Well, shure. . . but what I meant :confused: was full native resolution (here, 3264x2448 pixels) at typical (?) printer output of 200 dpi = 16x12". This actually brings up another issue, namely what shots to choose to print at what printer resolutions. I assume that noise naturally becomes more objectionable when printing large at higher dpi settings, so that represents another part of the "solution" to be kept in mind.

coldrain
10-28-2005, 12:57 AM
What, stamps? 24mm by 16mm? nope, none of us, i'm pretty sure. :D
The Kodak sensor in the E-300 is much smaller than 24x16mm :P

D70FAN
10-28-2005, 06:07 AM
The Kodak sensor in the E-300 is much smaller than 24x16mm :P

For reference:

E300/E500 sensor is 17.3mm x 13mm (4:3 aspect ratio - 2X crop).

Canon 300D/350D/20D sensor is 22.2mm x 14.8mm (3:2 aspect ratio - 1.6X crop).

All Nikon dSLR sensors are 23.7mm x 15.6mm (3:2 aspect ratio - 1.5X crop) as are most other 3:2 ratio 1.5X dSLR's.

Rhys
10-28-2005, 07:33 AM
For reference:

E300/E500 sensor is 17.3mm x 13mm (4:3 aspect ratio - 2X crop).

Canon 300D/350D/20D sensor is 22.2mm x 14.8mm (3:2 aspect ratio - 1.6X crop).

All Nikon dSLR sensors are 23.7mm x 15.6mm (3:2 aspect ratio - 1.5X crop) as are most other 3:2 ratio 1.5X dSLR's.


The Canon 5D has a sensor 24x36mm 1x crop ratio :D

erichlund
10-28-2005, 08:07 AM
The Canon 5D has a sensor 24x36mm 1x crop ratio :D
And a $3300 price tag. That's about $3.82 / sq. mm. Almost down to the per unit price of gas. :)

To round out the usual culprits:
XT - $2.18 / sq. mm
D70s - $2.43 / sq. mm
D50 - $1.76 / sq. mm
E 300 - $5.20 / sq. mm

I'll leave out Pentax and Konica-Minolta becuase I'm pretty sure they want to remain aloof from such a petty squabble (and because I didn't want to waste any more time looking up camera prices). Any more irrelevant statistics we'd like to beat to death?

Norm's point is perfectly valid. It works for him. OTOH, it's not the right choice for me. Which is also perfectly valid.

Cheers,
Eric

Norm in Fujino
10-28-2005, 08:20 AM
Norm's point is perfectly valid. It works for him. OTOH, it's not the right choice for me. Which is also perfectly valid.

Thank you. You said it with a much greater economy of words than I. :)

D70FAN
10-28-2005, 08:28 AM
I think we have always supported Norms choice, and he does very well with the E300.

Balrog
10-28-2005, 01:24 PM
By the way, Norm - as a current E-300 owner, is there anything about the E-500 that would make you want to trade up?

coldrain
10-28-2005, 02:42 PM
By the way, Norm - as a current E-300 owner, is there anything about the E-500 that would make you want to trade up?
Quite a lot I guess... lighter, normal form factor so you do not have to answer annoying qustions all the time... ;)
Better higer ISO performance, faster in operation? It is what the E-300 should have been from the start, some say. The E-300 of course always was capable of very good results (better than most DSLR's in its class) at lower ISO.

It now is a real contender, only annoying it wants to clean its sensor ALWAYS when it gets turned on, making startup time slow. This is something the Olympus engineers should address. But then again, if you keep it on standby it will not go into the cleanup program, and will be ready to use almost instantly.

Balrog
10-28-2005, 02:56 PM
But then again, if you keep it on standby it will not go into the cleanup program, and will be ready to use almost instantly.

That's a neat trick .. any idea what the battery drain is like, in standby mode?

coldrain
10-28-2005, 03:04 PM
No, but if my Canon EOS 350D is anything to go on battery drain with standby is very low.

Norm in Fujino
10-29-2005, 10:02 AM
By the way, Norm - as a current E-300 owner, is there anything about the E-500 that would make you want to trade up?

Anything? Well, perhaps the NR filter and 49-segment exposure meter, though I haven't seen enough actual results to make a definitive decision about what improvements are entailed. But in a practical sense? No. I think the E-300 has better build quality, and functionally, I see the E-500 to be a minor model change, mostly produced to draw back some people who were turned off by the E-300's unconventional shape. I think they took a page from the Canon playbook, marketing it primarily to the same audience as the Canon XT, namely new families and ladies (thus the diminutive size and weight; I say that not as a macho criticism, but based on my assessment of the advertising I've seen here in Japan). It certainly handles well and the light weight would be attractive for my mountain jaunts, but not so much to make me want to trade --besides, I've kinda grown to like the unconventional shape of the E-300, and I'm really waiting to see what the E-1 replacement looks like next year).

The E-500 is certainly meant for younger users, since it has less diopter adjustment range than the E-300--in fact, when I tried one out at the store, I couldn't adjust the diopter enough to bring the vf into focus, so that fact alone made it unusable for me (my eyes went south about 10 years ago and I really need to have an operation to bring my eyesight back to the 20/20 where it belongs :mad: ). Yes, I could wear glasses, but I've always hated to wear glasses while shooting through any camera.

LATER EDIT Here's a link to a couple of nice photos taken with the E-500 and the longer of the kit lens (40-150mm)
http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1022&message=15641295

Norm in Fujino
10-29-2005, 10:11 AM
It now is a real contender, only annoying it wants to clean its sensor ALWAYS when it gets turned on, making startup time slow. This is something the Olympus engineers should address. But then again, if you keep it on standby it will not go into the cleanup program, and will be ready to use almost instantly.

I've heard that criticism from some people on the DPReview Oly forum as well, but I'm not convinced that it should be a user-programmable turn ON/OFF device. If Oly left it up to users to turn on, some people would be sure to to complain that they got dust on their sensors because they forgot to use the shaker, thus resulting in bad press. Personally, I've never missed a shot because of that trivial warm-up time; I try to program it into my shooting habits, so that I'm already half-pressing the shutter while raising the camera to my eye. Sure, in the abstract, the shorter time the better, I guess, but it's never been an issue for me. (And there's a lot of difference between the 1.8s required by the E-300 and the 4 seconds required by my old digicam!)