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View Full Version : E330 format mistake?



lincoln30
06-09-2006, 07:45 PM
I am considering getting the E330. However someone said the 4:3 sensor size is a major mistake for Olympus do to printing problems and this will doom the camera. Something about this format is going by the wayside in favor of 16:9.

Is this true and if so why did they pick 4:3?

Norm in Fujino
06-09-2006, 08:26 PM
No sensor size at present is ideal, given the variety of paper formats out there. 4:3 is the size used by most P&S digital camera sensors, while the 3:2 format used in APC and 35mm FF dSLRs is a vestige of the historical fluke caused when 35mm movie film was adopted for still-picture cameras.

No matter which sensor format you choose, depending on what size you print at you'll find some papers with which you end up having to either crop some from one end/side of the image, or waste a bit of paper when printing.

For me, it's just one of those "get over it!" kinds of things. And aesthetically, of course, it's a personal matter whether you prefer the 3:2 or 4:3 format for viewing. Some people think that 3:2 is better for landscapes while 4:3 is better for portraiture, etc.
Don't worry too much about the nay-sayers who talk of doom and gloom for the future of E-330; given that Panasonic and Leica have announced their own 4:3 format camera (http://www.letsgodigital.org/html/review/panasonic/lumix_dmcl1/slr_camera.html), due out later this year, and Sigma has even made sounds about possibly developing a camera in that format, the format is likely to stay around for quite a while. Not to forget that Olympus has its own E-1, E-300, E-500, E-330, and a promised upgrade pro camera E-3 due at Photokina in September.

lincoln30
06-10-2006, 08:57 AM
what are the benefits with going to a 4:3 format?? Are there improvements?

Norm in Fujino
06-10-2006, 09:46 AM
what are the benefits with going to a 4:3 format?? Are there improvements?

Er, improvements vis a vis what?
I suppose some advantages would be these:

1. Marginally smaller size/weight compared to larger formats.
2. Excellent lens quality and coverage. With just two lenses (14-54 and 50-200) you can cover the entire 35mm field of view extending from 28mm to 400mm.
3. No confusion as to which lenses fit which cameras. All the Oly 4:3 lenses have been designed from the ground up for these 4:3 digital cameras. Sigma has ported 3 of its lower quality lenses to 4:3 and has announced they will be porting 5 of the top lenses this summer. Leica will be making 4:3 lenses for the new Panasonic camera (and possibly their own) too.

4. Olympus only (at present writing) advantages include the dust reduction sswf, eliminating any worries about cleaning your sensor, and in-camera pixel mapping (some other manufacturers charge service fees for these things)
5. Adapters are available to allow the use of virtually any conventional 35mm SLR camera lens (using manual focus).
6. What some of us think is about the best out-of-camera color.

Now for some of the disadvantages:
1. High ISO noise is worse than with other competitive cameras, although the E-330 has shown remarkable improvement. We're all hoping that the E-3 continues in that trend. I shoot fairly regularly at ISO 1600, and use Noiseware and Neatimage in those cases. But if ISO 1600 makes up the majority of your photography, I'd definitely look elsewhere.
2. Fewer 3rd-party lenses, especially primes. The only primes currently available are the Oly 50mm f2.0 macro (an absolutely top-quality performer), and its little brother the 35mm macro. Sigma is promising to port its f1.4 50mm this summer, however, and like I said, if you're into classic lenses, you can use virtually any pentax, nikon, canon, vivitar, etc., etc., lens in manual mode via an adapter.
3. Ability to make huge enlargements will fall off before certain other cameras (e.g., the full-frame 35mm sensor cameras) due to the smaller sensor/pixel size and absolutely number of pixels. But this is only a relative issue. In fact, ask yourself how large you are likely to be printing; if you'll be looking at the prints from normal distance, any of the 4:3 cameras will produce beautiful prints as large as you care to go. I personally print without any worries at A3 size, and using a program like Qimage for your printing the potential is even greater. I've known several guys who regularly print large format prints from the E-1 (5MP) since its Kodak sensor is exceptional for that size.

I'm sure detractors will be able to suggest further reasons not to buy one, but I wouldn't be worried about the longevity of the 4:3 format any more than about any of the other compromise formats (APS, etc.); the 4:3 format is likely to be around for the foreseeable future.

lincoln30
06-10-2006, 11:39 AM
confirm if I'm correct.

Each manufacturer has different ideas on what should be built into their camera. IE let's say brand A has spot metering, brand B doesn't. Brand B has RAW, Brand A doesn't. Each brand have different lens that I want and both have the features I want.

With the 4:3 format I am free to get both brands cameras and be able to use the lens from each brand on both cameras as long as they are both 4:3 format.

Norm in Fujino
06-10-2006, 06:19 PM
confirm if I'm correct.

Each manufacturer has different ideas on what should be built into their camera. IE let's say brand A has spot metering, brand B doesn't. Brand B has RAW, Brand A doesn't. Each brand have different lens that I want and both have the features I want.

With the 4:3 format I am free to get both brands cameras and be able to use the lens from each brand on both cameras as long as they are both 4:3 format.

In principle, correct. Only, at this minute in time, Olympus is the only manufacturer with a 4:3 dSLR body; Panasonic/Leica is supposed to have one on the market sometime later this year. When they come out, the Panasonic bodies can be used with Olympus or Sigma lenses, and Sigma or Panasonic/Leica lenses will be usable on Olympus bodies.