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Thread: Is this goodbye olympus 4/3?

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    Member JGH's Avatar
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    Question Is this goodbye olympus 4/3?

    Hi all,
    For a while now i have been thinking about buying an E30. It seemed a logical upgrade from the E520, (bigger viewfinder, better focus system, same battery, the list goes on) i was also going to get the Sigma 70-200mm F2.8.
    BUT... i have been experienceing some odd things with my E520. I always thought it was me not holding the camera steady enough or not checking where i was actually locking my focus onto but it seems my cam has the dreaded front/back focus issue that i have read about.
    I checked all my firmware no's and they are up to date, so i then tried one of the many focusing charts that you can download and it seems i have a significant front focus problem on two of my lenses and a back focus on the 40-150mm.
    I found this out when my wife and i went for a walk and to try out wireless off camera flash, (that worked a treat, even in bright sunshine. The metz 48 flashes are brilliant.) Alot of the pictures were just not in focus at all and i distinctly remember checking my focus, hence the tests.
    This was good ammo for my wife who didnt want me to buy Olympus to start with. (shes a Canon fan) and i got the usual "i told you so" thrown at me !!!
    Even though i did remind her that the Oly was a compromise on features and price, i liked the features she liked the price (ONLY JUST!!) and that she wouldnt let me buy a Nikon D300 at the time (that just made things worse, so now it was all her fault.....oh what hole i dug !!!!!)

    Anyway that comes back to Is this goodbye olympus 4/3?, IF i bought the E30 i know i can adjust the focus to cancel the front/back focus problems, however i just saw the Nikon D7000 and WOW !!! (wife still not happy, A.Its not a Canon & B.Its alot of cash.)
    What im asking is: has anyone got an E30? how good is the viewfinder compaired to the E520 (or dare i say it.. A Nikon Dxxx?) is the AF good especially the C-AF as on my E520 it is no good for fast moving subjects.
    And has anyone had any focusing issues? Because i really like the specs of the E30, its got everything i want and if i invest in one and the Sigma lens then that cost equals the Nikon D7000 which would take me a while to recover from (even after selling all my Oly stuff). Also buying the Nikon puts me back in terms of equipment as i wont be able to afford lenses or flashes for a long time and i just got used to off camera flash and enjoy messing around with different lighting.

    Sorry for the long boring "help me decide" post, its not meant to be one. I would just like some views and user experience on the E30 (especially the viewfinder) I enjoy my photography and feel a little disapointed with the E520.

    If you read this far... thanks

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    Re: Is this goodbye olympus 4/3?

    Well....... i guess the E30 isn't a very popular camera as nobody has commented. As it happens a guy at work has a Nikon D300s with the 18-200mm & 60mm micro lenses. I was very surpised at the weight difference from the E520 and the build quality was excellent.
    The viewfinder was so much brighter but i found it even more difficult to see all the frame (i wear glasses) and found i really had to move my face about so as to be able to see all the corners.
    That said, the focusing was fast and accurate and the lens was so quiet focusing that you could just hear it. It made the E520 look like a toy.
    As the D7000 is very similar to the D300s it was a good indication of what to expect, So to answer my own question.....

    YES...... this is goodbye Olympus.....

    and hello Nikon.

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    Re: Is this goodbye olympus 4/3?

    Quote Originally Posted by JGH View Post
    Well....... i guess the E30 isn't a very popular camera as nobody has commented. As it happens a guy at work has a Nikon D300s with the 18-200mm & 60mm micro lenses. I was very surpised at the weight difference from the E520 and the build quality was excellent.
    The viewfinder was so much brighter but i found it even more difficult to see all the frame (i wear glasses) and found i really had to move my face about so as to be able to see all the corners.
    That said, the focusing was fast and accurate and the lens was so quiet focusing that you could just hear it. It made the E520 look like a toy.
    As the D7000 is very similar to the D300s it was a good indication of what to expect, So to answer my own question.....

    YES...... this is goodbye Olympus.....

    and hello Nikon.
    Check out the Nikon Colour . . . If you like it, then that's fine.

    Just this guy you know

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    Re: Is this goodbye olympus 4/3?

    Jono, No! Not the color scale....
    The reason I sold my Nikons. Oh my...
    I'm outta here.

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    Re: Is this goodbye olympus 4/3?

    Quote Originally Posted by Streetshooter View Post
    Jono, No! Not the color scale....
    The reason I sold my Nikons. Oh my...
    I'm outta here.
    . . . . and me too . . . TWICE - I'm never going there again - never.

    yallower than clay! - but I realise that's not how everyone feels.

    Just this guy you know

  6. #6
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    Re: Is this goodbye olympus 4/3?

    I dont have experience with the E30 so can't help you there. However the focusing issues can be there in any camera brand. 2-3 years ago I had a canon 30D which had a slight front focusing issue. It was slight enough that I didn't notice it for a long time. However when I did realize the issue I had to send it to canon for a fix. It was by that time long out of warranty and I ended up having to pay 60% of the market value of that camera for repair charges

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    Re: Is this goodbye olympus 4/3?

    Well, i have just checked and my camera is still in warranty (as long as i can find the reciept). So, if i can send it for repair i will. Then i will think about selling it OR....get the E30..........mmm but that Nikon does look mighty attractive, i just know my wifes not to pleased with my expensive upgrade idea. Ahh, i hate not being able to make up my mind..
    Ok, warranty issue first then see where i go from there...

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    Re: Is this goodbye olympus 4/3?

    Quote Originally Posted by JGH View Post
    Well, i have just checked and my camera is still in warranty (as long as i can find the reciept). So, if i can send it for repair i will. Then i will think about selling it OR....get the E30..........mmm but that Nikon does look mighty attractive, i just know my wifes not to pleased with my expensive upgrade idea. Ahh, i hate not being able to make up my mind..
    Ok, warranty issue first then see where i go from there...
    Have the E-520 adjusted ... it should focus very accurately. The one I bought and delivered for a friend*in 2008 made excellent, well-focused photos.

    The E-30 is a significant step upwards in viewfinder quality from the E-520. It has better controls, image quality, more features, etc, in nearly every dimension that counts. If you want to stick with Olympus, it is a fine body.

    You'd likely be better off going that way, and upgrading a couple of lenses to the similar focal length Olympus HG counterparts, than switching systems if you're worried about costs.

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    Re: Is this goodbye olympus 4/3?

    Thanks Godfrey, i have just discussed this with my wife and she is happier to send it away (its cheaper). Im ok with spending more :-), when you want something badly enough there is always a way (as long as its legal). I really like the new Nikon but i still find myself always going back to the reviews of the E30...
    Ah, wait and see. Got to find my reciept first !!!

    Thanks again

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    Senior Member pellicle's Avatar
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    Re: Is this goodbye olympus 4/3?

    Hi

    I agree ... if its under warranty. The differences in focus can be cause by many issues but (to me) prime among them will be misalignment of the focusing screen.

    For example a Pentax *ist (top) vs my G1


    that is of course too late to complain about warranty.

    But that's what warranty is for .. fixing manufacture defects :-)

    Nikon may not be perfect in the lower end either btw

    PS: that above shot represents the general result of over 14 shots even ones where I carefully focused on the cow manually

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    Re: Is this goodbye olympus 4/3?

    pellicle, there is a big difference there between those shots, mine is very similar. Was testing agian this evening and i must stop as i get very frustrated seeing it front focus.
    Hey i like the M+M man, i asked my wife to get me one of them for xmas, but it must be full of m+m's. I want a yellow one.....

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    Senior Member pellicle's Avatar
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    Re: Is this goodbye olympus 4/3?

    Hi

    Quote Originally Posted by JGH View Post
    pellicle, there is a big difference there between those shots, mine is very similar. Was testing agian this evening and i must stop as i get very frustrated seeing it front focus.
    the difference is startling. That's one of the things I like about m4/3 ... focus confirmation is done on the sensor. What you see is what you get.

    but don't get frustrated, get it fixed. Build some photographic evidence to support your claim and send it back.

    Its a pain but hey ... sh*t happens.

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    Re: Is this goodbye olympus 4/3?

    Ok, well i took some more tests so i can have a reference point.
    Here are some 100% crops of the front focusing problem on 3 different lenses.
    I will send these on a CD when i send the camera in.
    The actual focus point is the red square with "TV ORIGINAL" (its my wifes execise machine and its gathering dust !!!)
    Strangely the problem does not seem to exist in live view. All these crops are through the viewfinder. Well actually the 35mm Macro lens still has a problem in live view but the 2 kit lenses seem to be ok. If you focus the 35mm Macro on a close subject (ie actually a macro shot, its very sharp) which is odd. I know its something to do with focusing distances etc etc but i really dont care i just wanna take pictures !!!!

    All these were taken at a distance of about 3 meters
    Last edited by JGH; 17th November 2010 at 08:56. Reason: addition

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    Senior Member pellicle's Avatar
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    Re: Is this goodbye olympus 4/3?

    Hi

    interesting points

    when using live view the camera is using the sensor to focus and is using contrast detect, whoever when using the "regular" optical viewfinder methods it is using phase. Please browse this if you don't know these terms.

    Phase detect can have problems with plain tones and may be having trouble with your target. It needs either a vertical set of lines of a horizontal set (depending on how you're holding the camera and the type of system you have).

    This means that (for instance) a camera may not be able to focus on a power line across a blue sky because there is no vertical edge in the area.

    Despite it being marketed as being magic it still has limitations which you need to understand and work with.

    I'd say find a target you can be sure of having contrast and having a go with that.

    Worth noting is that the AF sensor point you pick in the view finder may not be EXACTLY where it displays as being, so don't make your target too small. It may miss it.

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    Re: Is this goodbye olympus 4/3?

    Quote Originally Posted by pellicle View Post
    Hi

    interesting points

    when using live view the camera is using the sensor to focus and is using contrast detect, whoever when using the "regular" optical viewfinder methods it is using phase. Please browse this if you don't know these terms.

    Phase detect can have problems with plain tones and may be having trouble with your target. It needs either a vertical set of lines of a horizontal set (depending on how you're holding the camera and the type of system you have).

    This means that (for instance) a camera may not be able to focus on a power line across a blue sky because there is no vertical edge in the area.

    Despite it being marketed as being magic it still has limitations which you need to understand and work with.

    I'd say find a target you can be sure of having contrast and having a go with that.

    Worth noting is that the AF sensor point you pick in the view finder may not be EXACTLY where it displays as being, so don't make your target too small. It may miss it.
    While some issues with some targets are unavoidable, I'd say this target presents a good enough subject that neither of my older SLR cameras (E-1 or L1) would have any trouble focusing the ZD 35 accurately with it.

    I'd send the E-520 in and have it taken care of. This kind of poor focusing performance is not typical of the E-520 model, IMO.

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    Senior Member pellicle's Avatar
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    Re: Is this goodbye olympus 4/3?

    Quote Originally Posted by Godfrey View Post
    While some issues with some targets are unavoidable, I'd say this target presents a good enough subject that neither of my older SLR cameras (E-1 or L1) would have any trouble focusing the ZD 35 accurately with it.

    I'd send the E-520 in and have it taken care of. This kind of poor focusing performance is not typical of the E-520 model, IMO.
    agreed ... it was a For His Info (FHI) in assisting him develop and assess focusing testing

    PS ... I forgot to mention to the OP that the above tests look like they were done in low light. This is also a source of focus issues as in dim light AF has problems.

    Fundamentally however I agree with Godfrey on all his points above

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    Re: Is this goodbye olympus 4/3?

    BTW, since you were looking at an E-30, I saw one posted for sale on FourThirdsForum today:

    http://forum.fourthirdsphoto.com/sho...957#post525957

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    Re: Is this goodbye olympus 4/3?

    I was taking pictures today with the 14-42 @ 42mm as it is ok at that focal length & i decided to switch to the 35mm Macro on the off chance it may take a pic that is "sharp enough".
    Strange thing is...... it worked perfectly, it took sharp image after sharp image at distances of between 3-5 meters. Now the light was good (window light - cloudy overcast) and i was using a flash, but it focused without a problem.
    Now it was mentioned that the test pics might have been taken in a low light situation. Well, i had 220W of tungston halogen light shining on the exercise machine & that was sufficient in the past (taking indoor pics when it was new), that should be enough for the camera to focus on. (i dont have 15ft ceilings)
    Things are looking bleak as i cant find my reciept, so my wife will call the shop to see if we can get a duplicate ( i don't speak Czech).
    Fingers crossed.
    Im selling my motobike, leathers and helmet so i will see how much cash i will have and decide: Nikon D7000 or E30 & keep my existing gear and get another lens. (Im leaning towards the E30 as it will cost a packet to get to the same level of gear from Nikon)

    I think i have a long time to think about it as ive heard if i can send the E520 in, it could have upto 6 weeks TAT !!!!
    Wait and see.....

  19. #19
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    Re: Is this goodbye olympus 4/3?

    I've used the E-30 and E-620 for over a year now and have had no problems with front focusing or any other focusing problems except where low light and a lack of contrast occasionaly make it hunt a little it, nor have I had that problem with my E-1, 500, 510 and 420 I have owned and yes the viewfinder is a very big improvement over the E-520 and all in all its a great camera.

    To be honest the samples you posted do not look like front focus problems but more like the shutter firing before focus is confirmed. Normaly the shutter does not fire until focus is clocked, this can be altered in the menu so the shuuter fires even if it is not in focus, have you checked to see if this is the case and you have accidently enabled it by mistake in the menu?

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    Re: Is this goodbye olympus 4/3?

    Thanks Olypaul for your comments about the viewfinder on the E30, i keep wondering if it is worth staying will Olympus and upgrading or selling the lot & starting again
    I did check the release priority settings in the menus. I never have them on actually and i got the centre red dot in the viewfinder and the round green circle along with the confirmation beep that the camera focused and locked on to the area (roughly as i dont actually know where the specific focus point is - i assume its around the centre focus point when that is the only active point, which it was in those tests).
    As i said in a previous post shooting in live view is spot on, its just the viewfinder thats the issue.
    Bummer really. Oh well.

    Thanks J

  21. #21
    ChrisJ
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    Re: Is this goodbye olympus 4/3?

    Do you have a 'protection' filter on? If so try taking it off and your front/rear focus might just go away.

    Edit: There's a handy front/rear focussing chart link here and instructions how to use it.

    http://forum.warehouseexpress.com/me...?FTopicID=3335

    (Click the link in the first message)

    Chris
    Last edited by ChrisJ; 20th November 2010 at 15:44.

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    Re: Is this goodbye olympus 4/3?

    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisJ View Post
    Do you have a 'protection' filter on? If so try taking it off and your front/rear focus might just go away.

    Edit: There's a handy front/rear focussing chart link here and instructions how to use it.

    http://forum.warehouseexpress.com/me...?FTopicID=3335

    (Click the link in the first message)

    Chris
    ChrisJ, when you say "Protection Filter" are you referring to a sky light filter that screws to the front of the lens? I don't have any filters at all, i was going to get some but now this problem has occured im not spending any more money on accessories.
    Thanks for the link. I used that chart initially to confirm the problem after my "walk in the woods" shoot went pear shaped, then i started carring out test shots to confirm the presence in actual photos.
    To add to my troubles, my 14-42 lens now will not show [email protected], it displays F4.6, if you tap the lens it flickers between the two. The EXIF data shows F4.6 & 23mm when its at 42mm, i could understand if i dropped the camera or something but im more careful with it than i am with a box of eggs.

    The focus problem is not limited to the 14-42 lens, its on all of them so that is a body fault & now the lens issue, whats next spontaneous combustion???
    Im not looking forward to being without a camera for a while, wish i had a credit card now.........actually i think its lucky i don't

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    Re: Is this goodbye olympus 4/3?

    Ok, reciept found PHEW!! just got to wait for a response from the shop and send it to them and see what happens.
    Currently taking pics (@42mm) of my leathers to stick on Aukro (Czech version of Ebay.) Fingers crossed i sell them, need the cash for some new gear.. J

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    Re: Is this goodbye olympus 4/3?

    Well the E520 went today, back to the shop and they will forward it onto Olympus.
    I dont expect it will be back before xmas and i hope they can sort the issue out.
    When it comes back its decision time.....

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    Re: Is this goodbye olympus 4/3?

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    Check out the Nikon Colour . . . If you like it, then that's fine.
    Oh please.. I had this argument oh so many times. And i did use Olympus for few years, since E1 through days of E-3, went through 4 bodies.

    There is no visible difference whatsoever, if you set your white balance properly with cameras that got Live View now. You cant tell difference between E-3 or D700, no matter how much you try, without sitting there and doing stupid colour picker on colour passport thingy..

    4/3 is great system, but it has its limits and unfortunately Olympus felt like dropping into m4/3 and thus - no more 4/3 bodies for now. I sold most of my Oly gear in past year (i had all Pro and couple of topPro lenses), leaving 510 and 11-22 only, just for the heck of it.

    But colour-wise - nothing. Days of "oh its such a great colour" are in past - they left in days of CCD sensors and average colours on other systems. In past two years - you cant really tell diff

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    Re: Is this goodbye olympus 4/3?

    Quote Originally Posted by SergeiR View Post
    Oh please.. I had this argument oh so many times. And i did use Olympus for few years, since E1 through days of E-3, went through 4 bodies.

    There is no visible difference whatsoever, if you set your white balance properly with cameras that got Live View now. You cant tell difference between E-3 or D700, no matter how much you try, without sitting there and doing stupid colour picker on colour passport thingy..

    4/3 is great system, but it has its limits and unfortunately Olympus felt like dropping into m4/3 and thus - no more 4/3 bodies for now. I sold most of my Oly gear in past year (i had all Pro and couple of topPro lenses), leaving 510 and 11-22 only, just for the heck of it.

    But colour-wise - nothing. Days of "oh its such a great colour" are in past - they left in days of CCD sensors and average colours on other systems. In past two years - you cant really tell diff
    I could not agree more to this!

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    Re: Is this goodbye olympus 4/3?

    Hello.
    I heard today that my E520 is on its way back to me and has been fixed!!
    No other details were given. Hopefully it will be with me before the end of the week and i can test it out and see if its focusing correctly. (i hope so, i've been so bored the last couple of weeks).
    Made a list of comparisons today between the E30 and D7000 including lenses and im still not sure. Oly lenses are a tad priceir and a few of them go to F2.8, but the Nikkors average at F3.5 and some are cheaper but its a close run thing. I guess at F3.5 you can just up the ISO to compensate for the lack of light, but that then leads to another question...... How often do you use high ISO's. By high i mean beyond 800. If im honest i rarely venture to 1600 on the E520 on the gounds that in poor light (which is when alot of people actually adjust the ISO) the output is....well rubbish. Its cleans up in Noise Ninja but its not great. In good light its ok...ish, so this is why i think im struggling to decide about the D7000 over the E30. Will i use the extra ISO settings?

    So back to the question, Who uses ISO over 800 on a regular basis and why?

    Thanks J

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    Re: Is this goodbye olympus 4/3?

    Hi all, well my E520 arrived this evening and i set up the test on the same dusty exercise machine with the same lighting and setting the camera to the same settings. Perfect It focused very quickly, no hunting and locked onto the red square i was aiming at. I ran through the focal lengths indicated on the lenses for both the viewfinder and in live view and the results were identicle.
    I am a happy man again. Also the 14-42mm lens has been repaired. The strange thing is, i would of thought that Olympus would have some kind of professional focus alignment chart but they sent a copy of photos taken with the focus chart they used and it was the downloadable chart from Tim Jackson. (http://focustestchart.com/chart.html) guess it must be a good chart if Olympus use it to confirm alignment. Well done Tim

    Still not sure what i want. The E30 is very high on my interest list but now i have decided that IF i do go ahead and stay with Olympus, i want the 12-60mm lens, adding this puts the camera up in the same price bracket as the D7000.
    BUT, something i have learned over the last couple of weeks is that it is all well and good having a fantastic all singing all dancing camera, but if you couple it to slow average lenses (ie, not pro grade) then all the resolution that the camera can capture will not be utilised and you still end up with soft images. So im more interested in the E30 as 12MP is enough for me, i dont print my pics and if im honest i only do some low light stuff as im more into flash (strobist) lighting and dont really need extreme ISO's.
    The pics i have seen from E30's at 3200 ISO are reasonably good and if you run them through noise ninja they can (if the lighting/exposure was correct) look perfectly acceptable. Good lenses from Nikon cost a fortune, but some really good lenses from Olympus are reasonable and within my price range. (not my wifes though, still trying to work out how to get around that)

    So i need to keep selling things and saving and then nip down to a camera shop (wife in tow as she speaks the language) and have a look at both cameras.

    Im glad my camera was ok and back in time for xmas. We have had about a metre of snow here in the last few days so i want to try and get some time to capture some winter pics.

    Thanks to everyone for their thoughts and advice, this forum is a great place to get help and insperation from and im glad i can be a small part of it.

    100% Crops of Pics of focus as it is now.

    Thanks again

    J

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    ... happy ending

    Good to hear they've repaired it and it's working the way it ought to.

    No camera is perfect, the E-520 is a fine piece of equipment. The E-30's better viewfinder is what would drive me there, and the E-5 beyond that.

    But the greatest improvement for the least money, given a properly functioning E-520 body, is lenses first. Fit a great lens even on an ancient E-1 and magic happens... !

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