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Thread: 4/3 System as Family Travel Camera

  1. #1
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    4/3 System as Family Travel Camera

    I thought that I start a new thread on the “Other Camera” about 4/3 system as a family travel camera. I recently took my wife’s Panasonic L1 (with a Leica D Vario-Elmarit 14-50/2.8-3.5 kid lens) on a short road trip to Great Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. I real like the 4/3 system, especially the optics. To my eyes, the IQ is better than my Nikon D200 (with 17-35/2.8 AFS). I like the fact that these lenses are designed for the 4/3 sensor size rather than the compromise of the other systems, including Nikon, Canon, Zeiss, and Leica. As much as I like my Leica M system, I find the sensor crop size and IR filter issues are rather annoying.

    The only shortcoming is that viewfinders of all available 4/3 bodies are rather dim. Other than that, I am sold on the 4/3 system. I just ordered a Leica D Summilux 25/1.4 this weekend and look forward to testing it. I’m seriously thinking about getting an Olympus body with the 7-14/4 ED and 50/2 ED micro.

    Kind regards,

  2. #2
    Subscriber Member Jorgen Udvang's Avatar
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    Re: 4/3 System as Family Travel Camera

    I completely agree on the 4/3 system for travel. I'm looking at a combination of E-520/11-22mm/50mm macro/1.4x TC for travel.

  3. #3
    Bizy
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    Re: 4/3 System as Family Travel Camera

    Hi Ocean

    Thanks for posting these images. I particularly like the top three which have natural, not over-saturated colors.

    The 4/3 system from Olympus is certainly a great lightweight solution to family travel. I bought an E-420 three weeks ago with three lenses (14-42, 25/2.8 and 50/2). I am particularly taken with the 50/2, so as I see you are considering it, I would encourage your decision. It is a very light combination that allows you to selectively focus and achieve what some people call "the professional look".

    The Olympus system plus points are: 1. Well made for the price (good value). 2. Very responsive shutter. 3. Great colors straight out of the camera. 4. Lightweight - you'll want to take it everywhere. 5. Good dust removal system. 6. Dedicated to digital high quality lenses.

    The minus points are: 1. Disappointing high iso shadow noise (technology has gone further than this) It bothers me - I want to use the lowest iso I can get away with. 2. Some people report slow AF in low light (Perfectly fast enough for me). 3. Highlights clip more aggressively than I am used to.

    My main niggle was the high iso noise in the shadows. As I normally use pro-level equipment and like to print large, this bothered me. So I ended up adding the E-520 body so that I could use the IS to help me keep the camera as close to iso 100 as possible. At that speed, I love this system. Everyone has different noise tolerance, I prefer to keep the Oly E-*20 cameras at between 100 - 400. You might like to consider that point when deciding between the E-420 & E-520

    I was at a market in Bangkok this weekend with the E-520 + 50/f2 lens. Here are a few shots, all hand held with IS on, that make beautiful A3 prints:

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    Senior Member helenhill's Avatar
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    Re: 4/3 System as Family Travel Camera

    Beautiful....YEA OLY!!!
    I think under appreciated / not much mileage at getdpi
    but I think quite FAB!!

    Best-h

  5. #5
    Bizy
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    Re: 4/3 System as Family Travel Camera

    Hi Helen

    Yes - Oly is under-represented here which is a pity because the quality of photography on GetDPI is generally superb. Less camera talk and more pics. (I'm now saving up for a DP-1 because of you folks!).

    Also, this site renders posted images beautifully on my Mac with Safari - noticeably better than other forum sites.

    Here are a few more pics taken with the E-520 and 50/2 macro lens...

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    Subscriber Member Jorgen Udvang's Avatar
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    Re: 4/3 System as Family Travel Camera

    Bizy,
    Absolutely beautiful photos, particularly the last one in b&w. Just like being there (Coming to think of it, that is what I am. Oh, never mind )

    They inspired me to have a look at some photos from last year. Street shots from the poor, dusty, muddy border town of Poipet in Cambodia. All with the E-1 and OM Zuiko 100mm f/2.8 @ f/4.0 except for the fruit vendor which must be f/5.6.








  7. #7
    Bizy
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    Re: 4/3 System as Family Travel Camera

    Hi Jorgen

    Thanks for the compliment. Likewise your pictures are truly evocative of SE Asia; a photographer's paradise. I have never been to Cambodia but it is on my list.

    Your portrait of the young girl is stunning - a carefree open expression which you'd be hard pressed to get from anyone you pointed a camera at in the West - unless you knew them well of course. I guess that's what makes the Asian people so compelling as casual photo subjects.

    I also like the pair on the motorcycle, I never tire of watching entire families and their belongings on the saddle of a two-wheeled vehicle. Typical in Asia.

    Your pictures have more subtle highlight rendition than I have found on the E-*20 cameras, which are sometimes criticized for clipping. But then your pictures are slightly softer overall. Can you explain that? Is it just the E-1 being better/different in this regard or have you shot RAW and recovered the highlights?

    My pictures were all shot in Jpg and I sadly lost a few good shots to the highlight problem.

  8. #8
    Subscriber Member Jorgen Udvang's Avatar
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    Re: 4/3 System as Family Travel Camera

    Hi Bizy,
    The OM 100mm f/2.8, as opposed to the f/2.0 version, is not a particularly sharp or contrasty lens, even when stopped down to f/4.0. Very nice for portraits. In addition, the E-1 controls the highlights very nicely, and the images are possibly the most "film-like" of any DSLRs, even compared to the Fujis.

    With Olympus, I always shoot RAW. Memory cards are cheap. In this part of the world, I mostly shoot between 6 and 9 in the morning, and after 3 in the afternoon. The mid-day light is simply too contrasty. It's a good excuse for a long lunch and some extra sleep as well

    The Cambodians are the friendliest people you'll ever meet. It's a perfect place for street photography. Be careful if you go there though. The crime rate is rather high, and it's easy to get into situations that can lead to misunderstandings, not least with regards to young girls

  9. #9
    Bizy
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    Re: 4/3 System as Family Travel Camera

    Jorgen...

    Is the crime rate in Cambodia and/or Vietnam any more threatening than in Thailand, where I always feel very safe?

    I visited a very seedy area in BKK that everyone advised me not to go to. "Too dangerous", "street gangs", "drugs" etc.......... were the warnings. I just ignored it and went anyway - didn't have any bother at all, even when pointing my camera at some real toughies. In fact, they were most charming people and it was obviously a place that foreigners don't normally stroll.

    I figure that being paranoid is a hindrance to great street photography.

    This image was taken in that area (the name escapes me), with a Canon 20D:

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: 4/3 System as Family Travel Camera

    I would like to see more of the Oly stuff . I really like how Oly does it's color. I came real close to a E3 and now I have the MF stuff to do almost everything . The Nikons may go bye bye but still like to have something for fun. Hmmm
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

  11. #11
    Subscriber Member Jorgen Udvang's Avatar
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    Re: 4/3 System as Family Travel Camera

    The north of Vietnam seems very safe to me. I haven't been to the south, but it's supposed to be different. In Cambodia, it depends on where you go. Rural areas are considered safe, but some of the cities are not. I solve the problem by hiring a "driver" with a motorbike that takes me around, translates and keeps me out of trouble. It costs me the equivalent of 100-150 baht per day, plus anything he eats or drinks. Then of course, he has a commission on anything I eat, drink or buy, but that's part of his business anyway.

    The only problem is that those guys will try to sell me services that I don't want to buy. I don't need to go into details, do I?

    Thailand is mostly safe, but there are areas, particularly in Pattaya and other tourist hot-spots, that are a bit out of control. As long as you stay sober, behave nicely and don't go down deserted roads in the dark alone, you are usually safe.

    Be aware though, that street gangs sometimes fight each other, and when they do, they don't always care who gets hit. If you see 200 guys on motorbikes, going in another directions might be a good idea

    Impressive shot btw. I think I'd stay away from his girlfriend though

  12. #12
    Subscriber Member Jorgen Udvang's Avatar
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    Re: 4/3 System as Family Travel Camera

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    I would like to see more of the Oly stuff . I really like how Oly does it's color. I came real close to a E3 and now I have the MF stuff to do almost everything . The Nikons may go bye bye but still like to have something for fun. Hmmm
    Guy,
    The E-3 is a great camera. The excellent viewfinder makes it easy to focus manually, and since there are lots of adapters for all kinds of lenses available, there's a lot of fun to be had. My favourite is still the tiny 100mm f/2.8. A couple of hundred grams, but the reach of a 200mm opens up a lot of possibilities. Do you still have any Leica R lenses? They'll fit as well.

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    Senior Member LCT's Avatar
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    Re: 4/3 System as Family Travel Camera

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    ...I really like how Oly does it's color...
    So do I. Oly has always made great lenses so far as i recall. Asian Leica. Pity they don't make APS cameras at least. I dream of a full frame digital OM1

  14. #14
    Senior Member Joan's Avatar
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    Re: 4/3 System as Family Travel Camera

    I don't know how I missed this thread before, LOVELY work all! Yup, the Oly's deliver the best color around and the lenses are wonderful. Bravo!
    Regards,
    Joan

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    Senior Member Brian Mosley's Avatar
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    Re: 4/3 System as Family Travel Camera

    Same here Joan, missed this one... thanks!

    I must take the time to post more shots...

    Kind Regards

    Brian

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    Re: 4/3 System as Family Travel Camera

    Jorgen:
    Could you recommend an adapter for Leica lenses on the E-3 or E-510? I'd like to play around with this a bit as my DMR is a bit heavy for a "walk around" camera.
    One other question: are there aftermarket focusing screens available for the E-510 that would improve manual focus accuracy? I've played around with a 510 and manual focus is a bear with the standard screen.
    Thanks,
    Lawrence

  17. #17
    Subscriber Member Jorgen Udvang's Avatar
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    Re: 4/3 System as Family Travel Camera

    Lawrence,
    There are a number of adapter alternatives available, but the three main routes as far as I'm concerned are:

    - Leica makes their own adapter, since they are into both formats and mounts. A bit expensive.
    - www.cameraquest.com Somewhat expensive, but a very reliable supplier.
    - Anything available on the auction site. Very cheap, but usually ok.

    I haven,'t tried alternative focusing screens for the 510, but I know www.katzeyeoptics.com have one. With them, you can choose among a number of features.

    The E-3 and the E-1 are obviously much easier to focus manually than the E-510.

    Hope that helps.

  18. #18
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    Re: 4/3 System as Family Travel Camera

    Thanks Jorgen
    That's exactly the info I was looking for.
    Lawrence

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