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Author Topic: Sony DSC-F828  (Read 22627 times)
MatthewCromer
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« Reply #20 on: January 09, 2004, 07:13:13 AM »
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Bob,

I already sent my 828 back to get one with less CA. So obviously I don't just look at the camera with rose-colored glasses.

There are already reviews all over the web, including at A Digital Eye where you can compare images shot at the same time between the 828, A1, and other cameras. The resolution difference is easy enough to see in the samples.

But then again you have the A1, so I guess you too "have a dog in this fight" too.

If I had to recommend one of the compact digital cameras at this point to the average photographer, I'm not sure I would recommend the 828. The CA in enough of a problem on at least many of the units that a casual photographer who didn't know his or her way around Photoshop would be suffering nasty purple fringing on a fair number of shots. My hope is that some of the units have a lot less CA and that Sony can tighten up their QA process.

The A1 has a lot to recommend it -- I'd probably tell someone getting a compact camera to look at it before the 828, unless they needed the higher resolution or better video of the 828 and were able to handle the fringing issue.
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MatthewCromer
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« Reply #21 on: January 09, 2004, 08:55:55 PM »
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We've been investigating over at DPReview STF and it looks like there are two classes of digital camera ISO ratings.

On the one side are Canon and Minolta's digicams (and Canon dSLRs) whose ratings are more sensitive.  Sony, Nikon, Fuji and Olympus' digicams are in the less sensitive group, and are equivalent to film ISO ratings.

Generally ISO 200 on the less sensitive group is, more or less, as sensitive as ISO 100 on the more sensitive group.

However, if we are talking about landscape, I think we need to consider how the cameras perform in their lowest ISO, as that is where the overwhelming majority of landscape images (particularly with digicams, whose smallest aperture is typically f/8 or f/11 instead of f/22 - f/48 for dSLR lenses).

And I would have to say that the 828 just destroys any 5MP digicam as far as resolution is concerned.

The good news is it looks like Nikon and Minolta will probably be releasing 8MP digicams in the near future.  So you'll be able to have other options than the Sony 828 with (hopefully) equivalent image quality.
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MatthewCromer
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« Reply #22 on: December 27, 2003, 07:26:57 AM »
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Michael,

The histogram (and exposure preview) are inaccurate with exposures longer than 1/2 second.  Not sure why that is, but it works that way with the 717 as well.  Live Histogram gets progressively darker as does the live preview, even though after you take the shot the exposure is right and the post-shot histogram shows the correct values.

There does definitely seem to be a metering discrepancy vs. the Canon dSLRs -- although in my tests I'd estimated it to be 2/3 stop instead of a full stop.  That would put ISO 200 on the Sony about equal to ISO 130 on the dSLRs.  Perhaps if you look at this you can do more rigorous testing -- I just was playing around in a store.
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bandit
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« Reply #23 on: December 27, 2003, 05:30:51 PM »
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Hi,

I have just read Michael's review of the Sony F828, and I am very surprised: What I see is not what I read... Huh
I agree.
Michael states that at 64 ISO the noise is "essentially non-existant", but to my eyes the images posted are very noisy, similar to 10D's 800 ISO ! Huh

The lens seems very sharp so kudos to Zeiss for this little gem of optics (7x fast zoom which has to work on such a tiny sensor), but this new RGBE CCD didn't impress me...

And now I read that the ISO sensitivity is even less than the nominal ?
Are you saying that the samples posted at 64 ISO should be compared with something like 32 or 40 ISO ?!?
Well... these have always been the correct settings for Velvia 50, so maybe we are back in film times

Ciao

Marco
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R Scott Adams
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« Reply #24 on: December 29, 2003, 11:12:08 PM »
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Well, here's another angle. I, for one, was sort of surprised by the qualitative difference between Michael's reviews of the Nikon 828 and the Olympus E-1.

The 828 review, while "harsh" in well deserved areas, was overall a polemic in defense of this camera, warts and all.

The Olympus E-1 review, on the other hand.... seemed to grudgingly admire certain aspects of the system (and also being critical where appropriate) while dismissing it as a serious image making machine, the 4/3 system and its potential, and Olympus, more or less "out of hand."

I thought the images Michael captured with the E-1 were stunning, compared to the noisy stuff shot with the 828. Also, conspicuously absent in the E-1 reivew are the kind of comparisons found in the 828 review, vis the 10D. It seems to speak of "not caring to bother" that supports my paragraph above... dismissed out of hand.

I, for one . . . honestly don't get it. This is not a rant, or bash, or any such thing. I just honestly don't get it.

Seems to me like a trip to Africa where one could take a camera w/ two lenses and a 1.4x extender and cover 28-560mm+ equivalent focal length, at less than half the cost and and significantly less weight than a 1Ds with equivalent range... well, "I" think it would be a great thing and a wonderful test of a "whole new system concept." Instead we have a noisy 8mp digicam off to do "serious work." As I said... I don't get it.

Cheers,
Scott
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svein
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« Reply #25 on: December 28, 2003, 12:34:47 PM »
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Found the review and the discussion interesting. One question though. There seem to be one camera that has fairly similar features to the 828 (maybe except for build quality), and that's the Fuji S7000.
Although it has "only" 6+ megapixels it's the closest competitor to the 828. It's also equiped with a EVF, a similar zoom (in range) and raw support.
It would be interesting to see a direct comparision with the 828.
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« Reply #26 on: December 29, 2003, 07:47:45 AM »
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Ray,

The type of noise displayed between the F828 and the 14n are of completely different types.

On the Sony (with the very clear exception of ISO 800) the noise takes on the appearance of "grain", similar to that of film. Using this as an analogy, on the Sony at ISO 64 it's almost invisible, maybe like Panatomic-X. At ISO 100 it looks like Plus-X. At ISO 400 it's like Tri-X developed in Rodinal.

The Kodak 14n on the other hand displayed blotchyness similar to the Sony at ISO 800, even at ISO 400.

So, while the fine "grain" of the Sony is either invisible to subdued with images from the Sony, the 14n's noise characteristics (at least from when I tested it) was much coarser, and therefore more visible and annoying.

Michael

Hope this helps.
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BJL
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« Reply #27 on: January 04, 2004, 10:15:50 PM »
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Ray,
  about the Canon 100-400/4.5-5.6 IS; given that it costs almost US$1400 (over Au$2000?), your idea of "relatively popular" must be very different than mine. I stick to my story that the overwhelming majority of 35mm SLR photographers never use lenses going outside the range of about 20mm to 300mm, but beyond the "one lens entry level crowd", they typically aspire to at least 28-200 total, and to about 28-105 (or maybe 24-85) in a single "standard" lens.
  On your shift to discussing lenses for the 1Ds; its cost puts it completely out of the range of about 99.9% of SLR users, so it is irrelevant to considerations of the mainstream DSLR market. I think I am very typical of would-be DSLR buyers in that for my camera buying purposes, I restrict my considerations to DSLR systems costing under about US$3000 including one or two lenses and other essential accessories. It also strikes me that your proposed comparison of two camera systems differing in price by a factor of about four would not be very enlightening (unless the cheaper system were to do better!) And bringing it up takes us even further away from the 828, so let us return to that topic.

  About image quality comparisons between the E-1 and 828, particularly in respect of noise, you are joking, right? After the criticism you have passed on about the high ISO performance of the E-1 (only a significant issue at ISO800 and above, especially now that you have put noise reduction post-processing on the table), surely you must have noticed that the 828 is far worse in this respect (with problems starting maybe as low as ISO100 and certainly by ISO200). The difference is far more than can be compensated for by the 828's half to one stop advantage in minimum aperture ratios. Not to mention the frequent complaints about colour fringing (CA?) with the 828.
  I also find it strange that after you recent enthusiasm for extreme telephoto reach, you suddenly shift to discounting the difference between the 828's limit of 200mm equiv FOV with no TC available and the E system's option of zooming to 400mm equiv. FOV (before TC). Not to mention the current limitations of EVF's as in the 828; by contrast, I recently got the chance to look through the E-1's viewfinder, and found its image size, brightness and clarity very nice for my purposes.

  On the other hand, for the many photographers who are satisfied with a 28-200 equiv. FOV range, using an EVF instead of a TTL OVF, somewhat limited high speed/low capability, no option of ever using any prime lenses or of being able to upgrade the body without throwing away the lens too, the Sony 828 or Minolta A1 might be quite attractive options. So as a variant on your 828 to E-1 comparison, how do you think the 828's superfically impressive advantages in pixel count (and probably test pattern resolution) and aperture ratios, plus its far wider zoom range, compactness, more solid build, and all the cute digicam advantages like movie mode, swivelling live LCD VF and live histogram match it up against the comparably priced Canon 300D + 18-44/3.5-5.6 lens kit? I suspect your claimed enthusiasm for the 828 will wane at this point.
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Ray
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« Reply #28 on: January 05, 2004, 08:40:12 PM »
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about the Canon 100-400/4.5-5.6 IS; given that it costs almost US$1400 (over Au$2000?), your idea of "relatively popular" must be very different than mine.
BJL,
If I could have got the Canon 100-400 for a mere A$2000, it would have been a no-brainer. I'd have bought it a lot sooner than I did. Expensive lenses do not sell like hot cakes, whatever their usefulness or focal length range. But those that are useful and seem good value, despite their high price tag, tend to sell quite well, and I think the Canon 100-400 IS comes within that category.

But rather than tackle you on each point, I'll just try to describe where I'm coming from since we seem to be coming from different directions, so to speak.

Trying to assess the desirability of a camera or camera system is no easy task for those who are serious about their photography and for whom photography is likely to be a growing interest or passion.

Each person has different aspirations and means when it comes to buying photographic equipment. I've listed below the issues that are important to me in the form of 6 guidelines which I hope might be helpful to others. These are my guidlines, distilled from my own experience. They cover my concerns. They may not cover yours. They are not in any order of importance.

(1) Weight, bulk and general handling.

(2) Build quality and other features of a more professional nature, such as MLU, high maximum shutter speed, waterproof seals etc etc.

(3) Range and quality of lenses and accessories, which of course will include both expensive lenses and cheap lenses, affordable lenses and not affordable lenses, popular lenses and 'unusual' lenses.

(4) Maximum system image quality achievable. Notice I used the phrase 'system image quality'. This allows for the possibility of increasing resolution by simple attaching a different body to the lens, as you can do with the Canon system. Of course, maximum quality only comes at a high price, but the point is ... do you have that option in the system you're considering?

(5) Company image and reputation for innovation. Ie. buying into a camera system which happens to meet present needs at the right price, might be shortsighted. Many of us know how easy it is to accumulate lenses and accessories over the years and then feel trapped in the system. We can't afford to switch.

(6) Perhaps the most important consideration of all, price and general value of the product.

I think anyone using these guidelines, and perhaps awarding points out of 10 in each of the 6 broad categories and then buying the camera/system that has the highest total, would not go far wrong.
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MatthewCromer
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« Reply #29 on: January 02, 2004, 12:01:02 PM »
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I guess I'd rather have a few excellent zooms with good coverage than more bigger more expensive zooms to do the same coverage in a package that can't be carried long distances as easily.
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Bobtrips
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« Reply #30 on: January 07, 2004, 11:01:28 AM »
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Comparing a small sensor F828/A1 type camera with a dSLR, even the 300D is a compact pickup vs. full-sized, V8, 4x4 monster.  They're just not operating in the same categories.  

Smaller sensors have smaller photosites which gather less light per unit time.  The ambient electronic noise in the system is greater in relation to the signal produced by that smaller capture.  One can't amplify that signal (use ISOs) in the same way that one can amplify the signal from a larger photosite.

If you want a smaller, more compact, less expensive camera and choose a F828/A1 type camera it's probably best to make the purchase that you are buying the equivalent of film camera that won't accept high ISO film.  Be prepared to shoot at low ISO.

That said... If you're truly a landscape photographer, that is if you generally take studied shots, take your shots from tripod, etc. being limited to ISO 100 shouldn't be a big handicap.  You probably shot film in this range in order to get fine grain.

If the F828 does actually produce the resolution that one would expect from an 8 meg camera (the jury's out) then it should be a budget option for landscape photographers.

For my photography I need/want a camera that carries well.  I bought an A1 knowing that I probably won't ever shoot above ISO 100.  In-camera stabilization will help in low light conditions since I can't crank up the ISO.

I also drive a compact Toyota pickup.  I don't need to haul cubic yards of gravel very often.  I can make a couple of trips when I do.  ;o)
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Bobtrips
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« Reply #31 on: January 08, 2004, 06:24:29 PM »
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Well, Matthew, no offense, but I wouldn't consider you an objective reviewer.  You've spent actual money on a F828.  You've got a dog in this fight.

Me?  I'm just an interested bystander.  I didn't even seriously consider the F828 because I heard that it wouldn't be out until the spring and I wanted a camera now.  (OK a few weeks ago.)

But I am an  interested bystander.  I'm looking forward to someone who has to be as objective as possible shooting controlled test shots of the F828 and comparing it to 5 and 6 meg cameras.  

If it out-resolves them, Great!  Next time out I might take Sony more seriously, and people who really can't afford a dSLR have a less expensive option for good resolution.
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Bobtrips
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« Reply #32 on: January 10, 2004, 12:15:51 AM »
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I'm not sure why anyone would expect a 5 meg small sensor to resolve as well as a the 8 meg Sony.  

I think my question is whether you get the full 8 megs worth of resolution, whether you get 1/3rd more resolution than you would get with a 6 meg camera.
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Olivier G.
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« Reply #33 on: December 27, 2003, 08:42:49 AM »
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Hi,

I have just read Michael's review of the Sony F828, and I am very surprised: What I see is not what I read... Huh

For example: Fig17 (comparison F828@64ISO vs 10D@100ISO).
From the comment on the lens ("almost identical") and the previous comment on noise ("Essentially non-existant"), it should be very close...
But when I look at those pictures, I see Chromatic Aberration (white edges of windows) and strong Noise at 64 ISO (dark area of windows - and everywhere...).

Is there something more to take into account ?
Did I miss something ?

Thank you for your answers,

Olivier
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Scott_H
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« Reply #34 on: December 28, 2003, 09:44:30 AM »
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Noise can be an elusive beast.  I use an Olympus E-20, a camera notorius across the world wide web as being too noisy.

If I get the exposure right, then visible noise is not an issue, it is tough to spot on screen at 100%, and won't show up at all in a print.

Underexposures can be a problem, and shadow areas can be as well.  It depends on how much correcting I have to do, and how much sharpening I apply to the image.  I can correct a certain amount by blurring a copied layer, and setting it to colour, but that doesn't always help.

Even then the final print may look ok.  It depends on the size of the print, and the method used to create the print.  I've found that noise will show up on a Fuji Frontier print that does not show up on an inkjet print.  I've read that this is because the ink on an inkjet print tends to run together and blur out some of the noise.  Looking at the screen, I can guess by the amount of noise whether or not it will show up in a print, but I always proof to make sure.

In general, I would say the noise issue on the E-20 is blown out of proportion.  I do occasionally throw out an image because of noise, but it is usually because I messed up the exposure.

The 828 is interesting to me.  I'm not sure I would buy one, but I'd probably consider it.  To me, the limitation is that you aren't working on a camera system like you would be with a dslr.
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Scott_H
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« Reply #35 on: December 28, 2003, 11:41:53 PM »
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This might be largely true and might sway some people who were thinking of getting a Canon 300D to opt for a Sony F828.

Don't forget the lens that comes attached to the 828.  Even putting aside lens quality, if you buy a 300D you will have to buy more glass to cover the focal length of the lens attached to the 828.  That will add a lot to the dollar part of the equation.  

To me, this could easily be a deciding factor.  I could put up with a lot of limitations in a camera (and am, come to think of it) simply because I can afford it, and it will be good enough.  A few hundred dollars may not mean much to some people, but it does to a lot of people.
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R Scott Adams
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« Reply #36 on: December 30, 2003, 10:12:19 AM »
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Michael,

Thanks for the response. In that context it makes perfect sense. I not only "know about" your extensive Canon kit, I envy you on a daily basis!

I for one, hope the 4/3 system doesn't turn out to be the "Beta Max" of digital photography, ergo the dead end that you predict. On the other hand, Olympus did abandon the OM system despite its success. Their track record isn't good in the long term support-development department. Only time will tell. It does appear as though they are selling as many E-1's as they can produce, but I suspect this is true of all new-release digital cameras.

I also appreciate, and agree with, your comment on the difference between visible noise "on screen" versus in prints.

I'd still like to see you get an E-1 system on loan from Olympus some time, and take it with you on one of your trips -- work the heck out of it, abuse it, make a bunch of prints, give us a thorough field report in an issue of the Video Journal.

I'm one of those people who doesn't have an investment in either of the "big two's" glass, and find the 4/3 size, weight, focal range to date ( and scheduled for release soon ) very interesting / appealing.

Again, thanks for the feedback.

Scott
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Ray
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« Reply #37 on: January 01, 2004, 09:56:09 PM »
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I think the 4/3" cameras will be around for some time to come, if only because you can make a very nice, high resolution camera with two rather smallish, very high quality lenses cover 28-400mm. If they get IS (or the rumored IS sensor or teleconvertor) then the system will be very appealing indeed for bird photographers.
Matthew,
I really hate to hit someone when they're just getting up, being such a gentleman, an' all that  , but there are too many things about this 4/3rds system that don't stack up, so I'm going to compromise my principles.

I can only look at things from my own biased perspective of course, but when I consider the broad areas of performance that are important to me in a camera system, the Olympus E-1 doesn't have enough going for it.

The jewel in the crown is without doubt the 300mm F2.8. This would seem ideal for birds and wildlife, especially with the 1.4x converter. The 35mm equivalent then becomes 840mm F4, which is something to drool over.

The trouble is, that Zuiko 300mm lens is very expensive. The lowest price I could find on the net is US$7000, which is about the same as the lowest price for the Canon 600mm F4 IS. Sure that Zuiko 300mm lens is lighter, but not as light as you might think (3.3Kg as opposed to 5.3Kgs for the Canon).

As fine as the Zuiko lens might be, don't tell me it can compare with a 960mm F4 which is what the Canon 600mm lens becomes attached to a 10D. Okay, that extra 2Kgs can be a pain. Someone who's frail and wealthy might be willing to sacrifice a bit of quality (and/or focal length whichever way you look at it).

But the point I would make is, with a Canon system no sacrifices are required, not in terms of price, not in terms of quality, and not always in terms of weight.

If the Canon 600mm lens is too heavy, then go for the 500mm F4 IS. This lens is definitely cheaper than the Zuiko 300mm, no heavier, surprisingly, and I would suggest still gives better quality images attached to a 10D or 300D (800mm + 6MP as opposed to 600mm + 5 MP).

However, if you really want a lightweight system with perhaps only a slight sacrifice in quality, then a 300D attached to a Canon 400mm F5.6 prime would be an excellent choice. At a 640mm 35mm equivalent, this lens weighs only 1.25Kgs as opposed to the Zuiko 3.3Kgs. And best of all, it's a lot, lot cheaper. Of course, the Zuiko lens is 2 stops faster and that's a big advantage. But it's also much, much more expensive and heavier[/i]. So where does that leave us? Two steps forward and two steps backward  Huh .

I find it difficult to make a case for the E-1 system.
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DaShiv
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« Reply #38 on: January 02, 2004, 01:00:16 PM »
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Well if the smaller form factor is that important to you and you're willing to take the risk, by all means enjoy the Olympus if and when you decide to take the plunge.  Maybe Olympus will even top everyone with a 14-100 (28-200 equiv) lens that'll be exactly what you were looking for, who knows.

I don't currently own any lens longer than 70mm on my DRebel, so the whole "lens too heavy to carry" phenomenon is lost upon me.  No bird or squirrel shooting for me.
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Ray
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« Reply #39 on: January 04, 2004, 07:49:49 PM »
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Ray and Matthew seem to want to judge the viability of the Olympus E system on the basis of lens combinations needed to achieve rarely used extremes of telephoto reach. I instead like to assess desirability and likely popularity of a system on the basis of options that roughly match some of the most popular choices of 35mm format amateur enthusiasts, like (a) one lens covering about 28-105mm ( two lenses covering about 28-300mm.

 
Welcome back to the fray, BJL!

"... rarely used extremes of telephoto reach." Huh I think you'll find (if you take the trouble to do the research ) the Canon 100-400 IS zoom is a relatively popular lens and probably a minimum requirement for anyone interested in photographing wildlife. This relatively cheap lens takes you beyond what is currently available within the E-1 system at an affordable price.

The notion of a single, high quality zoom that covers all your requirements must be the Holy Grail of all zoom lens designers. There will always be a compromise in quality, as anyone who's bought a 10x zoom has found out. (I believe the Canon 35-350 zoom, despite being an L lens, is a bit soft at the 350mm and 35mm ends. But I doubt very much that it would be worse than the Zuiko 50-200mm with 1.4x extender. Surely it's widely known by now that all teleconverters seriously degrade lens performance. I can only assume that Matthew is just trying to be entertaining .)

It's true the Olympus 14-54mm fills a gap in the Canon range as it applies to the 22x15mm sensor, but not as it applies to full frame 35mm. I'd love to see a comparison between the Zuiko 14-54 and the Canon 28-135 IS zoom attached to a 1Ds ...... at full aperture and widest angle.

Since this thread is primarily about the Sony F828, we should at least give it the occasional mention. For all those with 'average' requirements who are searching for a light, compact camera with a single lens that covers most situations, the F828 might be just the ticket. It's certainly cheaper, lighter and more compact than the Olympus E-1 yet produces about the same quality of image, perhaps even slightly better with a bit of help from Neat Image .
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