Skip to main content

A New Camera

I got a new Olympus E-3 and a pair of Zuiko Digital lenses to go with it for Christmas.

I've been an amatuer photographer since I was a senior in high school. At that time I was given a Yashica Electro 35 GSN rangefinder by my dad. He had a Yashica TL Electro SLR at the time, along with a couple of third-party lenses, one of which was an impressive telephoto (or at least I thought it was impressive).

Since that early Yashica I purchased and used Minolta (SRT-SC, XE-7, and XD-11), a Mamiya C330 Pro f, an Olympus OM-4, and a Nikon N90 (the last film camera I purchased). Of all the cameras I felt the OM-4 and Zuiko lenses where the best, followed closely by Minolta. Very closely. The Mamiya, with it's 2 1/4 film size, was a great black-and-white camera, especially shooting low-ASA speed films like Plus-X and Pan-X. Even Tri-X looked really good. For all the other cameras I shot Kodachrome 25 and 64 almost exclusively.

But time passed and I slowly stopped shooting, especially around 1993. I would pick up the Nikon on occassion and take the occassional family photo, but the 'fire' was out. Then, about six years ago, Judy bought a Canon Powershot A300 for me for Valentine's day. It was tiny and easy to use. It 'only' had 3.2 megapixel. But it took compact flash cards and ran on two AA batteries. It was so easy to take pictures. Most importantly, even critically, it allowed me to view the results almost immediately on the back of the body. That one feature drew me back into photography and re-ignited the 'fire'. I stated taking more pictures, up to the point I wanted to 'graduate' to a DSLR.

So three years ago I started looking for something affordable that was a real step up from the Canon. I wanted reasonable high resolution, decent SLR performance, and interchangable lenses. I started by looking for a Minolta DSLR, but the brand had been sold to Konica and I was concerned that it was on its last legs. The Konica Minolta camera and IP was in turn sold to Sony, but I was still concerned, so I started looking at Nikon, then when I didn't find anything there I liked, I looked at Olympus.

I remembered the quality of the lenses from my OM-4 period. While there was nothing particularly wrong with the Nikon I believe to this day I should have never given up my OM and purchased the Nikon. It wasn't "right" for me. So I started looking at Olympus DSLR reviews and was struck how the reviewers spoke glowingly of the Oly lenses, or glass. I started to look closer, and talked to my Dad. My Dad had purchased a lot of Olympus film cameras, from the OM-1 up to the OM-4t, as well as a number of lenses. He'd purchased an Oly E-300 kit that came with two lenses, a 14-45mm standard zoom and a 40-150 tele zoom. He was happy with the results. So I started to look for the same kit at the lowest price. I found the kit at Newegg on sale at the time for $600 and purchased it. The E-300 was probably the best (for me) camera I could have purchased at the time.

For the last two-plus years I've shot thousands of pictures all over Florida as well as everywhere I've traveled around the country. It was a great source of personal satisfaction. What's more, it didn't have the mess of film photography (darkroom film development and printing). I only printed what was absolutely necessary, it was easy to store digital pictures, and I could easily experiment with composition and exposure and get immediate feedback right there before I left. It was a great experience, as great as when I was in late teens and twenties with the Yashica, Minoltas, and Mamiya.

The E-3 pushes enjoyment and creative capability much, much farther. There is a four-year design gap between the E-300 and E-3, and it shows. While the E-300 remains as a backup body (and still takes beautiful photos), the E-3 is a far more rugged and sealed body, with advances in in-camera processing that I can actually see. I also got the 12-60mm SWD and 50-200mm SWD lenses, which are some of the best lenses I think I've ever worked with. The whole package is sealed against moisture (rain) and dirt. Since I shoot outdoors a lot it's nice not to worry that I'll ruin my camera if it rains (I never had problems with the E-300, but I was concerned).

Just as the E-300 traveled with me "just in case", so the E-3 will travel with me as well (and properly hidden in the car). I'm going to be shooting a lot more, and creating High Definition Range (HDR) images. It's going to be an interesting 2009 photographically. And a big welcome shift away from the Linux ideology wars.

Comments

  1. I still wonder about the Olympus DSLR my father picked up a while back. I think it was the E-400, and it has been a complete disappointment. The performance image-quality wise was so poor, that I'm pretty much hoping that the camera was defective. (his Canon G6 P&S blew it away for IQ)

    Now that you've upgraded to the E-3, I wonder... Does the E-300 feel like a cheap plastic toy in comparison? ;-) When I upgraded on the Nikon side from a D50 to a D300, I definitely got that feeling when I picked up the D50 again a month or two later.

    ReplyDelete
  2. There is a difference between the E-300 and the E-3, but not so much that the E-300 feels like a "cheap plastic toy" in retrospect. The E-300 will become my second (backup) body. One reason I keep it (and purchased it long ago) is because of its mix of aluminum and plastic construction. It's been rugged enough to survive my less-than-delicate handling. It's only major physical flaw in my eyes is that it's not as environmentally sealed as the E-3, but in spite of that it has held up remarkably well.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

All comments are checked. Comment SPAM will be blocked and deleted.

Popular posts from this blog

A Decade Long Religious Con Job

I rarely write inflammatory (what some might call trolling) titles to a post, but this building you see before you deserves it. I've been seeing this building next to I-4 just east of Altamonte/436 and Crane's Roost for nearly 12 years, and never knew who owned it. Today on a trip up to Lake Mary with my wife I saw it yet again. That's when I told her I wanted to stop by on the way back and poke around the property, and photograph any parts of it if I could.

What I discovered was this still unfinished eighteen story (I counted) white elephant, overgrown with weeds and yet still under slow-motion construction. It looks impressive with its exterior glass curtain walls, but that impression is quickly lost when you see the unfinished lower stories and look inside to the unfinished interior spaces.

A quick check via Google leads to an article written in 2010 by the Orlando Sentinel about the Majesty Tower. Based on what I read in the article it's owned by SuperChannel 55 WA…

first night for the gingersnaps

The first night has passed and the two have managed to survive, in spite of what their tiny hearts might have thought when first arriving. Greebo, the larger of the two, has been in hiding the entire time so far. Ponder has spent the time zipping in and out of hiding spots, checking things out, and learning just how comfortable pillows are for resting your head.

During the night I felt the tiny body of Ponder hitting the bed as he leaped up on the side, and then climbed to the top to run around on top of me. At least once he play-attacked my fingers. He might be small but his claws are still quite sharp.

When I got up in the morning the bowl of cat kitten food was fairly well depleted. It's been refilled and fresh water put in the big dish on the floor. I'm assuming that both Greebo and Ponder are feeding and drinking. I have seen Greebo under the furniture peeking out at me when I went looking for him. I'm leaving him alone while he continues to adjust.

So far the guys h…

cat-in-a-box channels greta garbo

So I'm sitting at my computer, when I start to notice a racket in back. I ignore it for a while until I hear a load "thump!", as if something had been dropped on the floor, followed by a lot of loud rattling. I turn around and see Lucy in the box just having a grand old time, rolling around and rattling that box a good one. I grab the GX1 and snap a few shots before she notices me and the camera, then leaps out and back into her chair (which used to be my chair before she decided it was her chair).

Just like caring for Katie my black Lab taught me about dogs, caring for Lucy is teaching me about cats. She finds me fascinating, as I do her. And she expresses great affection and love toward me without coaxing. I try to return the affection and love, but she is a cat, and she takes a bat at me on occasion, although I think that's just her being playful. She always has her claws in when she does that.

She sits next to me during the evening in her chair while I sit in mi…