Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Comments on the Incredibly Stupid Olympus E-PL2 Red Dot Catastrophe

Sigma 30mm test: Shooting the sun 2
"Sigma 30mm Test: Shooting the Sun 2"
Olympus E-3 with Sigma 30mm f/1.4
1/250s, f/16, ISO 100
I don't own an Olympus E-PL2, and I doubt I will. Not because I think it's bad or because of the RED DOT CATASTROPHE, but simply because I have in my direct possession an E-1, an E-3, and an E-P2 (not to mention an OM 4T film camera). Just how many bodies does a body need?

No, I bring this up because there are apparently a gaggle of hysterical forum trolls who are so upset over some Chinese forum images that exhibit the E-PL2 RED DOT CATASTROPHE. Well guess what. It's not unique to the E-PL2.

If you'll cast your peepers at the photo leading this post, you'll see a deliberately bad photo taken of the sun (as apposed to all the bad photos I try not to take). If you look carefully around the sun, you'll see a number of RED DOTs. If you look really close, you'll see the same regular square pattern of red dots that some of those Chinese forum photos exhibit, although not quite as distinctive.

This photograph was taken April 16, 2009, nearly two years ago. Let me repeat that. This deliberately bad image where I was deliberately trying to stress the optical system to see how it would misbehave was taken... Two. Years. Ago.

I don't know what's happening in those foreign photos with the red dots. And because I don't know I'd want to try to replicate the same problem using the same camera and lens under very similar if not exact circumstances, just to see if its reproducible. I believe this is a sensor problem, and that a bad batch may have gotten into a batch of cameras. That happens in life. If it bothers you or negatively impacts your ability to produce photographs for a living, then by all means exchange it and move on. But to demand that Olympus release a firmware update to fix the problem, as some forum posters have, is utter crap. Especially without a full engineering understanding of the issue.

I believe it's a limited hardware problem because a guy by the name of Kirk Tuck (you may have heard of him) has been evaluating an E-PL2, and while he's certainly heard of the controversy, he hasn't been able to replicate the problem with his copy. And he's certainly tried and blogged about his efforts.

Life happens, folks. If this problem is bothering you, shut up, get it fixed, and move on.

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