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The Limitations of the Older E-1

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E-1, 1/30s, ISO 800, f/2.8, using a Zuiko Auto-W 28mm 1:2.8 wide open.

As I continue using the E-1, I begin to push into territory with the camera that I know it will struggle with. One area is low-light photography. It's in this domain that higher ISOs come into play. In this particular photo, I dialed in the highest ISO that the E-1 will support without boost, ISO 800.

This is where the E-1 begins to really show its age. Everything I've taken to date with the E-1 has been ISO 100-200, where the E-1 performs best. Today I went up to its highest ISO setting (without the boost). The color version of this image was filled full of chroma noise. There's subtle but noticeable horizontal banding in the mid-tones, which is more noticable in black and white. That's why I went with black and white with added contrast, added file grain, and added a bit of chromatic smoothing.

As wonderful as the E-1 is, I see where the E-3 and E-P2 sensors perform much better at ISO 800 and higher. The E-1 is eight years old, and time does march on. With the E-3 and the E-P2 I can comfortably go to ISO 1600 with less noise, especially with the E-P2. And that's one key reason why cameras like the E-5 and the various Nikon and Canon mid-range prosumer cameras cost as much as they do, their ability to produce acceptable results at ISO 1600 on up. You can't stay out in the bright light forever, and playing post-processing tricks will get tiresome after a while.


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