Is it crazy to buy a Four Thirds DSLR now?

Discussion in 'Other Systems' started by Promit, Aug 20, 2012.

  1. Promit

    Promit Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 6, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    Promit Roy
    I've been exploring bigger better lenses lately, which means my arsenal has been gaining Four Thirds glass. These are workable on m4/3, but I'm wondering now that as long as I've got these big Oly HG lenses, maybe I should add a DSLR body for the times when it's useful to have one. I'm thinking continuous AF for motorsports and other sports, basically. Since that's not a strong point for m4/3 yet, it might be a nice bridge for when those photo opportunities are happening.

    So, does it make sense to buy a 4/3 DSLR now, and which one is a sane choice in price/performance tradeoff?
  2. jyc860923

    jyc860923 Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Feb 28, 2012
    Shenyang, China
    Sorry but I just don't think it's wise to invest in the system for the price considering the size/performance/future development despite there are good 4/3 lenses.
  3. With_Eyes_Unclouded

    With_Eyes_Unclouded Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 17, 2012
    What Four Thirds lenses you currently have?
  4. pcnyc

    pcnyc Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 15, 2010
    if you can find a good deal, why not? haven't check prices lately, but I would recommend at least a e-30. I felt e-620 is kinda awkward, not small enough to be portable, and not big enough to hold comfortably. and e-30 shutter sounds so much satisfying :) 

    another thing is that the only 4/3 dslr that does video is e-5.
  5. Promit

    Promit Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 6, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    Promit Roy
    I have the 14-54mm II and I have a 50-200mm coming in. Essentially a high end two lens kit.
  6. To get the better continuous AF you probably need to stretch to an E-3 or E-5 (or maybe an E-30), with the E-5 being of the same sensor generation as the E-PL2. I'm not sure about the later E-6xx bodies but I didn't feel that AF was a strong point of the E-4xx or E-5xx bodies. They also use only 3 AF points so are not suited to subject tracking. The E-6xx bodies did have a larger number of AF points.

    My favourite Four Thirds body was the E-510 which I bought for about $160. I was still using this on occasion earlier this year with the PL 14-50 f2.8-3.5. By today's standards the sensor would be considered quite sub-standard for noise and dynamic range but it had quite a unique signature. They smoothed the rough edges off the sensor in the later 10MP Four Thirds bodies which made it's numbers look more competitive but also (I think) removed what was it's USP (unique selling point).

    Sorry, I'm getting off track there. I think that to get what you want in terms of autofocus you would need to buy one of the more expensive and larger bodies and would still be a generation or two (or even three) behind in sensor tech compared to the E-M5 or Panasonic GH cameras. Depending on what you want from it that could easily still be more than good enough.
  7. With_Eyes_Unclouded

    With_Eyes_Unclouded Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 17, 2012
    I hate to be bland about it, but really, prices for even used E-3 and E-5 are completely insane. I have handled the 620 but it didn't impress me concerning speed.

    Personally I wouldn't buy a FT body, except if it was at a giveaway price. I apologise to FT users and enthusiasts about this statement.

    I asked about lenses, because the 14-54 Mk2 is considered to have fast AF (albeit, not at C-AF) with the :43: adaptor. In fact, if I found one at a good price, I'd be tempted to use it with an adaptor on the OM-D. I don't know about the 50-200 (I suspect it'll be slower).

    I said again that the best route for Olympus would be to offer a "clever" adapter for FT lenses; one like the Sony jobby, with the translucent mirror. At a cost of, say, $300 one would have access to fine glass, not yet available in :43: format, with the same performance and extremely better IQ and other more modern features (the e-5 is already 2 years old, which is 14 in camera years :biggrin:). I hope someone at Olympus was clever enough to set this in motion and we'll hear something at Photokina. In fact, there are reccuring rumors about such an option for the last year or so.

    I'd say wait, or find a dirt cheap FT body for the time being.
  8. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    If M43 can ever leverage standard 43 glass, the 90-250 2.8 would be my dream lens!
  9. With_Eyes_Unclouded

    With_Eyes_Unclouded Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 17, 2012
    There are plenty of FT lenses that are considered seriously awesome. We had a poll at some point:

    and the overwhelming majority wants the 12-60 and the 50-200. I think most of them should be ported to :43: one way or another. Now, if Olympus gives us a PD enabled adaptor, they practically buy themselves at least a year of R&D (not to mention being honest the realistic way to existing FT customers).
  10. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    I'm a telephoto nut, the 50-200 35-100, 90-250 and 150 would be my picks! :wink:

    Besides DOF issues, lenses like the 35-100 f/2 and 150 f/2 are still f/2 glass! Those lenses on the current E-M5 16mp sensor would be insanely nice!
  11. carpandean

    carpandean Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 29, 2010
    Western NY
    That's why so many want an E-7 that is an E-5 with the E-M5 sensor and the 5-axis IBIS. A few minor tweaks here or there to update it, but still basically a parts-off-the-shelf design that would be amazing with the FT high-end glass.
  12. JohnF

    JohnF Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 1, 2010
    Oberursel, Germany
    Let me also be contrarian: I think there is a legitimate need and demand for a normal 4/3 body or bodies. For sheer speed and handling , I haven't found a m4/3 body that matches my E-30, and I find the top LCD to be very useful. Further, the battery grip of the E-30 gives me around 2000 exposures, while the EM5 grip doesn't give me half of that. Constantly reloading batteries is a royal pain, especially in the middle of time-lapse work or gigapans.

    While my only SHG lens is the 12-60, if I were earning money as a professional the f2 glass would live on the camera.

    Take the E5 body, put in the 5-axis stabilization, the Sony sensor, a new CPU that tweaks the sensor into singing a brand new song, up to nine FPS, add built-in time-lapse coupled with 7- frame bracketing for HDR, as well as full HD video, plus an open API to allow, say, 4k video, and Olympus would be back in the game. Really surprise us with a 24MP sensor with the same quality as the 16, even better.

    As good as m4/3 is, there are things that the E30 or E5, heck, even the E3, can do significantly better.
  13. linkedit

    linkedit Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 6, 2010
    New Jersey, USA
  14. jeffryscott

    jeffryscott Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jul 2, 2010
    If an E3 or E5 do what you want, I'd say go for it. From an image quality standpoint the only real weaknesses of those bodies is high ISO (and it's not that bad).

    Before the OM-D, I seriously thought about an E3 as I could have bought two bodies for the price of the OMD, but I really wanted the size advantage of m43.

    I still toy with the idea of an E3 and the 50-200 because there is nothing in m43 that comes close to that lens - that combo wouldn't cost much more than the m43 75-300 by itself.
  15. CarlB

    CarlB Mu-43 Veteran

    If you have some 4/3 glass, get an E-1 used. A superbly satisfying camera to shoot, and as long as there's a bit of light, the pics are gorgeous.
  16. With_Eyes_Unclouded

    With_Eyes_Unclouded Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 17, 2012
    Gentlemen, it would get to the point of being excessive arguing, so I'll try not to say this again: there is no market for a new FT camera anymore. Seriously. See, for example:

    A whole 6 people (out of 82, a whopping 7.32%) still using FT in this forum. What percentage of current DSLR users you think still uses FT "almost" exclusively? I know of exactly 5 real cases, and they all have switched to :43: for part or most of their work (my statistical sample is about 1200 photographers in a group I manage).

    A "E-7" camera will sell to exactly zero photographers outside the (comparably) tiny existing FT installed base. Even there, we are talking a $1500+ camera. Even in the case of used sales, pushing E-3 and E-5 down the food chain, very few will get their hands on one. And all that to use legacy glass? Because there will be ZERO new FT lenses in the future. In contrast with :43:.

    Olympus said they'll make available the "use of high quality FT glass" with a future offering. I sincerely hope it's a high-end adapter. If it's a new camera, I'm waiting to see news of their board of directors commiting seppuku a few months after. That is my honest opinion and, believe me, I'd hate to see Olympus failing.
  17. Promit

    Promit Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 6, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    Promit Roy
    I suspect -- hope, actually -- that the E-7 will be an m4/3 camera with on-sensor phase detect and an MMF-3 adapter included. But I'm not talking about a new camera. I'm talking about a daytime sports DSLR for occasional use, and it sounds like the E-3 or E-30 might just fit the role. It's tempting to simply buy a refurb/used body from one of the big shops and see what it feels like. Can always exercise the return policy if it really doesn't do the things I want. Surely the E-1 is too old to bother with?
  18. NJH

    NJH Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 8, 2012
    South West England
    Problem is the AF on the E3 wasn't really that great IMHO. Single shot AF using the centre point was very quick but multi point AF was very unreliable IMHE so as I didn't trust it I practically never used it. It would do crazy things such as randomly decide to focus on bland background or something that happens to be in the foreground but not in a predictable manner. It frequently wouldn't focus in poor light, racking the lens loudly back and forth especially in conditions with weak contrast. It was far less reliable in terms of accuracy than either my E-P2 or X100. I traded mine in earlier this year against a 100-300 lens, ISTR I got about £300 for it which sounds really cheap but thinking about it, it's about par for the course these days for a several year old mid range DSLR.

    No way I am going back if they bring out an E7 and I really can't see many ppl buying them other than the tiny minority that will not accept that FT is dead. Would be nice though if mFT bodies could focus the lenses quickly.
  19. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Avoid the E-3. AF issues were common and there's no way to adjust yourself if it's bad. The E-30 does have AF adjust so it'd be the better option, though both are pretty weak when it comes to C-AF.

    If you already own the 50-200 and use it on m4/3, I guess the 4/3 DSLR might meet your requirements. Otherwise, get a 40D and decent Canon tele-zoom and you'll have a much easier time of it.

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