The Four Thirds Detour

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by caimi, May 30, 2013.

  1. caimi

    caimi Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 13, 2012
    middle US
    Just before switching from DSLR to Mu-43, from the gargantuan proportions of the D700 to the toy-like proportions of EP-1, I took a side road. I tried out an Olympus E3 in a camera store and I was hooked. It was soooooo much smaller than the Nikons I was using. The salesman convinced me that Olympus optics matched, no exceeded, Nikon at every focal length and the E-3 was a stylish looking piece of equipment that brought me back a little to my old OM's. So, the promise of the future and the past all rolled into one system.

    I only shot the E3 for a matter of months when the E5 was introduced and I traded up quickly. Shot that for about a year and then switch to Mu-43 and, so far, never looked back.

    Anyone else take this detour? I wonder yet what stalled the Four Thirds format. Why wasn't it more popular? Why didn't it sell better? I admit I left it in fear of Olympus abandoning it altogether and so far that hasn't happened. But it hasn't seemed to grow much either.
  2. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Interesting. I've used both cameras and they struck as equally large. Technically the Nikon is about 3-5% bigger in each dimension, and I find it hard to believe that the that difference alone was all that significant. In fact aside from the AF, I always felt what killed the E-3 was the size - it should have been about the same dimensions as the Pentax K-5/7, rather than something just as big as a pro full-frame DSLR (heck, Nikon's D600 is now both smaller and lighter).

    The lenses were good. Unfortunately the rest of the system never seemed to catch up. Dodgy AF, banding at 'high' ISOs (800+). Terribly small viewfinders on the non-pro models. And yes, a lot of people felt the E-3 and E-5 were too large.

    What stalled 4/3 was Olympus deciding to go all in on m4/3 and essentially axing any and all 4/3 product development aside from one pro body (the E-5, and now perhaps its successor) in early 2009. They discontinued the entry and mid-level bodies. They stopped producing new lens designs, including canceling one that had been promised for years.

    You can argue (and a number of folks still do) that 4/3 was perfect as it was and didn't need anything new, but the market, and most of the existing 4/3 users felt otherwise.
  3. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    I agree that reducing 4/3 production to one body line and no new lenses is what brought down the 4/3 system, but I don't think a company as small as Olympus has the resources to keep 2 redundant lines of entry-mid level cameras going. I mean, look at the giants Canon and Nikon. They still have full DSLR lines going but pitiful little entries into the non-reflex world. It's the same with Olympus - they have the most extensive lineup going in non-reflex, but can only afford to keep one entry into the DSLR world.
  4. caimi

    caimi Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 13, 2012
    middle US

    It was my perception that the E3 was much smaller than the D700. It felt much smaller in the hand even though it may have only been slightly smaller in reality. The E5 looked and felt much bigger to me and, yes, it had all of the other problems you mentioned.
  5. dav1dz

    dav1dz Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Nov 6, 2012
    Optics wise I agree with OP's salesman. Olympus lenses are good.
  6. snkenai

    snkenai Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 5, 2010
    Being an old OM shooter from the past, I went the E- series for a while. but the sensor size to body size ratio, just seemed out of proportion. And the small dark VF, along with the noisy files in low light, was the final killer for me. Still tempted a bit from time to time, but doubt I'll ever go back.
  7. mumrar

    mumrar Mu-43 Regular

    May 30, 2013
    I went from a Canon 7D straight to an E-PL5 (this year) so it's safe to say I bypassed any detours! I was just finding that as a busy worker and Dad of 2 (6 and 2) I wasn't using it often enough, or carrying it with me enough, purely because of it's size and weight as a collective kit. I started slow investigations into other formats and when I saw on snapsort that the high ISO of the 7D was slightly trumped by the diminutive Pen lite the decision was made. I sold all my kit and with the money was able to replace pretty much everything I had, not in terms of aperture always, but certainly focal length.

    I guess most important are two things.

    1. I am using my m43 stuff a lot more, and I can bring it to work everyday, all my kit fits in the same rucksack as my food and drink.
    2. I don't feel my images are lacking anything, despite the surprise of many DSLR shooters when I tell them I sold a 7D and a Sigma 70-200 2.8 amongst many things.

    My shopping list has got a couple of items remaining on it, but the bit up there about hard working (overtime) should help me achieve them easily enough. In case you wondered it's the panny 100-300 and possibly a macro.

    Sent from my GT-N7000 using Mu-43 mobile app
  8. Biro

    Biro Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 8, 2011
    Jersey Shore
    I came very close to buying a nice little Olympus four-thirds kit around 2008. There I was, standing in B&H with the E-520 in hand, prepared to buy it along with the 14-54mm zoom, the original (and faster) 40-150 zoom and the 25mm pancake. Then I walked around the store a bit, trying it out. And the uncertain auto-focus killed it for me within five minutes. Too many cases of the lens racking right through perfect focus multiple times before finding focus or giving up. So I bought a Pentax K200D, which served me well. I still have my Pentax kit (K-5, K-30 and K-01) but added micro four-thirds when the Panasonic G1 came out. But I always kept warm spot in my heart for Olympus and made sure I picked up a Pen Mini when it came out. That E-PM1 is now my niece's and I have the E-PM2.
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