Very cool! It sure looks like an EVOLT replacement, not an E-1 replacement. Surprising, but I bet we see a new pro-level announcement before long now. I wonder how many E-300 units have been sold so far... anyone have an idea?
>In many ways it's good to see the 'popular' DSLR appearing first. If it's a success then more money for general DSLR development including the E-? However Olympus did say 2 new models would be out in this fiscal year (ends March 2006.) They've kept their word, here's the E-300 replacement. So it follows that the E-? will come along in good time. I for one am glad to see they've kept with 4/3rds. This takes courage in the face of all the unjust criticism. Power to you Olympus. Keep those E-system lenses coming - I might just be able to afford another. To be honest, I'm perfectly happy with my E-1, but I've spoken to the Bank Manager about a loan when the E-? arrives John F. > >
I have mixed emotions about this. First, I am still not sure if the "leaks" the past couple of days were real. There have been a number of people on another forum doing relatively high quality fake pictures of "new" Olympus cameras. Also, Olympus pulled the web pages relatively quickly after everything surfaced. Their site could have been hijacked.
Still these things tend to be leaked this way rather than officially announced in a more conventional way.
If it is real I am torn. On the one hand, I am glad that "my company" is at last waking up after sitting on their hands while the other companies brought out new model after new model.
On the other hand, the new camera, upsets me in a couple of ways. I have an E-300. I like it and plan to keep it for a long time. I admit that I was initially a bit put off by the unconventional porro mirror design, but it has grown on me. I like the fact that the camera is built very robustly. If the new camera has a conventional pentaprism, then Olympus is saying they made a mistake with the design of the E-300. Also, I like the robust build quality of my camera. The new one appears to be a plastic one like the 350D. (more on the porro mirror: if the goal was to make a smaller, lighter camera, the E-300 was touted as designed to be smaller and light than its contemporaries. Why not keep it with the new one then?)
The new model seems to be smart for Olympus as a marketing decision. The large untapped market will be for lower priced dslrs. But it's not an E-300 replacement as everyone seems to have hoped for.
I have my doubts as well, I could have very easily done the this composite. I was a little disappointed about his release, seeing as how absolutely fantastic my E300 is! As a matter of fact, I have two of these cameras they are so good. This fascilitates very quick focal changes.
The "true" rumors for a couple months have been to expect two new bodies by the end of 05, or early 06. If the E-500 is one and it's a low-end dslr, and if the E-1 replacement costs more than the E-1, what, if anything, will be in the middle?
I would like to see them do an improved E-300. Seems like they need something at the $999 price-point. Competition and lack (until now) of a D350 fighter have forced the price of the E-300 down. A better E-300 could sell at $999.
very cool, even though I am running a couple 300's(I am very happy with them) I can not see a reason to upgrade to the 500 as yet. looks like the sames specs in a conventional layout that the mass market will accept... I love my 300(s). nice new lens'... thanks Olympus!!!!
I've just been trying out my E-500 in Paris. A lot of the time the light was not too great, but I got some decent shots. More complex to work with than an analog SLR or a digital point-and-shoot, but it did pretty well. It tends to overexpose and bleach out highlights a bit, so I continually underexposed a bit (2 thirds of an f-stop or thereabouts), and set the contrast and sharpening each to minus one. Flash shots are perfectly OK, and it is stable enough to take evening shots of the Eiffel Tower against an almost black night sky hand-held. This shot: E-500, 14/45 mm zoom at 14 mm and f/3.5, 1/6 second, handheld, ISO 800 (while freezing in the waiting row for the elevator...). Shot in RAW, developed with RAWShooter. Resized to 25 percent and jpg-compressed factor 8 for uploading.
So here's another try for the Eiffeltower. Not very easy this board... apparently it was too large... Had to compress it to factor 20, so now there are artifacts visible. Sorry for that, the original 8MP is a lot better of course.
Some further impressions from the E-500...
- The Olympus Master software will not install on my pc (a Windows XP Sp1 machine), apparently it needs the very latest version of the Windows Installer software, which itself will only install directly from the MS site when you let mr. Gates minions validate your Windows and your hardware (which can be tricky on a laptop with pre-installed, licenced Windows as one does not have a Windows install CD). I'll try it later on another machine with Win XP SP2, but for now I am without Olympus' RAW development capability and without the option to update the firmware.
- handling of the camera is quite good in spite of all the buttons. I love the info menu that allows shortcuts to almost any setting, and the buttons for white balance, ISO, measuring method, etc.. I did forget to adapt white balance a few times after setting it by hand in one situation, switching off the camera and later starting it for another shot in a different setting. Something you need to get used to.
Yesterday I was changing batteries and I accidentally pushed the battery compartment door a bit too much, it fell out into my hand. Fortunately nothing broke, and I could simply push it back in the hinge, but this may be a weak point. Of course the battery will stay in as there is a security hook, even if the door breaks. But treat it with care. A polarizing filter will be on my wish list to add more drama to the skies that tend to blow out a bit.
SHQ JPEG files directly from the camera are usually quite good, but more garish than a shot taken in RAW and then edited and converted; even with contrast and sharpening both set at minus 1.
The 40-150 mm lens needs speeds over 1/250 to allow any handheld shot to come out usefully sharp at the extreme tele end (not crisp, but useable), as long as you can stabilize yourself (leaning against a wall or leaning your elbows on a railing for instance). Of course this is the equivalent of a 300 mm on an OM, so getting a useable picture at say 1/300 shutter speed without a tripod is not bad at all. For true crispness, you'll need a tripod or very fast shutter speeds though.
Well, it has been thoroughly reviewed elsewhere, so... let's just say I am not at all disappointed (except by the non-installing software). I think the E-500 will grow on me like my OMs did in the past.
Additional info: just tried a few shots with some old Zuiko lenses using an OM/E adapter (3rd party through eBay), and this seems to work out. The viewscreen is not as easy for manual focusing as the 100% matte screen I preferred to use in my OMs (screen 4), but it is allright, and since it is a very clear screen it is no problem to focus when the lens is stopped down a bit (no auto closing of the diaphragm, it closes manually). For the price of one adapter ring (65 euro) I now have all my OM primes available for use with the E-500 at aperture priority auto setting (essentially like an OM2), or full manual. Imagine using a 300 mm OMZ (in this case a decent 3rd party lens) giving the effect of a 600 mm (or go berserk and add an OM 2x teleconverter to get effectively a 1200 mm equivalent!). Suddenly the E-500 has become the additional digital body of my OM-based equipment set. The old standard 1.8/50 mm on the E-500 is a good, clear portrait lens (effectively a 1.8/100 mm, with very good optical quality when stopped down to f/2.8, something one needs to do anyway to get accurate metering). The long 300 (600) mm tele overexposes and needs to be corrected in-camera between one and 2 stops even when stopped down (which is fine, as this means faster shutter speeds).
For anyone with old OMZ glass in good condition who buys an E-series dSLR: get an adapter...