Olympus has made a big and daring step introducing the Four Thirds system. The introduction of the E-1 is admirable and it is praiseworthy that a company with a respected photographic background goes into the digital age full gas. The E-1 is the first model working according the new system; the new standard according to Olympus. But what's the opinion of Canon and Nikon? They don't seem to show any symptom of sympathy for this new system. Canon as well as Nikon has a founded philosophy on the future of digital photography and one thing is for sure: they are not standing still!
The Olympus E-1, a professional camera... Like I said before, personally I think the camera lies in between a pro and semipro one. Although I'm not a 100% sure of that. The E-1 deserves praise; it is a fantastic digital camera with which splendid results can be obtained. When I look at the pictures made on Mallorca with Olympus and I show them to whomever, I only get very positive reactions. The camera is capable to take pictures that can equally be taken by any comparable (professional) camera. It is a hard job for the Olympus marketing department to point out the professional status of the E-1 to the professional photographers. Which pro is prepared to give up his or her equipment to head for the new standard? Or do we have to think of the future pro who wants to gain a new status with the solid equipment of the E-1? The future will tell.
As mentioned before, the E-1 is a pleasant camera to work with. The light weight and the compact size are appreciated and the professional finishing touch gives you the feeling of having a piece of quality in your hands. The images look good, the exposure is fine, and the technique is brilliant. Important is to give some time to the camera, give yourself time to learn to cope with the possibilities of image editing. Take time to learn to cope with the included Olympus Studio package, with which RAW data can be converted to the highest level. The E-1 is a digital reflex camera with extensive advanced and specialised functions, the housing is perfect and the operation is easy. Still I would like to see the introduction of a reflex camera with the Four Thirds system with a resolution of 8 Megapixels or higher. Personally I see the 5 Megapixels being used on a semipro camera. Of course Megapixels don't decide the final quality but the experience learns that in 5 months time we will have a different view on resolution.
The Olympus E-1 is highly recommendable and deserves to be considered when searching for a new digital camera or as part of new equipment. If the Four Thirds System is going to be a standard, we'll have to wait and see. Olympus has taken the initiative and the way is now open to the manufacturers, also the ones we might not be expecting, to hop on the train, destination: Four Thirds!
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The images can be transferred from the camera onto a computer through two different interfaces. The E-1 is equipped with the IEEE1394 (Firewire) connection and a fast USB 2.0 connection. Testing this camera I used a SanDisk Ultra II 1GB CompactFlash card and transferred the images through the USB 2.0 connection onto a computer. Now we see the power of USB 2.0 in combination with one of the fastest, if not the fastest, memory cards in the world. The images fly from camera to computer with a very high speed. The E-1 offers pure speed on data storage!
The E-1 offers the following resolutions and compression sorts:
RAW - 2560x1920 - no compression - ORF - 10.2
TIFF - 2560x1920 - no compression - TIFF - 14.4
SHQ - 2560x1920 - 1/2.7 compression - JPEG - 3.8
HQ - 2560x1920 - 1/8 compression - JPEG -1.2
SQ - 1600x1200 - 1/2.7 compression - JPEG - 1.4
SQ - 1600x1200 - 1/8 compression - JPEG - 0.5
SQ - 1280x960 - 1/2.7 compression - JPEG - 0.9
SQ - 1280x 960 - 1/8 compression -JPEG - 0.3
SQ - 1024x 768 - 1/2.7 compression -JPEG - 0.6
SQ - 1024x 768 - 1/8 compression - JPEG - 0.2
SQ - 640 x 480 - 1/2.7 compression - JPEG - 0.3
SQ - 640 x 480 - 1/8 compression - JPEG - 0.1