photoblogography - Just some stuff about photography

Olympus E-400

in Olympus E-System , Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Well, here is my first post on this blog for about 6 months. Having resurrected the site, I had to spend some time reversing out of some changes I'd made which in particular affected this blog. As I wrote elsewhere, I've decided to drop the major makeover and just make detail improvements when time allows. I'm not terribly happy with the site, especially with the design of the photo galleries, which is really getting creaky, but for now it will have to do. In the interim I haven't had a lot of time for photography, but I did end up buying an Olympus E-400. You can see some photos from it here (and many more, for now, on my Flickr pages). I was quite smitten by the E-400 the first time I picked it up. Reverting back to a "classic" shape has allowed Olympus to create a DSLR much smaller than most others, but without sacrificing handling, at least for me. It has more or less replaced the E-1, as really there is little if anything that the E-1 does significantly better. It is a little more fiddly than the E-1 in manual mode, due to the lack of a second dial, and things like DOF preview are awkward. But the image quality more than makes up for it, and when paired with the 14-45mm lens, it really is a quite practical "take it anywhere" DSLR. It doesn't _quite_ fit in a pocket, but it isn't far off. The screen menu easily makes up for the lack of a settings panel. The fast access to parameters, and the clever way in which you can go deeper into options settings if you need to, but have the basics right up front, is really excellent. Ok, dedicated buttons for things like ISO, AF mode, drive mode, etc, are certainly very nice to have, but you can't have such a compact body as well as all the E-1 buttons and controls, and the compromises that are made are made very well. To be honest, it doesn't quite have the "wow" factor that the E-1's ergonomics and handling gives me and many others, but for every day use, it is really a very fine camera, and one which, unlike say the Nikon D40, caters for beginners, without in any way ruling out advanced users. I'll post more on the E-400 in weeks to come.