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Olympus E-620 Digital SLR Camera Review
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Mark Verber
(verber) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Sensor important... but the lens is equal issue. (was S90 half the weight) on 10/28/2009 14:49:11 MDT Print View

> Just noticed the S90 is half the weight of the G11! Is
> it really comparable in almost every way?

The sensor is the same and I believe the digital processing are the same as well. Controls are different and as others have noted the G11 has an articulated screen and optical viewfinder which can be useful.

The open question is how does the G11 and S90 lens compare. I don't know the answer to this. My observation is that the lens on the S90 is not as good as the lens on the LX3, which isn't as good as the the u4/3 20/1.7, which isn't as good as... I don't know. I haven't done any side by side comparisons between the 20/1.7 and glass I really love.

Some of the time lighting is tough and the small sensors are not up to the job. During the daytime though, there is typically plenty of light to saturate even the small sensors. The problem with nearly all the small sensor cameras is that they have so/so lens. You can see the same effect with large sensor and film cameras. For example, I have put large prints of the same subject in front of people. The only difference was one was taken with a 85/1.8 at 2.8 and the other with a "pro grade" 70-200/2.8 set at 85/2.8 (which is much higher quality than the compact camera lens). Nearly all of them look at the picture taken with the prime lens and say "I don't know why... but I really like that picture more". These weren't pixel peeper... just people having an emotional reaction to the image.

Nikon and Canon have more/better native lens options than 4/3. 4/3s is better than u4/3... which has just a handful of lens which are expensive and not top tier (with the possible exception of the 20/1.7). The good news with the u4/3 is that the short distance to the recording plane means that with an adaptor you can mount pretty much any lens and expect it to function pretty well. If only the sensor had the micro lens used in the M9 for optimal sensor performance. Oh well... it is an order of magnitude cheaper. I do look forward to seeing more high quality lens built to use 4/3 and u4/3 mountings nativity.


Edited by verber on 10/28/2009 14:58:44 MDT.

Jason Elsworth
(jephoto) - M

Locale: New Zealand
Olympus E-620 Digital SLR Camera Review on 10/28/2009 15:02:53 MDT Print View

Personally I would take some of what Ken Rockwell says with a small pinch of salt :) However, I do think that for many people, despite their limitations, compacts are a great choice. Like all our equipment choices there are compromises. For me personally, to really get the value out of carrying heavier gear I also need to take and use a tripod, high quality lenses, some filters and most importantly I need to have the time to dedicate to photography and then to post processing. Many people just don't want to do all of this. If you are just wanting to record your trip, make a few prints and post your photos online then compacts are a great choice. The best camera is the one you have with you and heavier gear sometimes gets left at home.

Ryan - I am really enjoying your excellent photos and videos.

Stephen Firth
(kanangra) - F
E620 v. E420 on 10/28/2009 16:09:26 MDT Print View

I have an E420. With the 25mm pancake lens I'm pretty sure it is lighter than this one? What would the main difference between it and the new one be?

Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Re: E620 v. E420 on 10/28/2009 17:43:24 MDT Print View

Hi Stephen,

Some notable differences are the 620's I.S., articulating screen, newer image processor, larger viewfinder and art filters.

You, however, have the pleasure of and bragging rights to owning the smallest and lightest dslr sold.



(mountainwalker) - MLife

Locale: SF Bay Area & New England
S90, G11 or Lumix DMC-LX3? on 10/28/2009 23:41:05 MDT Print View

This review has really helped me narrow down what I want in a camera for outdoor photography on most trips = convenience, relatively small form factor and light weight with good image quality. I'm much more likely to always take a lightweight compact with me. The reality is I also don't have as much time as I'd like to devote to mastering the art of a DSLR right now.

Thus I’m leaning toward a high quality compact again, though plan to take the DSLR plunge when I have more time to devote to learning how to get the most out of an SLR, and when a model like the E-620 comes out with quality video, or a similar but significantly lighter cam comes on the market.

Nowadays for video I carry a very small and lightweight (5-6 ounces I think) Xacti CG6 MPEG-4 video cam with a small extra battery ($80 on Walmart closeout last year), which takes Youtube quality videos and holds hours of video. It uses the same lightweight ultrapod tripod I use with compact cams. I use it for work for saving presentations.

Just summing up comparison of the G11 and S90:

Ross: “for those thinking of the G11, stop.
The Canon S90 has the same sensor in a much smaller and lighter package, with great controls, raw capture, basically everything the G11 can do. Did I mention it is cheaper too? Its lens is a very fast f/2.0-4.9, 28-105 35mm eq.”

Gordon: “At full resolution, the G11 or S90 could do 9x13 prints, while the E-620 could do 9x14 or so, if you're looking at high quality 300 ppi photo prints. Not a huge difference there. One nice thing also about the G11 is that you do have the option of a viewfinder, which means that you can operate it without using the LCD. On longer trips this means that a single battery will last you much longer. The S90 on the other hand has no viewfinder, so on longer trips you need to factor in the additional weight of extra batteries.”

After doing a little digging, also found out the following which may help others make the choice:

1) While I wanted a compact p&s camera that has a view finder to preserve battery power, some reviewers find the view finder on the G11 nearly useless because the lens obscures much of the view (I had the same issue with the G5).

2) According to the B&H Photo website, the Canon S90 battery weighs only 0.6 oz (18g). So carrying an extra battery to compensate for not having a viewfinder adds very little weight to the S90, which is nearly half the weight of the G11. By comparison, a now similarly priced Nikon D40 DSLR comes in at 1 lb (or 1.2 lbs with battery) in a much bulkier body.

3) The G11 has a 5x optical zoom, the S90 has a 3.8x zoom.

Hate losing the extra bit of zoom with the S90, but knowing the view finder isn’t very helpful for composing on the G11, I’m finding the very low weight and compact size of the Canon S90 very compelling.


A) With the same image sensor and considering the above info, which of the two would you go for?

B) How would you compare the S90 and G11 to the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3?

Joseph Reeves

Locale: Southeast Alaska
GF1 M4/3 on 10/29/2009 00:12:24 MDT Print View

I've been using a GF1 for the past week or so and find a great difference between it and my LX3 images. The GF1's images have much greater detail and they "look" better. While I used the LX3 last weekend for an overnight trip -- it is lighter and I wanted to make sure I knew the new camera well enough -- I have no doubt that the GF1 will replace it as backpacking gear. It isn't that much heavier. This from today...


Ross Williams
(xavi1337) - F

Locale: Korea
LX3 on 10/29/2009 07:07:23 MDT Print View

The LX3 is another great camera, but its 2.5x zoom might turn some people off. It also has a sensor only slightly larger than that of the G10/S90. My main issue with the LX3 however is that the controls are just not as natural as on the S90.

The GF1 should really be looked at as a HD video camera first, and still shots second. This thing with outperform all nikons and Canons in HD video ands down. If you want to stick to photos, the EP-1 may be a more convenient choice.

I currently take a D90 into the field with a 35mm prime for most everything, but find it too bulky. I'm looking for my next camera to be a film rangefinder at 500g including lens. If someone could fit a modern lens and metering system on a Holga I'd snap one up in a heartbeat.

Alexander Laws
(goldenmeanie) - F

Locale: Los Angeles
Holga on 10/29/2009 20:13:32 MDT Print View

Ross, how about a Mamiya 7 II ;)

Ross Williams
(xavi1337) - F

Locale: Korea
Mamiya 7 on 10/30/2009 09:07:12 MDT Print View

2.5 pounds is a bit much for me as well as the price.

Alexander Laws
(goldenmeanie) - F

Locale: Los Angeles
rangie on 10/30/2009 12:52:06 MDT Print View

I was just teasing... ;) But, I want one anyhow.

Jason Elsworth
(jephoto) - M

Locale: New Zealand
Holgas on 10/30/2009 16:10:25 MDT Print View

"If someone could fit a modern lens and metering system on a Holga I'd snap one up in a heartbeat." Ah but then it wouldn't be a Holga:) I am definitely going to take my Holga on the next trip I do and see how I get on.

Larry Risch
(dayhiker) - F
Panasonic Lumix GF1 Review, October 2009 on 11/07/2009 22:10:08 MST Print View

dpreview has a review of this which it compares somewhat to the Olympus E-P1.

He notes a few advantages of E-P1, but I don't think i have ever read such an enthusiastic conclusion. I have yet to read it close enough to see what he likes about it over the E-P1.

Mark Verber
(verber) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Panasonic Lumix GF1 Review, October 2009 on 11/07/2009 22:34:47 MST Print View

There was also a nice comparison between olympus e-p1 and panasonic ep1 at

Darryl Romm
(Lyrrad) - F

Locale: Greater London
Re: LX3 on 11/09/2009 16:19:37 MST Print View

Fuji do some rangefinders that are highly recommended.


I believe above have fixed lens but I am not too sure on that. I do know one of them comes with interchangable lens but can't verify which model.

Edited by Lyrrad on 11/09/2009 16:20:17 MST.

Trevor Warmedahl
(chokmah33) - F
whats the tent? on 11/09/2009 20:38:30 MST Print View

what tent is that in the morning after thunderstorm pic?

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Great review on 11/11/2009 10:17:09 MST Print View

In your review you state-

"The E-620 has made a significant improvement in dynamic range over its predecessors, especially in the ability to capture highlights. In fact, at ISO 200, it has one of the largest dynamic ranges of a lightweight DSLR."

How do you evaluate this range? What spec's would tell me about the dynamic range of this camera compared to some other camera?

And thanks for your insights. I find them relevant and informative, especially in regard to "being out there", being spontaneous, and being light.

(mountainwalker) - MLife

Locale: SF Bay Area & New England
Panasonic Lumix GF1 and Canon Powershot S90 comparison on 11/11/2009 22:13:58 MST Print View

New York Times comparison of Panasonic Lumix GF1 and Canon Powershot S90 with side by side photo comparisons.

Gabriel Slatton
(Fishfinger) - F
new to slr's on 12/02/2009 23:40:29 MST Print View

I have never used a nice dslr so I have some studying to do about photography for sure but I am fed up with usuing my little P&S and trying the get nice pictures. I like the sound of this camera and will take the time to learn about it. My question is when do you think they might come out with this unit with the HD video capibility in it? I could wait until late spring to buy since I will not be going back packing until June.

Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Re: new to slr's on 12/03/2009 11:18:01 MST Print View

Hi Gabriel,

As is typical Oly has been quite mum about forthcoming dslr bodies so we're left to speculate, and you know how reliable that is.

Speculation follows.

It's presumed the next Oly announcement will be the E-3 replacement and that it will have video if for no other reason than the competetion have video. That will be a big, heavy and expensive body.

We don't know what's to become of the 4XX and 5xx series, since the 620 straddles them in size and exceeds them in features. The presumption is the 6## series will continue and one or both of the others will be dropped.

Since you can wait until mid-2010 sit tight, as the announcements *should* come Q1/10, with product releases by mid-year. If the E-# has video, it will indicate the feature will trickle down through the rest of the line. If not, then Oly is leaving video to µ4/3.

End of speculation.

Since video is handled much better by µ4/3 than any dslr, you might want to look at Panny's and Oly's offerings in that format if video is critical to your needs. DSLRs are still the way to go for fast shooting though, including entry-level models, even if the video is clunky.



Gabriel Slatton
(Fishfinger) - F
Thanks Rick on 12/03/2009 18:50:42 MST Print View

I know next to nothing about real photography so much of what is said here is greek to me. I plan on taking a class or something in order to gain some lingo knowledge and working ability etc. Sounds like this camera will be fine for me and I like the weight factor. If I want to do video I can buy one of those little HD recorders that are small and light. I want a camera for taking still shots of scenery and wild life and what you had to say about how easy this unit was to operate and carry on your chest while packing really spoke to me. That is key for me. It looks like it takes fantastic photos compared to the crummy little older model p&s I have been usuing. I think I will go ahead and by this unit sooner rather than later so that I can get the hang of using it before my trips this next summer. Like I said my first trip will be in June and then I plan on four more. One each month through October. If I buy it in say April and get a few lessons under my belt I should be good to go by June. Where can I take photography lessons? Do Camera shops offer them? I have seen them at the local collages I think. Any sudgestions on how to learn what the heck I am doing?