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Friday, August 1, 2008

D-SLRs For The Landscape

Choose the best camera for your landscape photography

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The rugged splash- and dustproof E-3 features a rarity in a D-SLR: a tilting/swiveling Live-View LCD monitor that makes shooting from unusual angles easy. The 2.5-inch unit shows 100 percent of the actual image area, provides white balance and exposure previews, and works with manual focusing and single-shot autofocusing.

Picture Mode presets (Vivid, Natural, Portrait, Muted, Monochrome and Custom) can be modified for contrast, sharpness and saturation in five steps and gradation in four steps in Custom. SWD sensor-shift image stabilization works with all lenses, while Olympus’ pioneering (and very effective) Supersonic Wave Filter keeps dust off the image-sensor assembly—no need to fear changing lenses in the field.

Sensor: 10.1-megapixel Live MOS, 2x
LCD: 2.5 inches free-angle/Live View
High-frequency vibrations
Stabilization: Sensor-shift
ISO Range: 100-3200
Spot Metering: 2%
Estimated Street Price: $1,700
Like all Four Thirds System cameras, the E-3 can use all Four Thirds System lenses. Currently, these range in focal length from the Olympus 7-14mm superwide zoom (equivalent to 14-28mm on a 35mm camera) and 8mm fish-eye (equivalent to 16mm on a 35mm camera) to Sigma’s 300-800mm supertele zoom (equivalent to a 600-1600mm on a 35mm camera. The Olympus 300mm ƒ/2.8 supertelephoto is equivalent to 600mm on a 35mm SLR, but much more compact, lower-priced and a stop faster. The high-end Olympus lenses share the E-3’s splash- and dustproofing, handy when shooting in harsh conditions.

The Olympus E-3’s fold-out, articulating LCD monitor is a fantastic feature for composing landscapes with a unique angle or from a particularly challenging camera position Menu navigation, AF points and metering modes all can be set via the arrow pad Exposure modes and AF modes are selected by depressing these buttons and rotating the various command dials. While many photographers eschew a pop-up flash, it can be ideal in low-light situations when one wants to add a little extra pop to a shot The E-3 has a robust series of accessories, including macro-flash attachments.

Alternative Landscape D-SLR

Camera: Olympus E-420
Sensor :
10 MP/2x
LCD: 2.7 inches/Live View
Anti-Dust : Vibration
Stabilization : None
ISO : 100-1600
Spot Metering : 1%
Estimated Street Price : $500

Lineage: Olympus introduced its first D-SLR—and the world’s first Four Thirds System camera—in 2003, the pro E-1. That was followed by eight more models, including the first D-SLR with compact-style Live-View capability (the E-330) and the E-1’s successor, the E-3 (there was no E-2). The E-3’s improvements over the E-1 include 10.1 megapixels (vs. 5), a tilting/rotating 2.5-inch Live-View LCD monitor (vs. a fixed 1.8-inch LCD with no Live View), maximum shooting rate of 5 fps (vs. 3 fps), built-in sensor-shift image stabilization that works with all lenses, improved image quality (especially at higher ISOs) and super-quick autofocusing with the new SWD lenses.

Cool Factor: It’s easy to frame dramatic, “huge-foreground-object” wide-angle landscapes with the tilting/swiveling Live-View monitor on this D-SLR.


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