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Old 01-16-2009, 08:58 AM   #1
ktinkel
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Default In love w/an unreleased camera?

I like to take pictures but I am more of an art director than a photographer. But I like to take snapshots and used our first digital camera a lot (ca 2000) — it was a true point-and-shoot, but with (at the time) decent zoom, so I could catch the shy birds that appear along the river as well as snapshots of people in the house.

Then in 2003 Jack got a 10X optical zoom camera with lots (I mean lots!) of controls. You need to rotate one dingus then push a bunch of different buttons just to go from shooting to viewing, for example. After five years, its main user still has to refer to the print-out documentation to do anything less common than that. Consequently, it drives me crazy, and I never try to use the thing. When I need a picture for my food site, I ask Jack to take it, even though I prefer to do it myself.

Well: Lately I have been seeing previews of the Olympus SP-590 UltraZoom, which is due out in March: Digital Camera Review, Digital Photography Review, and DC Views.

Its headline feature is 26X optical zoom — probably more than I would use — but it appears to do a good job with it (aside from need for hand support for the longer range shots). At least as interesting to me, it does a good job with macro shots as well (I am a little hazy on the means for that).

The best part for a photo noodnik like me, the camera has been redesigned, with an intelligible menu interface, big icons, and written labels. It has multiple modes, including a basic point-and-shoot, which sounds like my cup of tea. The other modes seem to offer as much control as any Type A camera buff could ask for without going to an SLR (maybe even with a DSLR).

The only memory card mentioned is a 2GB xD (said to support the Olympus panorama feature). I wonder what other cards would work, as 2GB doesn’t sound like much for as many pixels as this thing could potentially gobble up.

Amazon has its pre-order price at $450 (plus a card, not supplied).

Definitely on my wish list for now.

   
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Old 01-16-2009, 11:39 AM   #2
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Looks pretty slick!

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Old 01-16-2009, 01:00 PM   #3
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Over in Snarkish, Alan has been answering questions about which camera to buy, and one of the things he has against the Olympus cameras is the proprietary memory cards.

   
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Old 01-16-2009, 02:30 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by annc View Post
Over in Snarkish, Alan has been answering questions about which camera to buy, and one of the things he has against the Olympus cameras is the proprietary memory cards.
We have two others, and haven’t had problems with the memory cards. In this case, though, I was concerned at the small capacity. They like to sell you packs of three of them, but one big one should be better.

I didn’t realize the Olympus card was proprietary.

   
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Old 01-16-2009, 05:10 PM   #5
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kt: I didn’t realize the Olympus card was proprietary.
It may be different now but when I had my Olympus C-4040, if you used the Olympus-branded memory card, you could do panoramas but if you used a 3rd party card (appropriate form factor), then you could not do panoramas but any other short of photo was fine...

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Old 01-16-2009, 05:30 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by terrie View Post
It may be different now but when I had my Olympus C-4040, if you used the Olympus-branded memory card, you could do panoramas but if you used a 3rd party card (appropriate form factor), then you could not do panoramas but any other short of photo was fine...

Terrie
That is still correct but since I have some Olympus cards and some Fuji and some SansDIsk (who make them all I believe) and have not yet tried panorama it doesn't bother me <g>

There's no real downside to using Olympus branded cards since I've not found that they are premium priced.

   
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Old 01-16-2009, 05:50 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ktinkel View Post
I like to take pictures but I am more of an art director than a photographer. But I like to take snapshots and used our first digital camera a lot (ca 2000) — it was a true point-and-shoot, but with (at the time) decent zoom, so I could catch the shy birds that appear along the river as well as snapshots of people in the house.

Then in 2003 Jack got a 10X optical zoom camera with lots (I mean lots!) of controls. You need to rotate one dingus then push a bunch of different buttons just to go from shooting to viewing, for example. After five years, its main user still has to refer to the print-out documentation to do anything less common than that. Consequently, it drives me crazy, and I never try to use the thing. When I need a picture for my food site, I ask Jack to take it, even though I prefer to do it myself.

Well: Lately I have been seeing previews of the Olympus SP-590 UltraZoom, which is due out in March: Digital Camera Review, Digital Photography Review, and DC Views.

Its headline feature is 26X optical zoom — probably more than I would use — but it appears to do a good job with it (aside from need for hand support for the longer range shots). At least as interesting to me, it does a good job with macro shots as well (I am a little hazy on the means for that).

The best part for a photo noodnik like me, the camera has been redesigned, with an intelligible menu interface, big icons, and written labels. It has multiple modes, including a basic point-and-shoot, which sounds like my cup of tea. The other modes seem to offer as much control as any Type A camera buff could ask for without going to an SLR (maybe even with a DSLR).

The only memory card mentioned is a 2GB xD (said to support the Olympus panorama feature). I wonder what other cards would work, as 2GB doesn’t sound like much for as many pixels as this thing could potentially gobble up.

Amazon has its pre-order price at $450 (plus a card, not supplied).

Definitely on my wish list for now.
I have the SP560 (successor to the SP550) after an Olympus 5060 which did not have an EVF viewfinder but did have a superb tilt and swivel LCD panel on the back which made low, high and round the cornere photos easy <g> Alas neither the SP 560, 565, 570 or now 590 have introduced that although it is or was on one similar Sony UltraZoom.

My SP560 has a 18x Optical Zoom but for me the critical is the Wide Angle of 26mm equiv since that is great for indoor or "touristic" photos although recently I have been using the extreme zoom more. I got a wonderful head and shoulders portrait of my daughter in law on a river bank shot from halfway across a bridge across the river!

Things to watch for on UltraZooms are:

-- the delay between pressing the shutter release button and taking a picture which can be as long as nearly a second on the worse cameras unless you prefocus manually or by pressing the shutter release down partway but even then it can be long enough to make action pictures chancy.

-- poor/slow focussing in low light

-- slow/erratic zoom -- on my SP560 which is lever controlled on the body it is almost impossible to accurately frame a picture since it overshoots. The SP570 went to classic zoom ring on the lens but I've seen unfavorable reports on that on Steve's Digicam and in dpreview forums. (I think dpreview is nowadays better than Steve despite now belonging to Google)

One absolutely must have hands on experience with cameras like these and not buy them mailorder untried.

I see B&H list it but with no delivery yet but priced at $450 .... but they do have a 15 day return period and they are superb to deal with.

   
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Old 01-16-2009, 07:36 PM   #8
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Hm. I was thinking of picking up a few big ones for a trip to Japan but after a bit more thought, I jumped at a chance to pick up a stack of 512mb cards from a friend.

In practice, it worked out well. No card holds more than than will fit on a CD, so I can copy the card to the laptop that travels with me, burn a CD or two and I'm safe. I leave the images on the lappie as well. Then I reformat the card.

It also seem to make it easier to segregate the images by place/subject. Leaving the flea market and going to visit a church or temple? Swap in a new card. Wastes a bit of CD space, but who cares at today's prices.

Another way of looking at it, y'know?

   
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Old 01-17-2009, 07:02 AM   #9
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Thanks for the rundown.

I think shutter delay is one of the things they improved with this one (based on the preview articles). But the proof is in the pudding, isn’t it? (It will almost certainly be an improvement over our C-740 UZ.)

One of the articles mentioned slow focusing in low light, but said it did a good job with ordinary in-door (low-light) photos. Haven’t reconciled those two statements yet.

We used to go to B&H when we lived in NYC — they have always had a good reputation. Glad to hear it’s holding up.

   
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Old 01-17-2009, 07:02 AM   #10
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True enough. Makes sense to me.

   
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