Danny Yee >> Travelogues >> Oxford Blog >> Technology
spires from Carfax

upgrading my camera

Technology, — July 2010

For five and a half years now I've been using an Olympus E-1, which as digital cameras go is now something of an antique, since it was released seven years ago.

I bought the E-1 with a 14-54mm f/2.8-3.5 lens — a fast standard zoom (28-108 equivalent) with decent macro performance (0.52x equivalent) — and the combination has been with me all over the place. I've taken it to New Zealand, Mongolia, Vietnam and Cambodia, and most recently Turkey, among other destinations. I've taken 26,000 photos or so with it (not that many given the shutter is rated to 150,000 actuations) and it's performed admirably.

The one huge problem with it — and I knew this was going to be the big problem when I bought it! — is that it is a big, heavy camera, not really suited for someone who travels light. With a spare battery, my basic camera bag weighs in at 1.65kg, on top of which there's the battery charger and usually a light telephoto lens. (I realise this is not heavy by professional standards; you don't need to tell me how much heavier a Canon 1Ds is!)

What with the netbook as well, my luggage now can be two thirds electronics. And I sometimes go out without the camera, because it's so bulky, and miss photography opportunities as a result.

It would also be nice to have some of the features of more modern cameras: video capability, better high ISO performance, colour histograms, faster review times, a larger LCD screen, more than 4x zoom, and so forth.

The Problem

The problem is that, even after seven years of seemingly frantic camera development, there is no DSLR smaller and lighter than the E-1 which matches its features, in particular the weather-sealing and 100% viewfinder.

So I'm contemplating giving up on a replacement and instead supplementing the E-1 with a much smaller and lighter camera, maybe an E-P2.


  1. No comments yet ? I'll weigh in.

    During my recent return trip to China to re-discover parts of the Pearl River Delta where hundreds of thousands (perhaps more) of overseas Chinese originated from, including yours truly, I had the use of a Panasonic Lumix digicam. An idiot box if you like which fits in the palm quite nicely. It was loaned to me, and it met my needs well. The person insisted I should keep it. The camera is quite new, my cousin's son ( the owner) told me he bought it at a second hand shop. The shop is actually an outlet for stolen goods. It stocks anything and everything, the prices are unbelievably low.
    The owner of the shop ( and sellers too) has no ideas about some of the stuff he is receiving, and expensive items are passed off at give away prices

    Cousin's son is a tradesman. He bought many brand name power tools like Bosch and Makita from it. For him and his family, he bought high end mobile phones from the same source. I accepted the camera, but insisted on reimbursing him. Now, for the very first time, I own a digicam, and am learning to use it.

    Do I have any qualms about in possession of stolen goods? None whatever. It is a society evil we can't eliminate. I lost stuff through burglary myself, I just took it in the chin. My early 1980s used TV ( still working, it supplements my newly purchased HDTV), was probably stolen goods also.

    I wish I had visited the shop myself, you could bring the price down even more by hard bargaining. There are many things on sale.

    Back to the camera: my other camera is a SLR Nikkormat bought brand new in Homg Komg in 1975 for a princely sum. It served me well for many years. Since my children are grown-ups, the camera has been dormant for years. I had to learn to use a digicam just as I did with the PC. Plenty of new tricks to learn for an old dog.

    Comment by DL — July 2010
  2. I can't imagine you'd get anything with an interchangeable lens any cheaper. I now use, exclusively, a point-and-shoot. It's brilliant. You will get better shots and more flexibility from an SLR, but not by much. And this fits in my pocket. When my pocket already has keys ad wallet in it.

    Canon Ixus 95. Get one from that range for the occasions you mention. They're dirt cheap and take really good photos.

    Comment by Simon Rumble — July 2010
  3. Yes, some kind of compact is also an option. We already have one, but it's one of those waterproof Olympus models and it is slow to use (not very responsive) and not much shakes for image quality (chromatic aberration, low dynamic range, etc). Options here include the Panasonic ZR3 and FX70 - the ultra-compacts like the Ixus 95 don't go wide enough for me.

    Comment by danny — July 2010

TrackBack URI

Leave a comment

Technology << Oxford Blog << Travelogues << Danny Yee