DPR Forum

Welcome to the Friendly Aisles!
Register now and use your old dpreview username.
Enjoy this modern, easy to use software. Look also at our Reviews & Gallery!

New E1


New Member
I'm new to this forum…just found it a few days ago. I have a 1978 OM-1N and a 1990 OM-4T that I use for both daytime photography and astrophotography. I took the plunge today and purchased an E-1 and the 14-45 mm zoom from my local shop…the deal was nearly as good as mail order so I figured NOW was worth an extra 5-10%. Plus, I want as much time as possible to learn the camera before we go to Hawaii in June for our anniversay. I will take my OM-4T also, but I plan to use the E-1 most of the time.

This is a long way to say I would like your recommendations about how to actually use my new toy. Most of my photos will be outdoors: Pearl Harbor, Haleakela, Kiluea Crater, waterfalls, beaches, etc. We will also visit the telescopes on Mauna Kea. From the few test shots I did this afternoon, it looks like Program mode can handle most normal situations. I am used to spot metering with my OM-4T, and figure that is what I will do when the lighting is challenging. Does this strike you as the most trouble-free way to handle a camera I will still be learning and get good results. Most photos will end up on a CD-ROM and will not get printed, though some might. I don't plan to image edit--not yet anyway, since I have never done it before--so I don't think I will do any in RAW or TIFF. Do you see any advantage to using SHQ instead of HQ (less compression, but fewer photos)?

Thanks in advance for your suggestions.

If you don't plan to edit and if you plan to do most of your shooting in program mode, you may have wasted your money on a very expensive toy. A point and shoot digital with a good zoom (C-5060?) would probably do the trick just as well or better.

Just as with film SLR's the biggest advantage of an E-1 is CONTROL. Yes, most shots will turn out ok in program mode, but many shots can be vastly improved by setting exposure and dof yourself.

Also, with digital, it is wonderful to be able to do at least some basic editing yourself- e.g. cropping, adjusting contract and sharpness, or even the obvious: discarding poor results immediately instead of finding out after the film is processed. You don't have to run out and buy Photoshop immediately. The software provided with the camera will do a lot for you.

Good luck with your E-1. It's a wonderful camera.
First, I couldn't disagree more with the "very expensive toy" remark - just having the ability to change lenses, having relatively clean higher iso speeds available - the 5060 is a wonderful P&S but like all its ilk, it's pretty useless at 400 iso - and, most important, being able to see through the lens and having NO shutter lag are worth the price of admission.

That said, I agree with Mark that the more you do for yourself, the better your photos will ultimately be. But if you're going to start with auto everything, the one thing you absolutely have to keep in mind is that digital metering is very much like metering for slide film - expose for the highlights, as there is next to no margin of error at the highlight end. One of the great advantages of digital is that shooting a huge number of exposures is absolutely free - so do it. Try all the metering modes under all conditions; play with the camera. And keep track of what you're doing.

Also, keep everything you shoot that is not grossly malexposed or blurred - CD's are really cheap. You wouldn't throw your negatives away, so don't throw your digital "mistakes" away - some mistakes may later appear not to be, and you will learn from mistakes.

As to format - I'd go with SHQ even if shooting for the web, simply because it gives you more data, less compressed, to play with afterwards. RAW does give you more flexibility, but if you're starting out, it can be a pain. Also - be sure to play with the E-1's custom white balance feature; it's very effective. You can carry a gray card in your bag and set it off that. Or, you can simply set it off the scene.

And good luck!
Hello BD Colen

Your remarks were very interesting about exposing digital images. = Using the "expose for the highlights" is something I have heard about = but am not conversant with. Could you give a brief explanation of the = process?

Thanks Harry
Hello DB Colen

I was very interested in the answer you gave concerning the E1 and = especially the exposure of the image. I have heard of "Exposing for the = highlights" but am not conversant with the process. Would you explain = the steps taken to achieve the proper exposer using this system?


Hi, Harry - I'm not much of a technical guy, but the bottom line is that with negative film, particularly black and white, you meter for the shadows, because there is less latitude at the shadow end of the spectrum than there is in the highlights. But with slide film, you meter for the highlights, the bright areas, because with slide film if you overexpose, there will be nothing in those bright areas. Digital is similar to slide film - if you overexpose the highlights, you will 'blow out' those areas completely. So the idea is to meter for those areas - obviously not if you're shooting a general scene where you want an average of the scene, but for photos where there is a wide range between shadows and highlights, if you expose for the shadows, you won't have any detail in the highlights. The best and easiest ex&le I can think of is if you're shooting a portrait of someone sitting by a window, with bright light on the left side of the face a deep shadow on the right. If you expose to lighten the shadow, you will end up with just white in the bright areas. You need to expose for the brightly lit side, perhaps opening up a half-a-stop over that ideal exposure, in order to keep good detail in the bright side. Digital has a surprising amount of latitude in the shadows. In fact, I do allot of low light work and I'm convinced that digital is better for low light work than film, because it definitely seems to capture more shadow detail.

I hope this makes sense.

B. D. www.a-day-in-our-life.com http://www.theworkshops.com/catalog/courses/index.asp?CourseID=2671&Scho olID=20
Thanks all for your input. However, Mark, I think you misunderstood my question. I fully intend to learn all the features on the camera, though I still don't think I will do much editing of the photos even later. My main difficulty now is learning everything about the camera in two months because my schedule is jam packed until we leave. Of course, I could use aperature priority and spot meter and use it very much like my OM-4T.
>The E-1 is pre-disposed towards conservative metering to protect the hig hlights. My own ex&le is perhaps too conservative as most of my stuff c omes out about 2 stops under regardless of the metering mode or any other balances I apply (except spot although this too is under.) Whilst I unde rstand the rationale I'm not convinced it should be implemented quite so aggressively. I've made arrangements to have Olympus UK look at my E-1 an d re-calibrate it, or as they have said perhaps renew the camera as it is a known issue. Also, and purely for interest, I complained about the per formance of my 15~54 and once again they tell my retailer it's a known pr oblem and to send the lens back too for checking/recalibration. (I'll be E1-less for 2 weeks!) I tested my 14~54 against the 40~150 and an OM zoom and it is definately soft and flat. I know of two other E-1 owners who a re a little unhappy with their 14~54. Anyone else have this problem? > John F.
Re-reading your original question, I have to agree. I think that if you only have a brief amount of time to "learn" the new camera, using program for most shots and spot-metering for difficult lighting situations should work well.

Also, B.C. Colen is correct-- don't throw out anything unless it is grossly unacceptable, i.e. too out of focus or extremely under/over exposed. You can't always trust the little screen on the back of the camera to show you how an image will actually look on a computer screen. You will, however, have the advantage of knowing right away whether you have the shots you are looking for.

I think you will be very pleased with the results you get from the E-1
Thanks Mark. I agree it is best to err on the side of caution and not dump photos based on the viewscreen. Burning a bad photo to a CD is alot cheaper than going back to Hawaii just to retake a photo!

So far I have shot about 100 frames, testing out different ISOs, file sizes, focal lengths, focus distances, aperatures, etc. So far I am very pleased. Operation and results are excellent, colors are dead on, and the 14-54 lens seems to be very sharp. I also like the close-focus ability. Me and my E-1 are destined to become very good friends.