“Why does the ‘latest’ in advertisements mean ‘best’?…I submit that what has imposed this climate of opinion so firmly on the human mind is a new archetypal image. It is the image of old machines being superseded by new and better ones”. – C.S. Lewis
While capturing photos over the past year or two, I’d been noticing that my hands aren’t quite as steady as they used to be when I was a younger. The issue becomes much more apparent at telephoto focal lengths, when even the slightest movement of the camera gets exaggerated. I knew that at some point I’d want to look into a new camera body with built-in image stabilization.
So a few months ago I picked up a (lightly used) Olympus E-30 DSLR. Developed in 2008 and released in January 2009, it represents technology that is 4 years newer than my E-300 (developed in 2004 and released in January 2005), which I’ve been shooting with since 2006. And the E-30 is a great camera. In addition to image stabilization, the Panasonic-made sensor does much better than the E-300 in low light, it has an additional control dial for quickly changing settings, it offers 12 megapixels rather than the 8 megapixels of the E-300, the viewfinder is larger and brighter, and the rear LCD is larger. I enjoy using it a lot.
Still, there’s something about the color and “depth” of the images produced by the Kodak-made sensor in the E-300. When given plenty of light, it yields superb results. I really don’t see myself completely abandoning the E-300 for its newer brethren. And I’m not alone. In perusing some of the online photography forums, it seems that many people have chosen to hold on to their E-300 (or E-500, which uses the same sensor) camera due to the unique quality of the Kodak sensor. Some have even gone back and re-purchased a used model after previously selling theirs for an upgrade.
And I think I’ve found a solution for keeping the E-300 in my regular line-up. A few years ago, Panasonic made a four-thirds model camera (sharing the basic Olympus sensor/lens configuration), but Panasonic chose to put the image stabilization function into their lenses rather than the camera body. The Panasonic lenses worked on Olympus bodies, and vice-versa. So now I’m going to be on the lookout for a good deal on a used Panasonic lens or two.
The good old Kodak sensor AND image stabilization. That will be a mighty match.