Saturday, February 28, 2009

Olympus E-System Gathering Take 2

It was interestingly late when the announcement was put up at the Olympus Malaysia website on a slow and lazy Thurday pertaining to the Olympus E-System Gathering happening on the coming Saturday. Fortunately I kept myself updated these days, and I managed to sneaked in with a rather last minute RSVP. This was the second casual gathering (the first was held around 4 months ago) officially organized by Olympus Malaysia specifically for Olympus DSLR users to promote the latest and upcoming camera models. Also, this event served as a platform for the DSLR users to come together and meet other users of the same system to share and learn, as well as to interact with those inside people working for Olympus Malaysia.


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The second gathering was held at the Marmalade Cafe, Mon't Kiara. It was a lunch meet, hence buffet lunch was served before the event commenced. The food was fantastic nonetheless, but the real buffet we were all looking for has nothing to do with food, but the buffet of cameras and lenses. True enough, it did not disappoint when the almost complete set of lenses and accesories, plus two new cameras were on display. All users were welcome to have hands on trials on anything available at the DSLR buffet table.


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Taking a glance at the announcement notes, it was obvious that the focus of this gathering was the newly launched Olympus DSLR E-30, a mid-level camera with heavy functions and packed with quite a number of eyebrow raising features. The E-30 is not readily available on the shelves of your nearest camera store just yet, but sure enough there were several units made available during the gathering for try-outs.

E-30 is basically a bridge camera between what I am currently using, the lower end E-520, and the professional level flagship model E-3. Notable points about E-30 would be full 11-points twin cross autofocus sensors enabling high speed and acuracy focusing (similar to E-3), swivel rotate-able to almost any direction LCD screen with quick live-view and creative Art Filters. It also incorporates all other existing features common to other Olympus DSLRs such as dust reduction system, built-in Image Stabilization system and wireless flash capabilities.


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OMG see how tiny it is around my fingers?

What I least expected was the entrance of E-620, physically appearing in front of everyone !! The E-620 was only announced worldwide on 24th February 2009, which was only 4 days ago, and somehow the post production models were available for hands on testing already. E-620 sits between E-520 (my camera) and E-30, and serves as a bridge rather than an upgrade or replacement over E-520. It was quite pleasant seeing the effort the Olympus Malaysia was pouring out to keep the loyal E-System fans occupied and prepared the freshly announced E-620 for us to feast on !!

The moment I set my eyes on E-620 I was sold. There is so much to love about this camera. Here is a list of things I love about E-620:

1) It is almost as light and small as E-420, yet the capabilities and features outperformed my E-520. It is a compact DSLR camera with serious imaging performance. E-620 is categorized as a mid-level performance DSLR, not an entry level.

2) First DSLR with backlit operational buttons !! This not only looks damned cool and sexy on your camera, but extremely helpful when shooting in low light conditions, eg night scenes. You wont have to guess where certain rarely used buttons are when you need them, with backlit buttons you can see all of them.

3) It has serious specifications despite its tiny size. All the complaints over E-420 were addressed and fixed over in E-620. It has a proper hand grip, and an optional battery grip. It has built in Image Stabilization too, which is a huge advantage, and an increased viewfinder size finally !!

4) 7 AF points, with 5 full twin cross AF points. Oh, the over-hyped Canon 50D has only one single cross AF point, located at the middle. ok, ok, lets not talk about other cameras or else people will start bashing me.

5) The Swivel LCD screen is also available on this unit !! How sweet.

6) Whatever my current camera can do, like the wireless flash capabilities, quick live view and all the controls and features are also available in E-620, if not already improved further.

7) Did I say it looks damned cute and sexy?????

LKM and E-30

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ROBIN and E-30

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Besides cameras and lenses being put out in the open for testing, the event also has some presentations. One was presented by a real Oly user (MFahrur), one by the Oly Marketing staff, and the last one by a professional Oly photographer who has won many international awards. It was interesting to see that the main topic of the presentation done by the Oly Staff was not on E-30, but rather an introductory review on the E-620 instead. This fact strongly indicates how strongly the marketing group will be pushing this new model to the public. The question now all comes down to the pricing. If they are smart enough to place it low enough, it might just be the next big thing.

I felt really good being there at the event. The reason? Mainly because I was surrounded with people who chose and utilize the Olympus E-System, something we have in common. It was depressing being bashed and under-appreciated by other camera brand users who would think that their cameras and equipments will always be superior along with their ever bloating size of ego. Being an Oly user for quite some time now, I personally feel that this system is better if not as capable as other systems, and under-estimating its capabilities is just plain ignorance. It is interesting and flattering I am starting to get more and more good remarks about my pictures lately, which I do not think I deserve the compliments just yet (I am nothing more than a noob actually) but at the same time ill comments have been made on my choice of camera.


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Well, ask yourself, how can my pictures come out right if I am using the wrong camera?

I do admit E-system is not the perfect system, there are shortcomings. Well it does have its strong advantages that are clearly better than other systems. And standing amongst the crowd of users who agrees with me on the previous statements, was truly refreshing and reassuring.

This event itself is a rarity, I am sure currently the post-production models of E-620 are being tested and reviewed by independent camera organizations like DPreview and DCresource, but somehow it was already out there for use E-system users to toy around with. For goodness sake, it was only announced a couple of days ago. I think this could be one of the few stunning things that the Olympus Marketing successfully pulled off, considering how fierce and competitive the ongoing DSLR market is.

So should I be saving up for E-620? Lets just hope money starts to grow on trees.


  1. huhu.. i wish there are such gathering or event in kuching here.. :(

  2. hey allen,
    LOL.. I think I have said this the 6278965th time...
    Come Allen, Come !!!

  3. good for you that u've tried out the pre production model of the 620 and also had a hands on with the e30. From what it seems, the E30s did not have any memory cards. At least the one i tested allowed me to keep my photos ( in jpegs)

    I don't think kuching will have any camera gatherings soon. Nevermind. If i'm back, I can have a mini-oly road show with my 10 lenses :p

  4. hey brandon,
    yeah, was a bit surprised they put the E-620 out so soon. We were allowed to use our own memory cards on E-30, but not the E-620.
    Kuching? quite unlikely. Go make your own ahahah

  5. hmm.. i wonder if i can base on both side of the country.. kl and kuching. LOL!

  6. yeah.. the only time i experienced something similar to this was Canon's EOS experience seminar/workshop.. which was held july last year.

  7. woah...E620! never thought it would land it msia that soon. lost its virginity liaw.. hahaha.

  8. hey allen,
    hmmm greedy !! want both KL and kuching.
    Yeah I remember your entry on the seminar thing. But Canon too many users, i can't imagine how much they need to spend to feed everyone LOL

    hey chun chow,
    Yalor, didnt expect the E-620 to pop out so fast.