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Olympus E-400 - am I daft?
Old 07-10-2015   #1
Kate-the-Great
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Olympus E-400 - am I daft?

I somehow got the idea in my head that I want to add one of these ancient cameras to my collection; it's got a Kodak CCD sensor and looks to be barely larger than the X-E1. Seems like paired with my "pancake" Nikkor 20mm f/4 it would make a fun walkabout camera- scale focus, anyone?- and they sell for like 100$ on EBay.

Anyone used these? They were only sold in Europe apparently, and they seem to briefly have had a bit of a following because people thought the colors and tone of the Kodak CCD were nicer than the Panasonic CMOS sensor of the E-410 & E-420. That alone is enough to make me interested; I've always been struck by the look of images I've seen from Kodak CCDs.
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Old 07-10-2015   #2
f16sunshine
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Yup..... Daft!
Buy a quality Nikkor-EF lens adapter for your 5D instead.
The 5D classic has all that charm and you get to keep the corners of that nikkor
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Old 07-10-2015   #3
Kate-the-Great
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I do have some F->EF adapters, and use the 20mm on the 5D occasionally for architecture interiors. Generally though it's 35-45mm (equivalent) or nothing for me!

A really crazy idea would be to remove the CFA from an E-400 and have a nice Kodak CCD monochrome camera Oof, maybe I need to go to bed.
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Old 07-11-2015   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kate-the-Great View Post
I somehow got the idea in my head that I want to add one of these ancient cameras to my collection; it's got a Kodak CCD sensor and looks to be barely larger than the X-E1. Seems like paired with my "pancake" Nikkor 20mm f/4 it would make a fun walkabout camera- scale focus, anyone?- and they sell for like 100$ on EBay.
If I may advice, take a E-420. It is much better with the same body-size.
It was a great camera for me, and paired with the Olympus 25mm Pancake it was a great but very small set.

I changed the screen in the finder to have a classic split screen, which could be bought for less than 10€ at that time from chinese ebayers and which resulted in the only Youtube-video I ever uploaded: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=en-2ImROy9s

With that, manual focusing of old adapted lenses was very easy.

Some times I think about buying an old used E-420, just for the fun of it. Great camera.
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Old 07-11-2015   #5
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Four-Thirds adapters seem to be viciously expensive compared to MFT adapters - I can find 150€ brand name adapters only, while there is a vide variety of 20-40€ ones for MFT. So a E-PL3 with adapter would be much cheaper, in total. Indeed it pushes the combination into a range where you might also get a Nikon D200 (which does support the aperture on your lens). Unless you want to invest into 4/3 lenses as well, it does not seem as attractive as the low body prices would make it seem...
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Old 07-11-2015   #6
dfatty
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i'm not familiar with the e-400 but getting an old camera with a ccd sensor doesn't sound daft to me. i really like the (sony?) ccd output of the r-d1 and sometime consider getting an old canon 1D because of the ccd sensor. which i would recommend because you already have canon, except of course, the old 1D is nowhere near the size of an xe-1, lol.
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Old 07-11-2015   #7
Robin P
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I used to have an E300 which must have had a similar sensor, nice colour and suitable output for small prints if the light was good. It did play nicely with an old Cosina 20mm I had..... go for it!
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Old 07-11-2015   #8
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kept my e400 for the ccd alone, superb output at base iso
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Old 07-11-2015   #9
ulrich.von.lich
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If you really want to see some Kodak magic, you should consider the E1. Don't let yourself be fooled by its 5 megapixels.

It's really a pity for the four thirds system which in my opinion could have been saved, had the new 16MP sensor come just a little earlier. The E-M1 would be no match of an E-6 with the same sensor, an OVF, a tough aspect, and a native 4/3rds mount.
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Old 07-11-2015   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ulrich.von.lich View Post
If you really want to see some Kodak magic, you should consider the E1. Don't let yourself be fooled by its 5 megapixels.

It's really a pity for the four thirds system which in my opinion could have been saved, had the new 16MP sensor come just a little earlier. The E-M1 would be no match of an E-6 with the same sensor, an OVF, a tough aspect, and a native 4/3rds mount.
Matter of opinion. I had the E-5 and have the E-M1 ... I'd take the E-M1 over the E-5 any day. Better viewfinder for the format, faster, just as solidly built, etc. Far as I'm concerned, it's simply a better camera in every respect.

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Old 07-11-2015   #11
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Perhaps. Personally I can't get along with the EVF. And I don't find the E-M1 as well built as the E-3/E-5, not even to say the E-1.

I don't know what kind of Zuiko lenses you have but Super High Grade Zuiko lenses usually balance better on the E-3/E-5
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Old 07-11-2015   #12
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If you're interested in a walk about camera with a CCD sensor and a cracking (f1.8 to f2.5, 28 to 112mm) lens, I might recommend getting a used Olympus XZ-1. Snagged a mint one on 'Bay for $95 shipped a few months ago.
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Old 07-11-2015   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kate-the-Great View Post
I somehow got the idea in my head that I want to add one of these ancient cameras to my collection; it's got a Kodak CCD sensor and looks to be barely larger than the X-E1. Seems like paired with my "pancake" Nikkor 20mm f/4 it would make a fun walkabout camera- scale focus, anyone?- and they sell for like 100$ on EBay.

Anyone used these? They were only sold in Europe apparently, and they seem to briefly have had a bit of a following because people thought the colors and tone of the Kodak CCD were nicer than the Panasonic CMOS sensor of the E-410 & E-420. That alone is enough to make me interested; I've always been struck by the look of images I've seen from Kodak CCDs.
The issue is that the vast majority of lens mount adapters will throw the infinity registration index off by just enough to make getting sharp focus by scale inconsistent unless you're well-stopped down, even with only a 20mm focal length. And the E-400 viewfinder is basically only good enough for framing, it's too small and too dim to be much good for focusing a 20mm focal length lens.

I went through this with the L1 (which has a better viewfinder than the E-400) and E-1 (better still). Ultimately I gave up on adapting lenses other than longer teles which prove easier to focus cleanly with the E-1/L1, but the consumer E system bodies are just too challenged in the optics of the viewfinder to be useful IMO.

(Overall, FT format strains the viewfinder optics of any SLR system in much the same way that APS-C format does. The area of the focusing screen is just too small and the standard focal lengths needed are just too short ... This format sings best with an electronic viewfinder display.)

The ideal lenses for the E-400 are the Olympus ZD 25/2.8 and 35/3.5 Macro. These are both light, sharp, AF lenses that work beautifully with the small/light E-400 body. I made many very satisfying photographs using the L1 and just these two lenses...


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Old 07-11-2015   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ulrich.von.lich View Post
Perhaps. Personally I can't get along with the EVF. And I don't find the E-M1 as well built as the E-3/E-5, not even to say the E-1.

I don't know what kind of Zuiko lenses you have but Super High Grade Zuiko lenses usually balance better on the E-3/E-5
I had a bunch of the HG and two of the SHGs ... still have the HG 11-22 and 50-200 (along with the consumer grade 35 Macro and 25); I sold off all the others when I sold the E-5, kept these to use on the E-1 and E-M1.

The E-M1 is much smaller and lighter than any of the pro-grade E-System SLRs (E-1, E-3, E-5) so it doesn't feel like a tank the way the E-5 (in particular) did, but it's very well made from what I see. Certainly the very large and heavy SHG lenses balance better with a bit more weight in the camera body ... I usually fit the battery grip when I'm using the 50-200 or 11-22 for better balance. At that point it weighs about what the E-1 does without a grip, and feels similarly robust.

But what you prefer is certainly a matter of opinion.

I continue to use both the E-1 and the E-M1 ... the latter is now my "technical use" camera because that's when all the automation and such it's got comes in handy for me ... and the E-1's old, low Mpixel, heavily AA filtered sensor produces a different look and feel compared to any of the later low to no AA filter bodies (E-5 and E-M1). They're both good, and they both produce very nice results when I take advantage of their strengths and avoid the things they don't do well. Like any camera, really ... :-)

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Old 07-11-2015   #15
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e410 at KEH for $79 plus shipping. ....just saying
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Old 07-11-2015   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Godfrey View Post
The issue is that the vast majority of lens mount adapters will throw the infinity registration index off by just enough to make getting sharp focus by scale inconsistent unless you're well-stopped down, even with only a 20mm focal length. And the E-400 viewfinder is basically only good enough for framing, it's too small and too dim to be much good for focusing a 20mm focal length lens.

I went through this with the L1 (which has a better viewfinder than the E-400) and E-1 (better still). Ultimately I gave up on adapting lenses other than longer teles which prove easier to focus cleanly with the E-1/L1, but the consumer E system bodies are just too challenged in the optics of the viewfinder to be useful IMO.

(Overall, FT format strains the viewfinder optics of any SLR system in much the same way that APS-C format does. The area of the focusing screen is just too small and the standard focal lengths needed are just too short ... This format sings best with an electronic viewfinder display.)

The ideal lenses for the E-400 are the Olympus ZD 25/2.8 and 35/3.5 Macro. These are both light, sharp, AF lenses that work beautifully with the small/light E-400 body. I made many very satisfying photographs using the L1 and just these two lenses...
Right, the viewfinder thing is a big turn-off when it comes to the 4/3rds system. Doing that after using 135 / Rangefinders / EVF could be painful :P

Less concerned about the adapter registration thing; I have a benchtop mill for small projects like this and am able to fix troublesome adapters by shimming or shaving until it's just right.

Nice photo Godfrey! The Panasonic L-1 sounds like a fun camera to use.
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Old 07-11-2015   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ulrich.von.lich View Post
If you really want to see some Kodak magic, you should consider the E1. Don't let yourself be fooled by its 5 megapixels.

It's really a pity for the four thirds system which in my opinion could have been saved, had the new 16MP sensor come just a little earlier. The E-M1 would be no match of an E-6 with the same sensor, an OVF, a tough aspect, and a native 4/3rds mount.
That's an interesting idea... A bit big though, more the size of the 5D

I have to agree with Godfrey about micro-4/3 vs regular 4/3. Despite my current mad machinations, I consider u4/3 vastly superior due to the much larger image EVFs can provide. The EVF I used on my E-PL2 several years ago seemed almost as large as a FF OVF- when I switched to a D200 it felt like a huge step backwards, VF-wise. Pity the Olympus (Panasonic) 12MP sensor is utter rubbish (IMO)
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Old 07-11-2015   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TXForester View Post
e410 at KEH for $79 plus shipping. ....just saying
That's actually what got me going down this path I was thinking it would be fun to pick up a cheap digicam, saw the cheap E-410 on KEH (I have always been hugely enamored with the E-4x0 series form factor), then started reading about specs & sensors, and here we are.
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Old 07-11-2015   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kate-the-Great View Post
That's actually what got me going down this path I was thinking it would be fun to pick up a cheap digicam, saw the cheap E-410 on KEH (I have always been hugely enamored with the E-4x0 series form factor), then started reading about specs & sensors, and here we are.
Kate,

The older E-series camera is fun exactly for these kinds of experiments. I turned my E-P2 into a permanent Infra Red camera.

You may want to check out E-620. I used to love that little SLR. The feature set is balanced and it's fun to shoot with.
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Old 07-11-2015   #20
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Ah, yeah- these cheapie bodies are great for conversions.

I've been emailing some Chinese contacts looking for an inexpensive source for KAF-8300XE monochrome sensors- if I can get my hands on one of those I'll snap a cheap E-500 or E-300 (both of which shipped with the Bayered KAF-8300CE) and turn it into Monochrome IR, like this German guy did -> http://preamp.org/mods/olympus-e-500...ochrom#english

Proof that I need to overcomplicate things to have fun.
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Old 07-12-2015   #21
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The E400 is the only digital SLR I have. I LOVE it!!!

I've just spent a week in Barcelona snapping away with my Olympus 35RC, as I only use film on my holidays. I was staggered at the vast hunks of plastic Nikons and Canons everyone else was carrying. If all DSLRs were the size and quality of the E400, tourism would be very different.

Get it - you know you want to ...
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Old 07-14-2015   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pentudlian View Post
The E400 is the only digital SLR I have. I LOVE it!!!

I've just spent a week in Barcelona snapping away with my Olympus 35RC, as I only use film on my holidays. I was staggered at the vast hunks of plastic Nikons and Canons everyone else was carrying. If all DSLRs were the size and quality of the E400, tourism would be very different.

Get it - you know you want to ...
Yes, the size of the E-4x0 series is just great! Of course, with mirrorless cameras, one can now have an SLR-style body even smaller, and with a much larger finder than 4/3rds or even APS-C optical finders can manage.

I got some quotes on KAF-8300XE sensors and it looks like I may be able to put together a monochrome E-300 for around 200$, not counting the time for me and a colleague to do the conversion with his solder rework station. Seems like it might be worth it. I re-read Pete Meyers review on LuLa of the classic Kodak DCS 760M (which uses the very similar- albeit larger- Kodak KAF-6303 mono FFT CCD) and it further enticed me to go down this absurd path.

I have some Nikon F -> 4/3rds lens adapters on the way from Shenzhen so I suppose I'm committed now to adding a 4th digital system to my camera cupboard
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Old 07-14-2015   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kate-the-Great View Post
I got some quotes on KAF-8300XE sensors and it looks like I may be able to put together a monochrome E-300 for around 200$
that sounds like a helluva fun. go for it and do share the result here.
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Old 07-14-2015   #24
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Will do! I just purchased a beater E-300 from Adorama and a good E-400 from Ebay UK so I'm in it now.

The sensor swap will probably happen late August, can't afford to spend too much $$$ or time on this at the moment.
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And various lenses...
Nikkor-S 35mm 2.8 ~ Nikkor-S 50mm 1.4 ~ Micro-Nikkor 55mm 3.5 ~ Zoom-Nikkor 43-86mm 3.5 ~ Industar-61 53mm 2.8
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