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A funny thing happened on the way out of the Forum... - part 1 of 1 2 3

by Tom Lee Published 01/05/2003

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Focus is a fantastic time for all photographers and I had a superb week meeting all our members, new and old, who took time to visit the SWPP stand. As you are all aware however, it is also open to the greater general public, and with thousands of visitors something was bound to go wrong. In my case, some wise thinking punter decided to move my camera on its tripod to get past, but failed to make sure it was steady.

Yes, you've guessed it, one trashed camera, lens, microdrive, powerpack and all the aggravation that goes with it. Thank goodness for insurance.

The real point of this article is what happens when you need a spare camera kit? The dilemma is always which spare parts do you carry; the back, the lens, the flashgun...and how much more investment will this take?

Whilst having a backup camera is not a luxury, it will get less attention than the main equipment in use, and there is always the spectre of upgrades. I wanted a good camera system, which I could pick up and go without searching for the right flash and lens attachments, and heaven forbid another body, or even all three!


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My choice may surprise a few of you, but with a five megapixel capture chip and a built in lens covering 35-140mm together with a built in flash, the Olympus E20 fits the bill.

The new pro system comes complete with two supplemental 0.8x and 1.45x converter lenses all for under £1300.

On first inspection the camera is not that different to the E10, with a few additional refinements to the algorithms and a larger capture chip.

Anyone who has owned an E10 will find it a familiar beast. Whilst not concentrating on the technical aspects of the camera, I am more interested on how it performs as a professional tool in everyday use. Although not a primary camera, it must still fulfil my requirements for high quality wedding and portrait images.

The first thing that struck me about the camera in use is its lack of operating speed. It's very much slower than my Fuji S2, even with a fast compact flash card. To illustrate this, I compared the operating speeds of the two cameras using a 1Gb Sandisc Ultra compact flash card with the continuous frame capture set on both cameras. No flash was used as the recharge times would have interfered with the timings.


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