I think the 4/3" cameras will be around for some time to come, if only because you can make a very nice, high resolution camera with two rather smallish, very high quality lenses cover 28-400mm. If they get IS (or the rumored IS sensor or teleconvertor) then the system will be very appealing indeed for bird photographers.
I really hate to hit someone when they're just getting up, being such a gentleman, an' all that , but there are too many things about this 4/3rds system that don't stack up, so I'm going to compromise my principles.
I can only look at things from my own biased perspective of course, but when I consider the broad areas of performance that are important to me in a camera system, the Olympus E-1 doesn't have enough
going for it.
The jewel in the crown is without doubt the 300mm F2.8. This would seem ideal for birds and wildlife, especially with the 1.4x converter. The 35mm equivalent then becomes 840mm F4, which is something to drool over.
The trouble is, that Zuiko 300mm lens is very expensive. The lowest price I could find on the net is US$7000, which is about the same as the lowest price for the Canon 600mm F4 IS. Sure that Zuiko 300mm lens is lighter, but not as light as you might think (3.3Kg as opposed to 5.3Kgs for the Canon).
As fine as the Zuiko lens might be, don't tell me it can compare with a 960mm F4 which is what the Canon 600mm lens becomes attached to a 10D. Okay, that extra 2Kgs can be a pain. Someone who's frail and wealthy might be willing to sacrifice a bit of quality (and/or focal length whichever way you look at it).
But the point I would make is, with a Canon system no sacrifices are required, not in terms of price, not in terms of quality, and not always in terms of weight.
If the Canon 600mm lens is too heavy, then go for the 500mm F4 IS. This lens is definitely cheaper than the Zuiko 300mm, no heavier, surprisingly
, and I would suggest still gives better quality images attached to a 10D or 300D (800mm + 6MP as opposed to 600mm + 5 MP).
However, if you really want a lightweight system with perhaps only a slight sacrifice in quality, then a 300D attached to a Canon 400mm F5.6 prime would be an excellent choice. At a 640mm 35mm equivalent, this lens weighs only 1.25Kgs as opposed to the Zuiko 3.3Kgs. And best of all, it's a lot, lot cheaper. Of course, the Zuiko lens is 2 stops faster and that's a big advantage. But it's also much, much more expensive and heavier
[/i]. So where does that leave us? Two steps forward and two steps backward
I find it difficult to make a case for the E-1 system.