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OLYMPUS ED / 35 - 180 35mm CAMERA.

OLYMPUS  ED / 35 - 180 35mm CAMERA.
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OLYMPUS ED / 35 - 180 35mm CAMERA.



When you pick up an iS-3000 for the first time, a few things will strike you immediately. First, its futuristic design look, typical for all iS models. It doesn't look like an SLR camera at all, with its streamlined body that integrates seamless with the lens. Many people think it is a video camera, or maybe a digital photo camera. This is emphasized by the huge LCD panel on the back. One could easily mistake it for a small TV monitor. The shape of the camera does not only look good, it also feels good. Your hands shape naturally around it, making it very easy to steady the camera. It should be no problem for most people to steady the camera enough to allow a shutter speed of 1/125 sec. at the maximum focal length of 180mm.

All iS and Centurion cameras share the same futuristic design look in a very compact, sleek body. There are no bulky, square or protruding parts. A couple of tricks have been applied. First of all the ZLR concept itself omits the lens bayonet and lens flange that are necessary in SLR cameras with exchangeable lenses. This means that the lens can be positioned more closely to the mirror. Second it allows a telescopic zoom construction of the lens, similar of what can be found in compact P&S zoom cameras. When the camera is switched off, the lens is fully retracted to make it as compact as possible. Third the cameras don't use the conventional pentaprism, but an optical novelty consisting of a condenser, normal prism and two additional mirrors, folding the light path in an M-shape. This allows the prism to be made much flatter. Finally the film path has been modified to an S-shape, which allows the camera to be built much more narrow than conventional SLR camera. It is just as if the left hand side of the camera is missing.
iS-3000 (1992; US: iS-3; Japan: L-3)
The advanced line gives full control of, and information about shutter speed and aperture, so these cameras really can compete with normal SLR's. These models have the huge LCD panel on the back. The iS-3000, the only advanced iS model currently available, is also the most developed one, with a larger zoom range, better controls, faster Auto Focus, more exposure modes and a better flash, which includes a longer flash working range and Super FP flash (synchronization at all shutter speeds). The iS-2000, released only a couple of months earlier, remarkably has some features the iS-3000 lacks: a super macro mode (39 cm subject distance at 70mm zoom position), a jack for the M.Remote Cords (yes, the cords for the Motor Drives and Winders of the OM System!), and the optional 1:1 Macro Converter. The latter can be used on the iS-3000 with a 55->49mm step-down ring, however.

The simple line models are smaller and lighter, offer less control of exposure, display no shutter speed or aperture number information in their Program Modes1 and can therefore be seen as advanced P&S cameras. They have a normal, small LCD panel on top, and a very intuitive user interface thanks to their Direct Mode Select Buttons. The iS-300 is the most developed model in this line, with predictive AF, exposure compensation, integrated lens cap and a better flash, which includes a longer flash working range, a longer pre-flash AF assist working range, Super FP flash (synchronization at all shutter speeds) and Auto Colour-Balancing Flash (detection of the wavelength of fluorescent or other artificial lighting to produce a more natural colour balance). The US version, the iS-30 DLX, also features a built-in panorama mode. The iS-200 and iS-300 have a more silent shutter and film advance than the other iS cameras, although these cameras aren't very noisy either

Tele Converters and Wide Converters
Most remarkable are the HQ tele converters that are screwed into the filter thread. Unlike normal SLR tele converters they have no serious impact on the image quality nor do they alter the overall lens speed. For the iS-1000, iS-2000 and iS-3000, that have zoom lenses that start at 35mm there are also HQ wide angle converters that change the wide angle setting into 28mm. The other iS cameras already start at 28mm. The converters expand the zoom range of all cameras as follows:

iS-1000, iS-2000 (normally 35~135mm): 28~200mm.
iS-3000 (normally 35~180mm): 28~300mm.
iS-100, iS-200, iS-300, iS-21 (normally 28~110mm): 28~160mm, 28~180mm or 28~210mm, depending on the tele converter type.
These ranges should cover most if not everything of most photographers wishes, making the iS cameras true 'all in one' cameras. Special applications such as super wide photography, super tele photography beyond 300mm and macro photography beyond life-size are not really essential for most amateur photographers. The lenses of all iS cameras have a very good performance, high resolution and low distortion. The lenses of the iS-1000, iS-2000 and iS-3000 are outstanding thanks to an Extraordinary Dispersion (ED) element in the first zoom lens group; the lenses of the iS-100, iS-200, iS-21 and iS-300 have a high resolution aspherical lens element.
Macro capabilities
The advanced models iS-1000, iS-2000 and iS-3000 offer two ways of achieving macro: either by using the built-in macro features of the zoom, or by using one of the three available iS/L Lens Macro H.Q. Converters.

The iS-1000 has two built-in macro varieties: Macro-T (tele-macro), which is achieved by pressing the Macro Mode (which is located underneath the mode cover) once, sets the zoom lens to a fixed focal distance of 100mm while the shortest possible focusing distance is 60cm, achieving a magnification ratio of 1:3.7 (0.27x). Pressing the button twice activates Macro-W (wide-macro), which sets the focal distance at 40mm, keeping the shortest possible focal distance at 60cm. The resulting 1:12.9 ratio (0.08x) isn't exactly in the macro range, but rather gives the user the option to make close-focus shots with exaggerated perspective, as can normally only be done with fixed focal standard and wide-angle lenses. Zooming in or zooming out is not possible in both macro modes; pressing one of the zoom buttons automatically cancels the macro mode.

The iS-2000 also has two varieties. The first one, Zoom Macro, restricts the zoom range to 35~100mm with a shortest possible focusing distance of 60cm. At 100mm this corresponds again to 1:3.7 (0.27x). The second mode is called Super Macro; it sets the zoom at the fixed focal distance of 70mm and the shortest focusing distance of 39cm, achieving a ratio of 1:3.2 (0.31x). The facts that the iS/L Lens A-Life Size Macro H.Q. Converter f=13 cm was specially designed for the iS-2000, that it is the only iS model that has a connector for wired remote operation (which is more comfortable to use than IR remote control when operated from behind the camera, allowing a much larger working distance) and that any aperture can be used when the flash is operated with the 1:1 Converter makes the iS-2000 the most versatile model for macro work.

The iS-3000 only features Zoom Macro, restricting the zoom range to 35~120mm and brings the closest focusing distance at 60cm. At the 120mm focal distance this achieves a ratio of 1:2.6 (0.38x), the highest built-in magnification of all iS models.

The iS/L Lens Macro H.Q. Converters are achromatic, which means they consists of two or three lens elements, which gives a much higher image quality than a single element lens. They are supplied with a flash diffuser screen which must be mounted on the converter when the internal flash is used. The G40 can't be used.

The iS-1000 and iS-2000 share the 2-element iS/L Lens A-Macro H.Q. Converter f=40cm. It achieves 1:2.5 (0.4x) magnifications at the 135mm zoom position and 1:10 (0.1x) at the 35mm zoom position..

The 3-element iS/L Lens A-Life Size Macro H.Q. Converter f=13 cm achieves life-size (1:1) macro (1x) at the 135mm zoom position, and 1:5 (0.2x) at the 35mm zoom position. It can even achieve larger than life-size magnifications, namely 1.3:1, when used on the iS-3000 at a zoom position of 180mm.
The lens is designed for the iS-2000 but it can be used on the iS-1000 and iS-3000 (the latter requires a 55->49mm step-down ring). The only restriction is that when you use flash, Aperture-Preferred AE Mode or Manual Mode must be used, with only one aperture available, depending on the film speed (ISO 100: F22; ISO 50: F16; ISO 25: F11). With the iS-2000 you can simply use Program AE combined with 1:1 Macro Mode; besides this camera automatically adjusts the flash output according to aperture and film speed (both in Program Mode and Aperture-Preferred AE Mode), so this adds to the versatility of this camera.
The data sheet for the 1:1 Converter contains a warning that the iS-1000 may fire when the subject is beyond the working distance and not in focus. This also applies to the iS-3000, and also for the f=40cm lenses. However, with these magnifications Power Focus really is the way to go, combined with a sturdy tripod and remote shutter operation.

Finally there is the 2-element iS/L Lens B-Macro H.Q. Converter f=40cm which is specially made for the iS-3000. At the 180mm position 0.6x magnifications are achieved (1:1.7). When used with flash, the same restrictions as with the iS-1000 apply: only one aperture can be used, depending on film speed (ISO 400 : F22; ISO 200: F16; ISO 100: F11; ISO 50: F8; ISO 25: F5.6), and only Aperture-Preferred AE or Manual Mode can be used.
However, the iS-3000 features Super FP Flash in Manual Mode, and this can also be used with the macro converter. This allows you to vary the GN, which depends on the shutter speed. Since this was not documented, it took some experimenting.
I developed the following guide lines for the B-Macro Converter:
50 ASA 100 ASA 200 ASA 400 ASA
1/2000 N/A N/A N/A F5.6
1/1000 N/A N/A F5.6 F8
1/500 N/A F5.6 F8 F11
1/250 F5.6 F8 F11 F16
1/125 F8 F11 F16 F22
As you can see, using Manual Mode and Super FP Flash on the iS-3000 with a Macro Converter gives you two big advantages compared to using Auto Flash: there are more apertures to choose from, depending on the film speed used, and you can use shorter shutter speeds, which can help eliminate ghost images which can appear with moving subjects and a sync time of 1/100 sec.

What about the simple iS models iS-100(s), iS-200 and iS-300? They don't have a built-in macro mode so their magnification range at 110mm and their minimum focus distance of 75cm is limited to 1:4.6 (0.22x). Olympus doesn't make Macro Converters for these models, but nothing stops you from using one of the A-Macro or B-Macro converters, with either a 52->49mm step-down ring or a 52->55mm step-up ring, or using one of the many (preferrably achromatic) close-up lenses available from other brands. For a listing of currently available achromatic close-up lenses, visit this site.
Very interesting for owners of OM System lenses are the tele and macro converters for the iS-1000, iS-2000 and iS-3000: since they have 49mm (iS-1000, iS-2000) or 55mm (iS-3000) filter threads, they can also be used with all Zuikos in the 50~250mm range that have these threads.

Most useful is the B-300 1.7x converter for the iS-3000 with its 70mm front element. It can be used with medium telephoto lenses and tele zoom lenses. The loss of light depends on the lens speed and focal length, but is less than conventional converters that mount between the lens and the camera.

The macro converters are best combined with standard lenses or tele lenses that have a close-focus correction mechanism, such as the Zuiko 85mm/F2 and Zuiko 100mm/F2.
The iS-100(s), iS-200 and iS-300 have 52mm filter threads for the "C" converters which may be used with 49mm or 55mm threaded OM lenses by using step-up or step-down rings.
Winder and Auto Focus
All models have a built-in winder that automatically advances the film after loading and after each shot, and provides automatic rewinding. The winder of the iS-1000, iS-2000 and iS-3000 allows continuous shooting ('Continuous Drive') at a maximum speed of about 2 frames/sec, dependent on shutter speed and AF operation. For fastest operation with Continuous Drive the cameras should be set to Power Focus. However, if AF stays on it also works continuously, meaning that focus is not locked when the shutter is pressed halfway, which allows the camera to keep moving subjects in focus. In Continuous Drive Mode the exposure value obviously isn't locked either: before every shot it is recalculated. There is also a third drive mode: Double Exposure. When it is activated and a shot is made, the film is not advanced until a second shot is made.

All models have a single rectangular AF measuring area in the middle of the viewfinder, an AF lock which also locks exposure, and a Continuous AF option. On the iS-100(s), iS-200, iS-21 and iS-300 Continuous AF is only available in the Stop Action Program. The iS-21 and iS-300 are the only models that features predictive AF in its Stop Action Program: on a subject moving with more or less constant speed towards or from the photographer, the iS-21 and iS-300 should be able to keep it better in focus. However since none of the simple models feature continuous drive, the usability of continuous AF is limited.

The iS-1000 and iS-100 had slower AF than their successors, the iS-2000 and iS-100s. AF speed was further improved in the iS-3000 and iS-300.

In low light situations the AF system is helped by a built-in AF assist light (iS-1000, iS-2000, iS-3000) or by pre-flashes (iS-100(s), iS-200, iS-21, iS-300). It allows AF to operate even in complete darkness. The G40 flash also has an AF assist light, which is particularly needed when a tele or wide converter is used. The iS-300 has a more sensitive AF (down to EV1) than the iS-200 when it is used w/o AF pre-flash.
All models have a built-in flash, some of them very powerful compared to most SLR's

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