Testing The New Olympus E30 Camera - Taylor Swift and the COC

Two days ago in the middle of a raging blizzard a bike courrier with icicles literally hanging from his beard showed up at my door with the new E30 camera from Olympus. I felt kinda guilty he was out in that weather on a mountain bike just to drop a camera off.

Part of the review I'm preparing for this camera involved shooting the Canadian Opera Company's production of Rusalka - almost 4 hours of low light torture testing at high ISO. And just a little while later, with no time to learn the camera's idiosyncrocies, there I was in the media section at the Four Seasons Centre with the manual in my lap trying to play catch up before the curtain came up

Here are a couple photos from the production.

Richard Paul Fink as the Water Gnome, with nymphs Teiya Kasahara, Lisa Dimaria, and Erin Fisher

Michael Schade as the Prince

Julie Makerov as Rusalka

And yesterday I was shooting recording star Taylor Swift at MuchMusic. Both were done exclusively on the E30.

After the near debacle of Caty Perry's drive-by photo op last month, the Much staff were back on their game for this appearance. And Taylor's people really had a handle on things as well.

She seems like a nice kid - still a teenager and already the highest selling recording artist on the planet - very down to earth, no attitude at all.

The paparrazi were out in force. About half a dozen of them. One guy I talked to had been trailing her all day from the moment she landed at the airport to every promo appearance she was making.

The photos were done in a smallish TV studio, and unfortunately I got squeezed to the side - had a 50/50 chance as to which way she would be facing for the interview and picked the wrong one (doh! :)

But she was nice enough to stand and pose during a commercial break so I did get a few that weren't in profile.

At 100 percent her eyes are really red, and they look a little puffy. I think she was having trouble with her contacts as she was really squinting under the brights lights in the studio.

I'm finding the E30's focusing a little squirrely at times. Different from the E3's, which is a surprise as the focusing modules in both cameras are supposed to be the same. I think the E30 has been tweaked a little, the actual focusing spot has been tightened slightly, and it make take some time to adjust to it.
But everything I have done has been on assignment so it hasn't been possible to directly compare the two side by side in the same lighting.
In five and a half months with the E3 I've racked up nearly 50,000 exposures, so I'm pretty well versed on how that camera behaves in similiar circumstances. There is something different about the E30's 11 point focusing, just not sure what it is.

The good news is the image quality is just outstanding. High ISO performance at 1600 ISO beats the E3 hands down. There is a tiny bit more noise, but the noise is much less digital, more film-like than the E3.

Sharpness at high ISO also seems improved, and banding has been seriously stifled on the E30. The lighting was very dim throughout the opera, but a couple shots were really under-exposed when I got sloppy with the spot meter. While I put the spot right on the target, I forgot that the minus 2.5 exp.comp applied trying to shoot the scene in matrix mode was still on. Thus they were very dark. Bringing these frames up in curves from a minus 2.5 stop exposure reveals only very slight banding. I know from experience that none of these frames would have been recoverable from the E3.

The results have excellent sharpness and detail, there is a slight green bias to the colour output, but bear in mind that everything I've shot so far has been under artificial lighting, in the case of the opera with mixed tungsten and daylight colour temperature light sources. And the MuchMusic studio lighting has a well known green bias anyway, so I'm not reading anything into it.

If the E3 had come out with this sensor it would have lit critics up to a much greater degree. It really does look like a leap upwards from the E3/E520/E420 output so far.

But this is only based on about 1800 exposures, so there may be gremlins yet to be discovered. So far I'm very pleased with the E30.

This weekend I'll be shooting WinterCity festivities (four hours shooting in the dark freezing my butt off - oh joy), then more press work and a dance performance next week. So most of what I'll be shooting with the camera will be at the extreme end of the performance envelope. Should be a good test.

BTW: with all the E3 componentry inside it people are naturally comparing the E30 to that camera. Every photo comparison features those two side by side. But I think it really is a natural evolution of the E510 and in the hand it does feel like the 'tweener' camera in the lineup. If the pricing only reflected this it would all fall into place.

The above photos were shot with the Digital Zuiko 50-200mm 2.8 lens. This lens is unique, and I think Olympus should be shouting about it. I talk to the Reuters and Getty guys about the 50-200mm all the time. They'd love the kind of versatility it brings. Yesterday the top celeb shooter in the city was asking about it again.
You tell people who shoot what they do that this compact lens starts as an L quality 200mm 2.8 and goes all the way to 400mm at just 3.5, and their mouths drop open.

This is really Olympus's true strength, and the major reason I stick with them. Their lens lineup is the most logical of all DSLR manufacturers, and the quality level is superior in most focal lengths to the competition.

One day Olympus will wake up to the fact that they are Japan's Leica and start marketing their DSLR's properly.

All photos copyright Torontowide.com. All Rights Reserve
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Shadow Sport Design's Tasty Nissan GT-R Aero Kit

If you have been following us for a while now here at Carscoop you must know that we don't care much about excessive tuning proposals that stand out from the crowd for the wrong reasons. But that is not the case with Japan's Shadow Sport Design and it's aerodynamic kit for the (R35) Nissan GT-R that is complemented by a set of 20-inch forged magnesium wheels finished in black created in conjuction with Enkei. Shadow Sport Design's dry carbon aero package includes a front underspoiler, a rear wing and a rear diffuser that incorporates the new tailpipes of the full titanium muffler.

With this package the GT-R looks different enough from the standard car to grab your attention but in a way that you could easily have mistaken it as a proposal that came straight out of Nissan's factory.

Source: Shadow Sport Design , Via: GT-R Blog

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Toyota Bloggers Break Through 500 Miles with iQ Mini on a Single Tank of Fuel

A pair of drivers from Toyota's UK based 'iQ blog' managed to break through 500 miles with a standard iQ 1.0-litre VVT-i (that's the petrol engine version) on a single tank of fuel. Mark and Simon from the 'iQ blog' traveled to 18 cities in two days on a route that took them as far west as Cardiff and as far north as Wolverhampton. In theory, since the official fuel economy of the iQ is rated at 65.7 UK mpg / 54.7 US mpg, the full 32-liter tank should have gone dry once they covered a distance of 462 miles.

However, and in spite of the fact that the two drivers said that they had to deal with wind, rain, congestion and the need to run the heater, headlights and wipers – factors that have a negative impact on fuel economy, the car managed 504.2 miles before the ending of its journey in central Oxford. Put the numbers together and that translates to an average of 71.6 UK mpg or 59.42 US mpg.

Even though the team's driving style was evidently focused on achieving a low fuel consumption, nevertheless, the end result is impressive since we're talking about real-life road conditions.

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2010 VW Golf GTI VI Production Model Photos

Volkswagen's public UK site has uploaded a new set of photos depicting the production version of the 2010 VW Golf GTI VI. But wait; didn't the Germans introduce the production model at last year's Paris Show, we hear you ask? The answer is sort of as VW unveiled the near-to-production GTI VI. And the differences are? Well, if our eyes aren't playing games with us, the only visible changes we see by comparing these photos with the ones from last year's show car are the more-production like headlamps and the blacked out front lip spoiler that was painted white on the Paris Show Golf GTI.

For more detailed information and photos on the sixth-generation Golf GTI, click here for the 3-door variant and here for the more practical five-door model.

Via: Worldcarfans , Source: Volkswagen UK

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Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback 5-door with up to 237HP Coming to U.S. this Summer

It's official; Mitsubishi has confirmed that the all-new five-door Lancer Sportback will arrive in U.S. dealerships this summer as a 2010 model year. Though one would expect the opposite, the 5-door Sportback's overall length is actually slightly longer than the Lancer four-door sedan. The Sportback will be offered in the States in two trims, the GTS model fitted with a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine producing 168-hp, mated to either a five-speed manual or six-speed CVT automatic transmission, and the one that most of us are interested in, the Ralliart version powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine pumping out 237-hp and 253 lb.-ft. of torque.

The Lancer Sportback Ralliart will come with the EVO's all-wheel control (AWC) with Active Center Differential (ACD) and six-speed Twin Clutch-Sportronic Shift Transmission (TC-SST). Pricing and detailed information on the U.S.-spec Lancer Sportback will be announced nearer to its summer on-sale date.

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Video: New Audi S4 Commercial with 'quattro' Skier

More often than less, automakers try to demonstrate the qualities of a model by using anything other than the car itself. Such is the case with Audi's new 333HP S4 Sedan advert that features a skier tackling the steep, downhill streets of San Francisco to show the merits of the firm's quattro all-wheel drive system. Click through to watch the advert.

Via: Autoblog.it

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Subaru UK Celebrates 15 Years of Impreza Turbo by Pricing WRX at 1994 Levels

In celebration of 15 years since the introduction of the first turbocharged Impreza, the Turbo 2000, Subaru UK is rolling back prices of the new Impreza WRX to exactly the same level as the first car in 1994. More specifically, Subaru has reduced the price of the recently facelifted Impreza WRX, which comes with a 230-horsepower 2.5-liter turbocharged flat-four boxer engine, by a hefty £2,100 to £17,998.

Lawrence Good, Managing Director, Subaru (UK) Ltd commented: "This is the last opportunity for Subaru WRX fans to buy into the latest, best Impreza WRX Turbo model – at a price they were 15 years ago! It is one of our best dealer offers in our history – ideal in these lean times. The Impreza has evolved a great deal over the years, yet has always offered a brilliant blend of practicality and performance – unrivalled by any of its competitors – while retaining its essential character as a fun, motorsport-honed, interesting, exciting daily driver with many unique charms. We shall miss the WRX Turbo when it is gone."

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VW adds Seven-Speed DSG Option to Passat CC Range in the UK

Volkswagen's four-door, four-seat sport sedan, the Passat CC, is now available in the UK for order with the firm's seven-speed DSG gearbox. Offered exclusively with the 1.8-litre TSI 160 PS engine and in standard CC trim, the DSG improves the car's acceleration from a standstill to 62 mph to 8.5 seconds versus the manual's 8.6 seconds. Furthermore, it gives an improved fuel consumption figure on the combined cycle of 38.7 mpg UK (37.2 manual) while CO2 emissions are reduced to 172 g/km (178 manual).

Prices for the Passat CC 1.8 TSI start at £20,with the new DSG gearbox commanding a £1,243 premium. Prices for the rest of the Passat CC range rise to £30,492 for the GT 3.6-litre V6 which produces 300 PS.

Passat CC model line-up and pricing

Price, £ (OTR)

CC 1.8-litre TSI 160 PS 6 spd manual


CC 1.8-litre TSI 160 PS 7 spd DSG


CC 2.0-litre TDI 140 PS 6 spd manual


CC 2.0-litre TDI 140 PS 6 spd DSG


CC GT 2.0-litre TSI 200 PS 6 spd manual


CC GT 2.0-litre TSI 200 PS 6 spd auto tiptronic


CC GT 2.0-litre TDI 140 PS 6 spd manual


CC GT 2.0-litre TDI 140 PS 6 spd DSG


CC GT 2.0-litre TDI 170 PS 6 spd manual


CC GT 2.0-litre TDI 170 170 PS 6 spd DSG


CC GT 3.6-litre V6 4MOTION 300 PS 6 spd DSG


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Aston Martin Rapide: New Photos of Production Model

New photos of the production version of Aston Martin's Rapide sport sedan have been leaked into the web. The crew over at Autocar that released the pictures claim that Aston Martin's Porsche Panamera rival will be revealed this autumn, most likely at the 2009 Frankfurt Show in Germany. The allegedly official, computer generated images show that not much has changed in terms of design from the 2006 Detroit show Rapide concept.

The most noticeable changes concern the stronger crease that runs from the front wing vent through both doors, the redesigned front apron that does away with the side vents and the restyled rear-bumper.

The four-seater British sports saloon is based on a stretched version of the DB9's platform with power coming from a 6.0-liter V12 engine generating around 500HP. The Rapide will be the first car in the marque's history to be built out of Britain as production will be carried out by Magna Steyr at the firm's Austrian plant in Graz.

Via: Autocar

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Insider: Nissan Qazan Compact Crossover Concept to Premiere in Geneva

Carscoop has learned that Nissan will take the wraps off a new compact-sized crossover concept at the Geneva Motorshow in March. Our sources told us that the concept car will be called Qazan and in effect, it will preview Nissan's new compact car that will arrive in European showrooms in 2010. The Japanese automaker disclosed its plans to expand its crossover portfolio beyond the Qashqai, Qashqai+2 and the Murano in June 2008, when it released the teaser sketch of the compact car that you see above.

The new compact crossover will be built at Nissan's Sunderland plant in the U.K. where it will take up the manufacturing capacity created when production of the current Micra ends in 2010. The Japanese firm's next-generation supermini will be shifted to a new plant in Chennai, India that is currently being built by the Renault-Nissan Alliance.

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BMW PAS: 5-Series Hatchback Teased Ahead of Geneva Debut

BMW has released the first video of a series presenting the concept behind the 5-Series spin-off, the Progressive Activity Sedan (PAS) that will be revealed for the first time at the Geneva Show, according to our Bavarian sources. We guess you're wondering what the PAS is; well to put it short, it's a more practical, hatchback version of the 5-Series sedan with a higher roofline, a coupe-like fastback rear-end and slightly raised road clearance. Sounds 'bungled' up, but we'll give BMW the benefit of the doubt until we see the PAS the in person. Hit the jump for the video.

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2010 Volvo XC60 SUV to Start from $37,200 in the U.S.

Volvo today announced pricing of its all-new 2010 XC60 T6 AWD ahead of the compact SUV's U.S. market launch in March. Available exclusively in the States with a 3.0-liter turbocharged inline six-cylinder engine that produces 281HP and 295 lb.-ft. of torque, the all-wheel-drive XC60 carries a starting price of $37,200. Standard features include leather seating surfaces with a power driver's seat, SIRIUS satellite radio, hands-free Bluetooth connectivity, HD Radio technology with USB and AUX ports. As a special introductory offer, Volvo will equip the first batch of cars with a Panorama moonroof at no charge.

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2009 Renault Clio Facelift Spied Ahead of Geneva Show

It's a busy time at Renault as the French automaker is planning to introduce an collection of new or facelifted models including the 2009 Scenic & Grand Scenic, Megane Coupe RS and the revamped Clio at its Geneva Motor Show stand this March. While Renault has not revealed any details or photos of the facelifted Clio, a member of a Dutch automotive forum scooped an undisguised prototype model in a parking lot.

The photo reveals that the mildly-revamped French supermini has received a new snout evidently inspired from the firm's latest creations such as the new Megane and Laguna. The faclifted Clio hatchback will most likely be accompanied in Geneva by the Clio Sport Tourer that will receive the same updates.

Source: Autoweek Forums

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Teaser Video of Bentley's Geneva Show "Extreme" Supercar

While the new teaser video of Bentley's forthcoming bio-fueled supercar that's scheduled to be officially revealed in Geneva does not provide us with any performance data, it does confirm that the mystery model will be based on the Continental GT and that it will be powered by a 12-cylinder engine. According to Bentley, the yet unnamed model will be the company's fastest and most powerful production car ever. Follow the jump to watch the video.

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Daimler to form New Chinese Joint Venture with Beiqi Foton

Mercedes-Benz's parent company Daimler AG has signed a letter of intent to form a new 50:50 joint venture with China's Beiqi Foton Motor Co., Ltd to produce medium and heavy-duty trucks and exchange technology in China. The deal between the companies has not been finalized yet as it has to gain the approval of the Chinese government. If the agreement is approved, Daimler will have two commercial vehicle joint ventures and one passenger car joint venture in China, in addition to its financial services operations there.

"This joint venture is another step in realizing both our long-term commercial vehicle strategy and our China strategy," said Dr. Rüdiger Grube, Daimler AG Board of Management member responsible for corporate development. "Foton is the right partner for us. This cooperation is a win-win situation for both companies and, most importantly, for our customers."

"At BAIC we are very happy to expand our business relationship with Daimler to include commercial vehicles at Beiqi Foton, in addition to our cooperation for passenger cars at BeijingBenz-DaimlerChrysler Automotive," said BAIC Chairman Xu. BAIC is the primary Chinese shareholder for both Beiqi Foton Trucks, Ltd. and BeijingBenz-DaimlerChrysler Automotive Ltd. (BBDC).

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Geneva Debut for New Renault Scenic, Grand Scenic and Megane Grandtour

Along with the new 250HP Megane Coupe RS, Renault will also stage the world debut of three more Megane-based models at the Geneva Show, the Scenic and Grand Scenic MPVs and the Megane Grandtour station-wagon. The French firm's new people carrier will be available once again in two styles, the five-seater Scenic and the extended-wheelbase Grand Scenic that can accommodate seven passengers in three rows of seats.

As you can see in the images that come from a patent application made by Renault with the EU trademark office, the Scenic III's styling draws on the latest Megane as well as the Laguna - at least in what concerns the front-end design.

Renault's Opel Zafira and Volkswagen Touran rival will share the same engine line-up with the rest of the Megane range. This means that the petrol engine range will consist of 100 and 110HP 1.6-liter units, a 140HP 2.0-liter and the turbocharged 130HP 1.4TCe and 180HP 2.0TCe. Diesel options will include 1.5 dCi 85HP, 90 HP, 105 HP and 110 HP units along with more powerful 130 HP, 150HP and 160 HP variants.

As for the Megane Grandtour, Renault's C-Segment station-wagon is expected to feature a longer wheelbase than the hatchback model. The engine range variations will of course be on par with the Megane hatchback.

2009 Renault Scenic III

Renault Scenic III 2009
Renault Scenic III 2009
Renault Scenic III 2009
Renault Scenic III 2009
Renault Scenic III 2009
Renault Scenic III 2009

2009 Renault Grand Scenic III

Renault Scenic III 2009
Renault Scenic III 2009
Renault Scenic III 2009
Renault Scenic III 2009
Renault Scenic III 2009
Renault Scenic III 2009
Renault Scenic III 2009
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