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Old Jul 10, 2003, 2:59 PM   #1
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Default Olympus 5050Z vs Nikon 5400

I've just barely avoided divorce during the last 3 weeks as I've researched a new DC. Have narrowed down the choices to the Nikon 5400 and the Olympus 5050Z. I'm leaning toward the 5400--a bit smaller, good wide angle coverage, 4x zoom--but am concerned about the lack of an AFI. Can anyone shed some light (sorry) on how important this is? Specifically, exactly how low is low light?

Thanks.
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Old Jul 10, 2003, 4:09 PM   #2
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What's AFI?

Well, here's how focusing works and why you need a certain amount of light:
http://www.howstuffworks.com/autofocus3.htm
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Old Jul 10, 2003, 4:17 PM   #3
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Thanks Mike.

AFI=Auto focus illuminator.

I understand the process, just not sure how low "low light" is. I assume I wouldn't be working in total darkenss without an AFI, but I'm wondering if I can still shoot indoors in a dimly lit room and get a good focus lock. Hard to know without using the 5400 myself.
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Old Jul 10, 2003, 8:12 PM   #4
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I bought a two megapixel Olympus C-2020 digital camera years ago for three reasons; it was the first camera with full manual controls, it had a fast f/2.0 lens and it used standard AA sized batteries.

I always appreciated the fast lens, getting the low light natural looking image rather than having the unnatural “flash in your face” picture.

The C-2020 occasionally hunted for focus in dim light because it did not have an auto focus illuminator. It had to depend on a hard to process low light contrast detection method that worked about 70% of the time.

My current digital camera is a five megapixel Olympus C-5050 with an f/1.8 with an auto focus illuminator that I appreciate. The C-5050 focuses more accurately with a hit rate of 95% because of the illuminator.

The Nikon has a slower lens and will be using the flash a lot more to get a picture but not necessarily a great image.

As for zoom ratios a three to one is all I want. Above a 3x zoom a handheld camera will magnify camera shake resulting in a blurred image. A 4x and above lens magnifies lens flaws and with more lens elements in a larger zoom ratio camera the reflections of the glass elements will reduce the contrast of the picture.

Two other reasons I bought the C-5050 over the Nikon 5400. The C-5050 comes with a standard wireless remote for controlling the camera in both picture taking and playback mode and the C-5050 will use standard “off the shelf” AA batteries rather than the Nikon’s proprietary batteries.

I can’t tell you how well the Nikon passive AF works in dim light. It has a slower lens but with the slower lens it would also have a greater depth of field. This greater depth of field would compensate for depth of field measurement error. But with a slower lens the Nikon would have to use its flash before the Olympus would.

The Olympus with the faster low light lens would need a more accurate auto focus system because of the limited depth of field would need more accurate focusing but would not need to use a flash to get the picture as often. The AF illuminator is added insurance that the Olympus will get a focused picture in low light.

I “tipped my hat” to Olympus and bought the C-5050.
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Old Jul 11, 2003, 1:33 AM   #5
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Very thorough response. Thanks. Any complaints on the 5050?
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Old Jul 11, 2003, 2:22 AM   #6
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Four gripes about the Oly.

The major gripe is the rather haphazard way the C-5050 scatters the control buttons on all sides of the camera except the face. It is a two handed camera and the photographer has to look all over the different sides to remember where the options are. Here is a sup-gripe. I have a general thought that most digital cameras menu systems in the LCD really slow down making adjustments on the cameras.

I really like the interface on my 3 mega Epson 3100z because of the software controlled push buttons around the screen and the easy to use image size button on the top. Since the buttons on the camera are software controlled they change functions depending on what the main controls are set for. The information about the button controls overlay on the LCD screen. With that setup I can set the modes very fast on the Epson.

Gripe two: Olympus never supplies a camera case. My old C-2020 looks beaten up because it never had a case but my vintage Nikon Coolpix 800 that was bought about the same time came with a case and still looks as good as new.

Next gripe: the pivoting LCD on the C-5050 could be more adjustable. To do a parade overhead picture I have to flip the LCD 90-degrees out then turn the camera upside down and over my head. That is awkward.

Last gripe is I never liked the lens cap that came with the C-2020 and the C-5050 camera. It would pop-off with any slight bump. I'm really suprised I haven't lost those lens caps yet. I’ve replaced both lens caps with a far more secure replacement, the OlyCap.
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Old Jul 11, 2003, 9:06 AM   #7
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Default 5050 and the G3

I'm torn between the 5050 and G3. Seems there are some reports about 'noise' with the 5050. Can an owner explain this? Is 'the noise' noticeable? Really an issue? Non-issue? Should I be concerned?

I also like the flexibility and other options available with the 5050 (primarily storage and AA batteries), and the fact it has a 5mp resolution.

On the other hand the G3 has the Canon DIGIC processor with a lower 4mp resolution.

Main uses will be just about everything. Landscapes, portraits, closeups, indoor and outdoor.

Is the quality of the image from a G3 noticably clearer, sharper than from a 5050?

Any insight would be appreciated..

Thanks,
redjr...
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Old Jul 11, 2003, 10:05 AM   #8
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I've never had a problem with any noise in the pictures that have come out of the C-5050. If I did have a problem I suppose a quick visit to my graphics program and a little blur would solve the problem.

People are forgetting that these are large file and are looking very close in their computer monitors for flaws in the cameras.

On a computer monitor the pictures might look noisy or sharp to some people but using a computer monitor can be like looking at a picture with a high powered magnifier. People are looking too close! When the picture is printed out if there were any noice it would also be reduced to the point where it could not be seen. And the mechanic and real resolution of physical printing would negate any noice a camera would have.

One thing I really like about the C-5050 is that it takes multiple memory cards. SM, CF2 and XD cards. OK, I'm not hot on XD cards. Why did Olympus/Fuji make a new memory card?

My pictures must be reduced in size to make a print. Using 5 meg files and printing at 224 dpi (the optimum dpi Epson claims is a good compromise for pictures) the print would be 8.5 x 11.5-inches. If you set the dpi for 150 then the print size would be 13 x 17-inches. So a 5 mega picture file would have to be reduced considerably to fit a 4 x 6-inch print. Any noise would have to be reduced too...down to one quarter dpi and it wouldn't be seen.

My software version is v78 if that makes any difference.

One thing I do like about the C-5050 is that it take so many varies of memory cards. SM, CF2 and XD cards. OK, I'm not very hot on the xD cards. Why did Olympus/Fuji make a new memory card format?

Today I can really test the Oly. I get to take picture of the Coors Girls up close.
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Old Jul 11, 2003, 10:14 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HaveBlue
OK, I'm not very hot on the XD cards. Why did Olympus/Fuji make a new memory card format?
Because SM was limited to 128megs max. xD has a theoretical limit of 8gigs.

This may not mean much to you being a C-5050 user and having the choice of using CF if you wanted to, but those cameras which only have one card slot would run out of memory quickly if they had to keep using 128meg SM cards. The problem is newer cameras with higher mp CCDs need more memory.
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Old Jul 11, 2003, 10:18 AM   #10
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Are there any xD cards currently made that have memory at 8 gigs? It sure would be nice to have one!
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