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gaggu Sep 27, 2006 8:39 AM

Hi all,

I have looking at getting my first DSLR. My choices have been narrowed down to E-500 or Nikon D50.
Still not sure which one I will buy ... but coming to the point of subject.

I just saw the Olympus E-1. It says Full Frame sensor. What does that exactly mean eversince E-1 is
still a 4/3rd concept ?


prajull Sep 27, 2006 8:55 AM

3 months back, my choices were E500, D50 and rebelXT and I bought the e500. However, now I think the options are more or less equal between e500 and the new rebel XTi. I suggest you also consider that before buying.

Still IMHO, E500 stands ahead in terms of overall build and the quality of the kit lenses, while rebelXTi would have the advantage of a larger CMOS sensor compared to the comparatively smaller 4thirds CCD sensor (not noticeable though).

Its your choice ultimately...but you wouldn't go wrong any of the above.

gaggu Sep 27, 2006 8:59 AM


If there is anything from Canon I find worth spending my money on
is the EOS 5D and the higher models.

Sigh ... I dont have all that money to spend right now.

So, it all boils down to what I can get under £650.


Mikefellh Sep 27, 2006 9:04 AM

Four thirds is a different format from 35mm, so it shouldn't be compared with it in terms of size...four thirds IS full frame of the four thirds format, just like medium format is full frame of that format, and 110 film was full frame of that format. It is not like other dSLRs which still use 35mm lenses with a smaller sensor, where you have to deal with things like crop factors; as four thirds uses four thirds sized lenses, they ARE full format...a 50mm lens is the actual focal, not a crop factor, although if you wanted to know the 35mm field of view you'd have to multiply by 2.

Also, another thing you may have heard is Olympus uses full frame transfer instead of interline transfer that most other manufacturers use..."4/3-type Full-Frame Transfer CCD that boasts an area 4 to 5 times greater than the interline transfer CCDs used in ordinary digital cameras. Originally developed for motion-picture video cameras, interline transfer CCDs have light shields that mask a substantial portion of the signal transfer area, reducing the size of the light reception area that determines the resulting image quality. The E's Full-Frame Transfer CCD, on the other hand, has only a small masked area with an integrated signal transfer area, allowing it to receive much more light. This wider exposure latitude allows the Full-Frame Transfer CCD to capture a much richer range of gradations, greatly enhancing the quality of the resulting images."

gaggu Sep 27, 2006 10:32 AM


So the sensor size on E1 is the same as that on E500 ?

Why the cost difference then, what makes E1 more expensive ?


Mikefellh Sep 27, 2006 12:47 PM

The E-1 was a pro camera, with a full metal frame, weather proofing, and high speed processing...the E-1 can shoot 12 RAW frames into its buffer, the E-500 only 4...the E-1 has USB2 speed and Firewire, the E-500 USB1.1. The E-1 also has features like PC-flash connector, remote cable, and battery-grip.

That goes for the lenses too, the kit lenses that come with the E-500 are decent, but you can also use the pro lenses with the E-500. You may want to do some reading:

gaggu Sep 27, 2006 3:15 PM

Thanks for the input Mikefellh

gaggu Sep 27, 2006 3:36 PM

I am assuming you are a long time user of Olympus.

I just want to know, first hand, hows the focusing performance
of your Oly dslr ?

I'll try to ask the question more clearly ...

The sales agent (surprisingly ... knowledgeable) at the local Jessops
store here actually showed me how to confuse a Pentax K100D into
not being able to focus. He simply pointed it to a evenly illuminated
blue colored panel. That camera couldn't find focus. I guess thats what
people mean when they say Pentax struggles to focus in low contrast ?

However then he simply showed the camera the edge of the panel. The camera
just locked focus like a Canon EOS.
(I however managed to confuse an EOS 350D i bought some time earlier
into not being able to focus ... but i was cheating ... trying to focus
the blades of a turning fan)

I hope Oly doesn't get confused while focusing like Pentax ? How's your
experience been ? Have you experienced Oly not being able to lock focus ?


stowaway7 Sep 27, 2006 9:23 PM

First, MikeFellh is right about "Full Frame does not mean full frame sensor (that would be a sensor size of 24mm x 36mm as with the Canon EOS 5D). The E-1 has a 5MP sensor and the E-500 an 8MP sensor (same size @ 17mm x 13mm).If you're only into the numbers game it's a no-brainer. I own two E-1's, buying both after the release of the E-500. Pro body, weather-sealed, twin mode dials (I can't deal with just one, personal preference) and a much bigger & brighter viewfinder that the E-500. 5MP does the job for me quite well.

So the Pentax won't focus on the center ofa well-litplain blue card but will at the edge? You've just described a number of DSLR's (including my E-1's). Contrast-detection focus system. No contrast, no focus (there's contrast between the card and what lies beyond the edge, though...see the logic?) In low light when the subject is close enough the E-1 will emit a focus-assist light, basically a series of red cross-hairs projected onto the subject providing the needed contrast to focus on. Not sure if the E-500 offers it; check the specs.

Finally, the E-1, if you can still find one, is now no longer more expensive than the E-500. Goes for @ $465 US$ body-only on ebay from Cameta or Olympus auctions. Fire-sale pricing is whyI bought a second body for backup.

Mikefellh Sep 27, 2006 11:17 PM


The sales agent (surprisingly ... knowledgeable) at the local Jessops store here actually showed me how to confuse a Pentax K100D into not being able to focus. He simply pointed it to a evenly illuminated blue colored panel. That camera couldn't find focus. I guess thats what people mean when they say Pentax struggles to focus in low contrast ?
To be honest, if you point just about any camera out there at a solid colour (without any contrast) it will fail to focus (the only cameras, that I know of, that it would work in that situation is one that uses sonar, like some of the old Polaroids).

Here's some links to help you understand this:

Also look at the animations on this page (especially the Leaning Tower of Pisa):

Most of the Oly dSLRs have three focus points, the two outer ones are vertical, and the centre one is both horizontal and vertical...I only have the centre one turned on so I know where the lens will focus on, and lock the subject on that, then while half-pressing the shutter button I will reframe the shot to what I want. For me these cameras with 50 focus points are never know where the camera will focus...just imagine this scenerio on the beach where you go to take a picture of your wife in the centre, and the camera instead focuses on the bikini clad nymph on the side of the frame...your wife comes running over to you wanting to look at the picture! :P

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