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Old May 23, 2011, 7:18 AM   #1
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Default Investing in lenses Vs. a better camera

The people in this forum have really been helpful in making decisions easier for me as far as the camera equipment goes so here I am again asking for a rather objective advice.

I have been using the E-510 for nearly 2 years now and was really happy with its performance. Until just a few weeks back when I was traveling to Malaysia and had the chance to shoot amazing images in a rainforest and a few other places that had true potential for great photographs, I felt short. The E-510 couldnt focus in low light even at ISO 1600. I had to take almost 80% of photos at ISO 1600 due to the tropical weather of Malaysia and the rainforest setting and honestly the results were disappointing. I was also limited by the lenses. I still have the two kit lenses 14 - 42mm and 40 - 150mm plus the 70 - 300mm.

I had decided on the trip that I want to upgrade. Here's my dilemma. I purely shoot for personal pleasure and photography has become a real close to heart kind of a hobby. So I’d like to invest in this hobby further for better results. I couldn’t decide though on what to upgrade. Here are my options:

1. Sell the E-510 and the two kit lenses. Retain 70 – 300mm. Purchase E5 with 14 – 54mm. (approximate out of pocket expenses PKR 100,000 = USD 1,200)
2. Sell the two kit lenses and retain the E510 and 70 – 300mm. Purchase 14 – 54mm. (Approximate out of pocket expenses PKR 35,000 = USD 400)
3. Sell the complete Olympus system and get into either Nikon or Canon (this would be a more expensive solution and not my preferred choice)

If I go with the second solution, I will have the option to buy 12 – 60mm SWD and this is where I also seek your advice. How would the E510 + 12-60mm combo work out? For 12 – 60mm, I will have to spend close to USD 700.

I will save up for the 50 – 200mm SWD and EC-20 and maybe sell the 70 – 300mm in 1-2 years time. I just hope these lenses would be available after 2 years. The shift in Olympus strategy troubles me.

I would really appreciate your advice on this one.

Zee
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Old May 23, 2011, 1:08 PM   #2
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Hi Zoe,

Here's another option to consider.

Take a look at the ELP-1 or ELP-2.

Here's why:
All of the lenses you currently have could be utilized on the ELP-1 or 2 with the addition of an adapter.

The ELP-2 has the same sensor, AA filter and jpeg engine as the E-5. For static or non moving subjects, this would give you better low light performance than you can currently get out of the E-510.

The ELP-1 or 2 provides better jpegs in high contrast situations than the E-510 is capable of.

The size of the pen cameras and lenses are much easier to travel with.

Olympus continues to invest in the development of lenses and bodies for the microfourthirds system. I believe you will see additional lenses for the Pens in the near future.


A preowned ELP-1 or 2 sells for ( in the states) for around $350.00USD


If , however, you want to stay with the larger body, consider the 14-54mm mkI or mkII lens. It is actually faster than the 12-60mm SWD. It is also significantly less expensive.

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Old May 23, 2011, 2:54 PM   #3
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I don't know about Olympus but any camera 2 years old is out-of-date. There's been so many improvements. I would upgrade the body first thing. being a Sony owner, I feel your uncertainty. I would not invest more money in Olymous dslrs. Switching at this point to canon or nikon may be a good long term strategy.
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Old May 23, 2011, 7:49 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Zeshane View Post
The people in this forum have really been helpful in making decisions easier for me as far as the camera equipment goes so here I am again asking for a rather objective advice.

I have been using the E-510 for nearly 2 years now and was really happy with its performance. Until just a few weeks back when I was traveling to Malaysia and had the chance to shoot amazing images in a rainforest and a few other places that had true potential for great photographs, I felt short. The E-510 couldnt focus in low light even at ISO 1600. I had to take almost 80% of photos at ISO 1600 due to the tropical weather of Malaysia and the rainforest setting and honestly the results were disappointing. I was also limited by the lenses. I still have the two kit lenses 14 - 42mm and 40 - 150mm plus the 70 - 300mm.

I had decided on the trip that I want to upgrade. Here's my dilemma. I purely shoot for personal pleasure and photography has become a real close to heart kind of a hobby. So I’d like to invest in this hobby further for better results. I couldn’t decide though on what to upgrade. Here are my options:

1. Sell the E-510 and the two kit lenses. Retain 70 – 300mm. Purchase E5 with 14 – 54mm. (approximate out of pocket expenses PKR 100,000 = USD 1,200)
2. Sell the two kit lenses and retain the E510 and 70 – 300mm. Purchase 14 – 54mm. (Approximate out of pocket expenses PKR 35,000 = USD 400)
3. Sell the complete Olympus system and get into either Nikon or Canon (this would be a more expensive solution and not my preferred choice)

If I go with the second solution, I will have the option to buy 12 – 60mm SWD and this is where I also seek your advice. How would the E510 + 12-60mm combo work out? For 12 – 60mm, I will have to spend close to USD 700.

I will save up for the 50 – 200mm SWD and EC-20 and maybe sell the 70 – 300mm in 1-2 years time. I just hope these lenses would be available after 2 years. The shift in Olympus strategy troubles me.

I would really appreciate your advice on this one.

Zee
All Olympus 4/3rd's lenses have become very expensive. Basically, they cost MSRP at even the discount houses. I am glad I already have what I have. If I were in your position with no more invested in this system, I'd consider a switch, but not to Canon or Nikon.....the Pentax K5 is the way I'd go, with the 16-50mm f2.8 and 60-250mm f4 and eventually 1-2 of their killer Limited lenses.

I have enough Olympus bodies and lenses to last me a while....a pretty good while, but if things started breaking down on me to the point it would start getting really expensive to keep using what I had, I'd dump it all for what I could get and buy into the Pentax system yesterday. The mirrorless system is fun to have a piece or two as something different to use from time to time, but I'm far from ready to make it THE system for what I like to shoot.

Last edited by Greg Chappell; May 23, 2011 at 7:51 PM.
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Old May 24, 2011, 5:06 AM   #5
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If it were me, I'd either keep what you have (you do a nice job with it), or do option two and pick up the 14-54.

I'll not recommend going into the four thirds system with any expensive glass anymore. If they don't believe in the system, why invest more as an owner? I'd suggest Canon or Nikon if your thinking of working yourself into more of an investment in the future.

In normal circumstances, I'd say without hesitation that glass is the better investment. In this case, I'd pause unless it was really a steal.
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Old May 24, 2011, 5:45 AM   #6
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Dear Zig,

The EP1 and EP2 isnt what I had in my mind initially. Though I evaluated the possibility after you mentioned it but here are my reasons for not considering the option:

Call me old fashioned but I like holding a proper DSLR. Its just personal taste really. My lenses would certainly fit the EP2 but imagine the big 70 - 300mm on the small EP2 body and it would look like a forced marriage. So aesthetically this option is not appealing.

I dont have a problem traveling with a larger body. I have given E510 a pretty rough treatment. I have taken it with me on trips where people would generally tag a P&S along. I'm comfortable with a slinger and a bit of weight around my neck (the E510 + 70 - 300mm combo).

I will take your word on the 14 - 54mm. Will definitely keep it as an upgrade option for 14 - 42mmm.

@Greg

Your comment has made me do hell lot a research on Pentax cameras. I like the configuration of K-5. The price is steep though but so is for Oly E5.

My big problem with Pentax or even Olympus was the unavailability of the camera itself and the accessories in my country. I was amazingly surprised that even in Malaysia (which is supposed to be cheap and a hub for electronics), I could only find one Olympus store. I almost lost the count for Nikon and Canon stores in just their electronics mall in KL. So going with Pentax would be challenging. But in long term, it would pay dividends I assume.

I am impressed by the Pentax lenses range and their prices are not bad either. In fact the 18 - 55mm and 55 - 300mm are considerably cheaper than Oly's 14 - 42mm and 70 - 300mm. The difference in focal length at the long end would certainly be uneasy to get used to but with the 16.3 mega pixel configuration it should compensate it I guess.

This is a very interesting option. The desire to be different yet better is appealing to me generally and that’s one of the reasons I went with Olympus in the first place.

Zee
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Old May 24, 2011, 9:14 AM   #7
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My recent photo trip to Palo Duro Canyon I met a K5 shooter and had a chance to check out his K5 and the two lenses I mentioned above, the 16-50 f2.8, 60-250 f4 as well as two Limited primes he was carryying, the 15mm and 31mm. Outstanding lenses and the K5 is small. Somewhere between the E620 and E30 with the sealing of an E5, and Pentax, like Olympus, is virtually impossible to see in a store outside places like B&H and other huge stores in New York.

Arlington Camera here in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex is one of only 5-6 stores in the country that have some special designation from Olympus as a supplier of their equipment. A couple of weeks ago when I was in there they had a couple of new E5's for sale while places like B&H were out of stock. Outside of buying online it's the only place I know of around here to go and get something from Olympus in my hands to look at before buying.
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Old May 24, 2011, 10:20 AM   #8
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Thanks for the information on the K5, Greg - I didn't know much about it. Is Pentax in it for the long haul?

Ted
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Old May 24, 2011, 12:45 PM   #9
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Arlington Camera here in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex
I was across the street from Arl Cam this morning but didn't go in to look around; Bonnie was with me !!!
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Old May 24, 2011, 12:59 PM   #10
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Thanks for the information on the K5, Greg - I didn't know much about it. Is Pentax in it for the long haul?

Ted
All outward indications are that Pentax will continue with DSLR development - specifically aps-c (also medium format with the 645). Unlike Olympus and Sony, Hoya (who owns Pentax) is giving no indication they are switching to a non-DSLR interchangeable lens solution (to be fair, it's unclear with Sony - their direction certainly appears to be towards SLT and NEX though). So, in that regard, Pentax is in the same camp as Canon & Nikon. Now, it's impossible to say whether or not they will decide several years down the road they want to get out of DSLRs. Don't know. On one hand, they have an extremely longstanding photographic tradition. On the other hand they have an extremely tiny market share in DSLRs and it seems Sony, Oly and Panasonic believe the future lies elsewhere. So, of the three remaining companies tied firmly to SLR, I would think they'd be the most likely of the 3 to abandon SLRs. So, it all depends what you mean by "long haul"
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