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Old Aug 6, 2006, 7:20 AM   #1
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I'm planning on moving back up to an SLR after several years with a digital compact. I have an emotional attachment to Olympus kit (not a particularly good reason for choosing something, but hey, I'm only human).

The driver for the move is a safari holiday at the end of the year, but I was also intending to start regular submissions to a stock library.

I'd be grateful for any thoughts on the following:

Should I get the E-1 or the E-500 - the first is more robust, the second higher res. Anyone here got experience of using the E-1 for stock?

Should I get the Zuiko 40-150, (which appears to be well received) or the Sigma 55-200 (which has a slighter larger aperture, a longer reach for the safari and is about £50 cheaper in the UK)

Or should I just wait to see what Oly release as an E-1 replacement - although I suspect it'll be out of my price bracket.

Thanks

nigelm

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Old Aug 6, 2006, 8:14 AM   #2
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Many stock libraries prefer 8mp or more, so you should check that out first.

If you are really serious about photography you may want to see what is going to be released at Photokina by Olympus...the next body is going to be another pro body like the E-1, but it probably will be out of your pricing.

Depending on the photography you do though, you may want to consider the E-330 as well with its Live View capability if you shoot at unique angles.

If you are serious about stock library you may want to consider a step up from the kit lenses and get the Olympus 14-54mm and 50-200mm lenses instead. Yes they are heavier and pricier, but they are sharper than the kit lenses and certainly sharper than the Sigma.

Maybe you should do some reading at:
http://www.wrotniak.net/photo/oly-e/index.html
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Old Aug 6, 2006, 12:53 PM   #3
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I don't have an E-1 so I'm not somebody who should really be criticizing the camera. But I can't imagine, in this day and age, recommending the purchase of a 5MP DSLR under any circumstances. The very nature of digital cameras gives them a limited lifespan on the cutting edge of technology.

With each new annoucnement, our current cameras get ever-so-slightly more obsolete. That's not a terrible thing. It's the nature of technology that things alwaysadvance (more or less). We invest more in lenses than in bodies because lenses have a longer useful life.

The E-500 has the current "standard" 8MP which is good res for a DSLR today. But there are clearly higher MP cameras coming in larger numbers. In a year, 8MP will probably still be pretty good. In 2 years, I expect it will be on the low end of acceptable. In three years, I may be looking for an upgrade.

The 5MP E-1 is clearly at the end of it's useful life. That's not to say it doesn't take perfectly good pictures but can you really imagine using a 5MP camera for any length of time. A "robust" camera should be expected to have a long life. Does it make sense to invest in a PHYSICALLY robust camera which could last through 5 years of hard use when it is ELECTRONICALLY on it's last legs.

As someone whohad almost EVERY kind of 35mm SLR, I think the concept of "robust" may be slightly overated. I have a lotof old "consumer" cameras like the Pentax ME Super and an old screw mount Yashica. I've also got a Nikon F3. Fact is, none of them every failed. I could tell people that my F3 was built like a tank...which is true...but the truth of the matter is that my $250.00 SLRs functioned just as well.

I'm coming up on 1700 exposure with my E-500 and I've seen no indication that, in PRACTICAL terms, it is any less robust than any other camera I've used. You can obviously point to more solidy built features in the E-1 but they may be of little benefit unless you still expect to be using that E-1 many years from now (which ain't gonna' happen with a 5MP camera).
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Old Aug 6, 2006, 10:41 PM   #4
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Brent Gair wrote:
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You can obviously point to more solidy built features in the E-1 but they may be of little benefit unless you still expect to be using that E-1 many years from now (which ain't gonna' happen with a 5MP camera).
I'll agree if nigelm is moving into the DSLR world that the E-500 offers more user-friendly menus and scene modes (the E-1 has none of the latter) but the MP race is something I've tried to avoid. Last year Nikon, a recognized industry leader, chose to upgrade it's "pro" model D2H to the D2Hs..designed for the photojournalist & sports photographer. Built like a tank and currently selling at B&H (body only) for $3079 USD. Sensor size? 4 MP (OK, 4.1).

I expect to be using my E-1 many years from now (with it's estimated 150,000 shutter cycle life), 5 MP and all.


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Old Aug 6, 2006, 11:51 PM   #5
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stowaway7 wrote:
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I'll agree if nigelm is moving into the DSLR world that the E-500 offers more user-friendly menus and scene modes (the E-1 has none of the latter) but the MP race is something I've tried to avoid. Last year Nikon, a recognized industry leader, chose to upgrade it's "pro" model D2H to the D2Hs..designed for the photojournalist & sports photographer. Built like a tank and currently selling at B&H (body only) for $3079 USD. Sensor size? 4 MP (OK, 4.1).

I expect to be using my E-1 many years from now (with it's estimated 150,000 shutter cycle life), 5 MP and all.

I agree with Stowaway7. The E-1 is definitely a camera that could easily still be shooting at least 5 years from now and stillbe legitimately a good user. About the only thing I feel that might need to be addressed by any user (myself included)is the battery packused withthe accessory grip since it's unique and probably won't be carried on in the next pro battery grip (assuming there is another one, that is). Of course, the regular pack will always be available to buy new if you wear one of those out.
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Old Aug 7, 2006, 12:59 AM   #6
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stowaway7 wrote:
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but the MP race is something I've tried to avoid.
Yeah...and I've tried to avoid the speed and memory race with my personal computers.

When I bought my latest PC almost two years ago, I got the top-of-line, state-of-the-art 2.8ghz version with 512MB of memory. Of course, when I open a couple of large graphics files, it moves like a slug.

You can't avoid something if it comes lookin' for you.

I drive a 1968 Triumph. Very cool, very cultish...and can be grossly outperformed by a new Kia Sedona minivan.

If somebody owns a 5MP camera, I'm not going to tell them to sell it. By the same token, if a person DOESN'T own one, I'm not going to suggest that they buy one. Nigelm says he was "also intending to start regular submissions to a stock library". How much life will 5MP camera have as tool for creating commercially viable images acceptable to a stock library? I'm afraid that megapixels just count for too much.

We sometimes hear the old cliche that it's photographers that make great pictures and not cameras. That may have been true twenty years ago but it's hogwash today. Unfortunately, the technology is critically important. Cold, impersonal numbers define much of what makes up an image. 5MP is not a number you want in your new camera in the year 2006.
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Old Aug 7, 2006, 6:33 AM   #7
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Brent Gair wrote:
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stowaway7 wrote:
Quote:
but the MP race is something I've tried to avoid.
You can't avoid something if it comes lookin' for you.
Oh, I hear what you're saying;hence my recommendation on the E-500. Kind of makes me long for the day when we all used the same "sensor" (film) and you concentrated on lenses, filters, etc, instead of who was doing what in electronics. I picked up an E-1 not just because of build and the fact it had the features I wanted, but also because I got a great deal on it (yes, the money was a factor).

My computer is 3.4 ghz with 2 gig of memory and I find myself yelling "hurry up"! Obsolete before I left the store.

Cool about your '68 Triumph. A TR-?? If you've done a lot of restoration please post a photo.
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Old Aug 7, 2006, 9:13 AM   #8
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In reality, 8MP is an overkill, unless you develop a lot of large images. I own the E-500 but with knowing what I know now, I think the E-1 is a better choice. Scene modes are useless in my opinion since the camera doesn't really tell you what settings they use and if you want auto, go to a point-and-shoot since they are amazing at just that. Otherwise ask yourself what you will be doing with the camera. I think the most important thing is build quality in a camera. Assuming they all take good pictures.

If you are into outdoors action/adventure photography, go for the more solid one.

If you are short on funds, buy the E-500 and spend more on the lenses, after all they are a huge part of your final product.
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Old Aug 7, 2006, 9:49 AM   #9
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Brent Gair wrote:
Quote:
stowaway7 wrote:
Quote:
but the MP race is something I've tried to avoid.
Yeah...and I've tried to avoid the speed and memory race with my personal computers.

When I bought my latest PC almost two years ago, I got the top-of-line, state-of-the-art 2.8ghz version with 512MB of memory. Of course, when I open a couple of large graphics files, it moves like a slug.

You can't avoid something if it comes lookin' for you.

I drive a 1968 Triumph. Very cool, very cultish...and can be grossly outperformed by a new Kia Sedona minivan.

If somebody owns a 5MP camera, I'm not going to tell them to sell it. By the same token, if a person DOESN'T own one, I'm not going to suggest that they buy one. Nigelm says he was "also intending to start regular submissions to a stock library". How much life will 5MP camera have as tool for creating commercially viable images acceptable to a stock library? I'm afraid that megapixels just count for too much.

We sometimes hear the old cliche that it's photographers that make great pictures and not cameras. That may have been true twenty years ago but it's hogwash today. Unfortunately, the technology is critically important. Cold, impersonal numbers define much of what makes up an image. 5MP is not a number you want in your new camera in the year 2006.
It still takes someone with a good eye to make a good picture..don't kid yourself there. Being a good photographer isn't a pre-requisite for buying an 8mp DSLR- you just have to have the money or credit limit, and that is painfully obvious when you see some stuff that's posted online. If you don't think the E-1 can produce first class, stillmarketableimages today, you haven't visited some of the dedicated Olympus sites like myfourthirds.com lately or viewed the work of this guy, who still somehow seems to "get by" shooting weddings with his E-1's:

http://www.josephmark.com/index2.html

When it comes to stock photography, as much as what I said above is true, Brent is right...the people who control the stock industry have pretty much set 8mp as the low-end as to what they will accept. Right or not, you have to adapt to what they say if you want to try and make it doing stock work, but you don't NEED 8mp to make a living or good side income in photography.

Chasing computer technology is something completely different. Everyone wants to be able to work imagesfaster on the computer, but for someone more interested in taking pictures than being able to tell someone they own the latest, the E-1 (and for that matter, the 6 MPCanon 10D I used to own)does very well if you know what the heck you're doing.



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Old Aug 7, 2006, 12:36 PM   #10
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Brent Gair wrote:
Quote:

We sometimes hear the old cliche that it's photographers that make great pictures and not cameras.
I'm sure if Ansel Adams were around today and someone handed him an old Kodak Instamatic or Polaroid Swinger (am I dating myself or what) he's time a creative way to make a great image.


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