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Monza76 Dec 3, 2005 7:49 PM


I have been around here quite a few times already and have gotten a lot of information but I still have one question.

I own a number of K-mount lenses and have used a Pentax *istDS fairly extensively (borrowed from a friend). Now I am nearly in a position to buy but have a dilemma. I can get an Olympus Evolt E-300 with two lenses for less money than a Pentax DS or DS2 body. Since these two Olympus lenses cover almost the entire focal range I have now (most of my lenses are manual focus primes), there is really little practical difference which I buy. Here are some of the factors:

1) With the Pentax I will still need the kit lens since my current lenses cover 28mm to 210mm which corresponds to 42mm to 320mm on the digital (with a cheap 500mm mirror lens and a Takumar 2X teleconverter (MF)) I therefore have no wide angle coverage. The 500mm is not really an issue since it is a very low contrast lens that will see very little use.

2) The Olympus kit covers 28mm to 300mm out of the box (14mm-45mm and 40mm-150mm).

3) The Olympus has 8mp but only 800ISO while the Pentax is 6.1MP but has a usable 3200ISO.

4) The Olympus has the sonic filter to clean the sensor.

5) The Pentax has a tremendous range of available lenses from old screw mounts to modern D lenses.

6) I currently use a Fuji S7000 so I have CF cards and AA NiMH batteries, the Olympus uses the CF cards, the Pentax uses the AA batteries?? I just can't win. In the past it seems that odd batteries sometimes vanish but memory cards have a substantial service life anyway, so I give a slight advantage to Pentax.

7) I am an amateur, I do an occasional wedding and a few prints for sale but have so far kept print sizes down to what is readily available 8" X 10" with the very infrequent 11" X 14". I do not needa super high res camera, 6 to 8MP is a comfortable range since it is still within the capabilities of my present computer and will produce the print sizes I need.

8 ) I would like a system that allows some future growth, Pentax has recently partnered with Samsung to produce DSLRs so hopefully more resolution and features may find there way into a Pentax body in the next couple of years. Olympus already has a pro model, but it is in desperate need of updating, and the open system 4/3 standard means that Panasonic may venture into DSLRs and produce a camera which will allow use of the Olympus lenses. Some see the 4/3 system as an evolutionary dead end, that remains to be seen but it is worth considering.

9) The Canon fans need not chime in here, I have no intentions to pay hundreds of dollars more for a camera with one lens only to have to purchase another lens just to get what these two systems already give me. Nikon is a little closer since the D50 body is less than the two I am looking at (but the lens issue still holds). I could go Konica Minolta since I have lenses from 18mm to 210mm, but I am still a little leary about the company's future plans in Canada. The Olympus E-500 kit is about $200 more from the places I would trust to buy from, so it isn't in the running at the moment.

So I am hoping someone out there has used both of these cameras and can give me a fair opinion on the overall usability of them.

Help me make a decision. The Olympus looks quite attractive (except for the fact that is looks hideous, but hey, it is the image quality, not the camera styling that counts), but I am familiar with the Pentax and it is a very nice camera which can deliver what I need (and only $30 extra gets the adequate 18mm-55mm kit lens).

I think I have over analyzed this, but to me this is a major purchase and I do want to get good value for my money.


marsha7 Dec 3, 2005 11:14 PM

Hello, Ira, long time no speak...I last saw you on the Fuji S9000 topic, but the more I read, even after considering the Sony R1 and Samsung 815, I keep coming back to the thought that a dSLR will give me what I need/want...not 100% sure, but leaning that way every day...

And, as I keep looking, I keep coming back to Pentax, as I like the thought of AA batts...again, not 100% sure, also intrigued by Sigma with Foveon sensor, but I have time to wait...

Someone, elsewhere, has posted (reliable???...or childish rumor???) that Pentax will release an updated camera (DS2A???...DS3???) maybe in Feb, and maybe with some goodies from Samsung...another maybe is a successor to the SD10 Sigma...I have time to wait, and can use my C770UZ in the meantime...but, for all my posting on the Fuji S9000 site, I do lean to the dSLR option instead...

I also think we are approaching "critical mass"...whether or not you need 4 or 6 MP, it looks like the next gen of cameras will be 8/10/12 MP, which apparently will be more than 99% of us ever need, but it will still be available anyway, and maybe with, more importantly, upgraded electronics inside...

Unless you are in a hurry, I think you may see improvements in the next 6 months that will dwarf anything you have seen in the last 5 years...I could also be completely wrong...but everyone seems to think that the upcoming successors to the Pentax DS2, KM7D, Oly E1, Sigma SD10, and others could just bring us all to the next level in stuff...kinda like when the automakers starting to equip their models with 275-300 Horsepower V8 engines (quite recently), we have finally reached an automotive level where performance is adequate for virtually everybody...

The next gen of dSLR cameras may be the, you might consider waiting...

And, if I ever finally decide on a dSLR, and I will, I will let you know...time to stock up on rechargeable AA batts...:):):)

Good luck, Ira...


Monza76 Dec 3, 2005 11:30 PM

Thanks for the reply Bob, I looked at the S9000, it is very nice but the optical viewfinder and lens flexibility of the dSLR keeps coming back to me, sensor cleaning or not. The Olympus is intriguing but the Pentax has more of what I want. I will wait for the Samsung partnership to bear fruit, a new sensor with 8MP and a more advanced control layout (like the *istD) at the same price point,would clench it for me.

I have used the DS and it is a great camera so if the new products cause a discount on the DS2 it may be just the incentive I need.


Monza76 Dec 4, 2005 8:24 PM

Let me make one confession, the only reason I would seriously consider the Olympus is the supersonic wave filter. The prospect of cleaning a sensor is rather intimidating but I can face it. The Pentax is a fine camera, and hopefully the Pentax Samsung partnership will result in a more professional model in the future to "step-up" to.

I would still like to get some first hand info on the Olympus because it is a well built camera at a truly bargain price with the two lens kit.


Steven R Dec 5, 2005 4:11 PM

Hi Monza76: Go for the Olympus, but not the E-300. Go with the E-500. A superb camera at a good price, and it received a "highly recommended" rating from Phil Askey (which is not handed out often). The 4/3 systemlens are designed for digital from the ground up, and new 4/3 lens will also be coming from Panasonic and Sigmawithin the coming year.

pic_*ist Dec 5, 2005 4:25 PM

I do not know much about olympus.... however,

In terms of the future Pentax road map... there is supposed to be a new pro body to replace the current D as well as asucessor to theDS2 annouced shortly. There are a number of bodies that are on the Samsung/Pentaxroad mapas well. I would have to dig through posts, however, I beleave the number was 5 (3 of which are to be a result of theSamung relationship and the other two were already in the stream).

The other thing nice about the Pentax system is that theyhave a large number of high qualitydigital lenses currentlyout with a new pro 50-200 on the way and the new 10mm - 17mm just announced.

If you can find a DS for a good price Pentax just releasedthe new firmware2.0 for it which brings it to a DS2 minus the2.5" LCD.

Monza76 Dec 5, 2005 5:03 PM

Steven R and pic_*ist, thanks alot, you guys are really making this easy:?.

I guess the best advice I can give myself for now is wait and see, both companies have some interesting products in the wings so I will just have to give it a few more months and see where that leads.

I really appreciate your input.


mtclimber Dec 5, 2005 5:59 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Ira and Bob-

I actually own the Fuji S-9000, the Pentax 1st DS and the Oly E-300 and Oly-500 cameras. Here is my opinion and I both shoot wedding and conduct digital cama workshop. The S-9000 is too noisy. It definitely requires Noise Ninja or Neat Image for it high ISO shots.

The Pentax DS does have a high ISO capabilty and does do a nice job. Personally I do not see them as ready to make any big changes or revisions. On the otherhand Olympus has done a very creditable job with the E-300 and E-500. The two lens kits for both cameras are a REAL VALUE. Both the E-300 and E-500 are capable of ISO 1600.

Of these four cameras, I consistently carry and shoot with the Oly E-300 and the E-500. Yes, the E-500 does offer a few refinements but it is not dramatically better than the E-300. Both are great dSLR's. I much prefer the Oly 14-54mm lens to the kit lens when shooting weddings. It is simply better and has a greater range that makes it so much better. The Oly 14-54mm is available on the used market for around $(US) 350, and is well worth the price. The oly kit lenses tend to be much higher quality than the Pentax kit lenses. I have attached a photo taken with the 14-54mm lens .


Monza76 Dec 5, 2005 7:01 PM


That is quite a camera collection, and you like the Olympus best?? How about the viewfinder?, is the Olympus much worse than the Pentax? I have always heard good things about Olympus lenses so I guess I am still up in the air on this, like I said, all of my Pentax prime lenses are pre-A MF lenses, the only AF lenses I have are a 28-80mm f3.5-5.6 SMC Pentax and a 70-210mm f4-5.6 UC Sigma, not exactly pro quality glass.

Only time will tell.


[email protected] Dec 5, 2005 7:15 PM

Interesting that you confined your search to the oly versus the pentax.

In terms of upgrades, your buying into a lens system.

Eventually you may choose to upgrade the body of your camera in a few years time.

From that perspective, most pro's choose either Canon or Nikon as their system, knowing there will be plenty of future camera bodies to upgrade to.

Nikon has traditionally been the sports shooter's machine, whereas the Canon's are known as the portrait machine.

Given that Canon owns about 60 percent of the DSLR market, and a Rebel XT offers an 8 mp CMOS sensor that is quite responsive and offers clean shots at high iso's (read INDOORS), I can't see why you would have any other machine on your radar screen than a Canon Rebel XT or a Canon 20D.

And you'll have plenty of camera body upgrades to consider in the future.

-- Terry

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