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-   -   3 Camera choices, and I'm stumped at how Olympus lens focus (

EvanF19 Jul 14, 2007 12:24 AM

I'm a newbie when it comes to DSLR cameras. I come from the old-school SLR cameras (still have my Nikons). I'm trying to help my son buy his first DSLR and he (we) seem to have narrowed the choices down to the Nikon D40x, the Canon XTi and the Olympus E-500 (maybe E-510). After mulling for weeks over reviews and the forums, we finally made it into a camera store to do some hands-on testing. All three are nice, but one thing I didn't like about the Olympus is the way the lens focused in Manual mode. I needed to turn the focus ring an entire revolution to get just a tiny bit of focusing achieved. The Nikon and Canon act like my old SLR lenses where a tiny turn of the focus ring made a huge difference. Is this how Olympus lenses work? Am I not using it the right way? Someone told me that for the most part, we would use Auto-Focus instead of Manual. Maybe so, but in the old camera days, I sometimes liked to use a very narrow plane of focus and leave everything else soft, and I can't imagine how to do this using Auto-Focus. Being able to adjust the focus by tiny increments is required for this type of photography. My son is leaning towards the Olympus because of the attractive price, but I can't get over the slow manual focusing lenses. Someone please educate me. Thanks!

algold Jul 14, 2007 6:36 AM

I don't have an Oly camera, but think that Olympus lenses use a fly-by-wire manual focus, which is an electronic control, rather than a manual control of Canon and Nikon. This invlolves more turning of the MF ring and imho is less precise. I had it on my old Fuji S9500 and didn't really like it, but it should be better on an Oly camera. Anyway, cropped format DSLRs give you more DOF with the same lenses than full frame DSLR or old SLRs, so to achieve a shallow DOF you have to invest into faster lenses.
One major drawback of the D40 is that it doesn't have a focusing motor in the body, this means that AF only works with Nikkor AF-S lenses and most of the third party lenses except Sigma HSM and many Nikkor lenses become manual focus only lenses :sad:. Nikon D50 if you can find one new is a better idea - you can still use all your old Nikkor lenses with it (both manual and AF lenses).
Just my $0.05.
btw, I used to have a Nikon SLR, but switched to a Canon 350D and quite happy with it.

JimC Jul 14, 2007 9:01 AM

algold wrote:

Nikon D50 if you can find one new is a better idea - you can still use all your old Nikkor lenses with it (both manual and AF lenses).
You lose metering with Nkkor Manual Focus lenses on a D50. So, you'd need to shoot "blind" (estimate your shutter speed and aperture or use a separate light meter).

Also, you should not attempt to mount lenses that are not AI (Auto Indexing) on a D50, or you'll risk damage to the lens and/or camera.

But, even if they are AI, you won't have metering with a D50 with manual focus lenses.

The D200 is the least expensive current Nikon dSLR that allows you to meter with non-CPU lenses (and the overwhelming majority of Nikkor Manual Focus lenses are non-CPU with no electronic interface to the camera). So, you should assume that you will need Autofocus lenses to get metering with an entry level Nikon body (D40, D50, D70, D70s, D80).

The higher end bodies (for example, the D200, D2Hs, D2x) don't have this limitation.

EvanF19 Jul 19, 2007 2:04 PM

Thanks algold and JimC,

While this forum was off-line, my son bought the E510. He's taken many test photos andis very happy. He's got a nice learning curve ahead of him.

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