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-   -   Olympus E-3 & E-510 v.s. New Sony A350! (

Pdotcantu Feb 20, 2008 12:36 AM

Alright everyone this is where I will need your help. I am stuck in between deciding getting the Olympus E-510 or E-3 or. . . . . the new Sony A-350 which comes out next month. The new sony is going to have 14.2 megapixels rather 10.2 like the Olympus. However; I'm kind of worrying about the lenses that can be used with the new Sony A-350. Olympus lenses are are nice and if you ask me Olympus specializes in cameras more than Sony does? and lenses are a big factor in image quality.

Someone please help me out with this and give me some feedback. I need the best of the best. How do these compare? Are Sony & Olympus dropping prices and making lighter weight DSLR's to get on the market? Are there any other DSLR's that that can compare to these? Everyone is stuck on Nikon's & Canon's but all of their lenses are heavy and these other companies are stepping it up.

Which will be the better deal?

Tullio Feb 20, 2008 2:30 AM

Well, one can write pages talking about the pros and cons of each of the cameras you are taking into consideration (plus the ones not mentioned by brand/model such as the Nikon and Canon). The bottom line? IMO, they're all good in their own ways. They also fall into slightly different categories. The A350 and the E510 are comparable models while the E3 is more of a PRO model (perhaps more in line with the A700).I've been a big fan of Sony and they'vecertainly climbed up the podium very fast.Sony hasbeen very aggressive and in a matter of months they released an impressive number of new dSLR models (A700, A200, A300 and A350). On paper, some of these models look real attractive.The E510 is my first Olympus camera ever and I really like it. The Zuiko lenses are impressive to say the least and the 4/3 systemhelps reduce the size of the lenses. A 70-300mm lens will give you 140-600mmcoverage in asmall package. Price wise, you can't beat the E510 2-lens kit. For about $650 you get the body, a WA 14-42mm and a small zoom 40-150mm lens. They are both very compact and light weight lenses and both produce razor sharp images. Besides the Zuiko lenses, there are a number of Sigma models for the 4/3 system.Most arevery decent and cheaper than the Zuiko. As for the Sony, all Minolta lenses work as well as Sony (Carl Zeiss)and third party lenses such as Sigma and Tamron. So, you do have good choices there as well. Now, the first thingI'd suggest youdo is to go to a local camera shop and hold both the E510 and the A350. Try to take some pictures with each one just to get a feel for them. Ergonomics play a big role in the decision making process. The camera should feel comfortablewhen being held and operated. Controls should be at reachw/o interfering with camera handling. Prior to the E510 I had a Pentax K100. It was a fine camera but the shutter was so noisy that drove me nuts. It would make birds fly away.The quietand smooth operation of the E510 shutter release was one of the biggest selling points for me. That's the kind of thing you should be looking at.

Pdotcantu Feb 20, 2008 9:43 AM

I know Olympus really promotes the E-3 rather than the E-510, but I don't really know what the big difference is besides price. Looking at the price, I kind of feel like this must be a better camera since it's double the price and referring to the E-3 even on the website Olympus provides interviews and better information than what they do on their E-510? but generally speaking, is there really a big difference when they refer to the E-3 as being for "passionate photography"?

In terms of the lenses, what are you more likely to recommend, the Zuiko lens or the Carl Zeiss? I just feel that Olympus specializes more in cameras than Sony does, then again Sony is starting to come out with blue-ray recordable camcorders, but thats a totally different subject. I know the lenses have a lot to do with the quality and angles. These models I'm referring to are new and lightweight. Other companies like Nikon/Canon all have heavier DSLR's but do any of the Nikon/Canon models compare to Olympus E-3/E-510? or the Sony A350? I want to narrow it down to the BEST selection.

Tullio Feb 20, 2008 11:01 AM

Sony has been in the camera business for a long time with their video cameras. So, in a way, they do have developedimaging technology. They have also been in the photography business for a few years now. They have a multitude of P&S cameras already under their umbrella. So, when we state that Sony is relatively new to photography, we need to be specific. They are "sort of" new to developing dSLR cameras but the acquisition of Minolta gave them the initial push. The Fnnn series and the R1 are state of the art cameras and usually, owners of any of these models don't sell them (myself included...I will never, ever sell my R1, a 10 MP fixed lens 5x zoom but with a CMOS sensor). The only reason I bought the E510 was because I did not feel the A100 was good enough at that time. If I was to buy a new dSLR today, I'd probably get a Sony simply because I already own two Sony cameras and happen to love them. With that said, let's talk lenses. I was also not familiar with the Zuiko lenses until recently. They are amazing pieces of glasses but I feel some are way way over priced. Considering that Oly only has a very small line of Pro cameras, one would say "how can I justify buying a $5000 lens to attach to my $1500 camera? The Zeiss lenses are also excellent and I believe the variety of choices are greater with the Sony camera since you can use all the Minolta legacy lenses as well as a multitude of third party brand lenses also available. With the Oly, you also can use the legacy lenses as wellbut you need an adapter and at that point, the lens becomes fully manual. If I was to buy a new camera today, I think Sony would be at the top of my list even though I do love the E510 and I am investing on quitea few lenses for my system.

Pdotcantu Feb 20, 2008 12:21 PM

Tullio you've been very helpful to me. I went to Ritz Camera and they didn't have any of the models. Would you have rather gotten a Sony DSLR rather than your E-510? Why not get the E-3? Do you think any of these new models we're talking about compare to any of the Nikon models. The Nikon D300 which goes for about $1600, I've seen picture taken with it and they were "decent" but on this site

They list this Nikon as being the best camera for action and sports, which is what most of my pictures would be but I'd also want to do portrait and landscape pictures as well. Nikons are heavier than these newer models coming out though. I'm attaching some pictures at the bottom of the page just to give you an example of what I'm looking for. The photographer who took these pictures told me that as long as I have a camera that can do a 250th of a flash sync will work just fine. Let me know what ya think

JimC Feb 20, 2008 12:37 PM


Olympus E-3 & E-510 v.s. New Sony A350
Here's a "field test" that has some comments comparing the Sony A700 to the Olympus E-510. It's too bad the author didn't include the E-3.

Once the A350 starts shipping, you should start seeing some feedback on it's performance from users that have used multiple camera models.

Pdotcantu Feb 20, 2008 12:39 PM

Tullio, also one thing I don't like about Sony's website is that on their specifications don't tell whether none of their new cameras are capable of doing a 250th flash sync.

If you go to that website I sent in the previous post, they list their best cameras for different photography styles. Check it out and see if you agree.

Tullio Feb 20, 2008 1:05 PM

I'm glad I can be of any help. The one thing I don't care forabout theE510 is it's limited DR. This has been an issue from day one, which I've learned to deal with by making several adjustments tovarious camera settings. The Sony has a much much better track record in this department. Other than that, I'm very happy with the E510 and the Zuiko lenses. I hate to spend too much time in front of the computer doing PP and that's the biggest advantage of the E510 over previous dSLRs I've had. I really don't have to do anything to the final image except a bit of cropping every now and then. The images are well saturated and very sharp right out of the camera. That you don't get with very many dSLRs.I'm not convinced the E3 is a real upgrade to the E510. IfI had thatkind of money, I'd buy either the A700 or the D300, not the E3. But, that's my sole opinion. The D300 has received great reviews and it is certainly a great camera and so is the A700 for that matter. Now,the A350 has no track record yet so it's hard tomake a fair comparison with the E510. I just love the Oly colors, period.

Talking about flash, the E510 is a poor performer in this area. Usually Sony implements very powerful in-camera flash on their cameras. I had the Nikon D40 and was not impressed by its flash capabilities.But then again, I was not impressed by the whole package and sold it after two month of usage.

Pdotcantu Feb 20, 2008 1:21 PM

Why don't you think the E-3 is an upgrade from the E-510? Supposably the E-3 is the only Olympus camera that can do a flash sync at 250 (which I'll need). Do you think the Sony A350/A700 can take pictures like the ones I've posted above? I agree with you on Olympus' colors. You've had a Nikon previously? Was the price the only that kept you from getting one of their upgrades? I'm not really stuck between Sony & Olympus DSLR's now. However; the Nikon name keeps getting brought up which makes me keep thinking about the Nikon D300, but it's heavy just as the lenses are compared to the new models that Sony & Olympus are putting out.

JimC Feb 20, 2008 1:51 PM

The Sony DSLR-A700 has a 1/250 second flash sync speed with Stabilization off, or a 1/200 flash sync speed with Stablization on.

It's my understanding that the Sony DSLR-A350 has a 1/160 second flash sync speed, with or without Stabilization from reports I've seen so far.

If you use a compatible external flash that supports HSS (High Speed Sync), you can get around the sync speed limitations (for example, the Sony HVL-56AM allows shutter speeds up to 1/12,000 second if they are supported by the camera model). Of course, none of the Sony DSLR models go that fast (1/12,000 second) - yet, anyway. :-)

If you end up buying one of these cameras, I'd probably get one of the more powerful flash models with HSS if you want to go faster than the camera's sync speed . For example, the Sony HVL-56AM, Metz 54MZ-4, or Sigma EF-500 DG Super (just make sure to get a newer one, as some of the older serial number ranges had some compatiblity quirks).

Because of the way the flash is "pulsing" the light when you use these flash models 'High Speed Sync feature, you'll lose flash range when you start going faster than the camera's sync speed. So, a more powerful flash is better for that purpose.

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