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Old Sep 30, 2006, 11:15 PM   #1
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I am thinking to get my first new DSLR this week. A local store got sales this week for Olympus E500 with 2 lens kit for $799 CAD and the K100D with 2 lens kit for $849 CAD. Also the canon rebel xt kit for $799 CAD.

Which one to get? Any sugguestion. I am an entry level shooter. Mostly taking pic for my new born baby and family.


Thanks for all your sugguestion.
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Old Oct 1, 2006, 12:34 PM   #2
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I just made my decision the other week and the camera (Pentax K100D) came Friday afternoon. I would recommend the following:
1. Go to a camera store and hold each one. Play with each one, and see which one you like. Is weight and size important? Which one feels better with the grip. Which one can you see through the view finder the best? Which one can you operate the easiest? Which one can you change the lenses the easiest? No need buying a camara you are going to hate to use. Get an SD card and take some pictures - take it home and look at them and see which ones you like the best.

2. You can not really make a bad decision since they are all good cameras and each are able to take great pictures. So don't worry about making a wrong decision. Each of these has more features than any entry level photographer can use over a couple of year period. Essentially - each one you can grow into.

3. Look at the feature differences and see which ones might make a difference for you. For instance:
  • Image Stablization - I found it helpful. E500 does not have it. Canon - I beleive you would need to buy the IS lenses at extra cost. K100D has it in the body built in.[/*]
  • The E500 has a 4:3 ratio sensor which is a bit larger and has some advantages - see the E500 site for the information. Canon and Pentax I believe have the same Sony sensor.[/*]
4. Look at the selection of lenses, and which model offers the ones that you like best - ie best selection of wide angle or telephoto, or ??. Canon has the largest current model selection. The E500 has the smallest but growing selection. Pentax is in the middle, but it has over 20 million old lenses that can all be used on the new camera, so used lenses are available for a fraction of the new price. However the kit lenses should provide for the vast array of photo opportunities, so it probably is not a large factor for you now (unless there is a speciality want - fish eye, etc).

5. Go visit each of the formums here for each make. Ask about the pros and cons. Read some of the posts, and you should get a idea very quickly about each of the cameras.

6. Wait a few days thinking about what you like, dislike, what is important, what is not. Possibly even put everything down in a table or sheet of paper - and then the direction should be clear on what brand would work for you the best. Your going to take the pictures and your going to be looking at them, and you know what looks good to you and what does not.
Hope that helps...
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Old Oct 2, 2006, 5:53 PM   #3
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I actually own both cameras. Clearly, the wider lens selections available and the IS feature of the Pentax K100D make it the better camera.

MT
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Old Oct 3, 2006, 7:07 PM   #4
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Actually, there is a much wider selection of lenses that can be mounted on the Olympus E-500. In fact, EVERY lens that can mount on the Pentax, can also mount and be used on the Olympus. You can also mount and use Nikon lenses, Leica lenses, Contax/Yashica lenses on the Olympus, using inexpensive adapters - figure less than $30 each for these adapters.

I personally own an Olympus E-300 and an Olympus E-1, which I use with a couple of excellent modern Olympus lenses (11-22mm and 40-150) as well as a handful of classic older manual focus lenses such as my 300mm f2.8 Nikkor ED, and my Pentax SMC Takumar 50mm f1.4, my Leica 28mm f2.8 Elmarit-R, and my Tamron 90mm f2.5 SP Macro lens.

The fact is, both the Olympus and the Pentax are excellent cameras, and great values. I don't think you'll do badly with either one - and in fact, you should try both of them out where you can determine how they handle in YOUR hands. But the statement that more lenses are available that work with the Pentax is absolutely false.

If in fact you are looking just at the modern, autofocus lenses, the choices between the Pentax and Olympus are actually fairly comparable, but I would say that the Olympus' inexpensive kit lenses (14-45 and 40-150) happen to be better than their Pentax alternatives. With either system, you can spend more, and get more professionally oriented lenses, but with the Olympus, you might have less occasion to actually do so, because the kit lenses are so good. This is especially apparent when comparing the Oly 14-45 with the Pentax 18-55, which is nowhere near as good as the Olympus.
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Old Oct 4, 2006, 9:21 AM   #5
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Doug-

You are technically very correct. However, when you use a lens adapter, as you would need (an extra cost) when mounting a Pentax lens on an Olympus DSLR, you would LOOSE the AE (auto exposure) and in some cases the AF (auto focus) features of the camera as well. To a new person to DSLR cameras, those all important functions, could very well be very NEEDED features.

So the answer is yes, if you want a virtually MANUAL operating camera, you can opt to do that. However, I really believe that it is importnat that the poster really understands that.

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Old Oct 4, 2006, 11:55 AM   #6
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It's true that you lose AF when adding a manual focus legacy lens, but it's NOT true that you lose Auto exposure. You lose Program Mode, and Shutter Priority mode, but you don't lose Aperture priority mode - which is, IMHO, the most useful auto exposure mode for most subject matter.

And I specifically mentioned that adapters are needed, and which cost around $30 each with the Olympus if you wanted to use legacy lenses of other mounts.

I was merely taking issue with your point that there is a better selection of lenses available for the Pentax. That's simply not true, whether you are talking about current AF lenses, or all legacy manual lenses. There is as good a selection of current AF lenses for Olympus as for Pentax. And when using legacy lenses, the Pentax also loses AF and some AE modes.

The fact is, both are excellent cameras, but your statement that the Pentax was better due to a wider lens selection was patently false. The fact is, with EITHER system, any lenses that the buyer actually might need, are easily available the only issue being a simple matter of money. The cameras should be chosen based on their other merits. Built-In IS is a valid advantage for the Pentax. A better set of lenses in the 2-lens kit package is a valid advantage for the Olympus. A better viewfinder is a valid advantage for the Pentax, the built-in dust removal system is a valid advantage for the Olympus, etc, etc. I merely wanted to point out that you're blanket statement was not accurate, and the original poster ought to really compare both cameras in their hands, judging the ergonomics for themselves, and understanding that both cameras (actually, all three including the Canon) were in all likelihood, far more than sufficient for their needs - especially since they are likely to get the 2 lens kit, of which I am quite sure that the Oly's lenses are the best of the 3 brands.

Making a blanket statement that the Pentax was clearly better simply exposed your bias. I might just as easily have said that, because of the built in dustbuster, higher resolution, and better kit lenses, the Olympus is clearly better. But that's as biased an assertion as the one you made. Objectively, on some issues the Pentax is better, and on some issues the Olympus is better - how important each different feature is to each user is a matter of personal opinion. But in most cases, the differences are not major, and beyond the fundamental needs of an entry level shooter looking to take photos of his family.
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Old Oct 4, 2006, 1:40 PM   #7
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For lenses, both the Nikon and Olympus kit lenses are very good. For either the Canon or Pentax models, though, I might consider going with the body and instead adding one of two good Sigma zoom lens, the 18-50 f2.8 EX DC, or the 17-70 f2.8-4.5 DC. (But I'd also stay away from the cheaper Sigma "kit" lenses).

http://www.slrgear.com/reviews/showp...uct/172/cat/31
http://www.slrgear.com/reviews/showp...uct/349/cat/31

The Olympus system is fairly new, only introduced a few years ago, and recently they have been adding models and lenses in the lower to mid range. But while some complain about the selection, I'm really impressed with the quality. In the just over 2 dozen lenses actually available, I see more zoom lenses I might actually want to buy in the <$1000 range than I see in the hundeds of lenses available from Canon or Nikon. On the other hand, I would like to see a bit better selection of primes in the wide to normal range.

Long term, I think there will be plenty of 4:3 lenses available, as Panisonic has just announced their first 4:3 camera, including the first 4:3 Leica lens, Fuji has announced support for the standard as well (though no actual camera yet), and Sigma seems to be making all of their DC lenses available in 4:3. Add that to the quality of the Olympus lenses, and I think they're worth a look. I'm less impressed with the entry level Olympus cameras so far than their lenses. But I've also seen the E1 listed online recently for as low as $650. I'm not sure if you can find it that low from a good vendor, but if you can, I'd consider weighing that against the K100D and E-500. The drawback is it's a bit older model, and only 5MP. But it's also a pro model with better build quality and pro features.

The chief advantages of the Pentax would be the in camera anti shake, and in the older cheaper lense available used, rather than in new lenses.

A notable advantage for the Canon would be that it's better at higher ISO settings, so if you're going to do much low light or action shooting, that would be an advantage there. And, in that case, there would be good reason to consider the f2.8 constant lens I mentioned above as well. Keep in mind that the F2.8-4.5 is only as bright at it's widest zoom. In the middle range the maximum apperture quickly becomes about 4.0. So there is a tradeoff there for more zoom in the 17-70mm.

Also keep in mind the different focal length multipliers: 1.5 for the Pentax (also Nikon), 1.6 for the Canon, and 2.0 for the Olympus 4:3 models. So the Olympus 14-45 kit lens would have an effective range of 28mm-90mm, while the 17-70 Sigma on the Pentax would have a range of 25.5mm-105mm. And that nice bright 18-50 would have a 27mm-75mm range on the Pentax, or 29mm-80mm on the Canon.

The higher multiplier is one reason the 4:3 sytem lenses are such good values; they can cover the same equivalent focal range with a smaller lighter lens. But be aware that the tradeoff for the smaller sensor is more noise at higher ISOs. They are trying to pack the same number of pixels into a smaller chip, and that's the usual tradeoff. Which is best for you depends on your own preferences and shooting style.



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Old Oct 4, 2006, 2:03 PM   #8
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You can get a NEW Olympus E-1 body nowadays for around $450, either from Cameta Camera or Olympus' own auction sites. Those are both VERY reliable reputable dealers, who happen to sell on ebay. I paid $425 for mine from Cameta on an auction a few months ago.

I have heard of several folks who, rather than mess with the auctions, simply called Cameta directly and got the $450 price, plus shipping. That's a brand new E-1 body, in box with all accessories, with Olympus Warranty. But that doesn't include any lenses, those need to be gotten separately.

For a serious photographer, in my mind, the E-1 is clearly the best Olympus camera that's currently available, but for a novice, IMHO, the E-500 is better, and it's especially a great value with the 2 lens kit, which, are both quite good lenses.
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