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Old Jul 12, 2007, 3:14 PM   #1
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I currently have a Panasonic DMc-FZ20,which I love (even though I know I still haven't learnt to use it properly in all situations), and am thinking about branching out and buying a DSLR for the first time.

I've read some really great reviews, and have seen some interesting deals, on the Olympus E-500 but am a little concerned about the lack of image stabilisation (I love my Panny for that). I don't have the steadiest hand in the world but am not too bad. I take a lot of indoor photos of my animals, some outdoor ones (and am looking to take a lot more of those) and rather a lot more at various conventions I go to - indoors, not necessarily very good lighting and you can be some distance back at times.

First question, would it really be worth my while paying an awful lot more money for the E-510? I know that has some kind of IS. I also believe the viewfinder is 'live' and I presume that is something I am used to with my current camera and might find it difficult to adapt to if I purchase a camera without.

Second question, I currently have a TCON-14B lens and a Nikon SB-24 flash gun. Are either of these compatible with the Olympus E-500 or 510?

Third, and last question, is there perhaps anything else that may be worth considering? I do like my FZ-20 but am looking for something with a little less noise and a bit more sophistication (as well as an 'easy' option for when I am pressed for time and just have to take that shot!).

Any advice would be very much appreciated.
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Old Jul 12, 2007, 3:52 PM   #2
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hey the4ts,

I currently own the e500 2 lens kit and enjoy it very much.

The image quality from any dslr will be much better than your fz20.

Thus said, the e500 does lack in some areas (compared to other dslr's, not your panny) .

- Noise is slighty higher than the competion above iso400

- slightly smaller viewfinder (510 beats that with liveview)

- fast 4/3 lenses can be expensive.

however the e500 is very capable of producing high quality images many times over.

- excellent exposure and colour

- some of the best kit lenses around (especialy the 40-150)

- fast, extensive control

- high build quality (metal framing)

if price is an issue (was for me) the e500 2 lens kit is very affordable these days and a strong camera for sure.
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Old Jul 12, 2007, 7:45 PM   #3
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You have said two things that lead me to recomment the E510 without reservation. You do indoor photography, and you want stabilization.

I own and use the E500 and love it. I rarely use the camera indoors, but it is not good at high ISO. The E510 is much better.


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Old Jul 12, 2007, 9:48 PM   #4
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The Olympus E-510 and E-500 are fine cameras that have a lot going for them. They are among the lightest dSLRs available, and because of the smaller image sensor, the lenses are among the lightest as well (for an equivalent field of view.) And the E-510 has image stabilization in the body.

But a couple of things you said got my attention.

First, the Live-View LCD display may not be exactly what you think it is. While it does, for the most part, work just like the electronic viewfinder on a P&S, there are some significant differences. The most important, I think, is that the camera can't autofocus while the Live-View is active. You need to use the optical viewfinder anyway in order to use autofocus, or you could focus manually, but that will be difficult on the LCD.

Second, you say you want to take lots of shots indoors. Most of the affordable Olympus lenses arefairlydim, having a maximum aperture of f/3.5 or f/4.0. For close subjects you could use the built-in flash, but for more distant subjects, that won't help. Olympus does have brighter lenses, but they get pretty expensive pretty quick.

Canon and Nikon have, by far,the best selection of bright lenses, not only from the camera manufacturer, but also from Sigma, Tamron and Tokina. Unfortunately, a selling point for you was the E-510's image stabilization in the camera body, which neither Canon nor Nikon have. So maybe a better alternative might be the Sony A-100 with the Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8. The Sony has image stabilization in the camera body, and a broader selection of bright lenses than Olympus (or Pentax, btw.)
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Old Jul 12, 2007, 11:09 PM   #5
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TCav wrote:
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Second, you say you want to take lots of shots indoors. Most of the affordable Olympus lenses arefairlydim, having a maximum aperture of f/3.5 or f/4.0. For close subjects you could use the built-in flash, but for more distant subjects, that won't help. Olympus does have brighter lenses, but they get pretty expensive pretty quick.

Canon and Nikon have, by far,the best selection of bright lenses, not only from the camera manufacturer, but also from Sigma, Tamron and Tokina. Unfortunately, a selling point for you was the E-510's image stabilization in the camera body, which neither Canon nor Nikon have. So maybe a better alternative might be the Sony A-100 with the Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8. The Sony has image stabilization in the camera body, and a broader selection of bright lenses than Olympus (or Pentax, btw.)
In my opinion, Olympus lacks affordable USED lenses. Used lenses seem to sell for near new prices. They are also very limited in prime lenses.

They have three ranges of lenses; standard, high grade, and super high grade.

The "standard" lenses include the kit lenses and are very decent lenses. They can be used wide open and that's more than most manufacturers can say with their less expensive lenses. All in all, an excellent value generally between f3.5 and f5.6 depending on the level of zoom.

The "High Grade" lenses are generally f2.8-3.5 zooms. there is the 11-22 (I paid about $550), the 14-54 (about $400) and the 50-200 (about $700). There is also the 8mm fisheye and the 50 f2 macro in this line also. These lenses are competitive with the best lenses from big two in both price and quality. These lenses are all weather sealed.

The "Super High Grade" are very bright, quite heavy, and tend to be very expensive. Optically they are supurb. There is the 7-14 f4 at about $1500, the 35-100 f2 for about $2100, the 150 f2 at $2000, the 90-250 f2.8 for $5000, and the 300 f2.8 at $5500.

For a list of lenses available for the 4/3 (olympus) mount go to:

http://www.wrotniak.net/photo/oly-e/lenses.html

As a side note, I have confidence in the quality of the Zuiko lenses and there isn't a worry of getting a bad copy than needs to be returned. Defects happen, but are very rare with these lenses.


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Old Jul 13, 2007, 8:10 AM   #6
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fldspringer wrote:
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In my opinion, Olympus lacks affordable USED lenses.
Yes. Olympus changed lens mounts when going digital, and while there is an adapter for the OM lenses from their film cameras, theOM lenseswon't autofocus.

Canon, Nikon and Sony (Minolta) have much better selections of used lenses. Pentax, not so much.
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Old Jul 13, 2007, 2:24 PM   #7
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Thanks everyone for your help and advice! I'll look into the Sony A-100 a bit more. At the moment, it's a toss up between that and the E-510. Very much appreciate all the comments.
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