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Old Nov 20, 2007, 4:48 PM   #1
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Hi there.



I know there's a lot of information on this forum already but I haven't got time to plough through it all.

I'm looking for an entry level dslr. I have been concentrating on Nikon 40 d 2 lens set, 40 dx single lens, canon d400 single lens and today have been reading some good things about olympus e-410 and e-510 both 2 lens kits.

I can't remeber the dfferent lens specifications but they are pretty standard.

Most of the above are simarly priced in Denmark the e-510 is abit more expensive.

Is it worth it?

I want a camera that's simple to use, most of the time it will be on Auto.

The main criteria is that it takes very sharp pix.

I'm looking forward to hearing your opinions and reccomendations, Andrew.
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Old Nov 20, 2007, 10:04 PM   #2
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All the dSLRs you mention are very good.

The kit lens on the Canon is probably the least good, but the Canon also has the best selection of other lenses.

Nikon also has a very good selection of lenses, but most of them won't autofocus on the D40 or D40x.

The Olympus E-410 uses digital image stabilization which is not as good as the sensor shift image stabilization used in the E-510 (or Sony or Pentax dSLRs), or the optical image stabilization in Canon's and Nikon's lenses.
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Old Nov 21, 2007, 9:32 AM   #3
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I agree that all of the consumer level DSLR camera really produce excellent image quality. Regarding the Olympus line: yes, the E-510 is the better choice, but it is a bit more expensive. The E-410 however, is certainly no slouch at all. I use the E-410 and I have been quite pleased with the performance and image quality of the E-410.

I actually prefer the smaller size of the E-410. It is really a go anywhere kind of DSLR. Here is a photo sample. The photo was taken by me with my E-410 using the Zuiko 40-150mm lens, which is part of the two lens kit on the E-410.

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Old Nov 21, 2007, 10:33 AM   #4
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cph.shots wrote:
Quote:
The main criteria is that it takes very sharp pix.
And here-in lies the crux. "sharp" is a relative & subjective term.

Some important things to think about:
  • As mentioned - in good shooting conditions in good lighting at mid-rangewith a lens stopped down every DSLR on the market will produce very good image quality.[/*]
  • BUT - the lens plays an important part in image quality. How much of a part depends on how demanding YOU are and how demanding the situation is. Put all the kit lenses at f11 and about 40mm at ISO 100andphotos willall look virtually identical. But, any lens will have more issues at it's extremes - in a zoom lens this means at it's shortest and at it's longest zoom it will likely have issues. The better the lens the less issues it has at those extremes. Also lenses behave their worst at their widest aperture. The better the lens the better it performs at it's widest. But stopped down 2 stops it can be difficult to tell the difference (assuming you're not at the longest or shortest zoom). So, a $4,000 Canon 300mm 2.8 at 300mm is going to produce MUCH sharper images than a $170 Canon 75-300 at 300mm. Not even close. Now I'm not saying you need to buy a $4000 lens - I'm just giving an extreme example of how the LENS affects image quality.[/*]
  • Digicams apply more processing to iimages than DSLRs. So, out of camera, digicam images often appear 'sharper'. You can adjust the amount of sharpness a DSLR uses but they were designed with the concept the photographer would sharpen the images in post processing - since that leads to MUCH better results. In fact, many people who shoot both digicam and DSLR find digicams often OVER SHARPEN the images and prefer a softer touch. But you can still bump up in-camera DSLR sharpening to match what a digicam does.[/*]
  • Depth of field - this refers to how much in front of and behind the focus plane is in focus. There are several factors that affect this - but for this discussion the important ones are: actual lens focal length and camera's sensor size. Because digicams have smaller sensors and shorter lenses the images they capture have more depth-of-field (DOF). This means more of the photo is in focus. On a DSLR you'll find less of the image is in focus. What this means is: when your focus is off in a digicam (i.e. you allow the camera to focus on the wall behind your subject instead of on the person) the image may still appear to be sharp. On a DSLR when you miss the focus it's much more noticable. Now, the focus systems in DSLRs are much more accurate but as a photographer you still play a part - you need to ensure a focus point (or multiple focus points) are actually on your subject and being used. Not too difficult most of the time but definitely something you have to pay more attention to.[/*]
  • personal standards - every photographer is different. And sharp is a very subjective term. What I consider sharp you may consider not-so-sharp or vica versa. For those that are hyper-sensitive to sharp images (often called pixel peepers since they look at 100% blow ups of images to critique sharpness) - the photographer's focusing technique and the lens used play a MUCH more important part in determining sharp results. The only time the camera comes into play with modern DSLRs is in low light (some dslrs focus more accurately in low light than others) or when dealing with moving subjects (wildlife, sports) - where the camera's continuos focus mode is employed - again not all DSLRs have the same level of accuracy in their continuous focus modes. But those situations asside, your ability as a photographer and the lens will have more impact on sharpness than any DSLR you select.
[/*]
One other warning - a DSLR is not a magic tool. It's a tool with better capabilities than most digicams - but you still need to know how to properly use them. Don't expect to take a DSLR and kit lens into any situation and get great results - especially in auto mode. It wont happen. A DSLR is a modular system - with the right components and the right knowledge on how to use those components it will allow you to take better quality photos in more situations than a digicam will. But without the right components or the right knowledge on how to use them you'll still end up with poor results. You may already know this and I apologize if it sounds patronizing. But I know a few people who were really stunned that their new DSLR didn't give them any better results than their digicam did. In some cases it was a matter of the photographic needs (i.e. the photo needs were pretty basic so a digicam performed just as well as a DSLR could) or the photographer just didn't know enough about photography to actually get a good photo so they failed with both the digicam and the DSLR.

All of which leads me to my question: Why did you decide to buy a DSLR rather than a digicam? You didn't specify what type of photography you want to pursue so I don't know if it's need-based or just want a better toy (don't mean this in a bad way - some people just like new electronics that's all).
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Old Nov 21, 2007, 1:18 PM   #5
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John G.

Thanks very much for the reply.

You raise some very relevant points.

I have been asking around about a "good" digicam but the sales people I spoke to kept steering me towards Dslr's.

I have a Nikon F65 which I never really learned to take advantage of most of the manual functions.



I'm going off on a 3 month trip with the family and want something that is, easy to use, more than 3x optical zoom and takes reliably well focused photographs.

I have a fairly cheap Rolli already, it's ok but the time lapse between shutter and capture is too long and I've been a bit dispointed with the focusing in some of the 10 x 15 's.

So, I am open torecommendations of good digicams.



Thanks to everyone who has replied.




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Old Nov 21, 2007, 1:47 PM   #6
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CPH-

I use the Panasonic FZ-18 as a travel camera and I have been very pleased with the photo image quality and sharpness. Here is one of my FZ-18 photos.

The Olympus E-410 is also excellent due to its small size and really excellent image quality and sharpness (see my previous post).

Sarah Joyce
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