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Old Nov 29, 2007, 11:47 AM   #1
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Okay, I have researched this to death, and I think I have finally decided on the Olympus E 510. It took me about a week to narrow it down to the Fuji F6000 /91000, or the E510. I think I've decided on the E510. Here is a summary of how I will be using it......

Need good all around performance ie indoors, outdoor nature and sports.

Need a good zoom coverage, probably will use the lower end of the zoom range more, but would like the long zoom when I need it.

Petite wife will probably use it a lot, and she is not the techie type, so I need good auto performance for her, I like as much manual control as I can get.

We have a 3 month old that we will be chasing around in the coming years.

Image stabilization is important, would like to have movie but can live without it, as I have an HD camcorder.

I realize everything is a trade-off, but I am looking for input before I finally pull the trigger on the E-510. Any and all input is appreciated.
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Old Nov 29, 2007, 12:16 PM   #2
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Well, the 510 is definitely a very nice camera. There are a couple areas where it MAY give you some troubles vs. other cameras:

1. Indoors. Depends on what types of shots you want to take. There are 2 issues at play - both a result of the smaller sensors Oly uses: Worse noise performance at higher ISOs vs competitors and 2x crop factor so wide shots are tougher. The noise performance is better than previous models but still seems to lag behind the rest at 1600. So this is ONLY relevant if you're planning on doing available light shots indoors at high ISO. If you're using flash, then no need to use 1600 and at ISO 400 and below the images will be great (and good at 800). The crop factor is another matter - most others have 1.5 or 1.6 crop factor on the non pro bodies. With a 2x crop factor, things get a little tighter with Oly. Again this only comes into play when you want wide angle - especially indoors where you can't back up. Not a huge thing, but something to consider.

1b. On this same topic - indoor shots typically fall into 2 categories: available light or flash. Available light is usually with wide aperture lenses. WHICH IS NOT a kit lens from any manufacturer. Flash shots will GREATLY be improved by an external flash. DSLRs still have pretty poor internal flashes - after all look how small they are. So, if you want quality indoor shots you should be considering either bright lenses and/or an external flash (my vote is for the flash - it gives you greater flexibility than the faster lenses do).



2. Sports. What sports are you interested in shooting? How important is sports shooting to you? Sports shooting is very difficult and so far the Oly system hasn't proven to be on the same league as say Canon or Nikon in this regard. Also, sports shooting often requires very specific lenses - depending on the sports you're interested in shooting. Some sports (night football & soccer, indoor sports like basketball and volleyball) require some rather expensive lenses and benefit greatly from features that are not Oly's strong suit (high ISO, fast accurate continuous focusing). The big thing here is - no dslr with kit lens is going to be able to accomplish much in the way of sports shooting - you'll need to invest in other lenses if you want to do it often. AND if you do want to do it often, Canon, Nikon are probably the best systems for sports shooting (combination of the camera bodies being better suited and better availability of appropriate lenses). If sports shooting isn't really a priority then I wouldn't worry about it. But if it IS a priority, please let me know what sports (and at what level - college, HS, grade school) you need to shoot and I can give you an idea of the types of equipment you would need. At least that way you go in knowing ahead of time what the costs & limitations are and you don't find out AFTER you buy a dslr (of any brand).

So really - my points above apply to any DSLR you would be considering given the subjects you've posted.
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Old Nov 29, 2007, 12:19 PM   #3
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The Oly E-510 is a nice camera and will take great pictures. You've identified good reasons to get it. The Fuji cameras have excellent reputations, too. It really comes down to whether you want a dSLR and having two lenses or not. There's no right or wrong answer to that, only personal preference. The dSLR has a longer learning curve to get the most from it (something for you to figure out) but will be fine for your wife if she doesn't want to mess with it (I've handed my dSLR to my hubby who's never owned a camera in his life, told him how to turn it on and how to operate the zoom, and he's taken some really good pictures with it).
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Old Nov 29, 2007, 12:37 PM   #4
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JohnG wrote:
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... (my vote is for the flash - it gives you greater flexibility than the faster lenses do. ...
My vote is for a faster lens (but JohnG knew that was coming.)

Flash is something you have to learn to use. Essentially, it creates an image that you didn't see before or after you took the photo, and not until you download it to your computer will you be able to see the image that the flash created (unless you want to trust what you see on the 3" LCD display.)

A faster lens (larger maximum aperture) will allow you to compose and adjust the light before you take the shot. The down side is that they are expensive, often more expensive than an external flash (though, for photos of a 3 month old, you probably could get away with the built-in flash.)

You didn't mention lenses, so I presume you're thinking about the kit with the 2 lenses, the 14-42 and the 40-150, both of which are fairly dim. For shooting without flash, a better option might be to get the body without the kit lenses, and get the Olympus 14-54mm F2.8-3.5. This will be more expensive, and won't encompass the range of the 2 lens kit, but it will allow you to take better "available light" photos indoors.
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Old Nov 29, 2007, 2:34 PM   #5
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Wow thanks for all the good info, and a lot quicker than I expected.

The biggest limitation that I will have to overcome that I can see is indoors with the slow kit lense. I thought I would try it out with the kit as it is, and then if needed my next investment would be either a very wide and fast prime lense, or the best wide zoom that I could afford. I understand the smaller sensor in the 510 is going to make it harder to get a good wide angle lense like I know I will need. After all, he's only going to be a 3 month old for one month

As far as sports, that will be limited to whatever the kiddo decides he wants to pursue, and college football games. And even then, I'm going to be in the stands getting the experience of being at the game more than action shots of the players.

That is why I was considering the Fuji. The 6000 has great reviews from owners for great high iso performance, I like the sensor in that cam as I have had others that use the super ccd,but it lacks the overall versitillity and quality of the dlsr and is about half the initial investment.
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Old Nov 29, 2007, 3:53 PM   #6
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OK,

We can rule out sports shooting - your 3 month old isn't getting into organized sports in the next 4 years.

Being at a college game in the stands you're not taking action shots anyway.

So, back to the 3 month old. I'm the father of a 16-month old so I spent the last year and a half photographing him grow. I can tell you from experience, you'll want BOTH bright primes AND an external flash. The bright primes are great for subject isolation.



BUT, the above shot was f1.8 ISO 1600 1/20 shutter speed. if my son were moving it would have been a complete blur. Because he wasn't, I got a great shot of him with shallow DOF (blurred background) with nice color of available light.

But HE WASN"T MOVING. And life doesn't wait for you to bring more lights into your living room to shoot at night. Or to position your son by a window so you have enough light to take the photo. Too much of your son's life will require faster shutter speeds.

AND - many of the photos families like to capture require more depth of field. Shooting at 1.8 you've got a very narrow DOF. Which means you're not getting multiple people in focus.

Let's deal with a real life movement shot. My son's first steps. This was available light:



Gee, you think, that goes against John's argument. But it was taken at f2.8, 1/125. Now, you really don't want speeds below 1/125 because you get a LOT of motion blur. Like when he starts to fall (still at 1/125).



Again, you say, not bad for available light. Except these were taken at ISO 6400. The camera you're considering doesn't hav 6400 - it's ISO 1600 might not be this clean and that's two stops lower. So at 2.8 and 1600 you'd have a 1/30 shutter speed - AND THIS IS WITH GOOD SUNLIGHT. Just not practical to rely on available light to get you shutter speeds you need as you son grows.



You cant get these shots with a bright prime:











And, of course, nothing says you can't use both together:







But as a parent AND a person who does a LOT of available light shooting I can tell you if you plan on only available light shots you'll miss WAY too much of life's moments (think evening - are you going to re-arrange all the lights - what if you're at someone else's house for birthday or xmas parties - you going to re-arrange all their lights so there is enough light?). It just isn't practical for TOO many situations once your son starts moving around. You just won't be able to get the shutter speeds or DOF you need for many of the shots.

But even if we're talking fast lens - we're talking 1.8 or so. Something like the 14-54 isn't fast enough. 2.8 just isn't fast enough. So you'd want something in the 1.4, 1.8 or 2.0 range. AND, remember ISO 1600 isn't oly's strong suit (still better than the digicam you're considering but not as good as other systems).

So, buy a kit and then I would plan on adding an external flash and a bright prime. In the end you'll want both. In the beginning you have to decide which shots you want most - the few posed portrait shots with no movement (which look REALLY nice) or shots with a bounced flash where the color isn't as nice but you at least have the shot captured. But, if like TCAV, you really dislike flash use I would suggest you look at a system with better high ISO performance and wider angle (pentax, nikon, canon).

So in summary- if you are OK using flash then the Oly 510 will work wonderfully for your intended uses. If you want available light only, then you're better off in another system with better high ISO performance and better availability of wide angle lenses.




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Old Nov 29, 2007, 5:07 PM   #7
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TCav wrote:
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Flash is something you have to learn to use. Essentially, it creates an image that you didn't see before or after you took the photo, and not until you download it to your computer will you be able to see the image that the flash created (unless you want to trust what you see on the 3" LCD display.)
Just for full disclosure...

Most dSLRs, Canon, Nikon, and Sony(Minolta) offer modeling light with their flashes - They work by pushing the stop-down lever and the flash (or group of flashes in the wireless mode) will pulse at high rate so one can eyeball their shadows while the lens is closed down as long as this button is held
-> It's not a constant beam of light, but that's still better than guessing
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Old Nov 29, 2007, 6:11 PM   #8
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I am with NHL on this one-

At least for me, a good external flash is essential. Yes, becoming adept with a good external flash takes time and a learning curve. An external flash with full bounce and swivel can greatly enhance your photos.

That has been amply demonstrated wonderfully by JohnG's wonderful posted photos. An external flash is both a very dependable as well as dependable sourceof light. Yes, I used to depend on bright primes and existing light but I found, that at least for me, I consistently get better photos after I took the time to master my external flash, and I can use those less expensive/ less bright (like the Tamron 18-250mm) lenses with an external flash just fine.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Nov 29, 2007, 6:12 PM   #9
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John,

Excellent shots, so much better than we have been able to get with our little Fuji F11. What camera do you use? I read still another review of the 510 that stressed how much trouble it has auto focusing in low light. That is a show stopper for me. I have had cameras in the past that have this problem. I also see that the manual focus is by wire on the Oly. YIKES! I understand all cams are going to have problem with AF in low light, but grabbing that lens ring would be second nature to me since I go back to the daysbefore there ever was auto focus.

Soooo the up side is I have no brand loyalty, I want to base this on the best choice for us, and I realize there is no perfect cam out there, but there probably are some that would be better than others.

I actually had a Fuji S2 a few years ago, I bought it from a wedding pro that I came to know when I took a class from him, and then went along on some jobs mainly to learn form him. I loved it, and took some great pictures with it that I remain very proud of.I sold it because my wife and I both thought it was just too big, and with all the lenses it was just too much to carry around, so wehardly ever had when we would have liked. Carrying all that around was a job in itself, so that is one area where the Oly really appealed to us.

Thanks for all the input, I just want to make a smart choice for a change! :idea:
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Old Nov 29, 2007, 7:32 PM   #10
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Well I am shooting with the E-410 and it produces excellent image quality and has no trouble at all in focusing in low light levels. Based on the www. dpreview.com, the http://www.dcresource.com, and steves reviews, I sincerely believe that we can expect even better image quality from the Olympus E-510 which has full IS.

BTW JohnG uses a Canon 20D camera.

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