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Old Jun 9, 2008, 8:57 AM   #1
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hi (im in the UK)
Coming from a panasonic fz30, looking for 1st entry into dSLR

Love taking macro and need decent zoom capabilities, live view i use alot on my FZ30 and tilting the LCD but i think ill have to lose the LCD tilt facility for dSLR
I upload to two stock photo libraries (dreamstime and fotolia) with my pany and would like to step up to a better camera

Ive read alot of stuff and have a reasonable understanding of dSLR cameras, but ive still got some blank areas i need help with please.

Ive selected these two cameras as a short list for different reasons (price, functions)

1. i have no idea on lenses at all, whats good? or whats good enough

The olympus comes with two lenses which is very attractive cost wise. I dont understand the lens numbers related to how close i can macro and how far i can zoom, coming from a super zoom which always quotes x times for zoom. So i dont know if the standard lens will be ok for me. The pany was 5cm macro i think, not really enough but is ok.

2. How much better will either camera be than my existing one, am i getting a decent step up, in terms of quality and functions, noise levels etc.

also anyone got a olympus 510 or 520 (if its out) to add thier experience?


cheers for any help
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Old Jun 9, 2008, 9:31 AM   #2
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simonbratt99 wrote:
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Love taking macro and need decent zoom capabilities, live view i use alot on my FZ30 and tilting the LCD but i think ill have to lose the LCD tilt facility for dSLR
You may want to look at the Sony DSLR-A300. It's got a much better live view system compared to other dSLR models right now (no blackout issues shooting in continuous mode, very fast AF using Live View and more), thanks to a separate live view sensor. It also has a tilting LCD.

Quote:
1. i have no idea on lenses at all, whats good? or whats good enough
You have to take each lens on a case by case basis. All manufacturers have good, and not so good lenses.

Quote:
The olympus comes with two lenses which is very attractive cost wise. I dont understand the lens numbers related to how close i can macro and how far i can zoom, coming from a super zoom which always quotes x times for zoom. So i dont know if the standard lens will be ok for me. The pany was 5cm macro i think, not really enough but is ok.
All the x numbers tell you is the difference between the widest focal length and the longest focal length. For example, a 50-500mm lens is a 10x zoom lens. An 18-180mm lens is also a 10x zoom lens. But, you'll have a vast difference in magnification between them.

Your Panasonic DMC-FZ30 has a lens with a focal range of 7.4-88.8mm. But, because it's using a very tiny sensor, you'll have a narrower angle of view (more apparent magnification) for a given focal length. So, your lens gives you the same angle of view you'd have using a 35-420mm lens on a 35mm camera.

The focal lengths you'll need to get the same angle of view will vary between camera manufacturers, because different sensor sizes are being used. The Olympus models use the smallest sensors of any mainstream dSLR models. So, you'd need to multiply the focal length of a lens by 2x to see what focal length lens would give you the same angle of view on a 35mm camera. For example, a 14-42mm lens on an Olympus E-510 would give you the same angle of view that a 28-84mm lens would on a 35mm camera (just multiply by 2x to see how the angle of view compares). That's one reason the kit lenses for the Olympus models start out at around 14mm (because they'll appear to be longer compared to the same focal length on a 35mm camera).

The Canon model you're looking at uses a bit larger sensor. Multiply the focal length of a lens by 1.6x to see what focal length lens would give you the same angle of view on a 35mm camera. For example, an 18-55mm kit lens would give you approximately the same angle of view you'd have using a 29-83mm lens on a 35mm camera.

For the entry level Nikon, Sony and Pentax models (which use slightly larger sensors compared to the entry level Canon models), multiply the focal length of a lens by 1.5x to see what focal length lens would give you the same angle of view on a 35mm camera. Again, that's why most kit lenses for these models start out at around 18mm (because they'd have roughly the same angle of view that a lens starting out at 27mm would have on a 35mm camera).

The smaller the sensor or film size, the narrower the angle of view (more apparent magnification) for a given focal length lens. The larger the sensor or film size, the wider the angle of view (less apparent magnification) you'll have for a given focal length lens.

As for Macro, the focus distance doesn't mean much as far as a lens macro ability (other than what your working range is).

Lenses are rated by their maximum magnification ability at their closest focus distance. A 1:1 Macro lens can fill the frame with a subject the same size as the film or sensor. A 1:2 Macro lens can fill the frame with a subject twice the size of the film or sensor. A lens with a maximum magnification of 1:4 can fill the frame with a subject 4 times the size of the film or sensor.

A 100mm lens with a Macro rating of 1:1 is not going to let you fill the frame with a subject any smaller than a 50mm lens iwth a Macro rating of 1:1. The only difference is your working distance (you'd be able to shoot from further away with the 100mm lens). Many macro shooters prefer to shoot from further away (so that they're not interfering with lighting or casting shadows, or spooking a live subject).

Most zoom lenses with "Macro" in their description are only 1:4 (able to fill the frame with a subject 4 times the size of the film or sensor at their closest focus distance), and the maximum magnification is only available at their longest focal length (zoomed in all the way). Some zooms have a max magnification of 1:2. But, you'll need a prime (fixed focal length versus zoom) if you need a 1:1 Macro lens (these are the only Macro lenses you'll find that let you fill the frame with a subject as small as the film or sensor).



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Old Jun 9, 2008, 9:38 AM   #3
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Aside from their 'Live View' capability, the Canon 450D and the Olympus E510/520 are quite different. I'd be interested to know how you narrowed down your choices to just these two.

I'd also like to know what type(s) of photography you want to do. Different models and even different brands are very capable in some areas but not very capable in others.

The Olympus E-510/520 is one of the smallest, lightest dSLRs available, and becuase of it's smaller image sensor, it also has the smallest, lightest lenses (for equivalent angles of view.) It also has sensor shift image stabilization in the camera body that reduces, if not eliminates motion blur due to camera shake. The Canon uses optical image stabilization in only some of its lenses, which makes them bigger, heavier, and more expensive. But for short focal lengths (wide angles) image stabilization is generally not necessary, so Canon's approach to image stabilization makes some sense. Also, since Canon's optical image stabilization projects a stabilized image out the back of the lens, it will work with extension tubes and all teleconverters, where sensor shift image stabilization may not do as well.

Between the E-510 and the E-520, I'd definately go with the E-520. The E-510 can't autofocus in 'Live View', while the E-520 can,and the E520 also has a larger screen.
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Old Jun 9, 2008, 10:04 AM   #4
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JimC.... a million thanks for a detailed reply, which obviously poses more questions :-) (see further down)

and TCav thanks too, i chose these two precisly because they are different and both have some very good plus's for me. ie

The oly (i would wait for the 520 definately too i think)
is cheaper
has IS built in, which i 'hope' makes lenses cheaper (i dont know how much by)
its smaller, easier for travelling
I do have some slight concerns about image quality compared to the canon 450d, having seen side by side comparisions of noise. (i use dpreview and steves digi for nearly all my info)
I think live view will be better on the Oly

The canon 450d
i like the larger image size (albeit only 20%)
bigger screen is nice
Image quality will be better im sure.
I prefer the look of the canon (ok that doesnt really count much lol)


My heart says Canon 450d, my wallet says "stick with the Pany but if you gotta swap, get the Oly 520" I think i need to teach my wallet some manners.

For macro i like to make the small object as big and detailed as possible and i dont really understand yet the numbers that make this so, i need to go away and study whats been written.

I dont even know what this 4 thirds thing is.

Is the sensor on the Oly too small? is that why i see more noise on the Oly over the 450d

I literally love taking all sorts of images from Macro to sunsets to sports, ive even spent hours at dusk taking pictures of bats, and yes i did get some with the Pany :-)

Also didnt the Oly510 come with 2 kit lenses, cos it looks like the 520 is only coming with 1 (assuming you dont just buy the body


I can get this Oly http://www.ebuyer.com/product/133784
Its very tempting at that price with two lenses.
Could you possibly explain if these lenses will be ok for me? what will the macro be like? or is it not macro at all?

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Old Jun 9, 2008, 10:52 AM   #5
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Look at the specs for a given lens, and you'll usually find a maximum magnification rating somewhere for a lens with macro in it's description.

That's what tells you the smallest subject you can fill the frame with at the longest focal length and closest focus distance. For example, a 1:2 Macro lens would let you fill the frame with a smaller subject compared to a 1:4 Macro lens.

The smallest subject you can fill the frame with using a 1:4 lens is 4 times the size of the film or sensor. The smallest subject you can fill the frame with using a 1:2 Macro lens is only twice the size of the film or sensor. But, most zoom lenses are going to be 1:2 at best (and most are 1:4 instead if they have Macro in their description).

If you want to fill the frame with an even smaller subject, you'll want a 1:1 Macro lens (able to fill the frame with a subject as small as the film or sensor in the camera it's being used on). But, these are only available in Prime (fixed focal length versus zoom) lenses. For example, the Sigma 50mm f/2.8 Macro and 105mm f/2.8 Macro lenses are both rated with a maximum magnification of 1:1. So, you'd be able to fill the frame with a a subject the same size as the film or sensor it's being used on.

As for noise versus sensor size, that's the main reason why a dSLR has lower noise as ISO speeds are increased compared to most point and shoot models. They have much larger sensors. That means more surface area for each photosite (keeping in mind that you're stuffing millions of them into a small sensor). So, because a larger photosite is able to gather more light, less amplification is needed for equivalent sensitivity (and amplification needed when you increase ISO speed also increases noise, just like turning up the volume on a weak radio station, only instead of static and hiss, you get image noise).

That's one reason you sometimes see higher noise levels and degraded image quality with a higher megapixel camera model versus a lower resolution model as ISO speeds are increased, given the same sensor size. That's because the photosites for each pixel are smaller (they have to be in order to fit more of them into the same sensor size). ;-)

That's one reason dSLR models with even larger sensor sizes have much bettter image quality as ISO speeds are increased. For example, the new Nikon D3 uses a 35mm size sensor with only 12 Megapixels (keeping the photosite size relatively large), and it has ISO speed settings up to 12,800 available. You'll see the same thing with some of the Canon models using a larger 35mm size sensor like the EOS-5D (it's got lower noise levels at ISO 6400 than you'll find with models using a smaller APS-C size sensor). Most dSLR models use a smaller APS-C size sensor (although the Panasonic sensors being used in most newer Olympus models is a bit smaller).

Dynamic Range is often negatively impacted with smaller photosite sizes, too (ability to capture a greater range of dark to bright).

But, you really need to take each camera model on a case by case basis, versus looking at sensor or photosite size alone. That's because advancements are being made in sensor design, supporting components and image processing. For example, more efficient microlens designs in sensors that help to amplify the light hitting each photosite.

As for Live View, make sure to try it out in a store. Most current Live View systems in dSLR models are not very suitable for moving subjects (with the exception of the new Sony dSLR models like the A300). The older Olympus E-330 also had a good live view system.


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Old Jun 9, 2008, 11:16 AM   #6
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As JimC has explained, all dSLRs have larger image sensors than any P&S, but among dSLRs, Olympus has the smallest image sensor. So, yes, this could account for the difference in image quality that you saw.

As to lenses, the selection of lensesfor the Olympus is the smallest for a dSLR, while the selection for the Canon is the largest. That is not to say that you would find what you need for the Olympus, it's just that what you need will be easier to find, and probably cheaper for the Canon. That is, once you venture beyond what the kit lens can do for you.

Another consideration, since you mentioned sports, is that the Canon is much better than the Olympus when comparing the speed of hte autofocus system. This comes into play when shooting sports and wildlife.

From what you've said so far, between the two, I think you'd be much better off with the Canon.
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Old Jun 9, 2008, 4:50 PM   #7
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great info from you guys, i will be refering back to it.

Do you really think the lens's will be more expensive for the olympus than the canon? i thought as Oly had no IS in the lens this will make then much cheaper, if thats not the case then definately the canon wins (now need to check out the sony.. oooo its got a tilt n turn screen, i find that very handy) Lucky i love reading all the specs.

How can i compare lens's like for like to find out which camera will cost me more? i dont know where best to find lens comparisons or prices.

Ive been to Silverstone and got some sporting pics with my pany, i admit it wasnt easy, would the Oly be much easier, and i know the canon would be the easyist, but if Pany was a 1 (bad) and a canon 450d wouls be a 10, where would the Oly fall?

thanks again
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Old Jun 9, 2008, 4:55 PM   #8
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heres my bat pic from the pany fz30
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Old Jun 9, 2008, 9:20 PM   #9
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simonbratt99 wrote:
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Do you really think the lens's will be more expensive for the olympus than the canon? i thought as Oly had no IS in the lens this will make then much cheaper, if thats not the case then definately the canon wins
The Canon 50mm f/1.8 goes for $85 at Adorama. An equivalent lens forth eOlympus would be a 40mm f/1.8, but there isn't one. The closest (considering both focal length and maximum aperture) is the Olympus 50mm f/2.0, which is $390 at Adorama.

Canon has a 28mm f/2.8 for $180. An equivalent for the Olympus would be the 25mm f/2.8, which goes for $250.

Canon hasa 35mm f/2.0 for $240. An equivalent for the Olympus would be a 28mm f/2.0. The closest match would be the Sigma 24mm f/1.8 for $329.

Canon hasa 24mm f/2.8 for $305. An equivalent for the Olympus would be an 18mm f/2.8. The closest match would be the Sigma 18-50mm f/2.8 for $419.

Canon hasa 50mm f/1.4 for $325. An equivalent for the Olympus would be a 40mm f/1.4. The closest match would be the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 for $399.

Canon hasan 85mm f/1.8 for $355. An equivalent for the Olympus would be a 68mm f/1.8. The closest match would be the 50mm f/2.0 for $390.

Canon has a 60mm f/2.8 for $370.An equivalent for the Olympus would be a 50mm f/2.8. The closest match would be the Sigma 18-50mm f/2.8 for $419, though it would also be a close match for the Canon 24mm f/2.8.

But, as you point out, the Olympus lenses would be on a stabilized body, and that's certainly worth something.

But the same kind of comparison would be true for Sony and Pentax dSLRs and lenses as well, espcially when you consider the used lenses that are available for those makes.
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Old Jun 10, 2008, 5:14 AM   #10
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thats amazing, so much for Oly lens's being cheaper because they dont have to build IS into them, as a review said.

Thanks TCav, this makes alot of difference, as there is always a money limit
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