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Old Sep 25, 2008, 11:03 AM   #21
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JohnG,
Key word in my post was "budget," especially in a case where distance is a premium. Of course there are drawbacks to smaller sensors, and I agree that olympus' focusing system is slower than some of the others. But at the entry level (again, key word budget), and for someone who will be at a significant distance, I think the benefits of the olympus system outweigh the negatives.

I believe an e-510 with the sigma 70-200 f2.8, which can be had for about 1100, will do a better job than most other entry level+tele lens combination for that price. In good lighting, even the zuiko 70-300 is quite good. And for about 650, it is still possible to find the non-swd version of the 50-200. And yes, I've taken action shots, but since they are mostly of baseball, which is a rather static sport, Ill post some samples of other people I know using the set ups above:

using the 70-300 at 300mm (600 mm eq)

with the 70-200






And there are two very good sets at the flickr, on with the 50-200 and the other with the kit lens:

http://flickr.com/photos/dr_asim/set...7604430670554/
http://flickr.com/photos/jakub_bak/c...7602582794789/

Now, are these the best photos ever? No, and for a pro like you they may even be below your standards. But on a budget, I believe it is easier and cheaper to get a good tele set with olympus than with other brands, even with all the trade offs (more noise, slower focus, etc)
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Old Sep 25, 2008, 12:06 PM   #22
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dlpin,

First - the football shot is nice.

Second - my ENTIRE point is with regards to the myth of reach. Were either of the shots you took at 100 yards?. This whole thing started because I informed the OP they are not going to be able to take action shots 200 yards away. Not going to happen.

Now, can the oly take nice pictures of action? Yep. But for a little more money the canon can do much better - especially since they pushed their xxD focus system down to the XSi. Semi-pro focus system in an entry level camera.

The benefit to oly is price point and weight. But the idea it gives you more 'reach' for action photography is a myth. Focus ability and focus tracking (not initial focus but tracking) in action photography is paramount - especially when the subject isn't filling the frame (which you would not be for the subjects in question at the distance limits I specified).

So, if price and weight are the critical factors - yep Oly is a great choice. But from a pure results standpoint it doesn't yet compete - especially at the longer distances where the myth of more reach comes into play but in reality the focus limitations of the lens and camera system outweigh the benefits of the smaller sensor.


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Old Sep 25, 2008, 1:14 PM   #23
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I don't see where there is a fundamental disagreement here. I didn't say she would be able to get great shots at 100 yards, but, given some compromise on focus speed, olympus crop factor is an advantage.

And of course this is all directly related to price: we are talking about a budget, and about entry level. If price wasnt a consideration, we'd be talking about 300mm f2 primes and so on. But just as a comparison, let's look at Tcav's list of lens, which I think was spot on for other manufacturers:

Canon XTi + 70-300 f4-f5.6 = $1100

Nikon d80 + 70-300 f4.5 f5.6 = 1130

sony a200 + tamron 70-300 f4 = 660

in all of these we are talking about a ~450mm eq

compare to:
olympus e510 (av. for 400 at buydig) * sigma 70-200 f2.8 (400mm eq. just released, probably will be priced similar to canon/nikon versions at 700)= 1100
we are talking about something that is a full 2 stops faster at the long end for the same as the canon and nikon alternatives

for a similar speed lens, you have the e-510 + 70-300 which is about $700 separately and, depending on where the OP lives, can be had for much less as 70-300 is often bundled in the kit instead of the 40-150.

And if IS is not important for the OP, the 410 is another 100 bucks cheaper.

Will the Xsi and the 70-200 sigma (also available for canon) be technically better? Quite possibly, but we are then talking about a ~300mm eq. with a price tag of about $1300.


Now, at the entry level and with a budget (key word again), the OP will have to decide which compromises they are willing to make. But I don't see how the olympus alternative should not be considered as a possibility here.
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Old Sep 25, 2008, 1:40 PM   #24
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dlpin,

style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"The disagreement is in regards to touting the 'equivelent' focal range as an advantage. It's not. Not for action. That's the myth. The OP won't get more 'reach' because of the crop factor. That's my position. Touting the Oly with 70-300 as being 600mm vs canon with 300 as being only 480 = advantage Oly is not, in my opinion true. That 'equivelent focal length' is only part of the equation. And when your subject is moving it isn't as important. That's why I suggest that it's a red herring. You cannot shoot MOVING subjects further away just because you have a small sensor.

style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"Or let me put it this way - Canon with sigma 70-200 will outperform oly with sigma 70-200 even though the oly has a higher 'equivelent focal length' of 400 vs 320 for Canon. And furthermore, with that same lens the Oly will NOT allow the user to get shots of a moving target from further away than the Canon. The lens and the focus system will have more impact upon success than the size of the image sensor.

style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"Take my camera with 1.3x sensor and yours with 2x sensor and go out and shoot football with sigma 70-200 2.8. The 1.3x sensor camera will outperform the other - at 25-30 yards you'll get better shots with the 1.3x sensor camera - why? because the focus system is better. Furthermore if you go out to40 yards where the supposed 'reach' benefit of the smaller sensor kicks in - and the ratio of keepers from the oly will drop much more rapidly than the canon. Why? after all, you get more 'reach' - you've got a 400mm equiv lens vs 280. So the advantage should clearly go to the outfit with 'more reach' right? Except it doesn't work that way. Not for moving subjects. For stationary subjects it does, to a point. But not for moving subjects. Now, if the 2 cameras had the exact SAME focus system things would be different. Even then I'm not convinced because the lens' focus limitation would come into play. You might get SOME benefit but not as much as you think - simply because the lens isn't designed for accurate focus from further away.

style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"So, I think it's misleading to tell people that for action photography there is a 'reach' advantage - there isn't. There is a size/weight and price advantage but not a reach advantage.

style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"
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Old Sep 25, 2008, 2:05 PM   #25
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And I partially disagree. Unless you can claim that the user will get NO usable shots at the extra "reach," than reach is an advantage, albeit one that comes along with other drawbacks that have been alluded to here. As long as some, even if a few, shots are usable, then there is an advantage. Usable, here, being in the eye of the beholder. As a pro you might very well think that there are NO usable shots at that point and the extra reach is useless, but I disagree and I guess we will have to agree to disagree. It is a matter of personal standards and expectations, and as a pro yours is certainly different than mine.

As I have said before, there are certainly numerous draw backs to a smaller sensor, and at no point did I say that olympus smaller sensor does not have its problems. The key is compromise, and what the OP is trying to achieve in a budget. I am sure your canon 1d series camera (1.3 crop) will take much, much better pictures than anything that can be done with an entry level olympus, regardless of focal length equivalency. But then we are also talking about a price tag that is about 6 or 7 times what you would pay for an olympus.

Believe me when I say I know all about the problems of a smaller sensor. It doesnt make the extra reach a myth, just a compromise on a number of things. And believe me when I say that I also know all about the problems of a smaller budget.


In any case, I think we are going in circles here: the OP has pretty much all available combinations and prices listed here, as well as some examples of shots taken with those set ups. It's up to them. I just wanted to add another option.


edit: keeping in mind that even IF we dont consider the crop factor at all, there is still about a 150-200 dollar difference between the e-5xx and its comparable camera from nikon or canon and more if we are talking about e-4xx.

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Old Sep 25, 2008, 2:16 PM   #26
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dlpin wrote:
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I am sure your canon 1d series camera (1.3 crop) will take much, much better pictures than anything that can be done with an entry level olympus, regardless of focal length equivalency. But then we are also talking about a price tag that is about 6 or 7 times what you would pay for an olympus.
Actually that was just talking about sensor size. But let me state it this way - The entry level canon camera will take much better action shots than the entry level oly camera. Period. And it isn't about getting 'one useful shot' - you don't often get a second chance. Same lens (sigma 70-200 2.8) and XSi vs oly 5 series and xsi will get the OP better shots for this stated purpose. They will get more keepers of a higher quality. The focus and tracking capabilitywill far outweigh the perceived gain from a smaller sensor. And assuming the sigma lens costs the same for both systems you're talking about $150 price difference. Not a big difference to get much better focus performance alone with nothing else in the picture. PLUS when there is more money the user can upgrade to other lenses not available in Oly. All for the $150 initial price difference. So you don't need to spend 6-7 times as much - a simple $150 more will do to get better results.

But EITHER of the above will not allow the OP to shoot out to 200 yards. Either solution will cap the OP at about 25-30 yards.
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Old Sep 25, 2008, 3:44 PM   #27
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Let me throw in another monkey wrench.

The Olympus E-510 (not the E-520, which would be preferrable), with the two lens kit,goes for ~$590. Which is more than the Canon and Sony dSLRs I quoted. Also, since the 40-150 telephoto in the kit would be too short (35mm equivalent focal length of 300mm vs. at least 450mm), the Olympus would need a longer lens. The least expensive longer telephoto lens for the Olympus, that is of comparable quality, is the Olympus 70-300, which goes for $330. That's a total of $920. If the basis for recommending an Olympus dSLR is price, the Sony option beats that by $260! Even the Canon XTi with the 50-250 is $90 cheaper.

Even the E-520 is $10 more and that's without the kit lenses.

There has been a significant discussion about the usable range of lenses and the accuracy and precision of AF systems, but I think the reason for introducing the Olympus into the discussion was its low price, and that doesn't holdup to scrutiny.
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Old Sep 25, 2008, 4:24 PM   #28
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TCav wrote:
Quote:
There has been a significant discussion about the usable range of lenses and the accuracy and precision of AF systems, but I think the reason for introducing the Olympus into the discussion was its low price, and that doesn't holdup to scrutiny.
According to pricegrabber, nextag and dealtime, best prices are:

olympus e510, body only: 399.99 at buydig.com
with the two lens 559

canon xti, body only: - 528 new at tristate camera
with 1 lens kit: 609 at buydig

nikon d80 body only: 579 at US1camera
with 1 lens kit: 689 at buydig


All this without mentioning the fact that in some countries, UK included, the 70-300 is a part of the kit. In terms of price, the a200 is the only one that competes.

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Old Sep 25, 2008, 6:09 PM   #29
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My point is that, while the E-510 body is cheaper, the lens is more expensive. That levels the playing field somewhat.

Your buydig.com price of $400 for the E-510 plus the adorama.com price of $330 for the 70-300 totals $730, while your tristate.com price of $530 for the Canon XTi plus the adorama.com price of $280 for the 50-250 totals $810. Comparable, and well within the OP's budget of about $1,000.
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Old Sep 25, 2008, 7:20 PM   #30
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the 70-300 is a bit cheaper (299), actually, at buydig
And the xti is better at some stuff (9 pt auto focus, slightly faster AF, slightly less noise), not so on others (spot metering, size, weight, in body IS and anti dust), for a $110 difference.

Regardless, I think there is more than enough info here for the OP to make a decision.

I just never thought that suggesting that someone on a budget looking for an entry level dslr take a look at olympus would be so controversial. Of course there are trade offs and negative sides to the olympus, as with all entry levels, but dismissing olympus out of hand in precisely the niche that it intends to compete in (as seen with m4/3), despite all reviews and experience, seems a bit extreme to me. But this is going in circles, so Im done.
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