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Old Mar 13, 2006, 7:42 PM   #1
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Recently finished a digital photography classand found myself wanting more from a camera then my Nikon Coolpix 5700 is capable of. Have spent the last few weeks going over the postings of moreforums then I would like to admit to. Have gone through many reviews and was at first leaning towards another digicam the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ30. Decided against it in the end not because of the much discussed noise issue but for the reason of seeing the advantages of getting back to a SLR system.

After owning a number of digital cameras I decided to get out my high school graduation gift from 1969 - a Mamiya/Sekor 1000DTL. It has been sitting on a library shelf for many years. Putting a new battery in did not bring back the exposure meter butI had a lot of fun experimenting with different exposure settings and was pleasantly surprised that most of the shots came out . I guess I must of actually remembered some camera basics or was just plain lucky.What really surprised me though was how much I missed the clicking sound of the mirror. It brought back many treasured memories of places I had used that camera.

New direction, time to hit the forums and reviews again looking for what DSLR would fit my needs. I narrowed down the choices this time to the Canon 30D. Pushing past what I was planning on spending but I did not care how the Rebel XT felt in my hands and I really want to move up to 8 mega-pixels.

Ihad looked at the Olympus E-500 liked the feel of it but took to heart the postings regarding noise at the higher ISO levels. Well! Being from New England and being a good Yankee the new $699 price for a kit that has the lenses I need except for a wide angle lens got me to take a closer look at that issue. Checking the data of pictures taken with the Nikon I found that 99% of themare at ISO 100.

I know the Canon is a superior camera but is it that much better of a camera to justify the substantial price difference especially once I add the lenses in?

Will be using the camera for taking pictures of the grandchildren, on vacations and on the coast during the summer especially out on our boat.
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Old Mar 13, 2006, 7:56 PM   #2
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The EVOLT E-500 has noise problems and a 2.0 crop (try and get a wide angle lens for this, 12mm=24mm and lenses don't go much wider than that). This is the last enrtry level DSLRI would recomend. 30D hands down.
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Old Mar 13, 2006, 8:08 PM   #3
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Homer-

IMHO the Olympus E-500 might indeed be a good answer for Bayside. It does not appear that he is doing any low light level shooting at high ISO settings, that is where the E-500 has problems.

I instruct on dSLR cameras and own many consumer dSLR cameras that we use in our course. I have used the E-500 a lot and it is not a bad dSLR. No, it is not a Nikon D-50, or a Canon 20-D which I also own, but it is a very competent dSLR, and based on Baysides requirements, I see it as a possible "good fit" providing that he handles the camera before purchasing and considers the two lens kit.

BTW Homer do you own a E-500 yourself?

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Old Mar 13, 2006, 8:16 PM   #4
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Well, horses for courses. I wouldn't want to put handicapping on the whole range of dSLRs out there, but I wouldn't put too much faith in Homer's drastic opinions about the noise issue in the E-500; I have the E-300 which has marginally even more noise than the E-500, and it takes excellent photographs. If you shoot lots at ISO1600 and demand smooth out-of-camera images, then yes, all the Canon's have the edge, but the Olympus e-series has excellent color and will produce better images than most of us are likely capable of wringing from it (the latter can be said for all dSLRs). I use Neatimage and Noiseware for problematic noise issues. Here's a few recent shots from my E-300:








There are two excellent wide-angle Olympus lenses available, a 7-14mm and 8mm fisheye. Neither are cheap, but optically they're top quality. Sigma has announced they're bringing out five of their top-line EX lenses for the four-thirds mount as well, and of course there's Leica and Panasonic that should have something available later this year in the standard. Of course, it depends on individual needs and styles, but the noise issue is overblown, IMO.



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Old Mar 13, 2006, 9:36 PM   #5
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The vast majority of the photos I take are outside and as I said the Nikon in auto mode took just about every shot at ISO100 so noise at high ISO levels should not ever be a concern. Even inside shots with the flash where taken mostly at ISO100.

The issue brought up of 2.0 crop with the new 4/3 system how much of an issue? The Canon's APS crop is 1.6 . There seems to be quite a bit of discussion that the 4/3 system may be the wave of the future. The upcoming Panasonic looks very appealing to me but I am not prepared to wait till next fall to replace the Nikon.

I realize that the E-500 is not in the same league of the new Canon 30D but why is the Nikon D50 considered to also to be in a much better class?

One thing that impressed me in going back over the Olympus and Canon postings was that universally the opinion on kit lenses was with the Canon stay away from them ,buy the body and then decide on better quality lenses. From that point the choices were quite overwhelming. I did finally decide that if I go the 30D route I would start with a 50mm prime and a 28-135IS. With the E-500 though the kit lenses especially the 40-150 are highly regarded so I would not at all feel like I was ending up with lower qualityglass if I go that way.

I have never had a plastic body camera before so that is one conern I have with the E-500. No posts found complaining about the build but how will it hold up over time? From my past history, I will most likely be keeping the camera for about three years.
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Old Mar 13, 2006, 9:48 PM   #6
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bayside-

Please don't be concerned. The E-500 has a very sturdy metal frome beneath its high quality exterior. All consumer DSLR camera fall to about the same quality level. They will surely give you great service and beat the image quality of the Nikon 5700.

Thelensmultiplier means very little in terms of quality. As you brought up. It is the lenses that really make a big difference, and it is there that Olympus has a real edge.

Based on your reported shooting experiences, IMHO the E-500 2 lens kit will give you a lot of bang for the buck. I especially like the 40-150mm lens. Its range is very handy.

Take a look at Norm's gorgeous photos. That tells a lot right there. Or better yet, take a look at the E-500 review on www.dpreview.com.

MT

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Old Mar 13, 2006, 10:06 PM   #7
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mtclimber

I am still curious to your original reply in which you said "No it's not a Nikon D-50" which is another entry level DSLR.

I was impressed by Norms photos. I have always been happy with the Nikon 5700 pictures sostepping up in quality will be a treat. My one real problem with the 5700 was the reason just about all of my pictures were in auto mode was that it is a pain to to set up user settings. I am really looking forward to dial settings and a more logical menu system.
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Old Mar 13, 2006, 10:31 PM   #8
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I'm curious about the 4/3 system, is it EVER possible to use those lens on a sensor that's bigger than it's current size? Or is it stuck at that sensor size, just like EFS and DX lenses?

I know sensor size and megapixel doesn't show the whole picture (pun inteded), but I'm wondering when market shifts two years from now and entry level DSLR are in 10MP+, and Olympus decides to join them, I can imagine the noise issue *could* come up again. While an APS-C sensor would have a higher noise tolerance since it still have a larger sensor.

I recently did a lot of reading on DSLRs, before I bought mine. The only once I really considered are E500, RebXT and D50. I think they're all great and my skill level will limit them more than anything else. I finally settled with the D50, since it was cheaper than the RebXT, and I got what I considered is a good deal. Canon and Nikon attracted me more because of lens choices.

I like the E500, but I didn't want to get stuck with lenses that can only support a sensor that small... just thinking about the future a little. I'm also not sold on the 4/3 being the *open source* of lens mount. I doubt Leica lenses that come out for it, at least the ones I could afford, will have true Leica quality. It'll be just like Sony using Carl Zeiss' name for marketing purposes.

My D50 with 18-55 kit lens, Nikon cheapie 70-300mm and a Nikon bag cost me $680 plus $20 shipping. The UPS guys still have it, I'll get in on Thursday...

Anyways, to end this... You can't really compare the E500 with the 30D. If you can afford the 30D, go for it. Otherwise, I think all entry level DSLR are pretty good, especially to the 2MP I have right now...


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Old Mar 15, 2006, 9:35 AM   #9
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Quote:
I'm curious about the 4/3 system, is it EVER possible to use those lens on a sensor that's bigger than it's current size? Or is it stuck at that sensor size, just like EFS and DX lenses?
Basically you're right, you're "stuck" at 4/3 sensor size, just as lenses designed for 35mm film are "stuck" there and can't be used for medium or large format film. So what does that mean? Not much, necessarily.

Quote:
I know sensor size and megapixel doesn't show the whole picture (pun inteded), but I'm wondering when market shifts two years from now and entry level DSLR are in 10MP+, and Olympus decides to join them, I can imagine the noise issue *could* come up again. While an APS-C sensor would have a higher noise tolerance since it still have a larger sensor.
And a "full-frame" 35mm sensor will have even more tolerance, and a medium-format will have even more, and a large format will have even more. This is always the case. The real question is: are you satisfied with the performance from 4/3 (or APS-C or full-frame 35mm, or medium format, or whatever other format you're using?):
A number of commentators have recently noted that the megapixel wars seem to be currently over, at around the 7-8 MP mark. Higher megapixel cameras will still be developed, of course, but they will tend to be used by the same people who used to use medium-format films. According to this view, it is extremely unlikely that "two years from now" entry-level dSLRs (or any other digicams) will have 10+MP. There simply isn't the need for that kind of resolution to get excellent pictures up to A4-A3 (roughly, 11x14) size, and there are very few people, relatively speaking, who print bigger than that.

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I like the E500, but I didn't want to get stuck with lenses that can only support a sensor that small... just thinking about the future a little. I'm also not sold on the 4/3 being the *open source* of lens mount. I doubt Leica lenses that come out for it, at least the ones I could afford, will have true Leica quality.
Well, that's what people said about 35mm film as well; when the Leica first appeared in 1925, I'm sure a lot of people scoffed at it, saying that it could never take decent pictures with a negative that small, compared to the 120 (6x6, 6x7, 6x9), not to mention large format cameras then current. But the 35mm format became the mainstream for 70 years. (By comparison, Nikon made its first 35mm camera in 1948, only 55 years ago). Is that a long or short time? I don't know, but even Michael Reichman, who a year or so ago called the 4/3 format an "evolutionary deadend" has now changed his tune, admitting he was wrong and saying that it will likely stay around. That was big of him, post-PMA, with the announcements by Panasonic, Leica and Sigma showing further support for the format. In fact, nobody knows if he was really wrong or right, or if some grand development in physics will prove us all wrong tomorrow, and maybe the future will be led by even smaller multi-sensor cameras.

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Anyways, to end this... You can't really compare the E500 with the 30D. If you can afford the 30D, go for it. . .
Not sure why this should be so, specifically. Most of us will admit that Canon has the high-ISO end currently sewn up, and a wider range of lenses, yes, but those lenses are not all optimum for the uses they're being put to, and Canon certainly have no lock on color quality, one of the main attractions of Olympus. Sigma has announced it is releasing five of its top EX lenses in 4/3 mount, and Olympus already has the widest selection of designed-for-digital lenses of any manufacturer, not to mention being the only one with sensor-dust solution and in-camera pixel mapping. Looking at the future, Olympus will likely announce a 10+ MP pro model later this year, even better able to take advantage of the top-quality lenses it has been developing.
So IMHo, the answer isn't quite so simple as "if you've got the money, go for the Canon. . . ." There are plenty of reasons one might prefer a particular model by Canon or Nikon, but are those the same reasons the OP was talking about?



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Old Mar 17, 2006, 8:59 PM   #10
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I greatly appreciate the advice I have been given and hope everyone that has viewed thisthread also took something away from reading through the replies.

Decided on the E-500 whichI purchased Wednesday evening. Went with the two lens kit. Great price! $809 ,so with the Olympus rebate I'm down to a net price of $709

I also posted a topic on the " Olmypus E-Series SLRs " forum. The topic is " E-500 Owners-Any buyers remource" My reply " March 17th 5:51 PM" give a description how I arrived at my decision. Not at all what I had expected!

The bottom line is "I guess the real lesson learned here is it's great to read the specs, read as many reviews as possible, follow the forums and ask advice but in the end use the camera's you are thinking about , print off some shots and then let your eye be the final decision maker."
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