D50 vs E-500

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by cube, Nov 17, 2006.

  1. cube macrumors G4

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    #1
    The Nikon D50 kit and the Olympus E-500 kit are going for the same price here. What do you think?
     
  2. Mitthrawnuruodo Moderator emeritus

    Mitthrawnuruodo

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    #2
    Well, I might be considered biased (but then: who isn't?), as I'm just waiting for the E-400 to be released (I'm going to get that, or the E-500 on the off-chance the E-400 just "feels" wrong). Should be any day now... </impatient>

    Reasons (for both the E-400 and E-500): Better kit lens(es), dust removal system, 4/3 system, higher resolution, lighter, more than enough lenses available.

    Also: Never had a bad Olympus camera in the odd 20 years I've had them... ;)
     
  3. cube thread starter macrumors G4

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    #3
    The E-500 has 2 more mp, dust cleaner, focus bracketing, DOF preview, Kelvin white balance, mirror lock and much better LCD.

    But I think noise might be better on the D50.

    The Olympus 7-14 means you can go a bit wider than any APS-C camera. But a lot more expensive!
     
  4. Buschmaster macrumors 65816

    Buschmaster

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    #4
    Of the two, that's a difficult choice.

    Where do you see yourself going? If you're thinking you're going to want better and stronger cameras later on, get the Nikon, if you're simply comparing the two cameras, I'd say Olympus.
     
  5. davidjearly macrumors 68020

    davidjearly

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    #5
    Couldn't disagree more with the others. I'd say the D50 is the better choice, and quite frankly IMO its the best entry-level dSLR you can buy (and then some).

    As for the Olympus having better kit lenses - well that is just wrong, the bundled 18-55mm is just great with the D50 and for the price it can't be beaten. The 18-70mm is even better and much better than the Olympus. The only advantage the Olympus has is the wide angle, but then either of the Nikons can go further. More lens choice with Nikon (although there is good choice with Olympus too).

    The D50 kit lens has superbly low barrel distortion for such a cheap lens. Better than any other bundled lens.

    As for the dust removal system, not that it isn't a good thing, but it is over-rated. Dust is NOT as much of an issue as people make it out to be (unless you change lenses in stupid conditions, in which case what do you expect?).

    Higher resolution isn't needed in such a camera and it won't advantage you unless you are continually shooting above A3 size. The Nikon also has MUCH better high ISO performance which to any serious photographer, is a much better feature than an extra 2MP.

    The Olympus is lighter than the D50, but it is smaller also which is not good for anyone with medium-large hands. I found it paricularly uncomfortable to use when I tried it, although not as bad as the Canon 350D.

    The Olympus has a poorer viewfinder which I found to be very cramped and I also missed the lack of a status LCD. You have to preview your settings on the LCD monitor which can be awkward in some situations. This contrasts with it having a better rear LCD of 2.5" and much better resolution than the Nikon, but what do you mainly compose with. I find having a better viewfinder to be much more important.

    The Olympus also uses XD/CF - whilst not a huge issue, neither are as good as SD and XD is not as cheap. For a decent CF card (similar to a good SD card's speed) you have to pay the price.

    The Olympus has a longer switch on delay (~2secs) whearas the D50 is virtually instant.

    The Nikon has a 420 area metering sensor compared to the Olympus 49 area. Although this isn't that much of an issue to be honest.

    Nikon has 5-point AF compared to Olympus 3-point AF.

    The Nikon has a larger shutter range amd better flash sync with up to 1/500 compared to 1/180.

    The Olympus also only has USB 1.1 compared to USB 2.0 on the Nikon. This means much slower file transfers and more battery used up if connecting the camera directly too the computer to transfer files.

    I think I'll also add that the fact that the Olympus uses the rear LCD to display settings as it lacks the status LCD on top means that it also has a shorter battery life as this LCD draws more power. This is obviously dependant on how much you use it though!

    Just a summary of my thoughts. I'd say go with the D50 but thats personal preference. The MOST important thing is to go to a camera shop and try holding them and practice with it. See what is most comfortable. I would NEVER buy a camera based on any reviews without previewing them in the 'flesh' first.

    Hope this helps.

    Thanks, David
     
  6. greenmac macrumors regular

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    Aug 11, 2006
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    Adelaide
    #6
    well stated

    As a D50 owner though, one bad point with the status LCD (or is it LED), when taking night shots it is very hard to see the display, not a problem in the new D80, where they have a backlight, or the E 500 where the LCD displays the settings.

    There are also less shorcuts to settings on the D50. - not that I change them enough to be annoying.

    Oh and my mate has the E-500, and he hates the kit lens, he uses his telephoto lens as much as he can, foot zooms backwards, until he raises the funds to buy a decent lens.
     
  7. bousozoku Moderator emeritus

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    #7
    After 3+ years with an Olympus E-1, I can say that the dust reduction system is helpful. Considering all the sand and construction around where I've photographed, my photos aren't showing any degradation. Sure, it takes longer for the camera to start since the sensor is being cleaned but just like an Apple laptop computer, I start up infrequently and let the camera sleep when possible. Automatic sensor cleaning is apparently important enough that two other camera makers have added it recently.

    The better lenses are expensive, to be sure, but you're paying for some really great glass. I haven't tried the cheaper glass and probably won't but I have been looking at some of the nicer Sigma lenses for specific functionality. Instead of the 7-14mm zoom, I'd suggest the 8mm fisheye plus the 14-54mm zoom. There are applications that will help you reduce the fisheye distortion, if that's what you want.

    Exposure when there is reasonable light is great. When there isn't enough light, Olympus fails. I don't shoot in such a way that I'm affected but for a lot of people, it's a deal breaker. In low light, the ability to automatically focus is reduced greatly. In addition, trying to compensate for dark exposure by increasing the effective speed of the "film" hurts the photo with noise. You can use Noise Ninja to compensate. However, I don't use auto focus and I shoot as if I have ISO 400 film in the camera, so I don't run into either issue.

    I've heard many times that the E-500's viewfinder can be a problem for people. I tried it briefly and, since I don't wear glasses, it didn't seem to be a problem but it seems as if it was an odd thing to reduce in size. Olympus has an add-on to compensate for both the E-500 and E-300's viewfinder.

    The D50 isn't a bad camera but it makes me want to go upscale right away. The D70s seems less crippled and the D80 is pretty much amazing for the price. I looked at the D70 for quite a while before choosing the E-1 and the only regret I have is that Olympus is a slow company these days.
     
  8. cube thread starter macrumors G4

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    #8
    Another issue is that no Olympus DSLR is supported By DxO. And this software is one of the main reasons to go digital.
     
  9. bousozoku Moderator emeritus

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    #9
    It is? You mean Optios Pro?

    I always thought that you used a digital camera was so that you wouldn't have to deal with the extra step of developing the film and scanning it.
     
  10. cube thread starter macrumors G4

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    #10
    Yes. DxO Optics Pro.

    I don't mind scanning if the result is better, at a certain budget and camera bulk level.

    It sucks that DxO does not support any pocketable cameras (no need to be ultracompact for being pocketable).
     
  11. tech4all macrumors 68040

    tech4all

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    #11
    Just some comments on your comments

    Have had my Olympus for over a year and haven't had one dust problem. I dunno, maybe I just take care with the camera. But, as it has been said, if dust isn't a big deal as some make it out to be, then why have Sony and Canon introduced anti dust solutions?

    When I was shopping for a dSLR, the E-500 felt the best in my hands compared to the E-1 and E-300. Although, I did like the feel of the Canon 20D better.

    "Poorer"? ;) Viewfinder is fine for me. Yea it's a little small, but you get used it. But it's definitely bigger compared to viewfinders is small digi cams.

    I never understood this worry about this 2 second delay. Sure it isn't instant, but it's only 2 seconds. Not that big of deal, IMO.

    That's why I bought a USB 2.0 card reader. No need to transfer directly from camera's slow USB 1.1 speed and you don't suck up battery power.

    This is true, yes. Although in my experience the battery last longer than one would imagine. Besides you can turn the LCD off and just the use the viewfinder's info.
     
  12. bousozoku Moderator emeritus

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    #12
    I guess I've been missing out all these years not having that software but then, you're the first person I've seen to mention it.

    I'm still a bit surprised that people don't use card readers as much as people complain about not being able to transfer their photos because the battery is dead and they can't find their AC adapter.
     
  13. davidjearly macrumors 68020

    davidjearly

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    #13
    So are we in agreement here or not? Just as a side note, (I have admitted that the addition of a noise removal system can only be a good thing btw), but the reason manufacturers introduce these things into their products is to try and lure customers who DO feel that it is a big deal.

    Fair Enough.

    Yes, poorer, as in inferior quality. Most compacts don't have a viewfinder so what is your point exactly. It is unnecessarily small on the Olympus.

    The point is, that the extra 2 sec delay could result in a particular shot being missed. A lot can happen in those two seconds.

    Thats all very well, but many people don't like the concept of having to carry additional equipment to get the job done. The point is, there is no reason other than cutting corners that Olympus left out USB2.0. If it did implement USB2.0, the battery thing isn't much of a problem even when transferring several GB's of data.

    The battery doesn't last any longer than any other dSLR battery. Yeah, you can turn the LCD off and control the camera through the viewfinder but it is quite difficult to change settings when you've got the camera help to your eye to say the least. The point is, you need to leave the LCD on while you change settings, which for many people, is quite often.

    David
     
  14. bousozoku Moderator emeritus

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    #14
    As I mentioned in my earlier post, I've been using an E-1 for 3 years and the dust reduction system works just fine and shooting here in Floriduh, there is a lot of dust with all the construction plus the sand. I've had only good results and it certainly avoids damage to the sensor by someone cleaning it on their own.

    As far as the delay, do you completely shut down your PowerBook and MacBook? That seems pretty rare. When I use my E-1, I start it and let it go to sleep. It wakes quickly, just as my PowerBook does. I only miss the shot if I'm asleep.

    Olympus cut corners on the USB connection. Supposedly they implemented USB 2.0 but only have it running at 12 Mbps, for whatever reason, but I suspect it has to do with battery life. I use a card reader, which is smaller than my mobile phone. I wouldn't even consider transferring photos by attaching the camera because I can be shooting while the photos are being transferred since I can slide another CF card into the camera and I have less of a chance to miss a shot.
     
  15. davidjearly macrumors 68020

    davidjearly

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    #15
    OK, ok, the dust system works. I am not disputing that. I am just saying it is not necessary.

    Most people will be put off with a longer start-up delay. A camera does use the battery on sleep mode. Your analogy is like Apple's-Orange's, being that shutting down a PB and restarting it takes a few minutes, whearas a camera being turned off and on takes a few seconds. Of course people put their notebooks to sleep wherever possible but a camera is different and doesn't have the same excellent sleep management as a PB.

    BTW, I would never walk about with the dSLR switched on in it's bag.

    Again, regarding your last point, the whole idea is that Olympus crippled this unnecessarily. Many people, myself included carry enough high capacity memory cards that they don't need to sync images to their computer until they are finished with the camera. There was no need to limit it to USB1.1, making it very irritating for users who don't want the extra burden of that card reader. I'd always rather use the cable via USB. So would at least some other people. Bottom line, this is a negative point of the Olympus.

    David
     
  16. tech4all macrumors 68040

    tech4all

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    #16
    I don't think they even make an AC adapter for the E-500. I think I read tht in FAQs on their site.

    It's hard to say. I mean in my experience I haven't noticed any dust. Course I don't look for it that often. I did do a test where I set the aperture to F22 and took a picture of the sky. I didn't really see any dust.

    I've asked sales people in a camera stuff repeatly about the dust problem. And they do tell me it is a problem. For which is why they recmoneded an Olympus SLR to me. Although, after reading reviews here on MR, I was originally going to get a Canon 20D. Then the salesmen changed my mine.

    And one day there was this person shooting with a Nikon D70 and I asked her if they had any dust problems, and they none at all. I think it really does depend on the conditions you shoot with and how much care you take into changing lens.

    So does this dust reduction really work, or am I just really careful? I dunno. :confused: :)

    I'm not sure what you mean by inferior quality. But doesn't the size of the viewfinder have to do with the size of the sensor? I was at a beach taking pictures and this lady came up to me to take a picture of her and some friends with her Nikon film SLR. Now that viewfinder was VERY large. I then tried out a Canon 5D at a store, and I noticed it wasn't much bigger that my camera. Maybe I have to compare the two side by side so can see the same view and check the crop factor between the two.

    I suppose certain situations would benefit from an instant start up (provided the camera is off), such as sports or something "fast". Then again, that's not my preferred subject to shoot, I guess it's not as important to me right now.

    Point taken. I do wonder why Olympus didn't offer USB 2.0 :confused: Although having plenty of storage cards can help. (and I see you brought up that point as well)

    IMO, it's fairly simple to change some of the settings through the viewfinder alone. I try to get use to doing that so I don't have to move my eye from the viewfinder. Sorta off topic here, but I do wish some manual settings in the camera were more readily available. Like to switch to manual focus you have to go through the menus on the LCD. On others brands I think you just have to flip a switch thing on the lens.


    (Actually I just realized that you and bousozoku already answered some of these :D)
     
  17. bousozoku Moderator emeritus

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    #17
    After using an E-1 for so long, some of these things tend to blur, and you're right that they don't have an AC adapter for the E-500. I was just talking about the card reader being much more important when you depend on battery power for so much. When I'm shooting during a 14 hour day, I need my battery power, just in case there is no chance to recharge. The card reader is the best way to handle it. A lot of people have mentioned that so much of the E-500's functionality requires the LCD and that's because it's price-conscious. I prefer my dials and switches and it was a difficult lesson for Olympus to learn before they released the E-10. The fact that they specify that they're using USB 2.0 full speed for the E-500 is ridiculous but the battery usage on the E-500 is higher than the E-1. The E-1 also has FireWire but I only use that for system updates.

    The E-500's viewfinder is smaller but reading a 4 way test in What Digital Camera, the Sony Alpha, Canon 350D, Nikon D70s, and E-500 all had 95 % coverage. It's just a bit tougher in a crowded, smaller viewfinder. In the days where we just used a needle to indicate exposure, it wasn't a problem and even when they switched to a two LED system, it was fine, but often camera makers go overboard in providing information in the viewfinder. I'm not sure the E-500's is inferior but a lot of things are subjective.

    It's all about balance because specifications can only take you so far. You don't use specifications, right? You use the equipment. (Besides, if it was all about specifications, most of us would not have had Macs with G4 processors.)
     

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