I need some dSLR advice

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by NinjaMonkey, Jan 31, 2006.

  1. macrumors regular

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    #1
    I'm looking into upgrading from a point and shoot to a SLR and all these options are driving me nuts.

    The camera I was looking at was the Olympus E500 which seems to be about my price and from what I've read in reviews takes pretty good pictures. The big decision is should I buy the camera body only and spend my money on a bit better lense or start off with one of the kits? The kit comes with the 14-45mm f/3.5-5.6 & 40-150mm f/3.5-4.5 lenses.

    I've been leaning in the direction of the kit simply because it is only about $100 more than just the body. Would this set hold me over for a while? Anyone have experience with this camera?
     
  2. macrumors 6502a

    kwajo.com

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    #2
    if this is your first SLR I say go for the kit. It will give you a good base to start from and you can learn a few things about photography. Later, once you know your shooting habits, you'll be better prepared to decide what lenses you'd like to add to your collection.
    Keep in mind that while kit lenses are not the top-line optics many pros use, they will still beat almost anything you'd find on a P&S, so there is still plenty of room to grow into as a photographer.

    as another note, the E-500 is a very solid camera too, I've seen some top-notch photos from it, but I find its viewfinder too small and dim for my taste, so maybe you should check it out before you buy and see whether that matters to you at all
     
  3. macrumors 6502

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    #3
    Dslr

    I looked very carefully at the e-300 when it came out last year. I really liked the form factor, and the lenses for it were very nice (from the reviews I read). The ruberized metal case felt very solid. The e-500 seems like a good upgrage.

    That being said, I ended up spending a few more $$ and goign for the Canon Rebel XT. I was mostly attracted to the large selection of lenses and the active used lens market, plus the time tested mounting system / size.

    I love my Rebel XT, and I'm sure you'll love which ever DSLR you pick. There is simply no comparison from P&S to DSLR... the quality, speed and flexibility vastly makes up for the increased cost and size.

    Enjoy whatever you pick!

    -alywa
     
  4. macrumors 68020

    aricher

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    #4
    I also have a the Rebel XT - amazing camera for the cash.
     
  5. macrumors 6502

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    #5

    If you new this kind of "stuff". I would suggest that you get a *standard* camera like D50 or rebel XT because there will be forums and stuff if you are having any problems. And not to mention a lot of cheap lenses. Better lenses will you cost you as much as the body. So you might be better off sticking with the demo lenses. I some how prefer Nikon's cheap lenses than canon's cheap stuff. Sigma is fine too for the price.
     
  6. macrumors 68040

    Grimace

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    #6
    I'll also back the Canon Digital Rebel XT. Pricegrabber.com will get you a good deal. The lenses are great and the camera is superb.
     
  7. Moderator emeritus

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    #7
    I've been using an E-1 for nearly two years. The E-500 obviously is a better deal for those buying today who don't need a water- and dust-resistant body. The standard lenses seem to be of a much higher quality than those that are available with the Canon Digital Rebel series. The thing that bothers me is that the Olympus kit lenses are not great in really low light. You'll have to use flash more often than you might guess. Of course, if you're coming from a point-and-shoot camera, you're used to that, I'm sure. Of course, you can spend big money on Olympus lenses. Even as much as I paid for the E-1 body, I have much more in the three lenses I use. There are Sigma lenses for the 4/3s system but I think you'll have all you need unless you want a fish eye and that will definitely be more expensive than the E-500 body.

    The quality of the photos are impressive. The lack of a dust problem is impressive--you wouldn't have the problems the other brands have. (Ask people who have ruined their sensors while cleaning them.) You also won't have the 35mm compromise that the other brands have since Olympus aren't using old lenses or flashes that aren't optimised for digital photography.

    The price is right for the E-500. I think you'll find that the camera is a great value for such solid technology.
     
  8. macrumors 6502a

    kwajo.com

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    #8
    if these are criteria, then a Pentax would be an excellent choice. there are a number of truly excellent Pentax forums online, lots of very helpful people, very much like the mac community.
    And if it is cheap, high-quality lenses you want, the Pentax dSLRs can use just about any K-Mount glass from the past 40 years, many of which are some of the best lenses every made and there are hundreds of them floating around everywhere from eBay to yard sales.
    basically I'm just rebuking the "standard" camera notion, nothing bad to say about either the Nikon or the Canon, I have a D70 in the house, but I just don't like overlooking the Pentax and Olympus models simply because they have a lower market share
     
  9. thread starter macrumors regular

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    #9
    Thanks for all the replies everyone. The other camera I was looking at was the Nikon D50 which seems like a popular choice among first time SLR buyers.

    The digital Rebel was an option but I've heard the Olympus comes with better lenses in the kit and it costs a bit more. Though I love the Canon S50 I have now.
     
  10. macrumors G4

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    #10
    One question: are these lenses made by Olympus? If they are they are a great value. If not. f they are thid party lenses and the "kit" was assebled by the dealer do not' waste another second even thinking about them. Camera dealers notoriusly bundel cheap crap just so they can offer a low price. But on the other hand camera manufactures typically bundel low-spec but good optical quality lenses. So it matters LOT who mades the kit. You don't say

    If it's Olypus the lens is a good value. They may even be selling it at a slight loss or at breakeven price. Even if you intend to get some other lenses you may as well scope of kit lens too.

    Ok there is one case what I'd say not to get it. That is if you KNOW 100% that you want one of the professional quality lenese and would never use anyhting that was not a constand f/2.8 aperature.

    The reason the kit lenses typically are so inexpensive is that they are "slow" "way slow" in tha case of f/5.6 . Basically they've tradded off a few f-stops for cost.

    ONe other thing. Beginners always think they need a long telephoto. That is not o usfull. Your best shots will come from a fast, wide lens. If you have xtra cash to spend put it into a god wide angle and an extrnal strobe.

    If you are really concered about image quality you will be needing a tripod. It's the biggest bang per buck you can get. and that long, slow telephoto zoom will not be of much use hand held.
     
  11. Moderator emeritus

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    #11
    Canon is better at point-and-shoot cameras than most of the competition and their printers are great. As much as I've had a number of Olympus cameras over the years, if I were buying a point-and-shoot camera, it probably wouldn't be an Olympus model. Thank goodness the Olympus point-and-shoot software team doesn't have anything to do with the SLRs.
     
  12. thread starter macrumors regular

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    #12
    The included lenses are from Olympus, it is bundled by them not a dealer.

    I've just found a Nikon D50 with the 28-80mm F/3.3-5.6 G Lens for $599 from Ritz camera.
     
  13. macrumors G4

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    #13
    On the D50 a 28mm lens is only barely marginally wide enough for general use. the D50's CCD sensor is 1.5x smalthen a 35mm film frame so the 28mm lens acts like a 52mm lens on a 35mm camera.

    One thing about buying an SRL, film or digita is that you are making an investment in a company. If you buy the D50 you will buy Nikon lenses for it and Nikon strobe and so on. So you next camers body will likey be a Nikon so that yu can continue to use the expensive lenses. Same goes gor Canon and Olympus.

    So think it through. Look at how frequently each camera makers releases new stuff and historically which has been the best for your usgae Nikons are typically very conservative but well built, Canon is typicaly the first to have some new technology Olypus has a good reputation but is not a volue sales leader le Nikon and Canon.

    I Like the "kit lens" that is bundled by Nikon with the D70. It is a 18-70mm while the D50 is typically bundled with a 18-55. "18-55" sounds close to "18-70" but there are other major differences in the two lenses. the 18-70 is more robut construction, AND has a much faster focus motor, a non-rotating filter ring and best of all a "real" focus ring that intantly overrides the autofocus. These feature do not show up in the simple 18-55 vs. 18-70 spec but matter a LOT in day to day usage. I mean a rotating filter ring is a royal PITA if you use a polerized filter.

    One way to decide which camera to buy is to look at the lenses Canon, Nikon and Olypus made and look at the features like focus rings, image stabilization and max f-stop and how the strobe system works and costs too. The make of the first SLR camera body you buy may determine future purchases for many years to came

    Hard to pass up those tow Oly lenses for $100.
     
  14. macrumors regular

    revfife

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    #14
    I would suggest the Nikon D50. Nikon just lowered the street price of the kit D50 and 18-55 lens to $699. Most places online you can get it for cheaper than that. It is a great camera. Besides later on you can pick up the 18-70 lens on ebay for cheap.
     
  15. thread starter macrumors regular

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    #15
    Thanks for the advice everyone. I'm going to decide in the next few weeks between the D50 and the Evolt 500. Right now its looking like I'm going with the e500.

    Thanks again!
     
  16. macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #16
    The Olympus e500 isn't a bad choice at all. I just got a D50, but I'm sure I'd be happy with the Olympus as well.

    I say get the kit lense because it makes it easier to sell. If you have to sell the body and a lense, it's obviously much better to give your customer a crap kit lens rather than a more expensive lense that you invested in.
     
  17. Moderator emeritus

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    #17
    It may be a wrench in the works, but Olympus is about to replace the E-300 with the E-330. You may not like the look of the camera but it's more versatile, e.g. it has an underwater enclosure available.
     
  18. thread starter macrumors regular

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    #18
    I considered the 330 but it was a bit more than I wanted to spend and don't really need any of the new features.

    I did go out today and buy the 500. I got it from Costco for $799. That was for the two lens kit and they threw in a 256MB xD card. The also had 1gig compact flash cards for $62, so I picked up one of those too.

    So far the only complaint I have is the kit lenses take forever to focus in low light conditions. Not a huge deal it was expected.

    So anyone have any recommendations for my next lens purchase? Possibly something that would perform a bit better in low light situations?
     
  19. macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #19
    Don't know much about Olympus, but anything that's f3.5 or f2.8 is good. If you don't care about zoom, then a prime lense might be available. There's probably an Olympus lense out there that's a constant 50 mm and f1.8 or something similar, possibly even a 50 mm f1.4. That'll get you good night shots, but if you're gonna take good night shots, a telephoto probably isn't the way to go since they're not "fast" enough.
     
  20. macrumors regular

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    #20

    I did not read all the posts here so I might say something which has allready been said.
    Here though is my advice:

    - Get a Nikon. The thing you must look out for when buying a SLR or DSLR is the lens mount on the camera. Nikons have the so called F-Mount which exists since the 1950ies... on a modern camera body like the D200 you can use all the lenses that were made since ca 1977. Of course you will want to start with new lenses but it kinda shows the thought that has gone into the lens mount design (of course the design has been extended to allow for data transfer and such but mechanicaly it's the same as in the old days).

    - True that a DSLR will always be better than a compact but that doesn't mean that you should buy the camera with the cheapest lens. Beginner or not but consider getting the 18-70mm f3.5-4.5. It is the best value for performance and still affordable. Don' get a 3.5-5.6 lens as these are really bad no matter what.

    - The D50 is nice but consider the D70s. It allows you to grow much further into photography without having to buy a new camera body in 6 months. Furthermore the D50 is the only Nikon DSLR which doesn't use Compact Flash. So if you ever upgrade your camera body you will have to buy new memory cards which really is a drag. All others use CF Cards so there is no problem.

    - I really don't want to start the flame wars here but do yourself a favur and don't get a canon. Go to a shop and hold the D50 or D70s and then the EOS 350 or 20D / 30D.
    It's like Microsoft and Apple. One company put's love and thought into their product and the other just marketing dollars.

    - Besides that: the chip inside the DSLRs is normally smaller than the size of film in an analog camera. that means that (on a Nikon DSLR) your 50mm lens becomes a 75mm one because the crop factor is 1.5. 20mm becomes 30mm and so forth.
    Now: In the last 13 cameras that Nikon produced the sensor always has a crop factor of 1.5. Nikon calls this size "DX". go to a site like dpreview.com go get more info on that.
    Canon on the other hand produces cameras that have sensors with different crop factors like 1.3, 1.6 and 1:1...
    That is going to be a problem if you one day invest in some of the more expensive lenses and develop a strategy and then you buy a new body and all the factors of your lenses have changes. Suddenly all your lenses might slip more towards telephoto range or the other way towards wide angle...

    That's all that I can say...
    Again: I don't want to start a flame war here but I just feel that you get a better value with Nikon products. Them using a different card format on the D50 is a shame though.

    Hope the info helps
     
  21. Moderator emeritus

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    #21
    You'll spend some money on whatever it is but there are two (expensive) solutions that won't overlap a whole lot:

    Olympus 50 mm f2.0 macro. This is an ED lens so it's high quality. It's a joy to use but looks quite lost being so small.

    Sigma just introduced a 30 mm f1.4. It's their highest quality apparently so it's also rather expensive but it's definitely a low light solution.

    Both will cost over $300, even at a discount.

    Advice about the camera: do a firmware update for the body and each lens. Smart lenses require updates to perform at their best. This may improve auto focus in low light.

    I don't use auto focus so I wouldn't know how well it works even on my lenses. I had it turned on way back when I got the camera until I figured out how to disable it. :D

    Let me know if you have any questions. I've had my E-1 for two years now, so I've gone through a lot of situations.
     
  22. macrumors newbie

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    #22
    RE: I need some dSLR Advice

    I've been shooting with the E500 for a few weeks now and I love it. However, keep in mind I'm a lifetime Olympus bigot who still has all his OM-4, OM-2, OM-10 and even OM-101 gear. I'm really glad to see that Olympus is back in the game for professional photography after a long drought. Looking at the recent releases of Zuiko lenses, it looks like they have finally come to their senses :)

    I started with the 14-45 and added two lenses pretty quickly (the 40-150 and the fixed length 150). Which lens you'll need totally depends on what you plan on shooting. So if you know what you'll need and it's covered by the kit, go for it. If you're not sure yet, get the 14-45 and find out what you're missing.
     
  23. thread starter macrumors regular

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    #23
    So far I'm loving the E500. I'm getting ready to purchase the 14-54 Zuiko. I've heard good things about that one and Oly is offering a $50 rebate.
     
  24. Moderator emeritus

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    #24
    It's a good lens but it's not exactly a low light lens, either. If you're going to spend that much money, wouldn't you rather have the macro?
     
  25. sjl
    macrumors 6502

    sjl

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    #25
    Ooooooh. This could be a very nice way to get around a small problem I have: Canon's "best" 28mm lens suffers from a fair bit of CA. I'd like something around that focal length range to give me a nice, fast standard lens for my 20D (remember that "standard" means "focal length approximately equal to the diagonal length of the image area", which for the 20D is very close to 28mm), and that looks like it might be a nice fit.

    Anybody know of a good quality review of this lens?

    *does some checking* About $620, with shipping (Australian price) ... not bad. Especially since the RRP for Canon's 28mm f/1.8 is a thousand dollars ...
     

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