Nikon & Olympus SLR's

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by mike2q, Feb 10, 2007.

  1. mike2q macrumors member

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    #1
    I'm new to photography and was interested in buying a digital SLR style camera. I don't have a lot to spend right now but want a camera I can grow with. I want something to learn from that won't really limit my creativity. I am strongly considering the Nikon D40 with the kit 18-55 lens ($599) as it gets great reviews from all of the photography sites. I also have found an Olympus E500 with the dual kit lens package (14-45 40-150). It is currently $649. Is the Olympus worth looking at? I'm not super concerned about CCD resolution but image quality is parimount.
    I would consider spending more if the reason were good enough. I have considered the Nikon and a better lens. From what I can tell looking at sample pictures the lens seems to make a bigger difference than the camera body.
    Any expert advice would be greatly apriciated.
     
  2. Mitthrawnuruodo Moderator emeritus

    Mitthrawnuruodo

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    #2
    There's no really good answer to your question. I've always been an Olympus user, and just got myself an Olympus E-400, so of course I'll recommend that (or the E-500). ;)

    Best thing you can do is to go down to a store that has bot cameras, and try them. See which fits best into your hands...

    As for lenses, the four thirds system is still fairly young, and there are more lenses to choose from for the Nikon, but Zuiko/Olympus, Sigma and Panasonic/Leica are catching up, and the lenses that are available does get great reviews (except for the low end Sigma lenses that get more varied reviews).

    The Nikon fans will probably invade the thread soon (telling you to get anything from the D50, instead of the D40, to the D200. And they will probably drag along the Canon crowd to get you to get one of the Rebels or even a 30D), but in the mean time go over to http://www.fourthirdsphoto.com/ and see what those guys can do with a standard E-500. :)
     
  3. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #3
    If you're not someone who's going to get really serious about photography, I don't think it matters. My friend is very happy with his E-500, and he wouldn't want anything else. I'm happy with my Nikon D50. Both cameras take great photos, and while both of us love photography, we're know that we're doing this as a hobby.

    So if you're doing this as a hobby, I think both are great cameras.

    If you're going pro, I'd get the Nikon because there are way more pro-level lenses available. Some are expensive, but they're there if you need them to shoot very specific things, like birds and sports.
     
  4. bousozoku Moderator emeritus

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    #4
    Wait another 25+ days for PMA. There will be a number of Olympus digital SLR announcements and probably several from other companies. It's likely that everything Olympus now sells will be replaced.

    The trouble with dealing with the low end is that you often get a cut rate camera, i.e., it lacks features to differentiate it from the higher priced model. You'll find that a lot of those simple features are important and you'll end up wanting to trade up quickly.

    Having been an Olympus user for years, I can tell you that the cameras have a lot of good functionality, even the E-500, but in low light without a higher powered flash, it's not very good. The E-510 or whatever it's going to be called is supposed to be much better, along with the rest of the line.

    One thing to note is that, though there aren't legacy lenses from 40 years ago, the lenses are all quite good and there is no incompatibility because they're smart lenses and only made for digital photography. You don't have to guess whether they'll work (completely) or not.

    Also, the SuperSonic Wave Filter is quite nice. A friend IMed me the other night to tell me about this horrid streak showing up on all of his recent photos and he'd only had the camera for about two weeks. He considered that he'd have to return the lens since he tried to clean it and that didn't work. There was dust on the sensor, something I've not encountered in 3 years because the SSWF takes care of that for me. I don't store my camera body with a lens attached, so I'm always changing lenses, giving chance for dust to attack.

    As I said, wait for the new announcements, don't buy from the current line.
     
  5. Acksim macrumors newbie

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    #5
    I have the Olympus, and I really love it. The dust free sensor is nice, and the dual lens kit is great. Also the bigger brighter LCD is handy. I was looking at the same 2 cameras and I did a lot of research. Check out www.steves-digicams.com for a pretty indepth review and comparisons. Good luck! :D
     
  6. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #6
    I'd get the D50 rather then the D40. The D40 seriously limits which Nikon lenses you can use. Two of my favorite Nikors (85mm F/1.8 amd 50mm f/1.4) would not work on the D40. The D40 lacks an in-body focus motor and only can use "AF-S lenses which have their own motors. The D50 and D40 sell for about the same price.

    The way you choose a brand is to think about the kit of equipment you would like to own in three or five years. Write down some equipment lists. You will want a second and third lens (maybe a wide angle or an ultra-fast f/2.8 zoom) and likely a strobe. Don't just compare SLR bodies, those have short lifetimes compared to the other stuff

    Also look at the used markets for lenses for Nikon and Oly. you may want to buy a used lenses later, see how easy each brand is to find.

    As for image quality is is almost entirely determined by (1) the lens and (2) the quality of the light. The SLR body has little effect on overall image quality except in some odd cases of doing large crops or in very low light
     
  7. Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

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    #7
    Actually, I have to both agree and disagree here....

    If the camera is going to be one's ONLY DSLR, I would go for the Nikon D50. Why? For precisely the reasons listed. It's more flexible, works with the complete Nikon lens system (although not registering exposure and such info)....

    The Nikon D40 does lack the in-body focus motor and is designed to work especially well with Nikon AF-S lenses (and also Sigma HM lenses) so that on the surface this would seem quite limited. In reality the camera works just fine with ANY lens, even if you have to manually focus it yourself or use an external meter to determine the right exposure. This camera was not targeted towards sophisticated users, it was targeted towards the guy or gal who will buy it in the kit and maybe add the 55-200mm lens to it and never go any further. This does NOT mean that someone who is a little more sophisticated can't slap a 35mm f/2 lens or a 50mm f/1.4 on that thing and focus it manually.... Question is, how many people who buy the D40 are going to go out and buy additional lenses?

    That said, I would not want the D40 to be my only camera. If that were to be the case, I wouldn't buy it, I'd buy the D50 or something else. If I were someone who had another camera body and a bunch of lenses and were willing to do a bit of manual focusing here-and-there, that would be a different situation. Using myself as an example: with a D40, I would have no problem in using the lens that comes with it or a bunch of other lenses that I've accumulated with my D70/D70s and D200. I've got that 35mm f/2 to toss on the D40. I've got that 60mm..... and I've also got a lot of the AF-S lenses which will auto-focus with that camera. Thing is, am I going to use some of those lenses on a D40? I think not, because of that camera's small size, perceived fragility and possibly plastic lens mounts.... I would not put my 200mm f.2 on a D40 camera body.

    Now if I were someone coming straight from P&S country, with little DSLR experience and no lenses, that's a different story. The D40 would seem to me to be a really affordable way to get into DSLR shooting and at least in the beginning I'd be happy with the AF-S lenses offered....and I'd also research and learn about other lenses that could be used and I'd save for them, want to put them on my camera....

    The Nikon D40 is a nice little camera all on its own and it also is definitely a steppingstone into the greater world of Nikon camera bodies and lenses. I am sure that's what Nikon intended....
     
  8. mike2q thread starter macrumors member

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    #8
    Thank you for your responces. I've strongly considered the D40. I like the idea that if I acumulate good lenses that whatever body I upgrade to will be compatable with them. I've also considered using credit and buying the D80 as it just seems to offer so much more for $300 extra dollars. The only other option that is really the wild card for me is the Pentax 10D. I've found sales clear down to $830 with kit lens. It seems like a killer camera for the price and from the sounds of it their selling like crazy. I'm going to give it a week or two to decide for sure though. Any input would be greatly apriciated.
     
  9. Grimace macrumors 68040

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    #9
    Definitely wait until PMA. Lots of goodies could pop up from the various manufacturers! :D
     
  10. jayb2000 macrumors 6502a

    jayb2000

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    #10
    Not to be a downer, but you say you are new to photography.
    Can you be more specific?

    If you just want to get into taking pictures, you might want to find a higher end P&S that lets you change white balance, ISO, aperture, shutter, etc. so you can learn some of the tricks to taking good photos.

    Not that I am a genius photographer by any means! I have been using a digital camera of one sort or another for almost 6 years now and have been trying to focus on learning the craft far more than I have up until this point.

    If you want to learn photography, a nice P&S will let you learn a great deal about composition, lighting, and settings. Then you will also have something easy to bring to a party or such.

    Then, if in 6 months or something you are still itching to get a camera, you might have a better idea of what you want to shoot. If you like portraits, weddings, etc, then the lenses for that will be very different than shooting wildlife that is several hundred yards away.

    Once you know what you like to take pictures of, you can better decide what type of camera to buy.

    Check out some of the photos by Freebooter (and others, but he seems to always bring a P&S when running) in the picture of the day thread to see what you can do with one.

    Or just go buy whichever one feels best in your hand and go from there!

    But do wait a month, just to see what is released. Even if you do not see anything great you like, it might drop the price on something else you are already looking at.
     
  11. NinjaMonkey macrumors regular

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    #11
    I own the Oly E-500 and it is a great camera but has a few weaknesses (like anything). First off, it is a great value if you grab the twin lens kit with the 14-45 and 40-150mm lenses. Oly also makes some great lenses, the 11-22, 14-54 and 50-200mm are excellent and are pretty affordable.

    Now there are some issues I have with the e-500 which may or may not be a problem for you. The big one for me is the small viewfinder, this isn't a huge deal if you rely on auto focus most of the time, but when manual focusing my 35mm macro or Lensbaby, it can be a pain. The other problem is noise at high ISO, really this isn't much of a problem unless you are shooting over 400 and even then NoiseNinja or other software can help.

    With that said, wait until PMA before you make a decision.
     
  12. mike2q thread starter macrumors member

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    #12
    Pentax

    What about the Pentax 10d. Thats really the only wild card in the bunch. It sounds like a lot of bang for the buck. How does it compair to the competition?
     
  13. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #13
    Very well. :)

    I'd rather get a Pentax 10D than a Nikon D50, and I have a Nikon D50. Of course, a Nikon D80 would be sweeter than anything in that price range. :cool: It's more expensive, but is almost always said to be the best of the current crop of DSLRs near the $1000 price point.

    Listen, since PMA is so close, you may as well wait and see what Olympus churns out. They may be bringing out some great cameras to replace the E-500 and maybe even the E-330. After that, decide between Olympus and Nikon. :)
     
  14. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #14
    Everyone's touched on this, but I figured I'd weigh in.

    If you're not sure if you'll be serious about photography, then the D40 is perfectly suited to you. For full auto modes, you'll have to stick to AF-S lenses, but Nikon's making those from here on out. It does limit the wide range of used glass available to D50, 70, 80, etc. users.

    If you're pretty sure you'll be doing this for a whie, then you can still go with the D40, and just budget to upgrade bodies a year or two down the road when you know what combo of features and options you really want.

    Finally, if you can find a good-condition D70s, you'll find that to be a really good buy. A lot of D70s users upgraded to the D200 and never picked up the D70 again- making for a great used market. I'd get the D70s over the D40 or D50 unless you intend to shoot lots of low light without flash.
     
  15. mike2q thread starter macrumors member

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    #15
    Thats very sound advice. I've been watching the SLR market for about a year now and just barley decided it was time to buy. I can wait the 20 or so more days until PMA. No matter what, if something new comes out then chances are I'll see some sales on the cameras I'm already looking at. Anyone have a take on the Nikon D80 vs Pentax 10D. I hear its the same sensor but more features. I have photoshop CS2 so I'd be doing raw 99% of the time anyway so image processing isn't that important to me. The only reason I hesitate on the D40 is I have access to a Canon W6400PG wide format printer that I can print on for dirt cheap. I'll very likley be printing up to 24" x 36" from time to time. That being the case I'd like to keep the pixel count up to retain image integrity.

    Thanks so much for all of your input.
     
  16. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #16
    ^^^Please please please don't fall for the stuff about MP. If you're printing at 24" by 36", a 6 MP and 10 MP camera will both print to comparable quality (ie: not great).

    The Nikon D80 uses the same sensor as the Pentax 10D? I'm not 100% sure, but I don't think so. I'm pretty sure it uses a non-Sony sensor. Sony's Alpha 100 uses shares the same sensor as the Nikon D80, which is why their RAW output is identical.
     
  17. bousozoku Moderator emeritus

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    #17
    I'd much rather have the Pentax K10D but either camera body is acceptable.

    I would not expect too much from 24x36 inch photo printing. I do 13x19 inch prints from 5 MP and while they're good, there is a lot more coverage at 24x36. I would not expect great prints at that size from fewer than 22 MP.
     
  18. Lovesong macrumors 65816

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    #18
    Wow! I actually knew something that Abstract didn't. No, I'm not trying to be smartass, I just happen to respect your opinions on most everything. From bythom:

    "The sensor in the D80 is an ICX493AQA CCD made by Sony. The same sensor is used in the Sony Alpha 100 and Pentax K10D. The 10.2 effective megapixels mean 3872 x 2592 pixel images, enough to produce straight-from-camera prints up to about 11x16" without resizing. The base ISO of the CCD is 100, with third-stop increments up through ISO 1600. You can also boost ISO one more stop, up to an effective ISO 3200. While it has the same number of photosites and much the same technology as the D200 sensor, the sensor used in the D80 is a simpler two-channel device--it is not an exact match."

    http://www.bythom.com/d80review.htm
     
  19. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #19
    Ok, my mistake, then. Hey, everybody here can be wrong sometimes. :eek: I sometimes find that to be true as well regarding other, more experienced members, but more experience doesn't mean their memory is better. ;) Also, I'm one of the most inexperienced photographers here by far (around 13 months?), so don't be so surprised.

    The only reason I said the Pentax 10D had a different sensor is because I read this on DPReview a long time ago: LINK

    Also, if you compare the RAW photos HERE, the Pentax actually looks a bit sharper than the D80 in some areas, while the D80 and Sony A100 produce identical RAW "photos" because they have the same sensor. Just look at the lowest leaves on the tree on the Baileys bottle. The leaves are sharper on the Pentax output. The Pentax 10D also produces a different "red" than the D80, judging by the Martini bottle.

    Anyway, that's why I thought they were different sensors. However, you are possibly right, since I trust matching serial numbers more than my eyes. :D
     
  20. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #20
    It takes more than *just* the same sensor to produce near-identical photos, primarily the anti-aliasing filters have to be about the same, then the rest of the electronics need to be similar.
     
  21. Abstract macrumors Penryn

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    #21
    Fair enough, but when was the last time you saw DPReview test 2 cameras that use the same sensor and produce different looking RAW photos? I can't think of any, not even point and shoot cameras, and almost every company uses a Sony CCD in at least one of their models.
     
  22. Lovesong macrumors 65816

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    #22
    They are using different glass as well... It's possible that some of the differences you're seeing are due to that.

    EDIT: Where is this thread going anyway?
     
  23. Abstract macrumors Penryn

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    #23
    ^^Explain the D80 and A100 then?

    Oh, and I have no idea where this thread is going. :p
     
  24. Lovesong macrumors 65816

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    #24
    OK here-

    The D80 glass, from what I'm seeing, produces a slightly brighter, and smoother looking image from the defects on the bottle. If the CCDs are the same, then this slight difference is due to the lens used when you're shooting in raw. The difference in the Pentax vs. Nikon shot could be the result of using slightly more diverse quality of glass.
    If I were to take exactly the same images in a controlled studio environment with the same camera with 2 different 50mm lenses (say Canon's 1.8, and a 1.4), you'd be able to tell the difference- same manifacturer, same camera, slightly different glass.
    I guess there's more to photography than CCDs :p .

    By the way to the OP- get the Olympus, my friend loves his, and it's an easy way to get into the DSLR world (cheap, at least).
     

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  25. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #25
    All I see is slightly smoother, no difference in colour. I think that in the world of 50 mm glass taken at f/8, they're all going to be so sharp that you're not going to notice the difference this way, so I think the "smoother" image of the A100 could be due differences in AF. The D80 also has (a lot) more dynamic range in both JPEG (processing differences?), and when shooting in RAW. The D80 and Sony A100 have essentially the same range (it's all +-0.1 anyway).

    And not only did DPReview say that the Pentax K10D's sensor is different than the D80's sensor, they're actually different in physical size.

    Now that I really look at it, I don't know what Thom was talking about. He's fantastic if you're talking about photography, which is the most important thing. DPReview is just numbers, tables, and technical stuff that shouldn't matter, but I do listen to them when it comes to techie stuff.
     

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