Opinions: Olympus E-510

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Cole Slaw, Sep 15, 2008.

  1. Cole Slaw macrumors 6502a

    Cole Slaw

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2006
    Location:
    Canada
    #1
    Just wondered if anyone here has any experience with the Olympus E-510, or maybe even a comment on Olympus digital SLRs in general.
    I realize most here are Canon and Nikon fans, but I've seen what I think is a good deal on the E-510 with 2 lenses, a 14-42 and a 40-150.
    As far as digital cameras go I've only really owned a point and shot, though it's a pretty good point and shoot (in my opinion anyway); it's a Canon A710is.
    Years ago, back in the film age, I used to own an Olympus OM-1. I loved that camera, but I'm definitely not up on how good or bad Olympus is with thier digital cameras.
    Any opinions/advise appreciated.
    Thanks.
     
  2. NightGeometry macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2004
    #2
    I've used an e-500 quite a bit, and like it a lot. When it became time for me to buy for myself I skipped Olympus because of the smaller sensor size though. But whether that is really an issue for you is up to you.

    I'm actually looking to buy an OM, my uncle used to have one when I was much younger. Lovely cameras.
     
  3. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #3
    It's not about the camera, it's about the system.

    Pluses:

    The Olympus system offers good price points, and great glass.
    You can jump to Panasonic or Leica if Oly pisses you off.

    Middle of the road (Plus for some, minus for others:)

    Olympus cameras tend to be small- for some it's a plus, for others a minus for various reasons, some of them ergonomic.

    If you believe crop with high resolution is better, then the sensor size helps, if you don't then it doesn't.

    Depth of field with the smaller sensor is deeper- if you shoot landscapes this may be a bonus, if you want nice blurry backgrounds it's a negative.

    Smaller mirror shouldn't induce as much vibration, though a lot depends on overall weight and mounting.

    Minuses:

    4/3rds offers about a stop worse noise at the same resolution as APS-C and probably somewhere north of two stops compared to "Full frame" 35mm. For some people, that's not a big deal, for others it is- only you can make up your mind about how it will affect what you shoot. You can use the DPR tests to judge and compare it to other cameras of the same era.

    Lens availability is limited in terms of magnification, but in terms of equivalent focal lenght it's about on par with everyone else, though you may have to go to 3rd party glass and some lenses are pretty expensive.

    There's only one sensor size, so you can't have a "big wide" body and a "high-density crop" body and share lenses. You will soon be able to have a "smaller, but not totally lens compatible" non-SLR option with micro-4/3rds though.

    You can get good pictures with any DSLR currently on the market, only you can determine what features and performance are best suited to what you shoot.
     
  4. Cole Slaw thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Cole Slaw

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    Oct 6, 2006
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    Canada
    #4
    Wow, compuwar, thanks for all the effort you put into writing that answer.
    I never realized the information that you and NightGeometry talk about; the stuff about the sensor size.
    But in terms of lens quality, you figure Olympus is pretty good?
     
  5. greg555 macrumors 6502a

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    Mar 24, 2005
    Location:
    Canada
    #5
    Small sensors have more depth of field (DOF) than larger ones (for the same final print size). This is good when you want lots of DOF but bad when you want shallow DOF.

    To match the DOF of an f2.8 full frame lens you need an f2.0 lens on APS-C cameras or an f1.4 lens on 4/3 camera. So if you like shallow DOF shooting you may want to consider an APS-C camera. Also most brands have an affordable 50mm f1.4 lens.

    If you like small cameras and aren't worried about shallow DOF or really low noise (as a previous poster mentioned) then Olympus has some good options.

    Greg
    (truth in advertising: Pentax owner)
     
  6. Mr. G4 macrumors 6502

    Mr. G4

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    Mar 29, 2002
    Location:
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    #6
    Another advantage of the E510 over Canon-Nikon is IS in the body which means whatever lens you put on it is stabilized, even your old OM mount.
     
  7. yaroldb macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2007
    #7
    My 2 cents…

    I’ve owned an E-500 for a few years now and am on the verge of upgrading to an E-520. I love my Olympus. At first I was worried I made the wrong decision. I almost sold it to purchase the standard Nikon or Canon. I am glad I stayed with it. The camera feels great in my hands and the button layout are perfect for me. I have purchased a few lens, Oly 70mm-300mm, Sigma 18mm-50mm 2.8, Oly 35mm 3.5 macro and the standard 2 lens kit. The glass is sharp as a tack, the Sigma is my current fav. It hardly comes of the body. The 2x crop makes a 70-300 lens into a 140mm-600mm lens all for less than $400. You'll have a hard time beating that.

    There are some downsides. My E-500 does not come with IS, so hand holding at 300mm is hard without a very bright day. I can hardly use any ISO over 650 and even at that, I find myself cleaning up noise. I hear the E-510 has better ISO and it does come with IS. If you are looking into getting an Olympus you may want to look at the E-520. Rumor is it uses the same sensor as its big brother the E-3. IS works a little better on it and the pricing difference is not that high. If you are just starting out like I was, the standard 2 lens kit will suite you well.

    That being said, any DSLR on the market will give you stellar results. Learning to use them is half the fun and watching your pictures evolve over the years is worth the investment.

    Good luck on your purchase…

    Yarold
     
  8. EugeneA macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2008
    #8
    Skin tones...

    An additional factor nobody mentioned. Olympus has the
    best skin tone reproduction of all the vendors. I my experience
    they are just head and shoulders better.
    By the way, it comes from a guy who shoots with Nikon
    exclusively. However, when I got a chance to try side-by-side
    shots with Olympus, I have to admit, their skin color
    reproduction is just superior. It would take me a lot of
    post-processing work to get anywhere near
    what Olympus does out of the box.

    Just 2 cents worth...
     
  9. SLC Flyfishing macrumors 65816

    SLC Flyfishing

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2007
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #9
    Actually, I think that the old OM mount lenses won't work with a 4/3 body. I don't even think the mount is the same. There might be adapters though.

    I like Olympus, they've got a unique approach to the DSLR and I think it's a pretty good product. The lenses are superb.

    SLC
     
  10. CrackedButter macrumors 68040

    CrackedButter

    Joined:
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    Location:
    51st State of America
    #10
    I use the Olympus E420 and I own 3 lenses.

    The 17.5-45mm, the 12-60mm and the Leica 25mm. In 35mm terms, those focal lengths are 35-90mm, 24-120 and 50mm.

    This review compares minimum focusing distance if you're also interested.

    There is my review of all three lenses concerning DOF and you can judge the quality for yourself. They are from unedited raw files. There are also tons of images for you to peruse as well. If you're still concerned about image quality, just do a search on flickr.

    The E510 btw won't be able to take advantage of wireless flash whereas the E520 will, incase you're interested.

    Even though, the Zuiko range is all digital, you can use your OM lenses with adapters with manual focusing. With the range being all digital and built from the ground up only in recent years, the lens design are more up to date than from other manufacturers, their kit lenses are generally of good quality for what they are.
     
  11. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #11
    "The best skin tones" depends a lot on the skin color of the subject and is subjective.
     
  12. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    Location:
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    #12
    Yes, their lens quality is fine- the biggest question you should probably ask yourself is how serious you want to get about photography- if it's just taking pictures for your and your family's enjoyment, then you really can't go wrong with pretty-much any of the manufacturers, and everyone has great lens options.

    If you may get serious and do some semi- or professional shooting, then the options tend to narrow in terms of ancillary equipment or specialized shooting (such as indoor sports, birds...)

    If you have the chance to go somewhere that has a range of cameras, you should do so and see how they feel in your hands- but ignore the sales people in general- they're paid, bonused, or given hours based more on margins and price than good advice (there are exceptions, but they're few and far between- in the last decade or so, I've seen *one* store owner tell a customer they didn't need a $4500 DSLR, the $700 one would do just fine.) If you like the handling and viewfinder, then you'll probably be happy.
     
  13. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

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    #13
    If this was true, they'd own the portrait market - which they obviously don't.
     
  14. Mr. G4 macrumors 6502

    Mr. G4

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    Rohnert Park, CA
    #14
    Yes you do need the OM adapter, then you just have to enter the focal length and it become stabilized. The downside it's only manual focus.

    That's the most important aspect of picking a camera, if you don't like the feel of it you won't like it. Also the user interface of the menu is quite intuitive like a mac :D.

    This picture of Steve was taken with the E-510 and Zuiko 50-200 at ISO 800 at the last WWDC in San Francisco.

    [​IMG]
     
  15. CrackedButter macrumors 68040

    CrackedButter

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    #15
    Somebody used NoiseNinja!
     
  16. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #16
    Well there's strong belief that Fuji's S-series DSLRs produce the best skin tones, and are the best cameras for weddings because they have 12 EV of dynamic Range and can capture a black tux and white wedding dress without losing detail from either.

    They don't own the market despite of this, so it's not really an indication that something isn't true, really.
     
  17. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #17
    That shot pretty-well validates DPR's dynamic range tests[1] showing only 6.7 EV of DR at ISO800 (and only .6 EV more at 100)- but it'd still be nice to see it white balanced to the lights to see if the color cast is all lighting. Fortunately, there's lots of white spots to balance to! ;)

    You're looking at about .7 EV less highlight range than a D40, and an almost identical tonal curve and dynamic range compared to a Pentax K10D- so the low dynamic range doesn't appear to be related to the size of the sensor.

    [1] http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/olympuse510/page19.asp
     
  18. Phrasikleia macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

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    Location:
    Over there------->
    #18
    What's the EV of dynamic range with the typical Canon or Nikon?

    [Edit: never mind, I looked it up. It's about 9 stops.]
     
  19. Mr. G4 macrumors 6502

    Mr. G4

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    #19
    No no no Dfine ;):p
     
  20. CrackedButter macrumors 68040

    CrackedButter

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    #20
    Agree. They have custom settings on the S5 Pro that try to replicate FujiFilm, as far as I knew they are regarded as the best cameras for accurate skin tones.
     
  21. Mr. G4 macrumors 6502

    Mr. G4

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    #21
    I would rather say that Olympus is more known for the "Oly" blue sky than a skin tone.
     

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