I was asked about my new camera......

alisandeOctober 5, 2009

Pam asked which camera I just bought (it arrived this afternoon), and I thought I'd post separately about it.

I got a DSLR, the Olympus E-520. It's one of the "four-thirds" models that Olympus is putting out. I'm not sure what 4/3 means, exactly, except that the cameras are smaller and feature superior optics.

I had decided against buying a DSLR right now, but I've been hanging around the DPReview forums while I waited for the price on my next Panasonic superzoom to come down, and I kept running across gorgeous pictures taken by the E-520. Granted, some of them were taken with $1,000+ lenses, but still..... :-)

Since the 520 has been replaced by the 620, the price was a real bargain. I bought it from Amazon with two lenses. I'm trying not to think about more lenses at this time, but I see a real potential for lens addiction. Thank heavens I tend to be frugal.

Anyway, it's been a long time since I've used an SLR, and never a digital one, so this will be a learning experience. I'm excited!

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Congratulations! You are going to have so much fun. We'll look forward to your photos. Which lenses did you get?

I got my first DSLR back at Christmas time last year and it's been a big learning curve for me but it is so interesting and exciting. My camera is also a discontinued Nikon model and came with 2 kit lenses. I made the comment to my husband that it was as much camera as I'll ever need and he laughed at me. :) But, I feel it's true.

Do you ever visit Flickr? Here's the Olympus E520 group link. There is a discussion section and over 11,000 photos taken with your camera.


    Bookmark   October 5, 2009 at 9:43PM
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Hi Pam!

Yup, I have a Flickr account, and I've checked out the 520 photographers. Some cool stuff there, and from other camera groups. I love a lot of what has been posted so from the Panasonic Z35, the superzoom I was going to get before I got seduced by the Olympus.

The lenses are 14-42mm and 40-150mm, both Zuiko. Many of my favorites among the e-520 images I've seen were taken with either of two additional Zuiko lenses, the 70-300mm and the 50-200mm. The latter costs over $1,000, so I really don't anticipate getting that one. A highly-regarded Zuiko 50mm portrait lens is in the same price range. Too bad, because they're really something. I guess you get what you pay for....

But I've seen some great stuff from the 70-300 lens, too, and that one, while certainly not cheap, is less expensive--in the $400 range. So I'm thinking maybe someday.......if I snag a used one, or if I have a windfall......

And the other thing is that with the right adapters I could, if I wanted to, use some of the lenses from my 35mm days. They'll at least be Image Stabilized, because the IS is in the camera body.

If you think of anything that might save me some stupid mistakes on my learning curve, please pass it along. :-)

Do you ever post on the DPReview forums? They have a very active Nikon forum. More than one, actually.

Here is a link that might be useful: my Flickr account

    Bookmark   October 5, 2009 at 10:04PM
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My #1 piece of advice is to remember to take your memory card when you go out with your camera. ;) I can't tell you how many times I've gotten to my destination and not had a card.

I have been a little disappointed in the results of my Nikon 70-300 lens but I probably need more experience with it. I thought it would bring me closer to birds, but I still find that unless they are very tame, I need to get close enough to scare them to get a good photo.

I have a 12-24 Tokina wide angle but have only used it a time or two. I think that one is going to be lots of fun.

Have fun with your new toy, Alisande!

    Bookmark   October 6, 2009 at 6:36PM
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Pam, I had the exact same result. I had the same feeling, and it probably is more feeling than result, about my Nikon 70-300 lens. After I got it with my new DSLR, I read it wasn't a top rated model for that length, but, I really think it was a matter of expecting something different. Single lens systems simply are more range specific, apparently.

To get the kinds of results I hoped for, it apparently takes what many call a super-zoom. I had a similar result with the portrait type lens. It doesn't take the close up/macro shots I hoped I could get. So, unless I'm mistaken (again) I need a bigger zoom to get the long range shots and a good macro lens to get macro shots I had hoped to get. In other words, probably another $1500 to 2500 for lenses for those kinds of shots that I had in mind for those long range and short range shots.

In short, I didn't appreciate what how well "zoom" cameras were at being a jack of all trades.

I'd be interested to know what others moving up to single lens cameras experienced in that regard.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2009 at 7:54AM
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RC, I've been spending a lot of time on various forums at DPReview, and while I've learned a lot about DSLRs and their systems, when I encounter in-depth discussions on lenses, I'm still lost. I understand about "fast" vs. "slow" lenses, and I get depth of field, focal range, and "good glass" vs. cheap, but apparently there's still tons I don't know. This is not like my old 35mm SLR days, when I had a 50mm 1.8, a telephoto, and a macro. Period.

What I've been doing, therefore, is looking at a lot of images online, particularly those taken with my camera or models close to it, and seeing what lenses were used. That's how I came to lust after the Zuiko 50-200mm (the one I can't afford) and the 70-300 (the one I might be able to afford). I saw great long-range pix taken with both of them. In addition, I saw fabulous portraits taken with the 50-200 and stunning macros taken with the 70-300. A lot depends on how close an individual lens will focus, but a lot, too, depends on the photographer.

To illustrate the latter, someone on DPR posted an interesting comparison of action shots taken with two cameras, one costing $3,200 (including the lens), and the other $1,400 (ditto). The photographer is always the wild card. Check out the shots at the link below.


Here is a link that might be useful: Action shot comparison

    Bookmark   October 7, 2009 at 5:33PM
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Saying what I did about my Nikon 70-300, It does do very well if the subject isn't too far away. After I came to the realization that it wasn't what I thought it was (my fault for not doing more research, I'm sure)for longer distance wildlife photos, I've come to appreciate it for what it can do.

I just have to be sure I'm photographing tame wildlife.

And you're right, Alisande. Much of the result hinges on the photographer.....and I'm playing with that working on that. :)

    Bookmark   October 7, 2009 at 11:39PM
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Thanks for the replies and additional info.

Sched kind of tight today, I'll try to respond more later.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2009 at 9:32AM
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Nice choice, hands down the Olympus line is the best bang for the buck. Colors of the pics striaght out the cam are amazing. The kit lenses were better than my nikon and canon kit lenses, by leaps and bounds.

4/3 refers to the the aspect ratio of sensor. nikon and canon are 3/2.

The 4/3 is the smaller of the sensors and has a optical multiplier of 2. Ther other two having 1.6 and 1.5.

There is a 50mm macro that can be had for 200-250 dollars. It takes some nice pictures.

I no longer bye canon, still have one nikon. but I still use my old E500 and E1 over the d90.


    Bookmark   October 10, 2009 at 2:42AM
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Hi Joe. Good to hear from you. Love the pic of your daughter you posted. Easy to see that you have things to do beside chat on the net. ;) Having kids that age is great fun... when they aren't making you think of pulling out some hair. ha.

Just wondering what factors keep you using your older cameras over the D90?

    Bookmark   October 10, 2009 at 7:55AM
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Hey, Joe--nice to see you! I haven't seen you around here in quite a while (smart man). It's very good to have you validate my choice like that--thanks!!


    Bookmark   October 10, 2009 at 9:32AM
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Nikon, Olympus, and Canon all make good/great. It just really comes down to what fits you. I just feel that Olympus (for me) is the better choice.
Here is a piece of advice to consider when taking pictures. When deciding the center point. 4:3 does not match with 4x6 prints. The pictures will get cropped. That is one area that the 3:2 has an advantage. What you see is what you get.3:2 times 2 = 6:4 ratio ~~~4x6 prints! So... Give yourself a little room on the top and bottom. However; 8x10 and 5x7 prints fit the 4:3 ratio a whole to better than 3:2. the 3:2 has a lot of pixels getting chopped of and at larger prints I WANT all the pixels I can get. at 4x6 I don't care if care if I lose some pixels because it is such a smaller print there is no loss of quality.

Don't get me wrong, I really like the D90, great camera. The colors just pop of of the Oly cameras, less editing for me. Apple for Apple you just get a better deal with glass with the Olympus.

I have a friend here in Tucson that has his PHD in Optical physics and uses it at his work place. Guess where he gets his glass from???? Oly and Nikon, be states he wont even mess with Canon. Now, he does not deal with photography at all so take that for what it is worth.

Now, I am not a total fan boy, there is an area that Ply fails on me. Low lit environments. There newer models a 100x's better, however this is why I went with the Nikon this time around. When I need or want to take pics on low light I get the Nikon

And the totally honest reason - The E500 was my first love. It was my first DSLR when I converted over from the AE1.


    Bookmark   October 10, 2009 at 9:18PM
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I started my interest in photography while stationed in Germany from 1968 till 1972. i came back from Europe with two Pentax Spotmatics & 19 Takumar lenses, plus a Minolta C330 Twin lens med format camera, a 4x5 century graphic press camera, and a complete color darkroom but unfortunately a year after i returned it was all stolen.

When i retired in June I decided i wanted to get back into nature photography as a retirement hobby, however I had no equipment and being on fixed income i had very limited financial resources.

Needless to say, at $1000 and up, a DSLR was way off in the future, but with the advent of digital the price of 35mm film cameras has dropped to peanuts.

With a little research I discovered that the Pentax DSLR's are compatible with nearly all Pentax lenses ever made so I decided to get a good Pentax 35mm film camera and collect a few lenses and accessories to get me going.

I found a website for an online auction sponsored by Goodwill Industries and in reviewing the site I discovered that they have loads of photo gear, and it generally goes for a song. By example, I bought a Pentax ME super with a 50mm normal lens, 28-70mm zoom, 70 to 300mm zoom, a flash unit, camera bag and a long list of misc. goodies for the whooping sum of $62 +S&H.

i continued watching for those combined sets and within three months I had acquired 5 cameras and 11 lenses including as 1000mm tele, plus an auto bellows, a ring flash for macro, and on Ebay i got a nice padded luggage style case. Total investment to that point was under $400.

Three weeks ago I was checking Craigslist for my area, and by mistake I hit a tab for a neighboring state. When i looked under photo gear, what did i see, a Pentax *ist body in like new condition for $200.

Now I will admit that i dont have auto focus, but that is the only feature of the DSLR that i don't have, and considering that when i learned photography through the lens metering was still in its infancy, i am fully comfortable with using depth of field and manual focus.

Now i have the full enjoyment of the hobby and i can set a few dollars aside each month until i can buy a Pentax K20 or K7 in the spring.

Oh yes...today I bought a Pentax 35mm film camera that has auto focus so when it arrives I will have two auto focus lenses too, not bad for another $45 investment.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2009 at 11:37PM
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I don't know much, actually nothing, about the quality of the Nikon lens you mention but I want to throw in a golden rule when using tele lenses, especially at long focal lengths and/or slow shutter speeds and/or wide apertures: ALWAYS, whenever possible use a tripod. The best photographer that ever lived cannot get sharp and acceptable results when using a long tele under the conditions I mention above. The simplest way to lower the rate of your "aw cr@p" tele results when not using a tripod is to focus very carefully, use a small aperture and as fast a shutter speed as possible. The problem with this is that those conditions can only be used (most often) in bright light and we all know us photographers can seldom count on that luxury on a regular basis. It also helps to find a way to brace your body and the camera using a tree, rock, vehicle, etc. in the absence of using a tripod.

Here is a link that might be useful: My photo galleries

    Bookmark   October 19, 2009 at 11:28PM
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Gorgeous pictures, Ralph! You have a talent for capturing the beauty of your countryside. (Not to mention your dog.) :-)

    Bookmark   October 20, 2009 at 12:04AM
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Thank you very much alisande! I have to brag a little and say that I have no doubt he had the qualities, if nothing more than his beauty, that could have made him a champion show dog but I didn't want to go that route with him. That dog stole my heart like no other and losing him left a big hole in my heart. It's been over two years since he died and I still miss him as if it were only yesterday.

Here is a link that might be useful: My photo galleries

    Bookmark   October 20, 2009 at 12:26PM
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