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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2007
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    Talking Nikon D40 or Olympus Evolt E-500

    Looking to buy a DSLR. I have narrowed it down to these two. Both in my price range. The Nikon is a bit newer, Olympus have a few nicer features, whats are the opinions on both of these.. what would you buy?

    Thanks Allan

  2. #2
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    Dec 2006
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    just in case you didn't...have you also considered the pentax k100 and rebel xt ? the d40's stregths and weaknesses are well documented if you do a search of this forum and have a read. namely, no internal AF motor in D40 which will narrow down your AF lens choices.

    i know nothing about the oly.
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  3. #3
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    May 2007
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    When I was ready to enter the DSLR arena a few months ago I too was doing a lot of homework and had it narrowed down to the Canon Rebel XT. then I stumbeled upon the E-500 with the two lens kit and started researching it more. At the time my Sony H-5 was in the shop getting fixed because of a dust problem on the sensor. Don't ask me how since the lens is not changeable on that camera. Anyhow I heard how this a real problem for DSLR cameras and found out that of all the cameras out there that boast of auto sensor cleaners for dust problems on DSLRs, the Oly system works the best.

    That more or less sealed it for me. Went the next day and bought the E-500 and love it with all that it can do. I too had a budget and would have liked to have gotten the Nikon D-80, but too expensive for me. This one works great for me.
    Thomas

  4. #4
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    Mar 2007
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    The Nikon has undeniably better image quality, and beats the stuffing out of the Olympus's high-ISO performance.

    The Olympus does have more of a focal range, if you're looking at the two-lens kit. At $600, it's a better buy than the Nikon, for which a comparable focal range (kit + 55-200mm VR) would go for $750-$775. However, the Nikon zoom lens includes stabilization, and as far as I can tell the Olympus doesn't. That's worth quite a bit right there.

    The Olympus does have a couple more features, however the Nikon is better in many areas. Continuous mode, battery life, menu system, and USB 2.0 high speed, which the EVOLT doesn't have, but should.

    It is a deal for the E-500, and it's very decent. There are areas where the Nikon trumps it, that's all. The obvious flaw of the D40's lack of an in-cam focus motor... is there, assuredly, but the digital lenses used by the Olympus tend to be rather costly as well. Check out the Pentax K100 (uses AA batteries... I don't really like that, but some do).

    If you really want features, for a slightly higher price you could check out the Sony Alpha, and the Pentax K10D.
    Nikon D40 + kit lens

    Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 D AF(...or not)

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2007
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    4
    Thanks so far

    Roz.. I see that and understand that can be a limiting factor, but right now I doubt I will be buying large purchases for it. I am In college (not 20 yers old...lol)and funds are few to add, but it is a consideration.

    Thomas...The auto cleaning is a big selling point and the 8mpics is really nice too

    Thanks Allan

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2007
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    4
    Thanks fionndruinne

    Yea I am seeing that both have expensives lens

    I have read the reviews on here about both of them and the pics that were posted I do see a better image quality of the Nikon, or so it appears. and that is a huge concern to me. I may not be professional photographer, but I do have that eye for quality. I know it when I see it

    how big is it for a concern for the auto sensor cleaners . how do feel about that?

    what is the biggest gain I will have from the Nikon 6.1 to the Olypus 8.0 mpics?

    Thanks Allan

  7. #7
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    Mar 2007
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    Well, a smaller MP sensor - of the same (or almost) physical size - is a reason why the D40 gets better high-ISO performance than the Olympus. Not the only reason (I think Sony just puts out a better CCD than Kodak), but one. Personally I don't think there's a whole lot of difference between 6MP and 8MP, other than a larger filesize. A 10MP sensor is enough to make a difference, but the difference between a 6 or an 8 in DSLR terms is much smaller than, say, the difference between a 2 and a 4 MP compact sensor.

    I don't trust sensor cleaning technology. The tests which I recently saw via a link on this site, while they did put Olympus in front, still showed clearly that while the technology abates dust somewhat it doesn't rid one of the problem. It makes less dust, for perhaps less frequent sensor cleanings, but you will still have to open it up and clean it out at times, regardless. I think sensor cleaning, at its present state of effectiveness, is almost a gimmick. But, again, Olympus comes closest to an effective process.

    I know what you're up against, Allan; I'm quite strapped for cash myself these days, and have multiple reasons, education included, why not to have splurged on a DSLR, and that's why I picked the D40 - obviously if my purse was larger, I'd have gone for more options. But I needed it, quite simply because it will keep me busy; get me out of the house more, and looking for opportunities to photograph. It'll keep me in better conditioning for the pressures of "making it". The D40 has limitations, but I am in the right situation to work around them (and am frankly interested to see what I'll come up with).

    Here are the +/- in the budget DLSR range, as I see them:

    Nikon D40:
    +best-in-class image quality
    +great ergonomics, menus, well-designed and effective features across the board.
    -limited auto-focusing lenses (although manual focus is not always a problem), often more costly
    -some limitations in feature range (bracketing is the only thing which I feel the lack of)
    -lackluster included software

    Olympus E-500:
    +great dual-lens deal, with a good focal range
    +good selection of features, especially for the price
    -rather expensive lenses
    -not always well-executed features (lack of fast USB 2.0, no stabilization in zoom lens)
    -somewhat lower image quality, mostly in high-ISO category, also as a result of higher 2x crop factor

    Pentax K100 ($490 on Amazon, well within this category):
    +lots of available lenses
    +in-camera image stabilization(!)
    +decent software bundle
    +very decent high-ISO performance, only just beat by D40
    -bad continuous shooting mode (only five jpegs at full speed)
    -AA batteries (some call it a plus. Alright! But no AA will provide as much power as a good Li-Ion pack, plus kit only comes with disposable alkalines; Li-Ion cams include costly battery + charger)
    -slow low-light focusing
    -lackluster kit lens (D40's kit lens is the best, as far as kit lenses go)
    Nikon D40 + kit lens

    Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 D AF(...or not)

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
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    Japan
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    Quote Originally Posted by fionndruinne View Post
    I don't trust sensor cleaning technology. The tests which I recently saw via a link on this site, while they did put Olympus in front, still showed clearly that while the technology abates dust somewhat it doesn't rid one of the problem. It makes less dust, for perhaps less frequent sensor cleanings, but you will still have to open it up and clean it out at times, regardless. I think sensor cleaning, at its present state of effectiveness, is almost a gimmick. But, again, Olympus comes closest to an effective process.
    Believe me, it's no gimmick. If the test to which you refer is the same one I remember (this one?), it was almost ridiculously harsh, involving a condition of "dusting" that no one in their right mind would ever subject a camera to in real life (you should never expect to see an Olympus (or other camera for that matter) start out with that level of dust). The fact that the Oly did so well is insanely good. The test concludes that "The system that was first introduced seemed to work quite well. We must note, that the spots were also less visible on this camera, and the sensor cleaning technology has worked much more effectively than in any one of the other three cameras."

    As I reported in an earlier thread, I've had my E-300 for over two years and changed lens countless times in all conditions and never had to clean the sensor once. The microdust that is there is inconsequential (invisible under all ordinary conditions). Yes, I will eventually send the camera in to have the "sticky strip" replaced and any residual dust or stains removed professionally, but I knew that beforehand; I doubt I'll ever have to clean it myself, and in the various Olympus forums I've been participating in for those two years, the number of people who have actually had to clean their sensors (or send them in) due to sticky pollen or moisture stains has been so few as to be inconsequential. In every case that I can remember, it's been the result of pretty unusual conditions.
    "...and only the stump, or fishy part of him remained."
    Green Gables: A Contemplative Companion to Fujino Township

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Hmm. It's true that the test involves much more dust than would ever be the case in real life, and it's also true that the Olympus is much smarter than the other models - the adhesive strip grabs the dust which has been shaken free, whereas the other models just, what? Well, they leave those particles inside the sensor area just driftin' around, don't they?

    I wonder if the adhesive wears out, though?

    The Canon XTi's the only one I have personal experience with - my friend's got dust specks even with the cleaning technology, and since that means that real removal necessitates opening it up and blowing it out, I'd call it almost a gimmick. What the Olympus does is very good, though, I understated it. It's a good system.
    Nikon D40 + kit lens

    Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 D AF(...or not)

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    6,590
    Lots of mis-information here again.
    The D40 does NOT have best in class image quality. Unless you make that class to contain DSLRs with severe cut down features and a lens motor problem (because then the D40 is the only one in that group).

    The E-500 is better in ISO 100 and 200 than the D40. Noise wise it will show more noise at ISO 400 and above than other cameras.
    The E-500 has USB 2

    The D40 does not have exposure (and white balance) bracketing.
    It does have a severe lack of affordable good lenses, almost all of Nikon's primes do not work on it, and most 3rd party lenses do not work on it, because they rely on the internal motor from Nikon, which the D40 lacks.
    This limits you to either the kit zooms or the very expensive lenses from Nikon.
    It does not have mirror lock up (when you need to avoid the mirror snap vibration for sharp longer exposure photos).
    It is the most cut down DSLR on the market.

    The anti dust systems work well. Much better than F. tells you they work.
    The "test" he refers to is very flawed, and as such should be ignored.
    Actual owners of Olympus cameras and of the Canon XTi(400D) will testify to the fact that they hardly get any dust to clean ever.

    The E-500 feels a LOT better than the D40. Not an important point at all, since one gets used to the camera one has, but since F. put that point up, I would like to mention that.

    The Pentax K100D beats the D40 in high ISO, the D40 loses detail where the K100D does not.

    I would suggest to look at the new E-510, when it becomes available shortly, instead of the E-500.
    And I would look at the Canon XTi (400D) over the D40 any time (the D40 really just is a very limitting camera), but I do not know what budget you have in mind now and for the future.

    D40: too cut down, and too expensive in lens upgrades (and no good RAW convertor, will cost $150 extra).
    E-510(E-500): good features, only let down is the 3 AF points (like the D40) and the smaller sensor. E-510 offers IS and anti dust.
    K100D: good features, let down is the 6mp resolution (like D40), includes IS.
    XTi/400D: good features, 10mp makes a real difference comared to the 6mp cameras, offers antidust.

    All in all the D40 is the least compelling of this group.
    Canon EOS 350D, Tamron SP AF 90mm F/2.8 macro, Sigma 18-50mm F2.8 DC EX, Canon EF 70-200mm f/4 L USM, Tokina AT-X124 Pro 12-24mm F4, Soligor 1.7x C/D4 DG Teleconvertor, Manfrotto 724B tripod, Canon Powershot S30

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