View Full Version : Nikon or Olympus...looking for recommendations.

10-17-2007, 09:39 AM
I'm new to the photography board. I've been reading up on the Nikon D40, posts here and online. This would be my first SLR camera. I have a Olympus C-750 PnS. I bought it for the ultra zoom feature. Day pictures great, night and low light horrible. Looking for something easy but yet with better results.
Anyway, today I looked on the Olympus website and I seen the Evolt 410. Just wondering what you guys think of the Nikon vs. Olympus for a first timer? I'm trying to weed through all the facts and I'm going to go play with them to see how they feel. Just looking for some advice for advanced DSLR owners.

10-17-2007, 11:13 AM
The D40 has some limitations depending on your intended use- some lenses will not auto focus. I got one for my wife with an 18-135mm lens for I think just under $700. Works good for her because she wanted something small and light weight- with easy to understand controls similar to her old P&S- and a basic all-in-one lens she never plans on changing out. She is very happy with it but really never plans on using it any way other than auto mode with this lens. If you see yourself really wanting to progress into more advanced features and potential of a dslr it may not be your camera.

Not familiar at all with the Olympus line-up but there are a lot of good brands out there. Pretty sure any of the entry level dslr's will make a fine camera and a big leap in image quality from a P&S. I would reccomend going to a camera store where you can experiment with several models.

10-17-2007, 12:26 PM
The Olympus line are somewhat unique as they have a smaller sensor than other DSLRs, which allows them to have a slightly smaller body. This also usually means a little bit more noise at high ISOs (still much better than a point-n-shoot), but supposedly the newest ones have improved somewhat. There is no legacy lens support - you can only use newly-released "4/3rds" lenses. (You can get adapters to use other lenses, but with restrictions - no autofocus, manual metering, etc.) The selection of 4/3rds lenses is relatively small and they can be fairly expensive. The good news is that apparently many are quite nice, and the kit lens is above-average as well, not dissimilar to the Pentax one. I think they focus strange, too - I think instead of turning the focus ring like on usual SLR lenses, you twist it only a little bit in either direction and hold it there while motors to do the focusing. Then there's LiveView, which is unique among cheaper DSLRs, which may or may not appeal to you but leads to a smaller, dimmer viewfinder...

Anyway, you'll probably be happy with any DSLR you choose, they all will be a big jump over a point-n-shoot and all the entry-level ones are pretty user-friendly, with scene modes and such. The ones to be comparing are the Canon Rebel XT/XTi, Nikon D40/D40x, Pentax K100D/K100D Super, Sony Alpha A100, and the Olympus - I think the E410 is the cheapest but I can never remember the model numbers. :) The Pentax and Sony have in-body stabilization (works with every lens), and one of the new Olympuses does, too. The D40/D40x is the only DSLR that can't focus all the autofocus lenses.

Good luck with your choice!

10-17-2007, 01:54 PM
I'm not into recommending one brand over another anymore as they all have great entry options, just follow Gdad's advice and go handle and play with all of em, then worry about technical comparisons when you've narrowed it down :)

I feel compelled, however, to warn you since you are looking at Olympus that there is a lot of bias against Olympus out there. High ISO noise levels are higher on the smaller sensor, but the gap is not so large as some would have you believe (still many times larger than point and shoot). In exchange, both the camera and lenses are smaller and lighter. That's pretty much the gist of it, give and take. Their lens selection may be comparatively smaller (but not comparatively more expensive) but I know I could happily spend myself into poverty on lenses and still want for more ;)

(Note to Groucho: The lenses are focus by wire but there is no delay. Felt a bit odd at first, but having S-AF+MF as well as an AF button while in MF is nice.)

Lastly, if you want to see pics taken with the E-510 (same sensor as 410, just adds a grip and image stabilization to the body), check out my trip report in my signature! The 510 is my first DSLR also, bought because of the trip. If you have any specific questions for me, PM me or post on my trip report, I won't post here again as I've found threads on general photo boards involving Olympus degenerate pretty quickly when someone says Oly is good ;) (no offense to anyone here, of course! It happens everywhere, and I really do understand the opposing point of view)

Master Mason
10-17-2007, 03:12 PM
I won't post here again as I've found threads on general photo boards involving Olympus degenerate pretty quickly when someone says Oly is good ;) (no offense to anyone here, of course! It happens everywhere, and I really do understand the opposing point of view)


I don't think you will find that here. You will see people give their opinions of what is wrong with a particular camera or what makes another better etc. But I think the geneneral consensus is that if a particular camera is the best fit for you, then it is a great camera for you.

There are a few commited Oly Shooters on here that have some fantasitic shots, it is a quality camera. So feel free to sing its praises, there are not a lot of folks here that have them, tell us what is good about it, etc. As long as your giving an honest opinion then it's all good.

Having said that, as will all opinions, not everyone will agree with you, but I don't think that the disagreements here are as ugly as at other sites.

10-17-2007, 07:56 PM
Thanks guys for all the post. I really appreciate the input.

10-17-2007, 09:12 PM
I am a diehard Oly user for many, many reasons but my advise to you is that you visit a camera store that carries all three brands (I know that Ritz camera now carries all 3 brands) and really play with all 3.

I shoot with a canon at work since that is what they bought before I worked there. I am impressed with the pictures but the camera doesn't feel good in my hands. I loved the Nikon's but they were very heavy in my opinion for me to use. I have always gone back to the Olympus camera's because they work for me. Everyone has their opinions on what is the best and it is usually the brand they own:goodvibes

Research, play and then decide is the best advise you can get. Remember any camera can "take a picture", it is really the photographer who matters and develops the art that you look at.

10-18-2007, 12:38 AM
I just got the evolt 510 on saturday so I am still playing with it. Here is a pic I took on Sunday night on 42nd st in NYC at midnight. Not sure if it will help but thought I would share.


10-18-2007, 05:50 AM
Their lens selection may be comparatively smaller (but not comparatively more expensive) but I know I could happily spend myself into poverty on lenses and still want for more ;)

I have to disagree on this. When I looked at Oly, all the lenses seemed to be much more expensive. To be fair, it has been a year, but I doubt that they would have come down that much in that time. Also, the cheapest wide aperture prime was around $400 where the other brands generally have one between $100-200.


10-18-2007, 01:54 PM
Yeah, I don't think you'll necessarily find a lot of Olympus haters, but I don't know that it'd be everyone's first choice.

With the current crop of DSLRs, very high quality photos are a given. High ISO performance will generally be very good (for those who believe Canon has an edge, note the 40D review (http://www.popphoto.com/cameras/4668/camera-test-canon-eos-40d-the-gloves-are-off-page2.html) at PopPhoto where the Pentax K10D is noted for having slightly less noise at 1600)... with the Olympus maybe slightly behind but probably not too significantly. To choose a DSLR, I think you have to look at what each offers that you can't get with the others.

Canon offers a huge number of lenses and ubiquity.
Nikon offers some more build quality and almost as much ubiquity.
Pentax offers very low prices, image stabilization, extra features (top LCD, etc), and a nice kit lens.
Sony offers image stabilization, extra features (helped because their sole DSLR is slightly above entry-level), and the availability of relatively cheap older Minolta lenses.
Olympus offers the smallest DSLR, live-view, a nice kit lens, and some very interesting lens options (an F2.0 zoom? cool!).

Of course, there are negatives, too...
Canon has, compared to the others, probably the cheapest-feeling body and kit lens, and has other oddities like no RAW in Auto mode, and is a little more expensive
Nikon can't focus many of the lenses available including many desirable primes
Pentax has a small burst buffer (though the K10D fixes this and is similar in price to the XTi now) and a shortage of fast zooms, though they do exist
Sony has not so many new lenses available and they're a bit pricey
Olympus has the fewest lenses available due to no backwards compatability, they have a 4:3 aspect ratio, a relatively small and dim viewfinder, IS only in the higher-priced model, and the lenses there are seem to be quite expensive, also very little third-party lens support

Now, those are just one guy's conclusions so you should definitely take everything with a grain of salt. The point is, they're all good and there is no best for everyone.

Master Mason
10-18-2007, 04:06 PM
I agree with almost everything groucho just said, except for this. When the entry level Nikon was the D50, I think that they had an edge in build quality over the Rebel, with the entry level being the D40, I think that they are pretty compatable at this time.

10-18-2007, 07:09 PM
Thanks again....amazing pic scottyny. I plan to go check them out and then compare what features each has, as to what I want. Then I'll go from there.