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PostPosted: Fri Oct 09, 2009 1:27 pm 
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Joined: Fri Aug 01, 2008 8:27 am
Posts: 528
Location: Hanoi, Vietnam
After narrowing down my search, i went with the Olympus E520 because of how it felt in my hand. The tunnel-scope is my main gripe though. I got a good deal (as discontinued now, probably) with the 2 kit lenses and a 0.7x wide converter.

It's my first DSLR after spending 6 years with my trusty Fuji s5000 with a mighty 3MP, but initial trials have been disappointing.

I'm blaming myself and not the camera yet as I'm still getting used to all the features. I'm reasonably experienced with operating my bridge camera under full manual controls, and only its famously poor image quality lets it down. i also wanted something quicker and more challenging.

I understand how the 4/3 crop factor works, but does this also apply with the f-numbers? (silly Q maybe). My olympus kit lenses seem slower and darker than my old 2003 superzoom, and focusing is around the same speed in decent light but awful/unusably slow in dim light. I knew this was an issue, but didn't realise how bad it would be. I know the kit lenses are cheap but I read they were among the best available.

Selecting the same ISO setting for both the old Fuji and the E520, max aperture, and an identical field of view yields shutter speeds about twice as fast in my ancient superzoom compact than my new DSLR. Turning on IS on the Olympus levels up the playing field.... just. The Fuji is unstabilised.

I thought an upgrade to any DSLR would be light night & day when compared to my old compact. How can it be twice as slow in focusing & shutter speeds?

Anyway, it's early days and I have a lot to learn. I've gone through Wrotniak's settings, searched around forums, and am looking for a decent field guide (any suggestions?) as the included flimsy manual will soon be torn to shreds.

I'm going away to the country for the weekend and will see how things go. I hope I will be pleasantly surprised.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 09, 2009 2:08 pm 
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Joined: Sun May 10, 2009 2:57 pm
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Quote:
I understand how the 4/3 crop factor works, but does this also apply with the f-numbers? (silly Q maybe). My olympus kit lenses seem slower and darker than my old 2003 superzoom, and focusing is around the same speed in decent light but awful/unusably slow in dim light. I knew this was an issue, but didn't realise how bad it would be. I know the kit lenses are cheap but I read they were among the best available.


Depends on which superzoom.

All digicams I've owned, whether superzooms or not, have had a starting aperture of 2.8 at the widest focal lenght and don't go above F4.6 at maximum telephoto. Something fairly standard.

So assuming you have the standard kit lens from Olympus then yes, you start with f3.5 at the widest focal lenght, that's half a stop slower. You'd have to compensate with higher ISOs or slower shutter speeds.

Can't comment on those focusing issues you are refering to (I don't own an Olympus DSLR).


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 09, 2009 5:28 pm 
Pocket cameras have much smaller sensors than even 4/3, so making lenses with fast apertures is cheaper and easier for them, hence the lenses already attached to them are in fact usually faster. This plays a part in how fast a camera can autofocus.

You cant judge a camera purely on the speed of its autofocus [and certainly not on the shutter speed, thats crazy]


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 09, 2009 11:37 pm 
Hi, I have recently made a similar change - in my case from a Canon S5IS to the E520. I chose the 520 kit because of what I felt was a very compelling price / value combination, the compactness of the outfit, the great way it way it felt in the hand and also I believed the lenses were the best of the bunch as far as kit lenses went (this was important as I don't know when I'll have the budget for 'better' glass).

I have found the learning curve steeper and longer than I expected even though I was familiar with full manual control of my S5. After 2 months though I'm getting photo's I'm really starting to like. I was initially disappointed with the image output but to be honest I think my expectations were way too high. Through taking plenty of photo's to understand the camera and by playing with the settings I am now much happier. My settings are now NATURAL, sharpness +1 (I haven't gone to +2 but I know some people have and claim good results), contrast -2, saturation +1. Images are now more to my liking being sharper with fewer blown highlights and a little more colour.

I can't do direct comparisons as I sold the S5 to pay for the 520 but the biggest benefit I have found is the much improved low ISO performance. This is not meant to be an Oly strong point but to have a fully usable ISO 800 and an OK ISO1600 is a revelation. Also, the very small sensor of the S5 made getting a blurred background next to impossible and even the standard Oly kit lenses do a much better job.

Overall I am very happy with the change I made. I now really like the image quality whilst the weight / size of what I carry hasn't increased too much. Possibly the biggest change though has been mentally - it sounds strange and I guess any DSLR would have achieved the same but I now feel serious about my hobby. I now don't feel I am apologising for my camera or that I am 'trying' to look like a photographer. I know great photos can and are made with very basic equipment but I have had a real boost to my confidence and my interest in photography has increased since getting my DSLR.

Good luck with the new camera - in my opinion its worth persevering.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 11, 2009 10:17 am 
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Joined: Fri Aug 01, 2008 8:27 am
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Location: Hanoi, Vietnam
Yeah, the manual says an f2 on 4/3 is the equivalent to f4 on 35mm. I'm not sure how this effects the 4/3 ability to throw backgrounds out of focus when compared to larger sensor formats though - something which couldn't be done effectively with my old superzoom.

Quote:
You cant judge a camera purely on the speed of its autofocus [and certainly not on the shutter speed, thats crazy]


I just didn't realise I would have to shoot at double the ISO I used for the same conditions/FOV as on my old compact - resulting in IQ degredation - something I wasn't expecting on such an upgrade. I assumed SLR lenses would be faster.

@mainlander1 - your post pretty much sums up my experience and expectations. I too thought I knew more than I do, but I was more pleased with the photos shot during my weekend away after have more time to familiarise myself with it and fiddle with some of the settings.

Aside from www.Wrotniak.net , can anyone recommend a website/book/guide to help get the best out of this camera? Many people report disappointing initial experinces, but also that the E520 can produce superb results after some tweaking and experience.


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