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Consumer long zooms - Olympus vs Nikon, Macro
I've been deadlocked for days between getting an Olympus e-510 and Nikon D80; there are many, many things to recommend both and a couple seemingly-huge "dealbreakers" for both. (e.g., dynamic range on the Oly, blown highlights when centered on a dark subject on the Nikon, etc... things that I'm sure will be completely forgotten the moment I stop perseverating and start actually shooting.).

In the end, one of the big deciding factors may well be each camera's consumer long telephoto lens; it'll be the only lens beyond the kits I buy for either initially. The 70-300mms for each are reasonably comparable in price (the Nikon is a little more, about $80 I think) and I was hoping to find out how these handled from those who've used one orideallyboth..

My first shooting scenario is for wildlife, including birds. So I'd imagine the important factors are speed (and accuracy) of autofocus and sharpness at the 250-300mm end, and ease of handling. I honestly really will try to use a tripod in these situations, but of course there are times where that's just not possible so performance of VR/IS at that range is an important factor as well..

My other shooting scenario is for macro, or at least pseudo-macro. I'd buy a Canon 500d closeup lens for either one (and possibly an extension tube) to get some nice photos of tiny stuff, at least until can pick up a real 50mm or 105mm macro. For this, I would use a tripod or at least some sort of bracing. What's using this setup like on either? Are the results comparable to a real macro, or if I'm going to be doing a fair bit, should I not even bother with the 500d and put that money toward a macro?.

Keeping crop factors in mind, the Olympus does have an apparent advantage in reach: 600mm vs 450mm when sensor crops are calculated in. The other x-factor is the Nikon 55-200mm, which is significantly less expensive than either. Is the image quality and sharpness the same as the 70-300mm at equivalent lengths? Would this work for my needs or does the extra 100mm (150-200mm cropped) make a big difference? I'm afraid I just don't have enough experience to know..

Thanks very much for the help!..

Comments (9)

Although I have not used a D80, I recently tried out for several days the E510. I was really impressed with the User interface ease and many functions this camera has that I don't believe come with the Nikon. The E510 has an internal anti-vibration on the sensor which is useful when not using VR lenses. It also has bracketing of white balance as well as a very useful 'one-touch white balance' Great for perfect white balance in questionable situations. Also bracketing of flash exposure as well as exposure compensation..

The upside to going with Nikon is the lens commitment which when you change to another nikon will be transferred to the new camera (which also includes Fuji DSLRs). I haven't looked at what lenses are available for the Olympus but this may be a consideration. Try both out.Will..

Comment #1

Thanks for the info; I find the Olympus and Nikon interfaces to be near-perfect implementations of radically different philosophies. That aside, there are dozens of threads comparing the general merits of the two models. (Usually ending in a flame war.) I'm hoping to make the 70-300mm zooms the specific subject of this particular flame war. ..

Comment #2

Your best move is to find image examples of each and do your own comparison..

Either fit your budget apparently, DR isn't the problem with the e510 it's made out to be, Oly lenses are exceptional and is one of the main if not largest reasons to pursue an Oly kit..

Please also note IS/VR gets shut off during tripod shooting..

Cruise a flickr search to find examples of each and let the results inform your decision as either will do the job...

Comment #3

William Carson wrote:.

Although I have not used a D80, I recently tried out for several daysthe E510. I was really impressed with the User interface ease andmany functions this camera has that I don't believe come with theNikon. The E510 has an internal anti-vibration on the sensor which isuseful when not using VR lenses. It also has bracketing of whitebalance as well as a very useful 'one-touch white balance' Great forperfect white balance in questionable situations. Also bracketing offlash exposure as well as exposure compensation.The upside to going with Nikon is the lens commitment which when youchange to another nikon will be transferred to the new camera (whichalso includes Fuji DSLRs)..

I haven't looked at what lenses areavailable for the Olympus but this may be a consideration. Try bothout..

Olympus makes 3 long tele zooms, one in each line:.

Standard Line: 70-300 f/4-5.6 (140-600 f/4-5.6 in 35mm terms) ReasonibleHigh Quality Line: 50-200mm SWD f2.8-3.5 (100-400 F/2.8-3.5 ) NOT CHEAP.

Super High Quality Line: 90-250 f/2.8 constant (180-500 f/2.8) VERY EXPENSIVE !!!! And needs a tripod or Monopod at least..

Peter .

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Enjoy your photography images, even if your wife doesn't ! ;-(http://laurence-photography.com/http://www.pbase.com/peterarbib/Cameras in profile...

Comment #4

Adrian Q wrote:.

I've been deadlocked for days between getting an Olympus e-510 andNikon D80; there are many, many things to recommend both and a coupleseemingly-huge "dealbreakers" for both. (e.g., dynamic range on theOly, blown highlights when centered on a dark subject on the Nikon,.

You know, I rather doubt that those huge "dealbreakers" are very important. Both these cameras are good. If you didn't spend all day reading on-line reviews and comments, you'd prolly not even blink at the differences!.

Sure, the 4/3's sensor are a bit small, but the difference in DR and noise is quite small. Yes, it can be measured, but if you are not sensitized to the "problems", you'd never notice..

Sure, any camera with a spot exposure mode tends to mis-expose things outside the spot. But with a little training, almost any owner can learn to either select another mode or compensate for this..

If bird photography is a prime concern, the E-510 will give you more reach, due to that smaller sensor..

With either camera system, you can get as good a lens as you can afford..

Charlie DavisNikon 5700, Sony R1, Nikon D300HomePage: http://www.1derful.infoBridge Blog: http://www.here-ugo.com/BridgeBlog/'Experience: Discovering that a claw hammer will bend nails.Epiphany: Discovering that a claw hammer is two tools...'..

Comment #5

I can't speak for Oly, but I do birds with the Nikon 70-300 vr..

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Comment #6

Hi Adrian.

I've had the Oly 70-300 for a few months now and I'm very happy with it. It is actually much better than I was expecting it to be, probably because I was reading all the naysayers discussing it on this forum who didn't actually own it! 8).

It's quite well built with no slop in the barrel and a nice stable heft without being too big for extended handholding. The only thing I didn't like was the tacky '140-600mm equivalent' sticker on it, thankfully easily removed..

Image quality is great IMO. Some people have reported slight softness at full zoom & wide open but I think it is negligble, of more importance is shooting technique when shooting at a 600mm equivalent focal length. The very effective I.S. on the E-510 is quite helpful in this regard. Another bonus for this lens is the close focus capabilities making it suitable for small flower and insect shots.Some samples with the E-510.

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Comment #7

Wow.. I love that one that's 6 down from the top. What is he?.

Very impressive captures. Wanna trade locations for a month? LOL..

Comment #8

That is a Masked Lapwing, bane of Australian schoolchildren during the mating season.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Masked_Lapwing.

Would you believe that all of these shots were taken in a park about 6km from the Sydney CBD? It is one of the main dog walking parks for the area but also has a small wetlands area that attracts a suprising amount of birdlife. Try these co-ordinates in google earth.3354'39.25"S15111'3.26"E.

I would love to experience the Florida wetlands, maybe one day 8).

[edit] The Bul Bul and Rainbow Lorikeet were actually taken just outside my apartment block, not over at Sydney Park [edit]..

Comment #9

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