New To DSLR: Olympus/Pentax/Sony versus Nikon/Canon - Help Please

Thinking of making the jump from point and shoot to DSLR. I want a camera that I can grow with as my interest in this hobby increases. I plan to shoot mainly my kids and their activities/sports, but also nightime scenes, and nature/parks etc. I have existing lenses or gear to help sway my descision. It seems like most people automatically suggest a Nikon D40 or a Canon Rebel Xti as a starting point, and these do look like fine cameras. I am curious in a few other brands that seem to have nice entry-level models as well such as the Sony A200, Olympus e-510, and the Pentax K10D or K200D.

Can anyone help provide insight as to why I should choose one other brands over the Big Two, and vice versa why going with a Nikon or Canon is a much better route than the other guys? Thanks in advance...

Comments (11)

You might do better posting this in the forums for the cameras you are considering.Cheers Then!Judy

Comment #1

In my (short) experience using DSLR cameras I was a few months back in the same spot you are. Decide to go pro and got myself a Sony A100 in october. This was to me the best camera i've ever owned, it has it's flaws, being Sony's first model, but I love it to the day. I've done professional photo shoots with it and it works great, besides you have a wide array of lenses from Konica/Minolta, Sony, Sigma, and Tamron that will help you get started. I don't regret buying it at all. I acurtally upgraded it to an A700 just yesterday to stay with the Sony brand and don't think I'll regret doing this either...

Comment #2

Any entry level model should suite you. What I have heard from others is that ergonomics are expecially different between Nikon and Canon. Just go into a store and hold the cameras you are interested in with your own hands, and look through the view finder. Take what you like most, but think that a decision now could be forever, because lens mounts are not interchangeable between systems..

Best regards.


Comment #3

Canon and Nikon are the big dogs, the other guys are single digits % of the DSLR market. That means there is a wider selection of bodies and lenses and other accesories..

That doesn't mean that a Oly or Pentax or Sony won't be what you are looking for, they all make fine entry level gear, you actually get a pretty good deal because they are trying to break into the market more...

Comment #4

You said you already have lenses.which mount are they?.

J. D.Colorful Colorado.

Remember.always keep your receipt, the box, and everything that came in it!..

Comment #5

Sorry, I meant to say I have no lens in which to sway my opinion, thats what I get for typing one-handed while holding a baby.....

Comment #6

All of the cameras you mentioned are good, so the advice already given about going to the store and handling them all is good..

Whichever one fits your hands and you like the feel of it the that one!.

The Sony A200 is probably the best of the latest crop of entry DSLR's, and the Oly E-510 is the best bang for the buck if you get the two lens kit!.

J. D.Colorful Colorado.

From my Oly E-510:.

Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window.

Remember.always keep your receipt, the box, and everything that came in it!..

Comment #7


I'll second that about the Olympus two lens kits: excellent value in the longer zoom. But a lot of people (I'm one) say that Olympus punch above their weight in the kit market: their top of the range stuff ain't bad either..

Before you jump in at the deep end it might be an idea to look at the forums for each camera; you'll find some are beginner friendly and other eat newcomers for breakfast....

Regards, David..

Comment #8

Lenses lenses lenses! You will spend far more on lenses than on bodies as you grow as a photographer. I went with Pentax because of the availability of 'heritage' lenses from film days, and because of in body image stabilisation. But as everyone says, try out a few of the cameras yourself. I loved Canon film cameras, and also own several Canon P and S's but I just did not like the feel of the EOS DSLR's. I have handed a colleagues D80 and found it great! Try them for yourself!Everything changes..

Comment #9

Stephenhampshire wrote:.

I loved Canon film cameras, and also ownseveral Canon P and S's but I just did not like the feel of the EOS DSLR's..

I lived and breathed Canon FD (manual focus) cameras during my entire 20+ year full time career as a photojournalist/freelancer/studio photographer..

I loved them.but their cameras today don't really do much for me..

I know they are good.I just don't have the same warm and fuzzy for them as I do for my old Canon film cameras..

J. D.Colorful Colorado.

Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window.

Remember.always keep your receipt, the box, and everything that came in it!..

Comment #10

3rd to the Oly kit.

As for lenses, there are few poor performers in the Oly lens map and all Oly lenses beyond the standard grade lenses are weather sealed to keep the elements out..

Along with the 4/3rd lens options from Leica and Sigma there are adapter's available allowing the Oly to use manual focus Nikkor, Canon, Contax, Rokkor(minolta), Leica, OM Zuikos & Pentax lenses. With the firmware update all of those MF lenses mounted to the E510/E3 will be image stabilized adding an expansive range of lenses as options for use with the Oly line up..

The lens path of the Oly system is it's strength, not it's weakness in any regard as other seem to believe..

Any of the manufacturer's offer plausible options, you simply have to define your budget and priorities and pick from there as the popular opinion poll may not give you the answer you want at the end of the day..

E1 w/ grip, e510, e300 w/ grip, 8mm FE, 14-54mm, 35mm, 50mm, 40-150mm,50-200mm, fl-50, fuji - 6800..

Comment #11

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