I'm biased as I bought the Olympus E-500 with one of the two lens kits. Can't fault the camera and the prices are silly right now. But look at the prices of their top grade lenses first because there's always the nagging worry about which grade to get and their top grade stuff can be very very dear. Luckily the Japanese made kit lenses are brilliant....
One other point, Olympus (like Leica) don't believe in high compression jpg's and offer you a choice. The best quality jpg's are excellent 99 times out of a 100 for most people and raw won't be needed that often..
I personally wouldnt buy a d40 unless you want to limit yourself to only expensive AFS lenses and have no bracketting, that means on landscape shots where you need 3 shots to combine you cant really do it unless you have a tripod I guess since it has no bracketting..
Ive sold mine and am trying for a second hand d50 since you can put any lenses on them. The d40 is good for some people but if you want other lenses it's not a good camera for that..
The olympus e500 is meant to have awful nosie problems Ive read?.
The pentax k100d is a good camera for the same price or a second hand d50..
See reviews on this site...
The e-500 is in a different league to the D40 - however, the D40 is newer....
Lens-wise, the kit lens of the olympus is the same as that sold as standard with the flagship e-1 - go for the double lens kit [which is still cheaper than the d40 with the single lens] and you've got two cracking peices of glass to cover most requirements....
I'd say the e-500....
HOWEVER, I've also used the D40 - and you cant really go wrong with that either - despite the value of the e-500, the D40 is still a good camera if you want a wider selection of lenses as aposed to pure quality lenses ..
If you're interested in the E-500, you may also want to consider the Olympus E-330. You can get the camera brand new with the two kit lenses for close to $ 500.00 directly from Olympus on their ebay auctions. It's really a fine camera and the two kit lenses are a great value.My humble photo gallery: http://ntotrr.smugmug.com.
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I've owned both. D40 has better metering, better auto white balance performance, better flash photography performance, and is much cleaner at high ISO's than the E-500. It also has a bigger and brighter viewfinder than the E-500. The E-500 takes great photos in good light, has nice kit lenses, is slightly more feature rich, and is more tweakable than the D40. D40 has auto ISO though which is a great feature that all dslrs should have IMO. Both are nice cams, but I'd go with the D40 myself if these are truly your final two options. The bottom line is that the D40 simply produces better photos over a wide range of shooting conditions than the E-500 does...
The above post - the only one from someone who has owned both - tells you what you need to know..
Don't worry about lens availability for the D40. Yes it is more restricted than the older D50 (and the D80 and upwards) becauwse it does not have the in-body motor, so you will need lenses which contain a motor themselves to get autofocus. When the D40 came out last year this was a big issue as there weren't many... but Nikon have made several and so have Sigma, many of them good lenses at 'normal' prices. For example Sigma have recently released versions of their popular 18-50, 17-70 and 55-200 lenses for the Nikon D40 / D40x (sensibly filling an obvious hole in the market); if you want a fast prime lens there is the Sigma 30mm f/1.4; and Nikon have the 18-55, 18-70, 18-135, 55-200 VR lenses etc. (as well as some much more expensive ones)..
The bottom line is that there aren't so many lenses to choose from if you get a D40... but there are still a lot, and how many do you think you will need?.
Can't say I've noticed these as problems and the E-500 was highly recommended... Here's the link.
Trouble is a lot of people worry about noise at ISO 1600 but I don't think I've ever bothered with more than ISO 200 and I take pictures outdoors at night too. And my experience of auto ISO on other cameras is that it can be a pain at times turning into auto-noise when you least expect it..
And there's some lovely macro, fisheye etc lenses with AF for the E-500. It gives acess to a superb system with lenses available from Olympus, Sigma, Leica (and Panasonic)..
Greg Morrison wrote:.
I've owned both. D40 has better metering, better auto white balanceperformance, better flash photography performance, and is muchcleaner at high ISO's than the E-500. It also has a bigger andbrighter viewfinder than the E-500. The E-500 takes great photos ingood light, has nice kit lenses, is slightly more feature rich, andis more tweakable than the D40. D40 has auto ISO though which is agreat feature that all dslrs should have IMO. Both are nice cams, butI'd go with the D40 myself if these are truly your final two options.The bottom line is that the D40 simply produces better photos over awide range of shooting conditions than the E-500 does...
They are both great cameras why not try then both in the shop. I went for the Olympus E500 because of price, very high quality kit lenses especially the 40 -150 , more features and customisableAlso one potentially big issue if you change lens a lot and thats dust on your sensor. I change lenses loads and have had no problems so farNoise would only be an issue if you use iso 800 - 1600 loads and print big. E500 has more flexibility than most on iso with iso in smaller increments..