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Oly E5 v Nikon D300 v Canon 40D
I am looking for a camera that is rugged (repeat: rugged) and forgiving, with a price range under USD 2000. (Okay - who isn't!).

I have spent some time looking at the reviews and am intrigued with the relatively new Olympus E-3 mainly because the body seems to be stoutest. Also because it has the tilt-able Live View feature. I have looked at the reviews for the comparable Nikon and Canon brands, and am always browsing these forums (very helpful and much appreciated !).

Not being a professional, I am scared away a little bit by the reviews which say that the Olympus E3 and the Nikon require me to apparently be very very much engaged with the mechanics of taking a picture. Now, I realize that I must sit down with the /img/avatar4.jpg's Manual and discern all the features and become adept at using them...and I reckon that I'll do just that...but in the meantime I will just want to capture pictures. My learning curve will be slow and gradual. I live and photograph in the mountains, year-round. We holiday in hot, humid locations. The camera I purchase must be able to handle these extremes in environment..

I am starting afresh, I have no issues with " legacy glass", etc but do have an open mind as to brands (am I in the minority?)..

Simply I want a tough camera that will allow me to grow in to a good serious photographer, and that eventually I might be able to hand down as a heirloom, maybe...Also, 4/3 v proprietary Nikon or Canon lens ? Any thoughts ?

Comments (11)

That swivelling screen on the Olympus E-3 is very cool, but in all other respects, I believe the Nikon D300 is a better camera. I was an Olympus user for a few years (E-1), but switched to Nikon (D80, D300) when it became apparent the E-3 would be late in coming to the marketplace and light on specs. Look, the E-3 is a fine camera, but it's a safe bet Olympus won't be able to produce a replacement model for another couple of years. By then, Nikon and Canon will have advanced far beyond Oly's reach.Rob Byehttp://www.RobByePhoto.com..

Comment #1

Rob replied: believe the Nikon D300 is a better camera. I was an Olympus user for a few years (E-1), but switched to Nikon (D80, D300) when it became apparent the E-3 would be late in coming to the marketplace and light on specs. Look, the E-3 is a fine camera, but it's a safe bet Olympus won't be able to produce a replacement model for another couple of years. By then, Nikon and Canon will have advanced far beyond Oly's reach..

Thanks Rob. I wonder if you woudn't mind, since I am in the market at this point in time, giving me your thoughts on why you think the D300 is a better camera again, at this point in time ? Is it because you think I will have buyer's remorse as Nikon and/or Canon come out with a new camera ? Or is that you think the lenses for the Nikon / Canon will evolve more so than the Olympus or 4/3 lenses ? I am hoping in fact that this is the last DSLR that I will buy...so this question of longevity is actually very much a part of my decision..

Do you think the D300 is weather proof as well as the E3 ?

Comment #2

GoRockies wrote:.

I am looking for a camera that is rugged (repeat: rugged) andforgiving, with a price range under USD 2000. (Okay - who isn't!).

The E3 and D300 are near the ceiling of that, which will limit your ability to get additional or alternative sealed lenses the bottom tier of Olympus ZD lenses aren't weather-sealed, and quite a few Nikkor lenses aren't either..

I have spent some time looking at the reviews and am intrigued withthe relatively new Olympus E-3 mainly because the body seems to bestoutest. Also because it has the tilt-able Live View feature..

*snip*.

Having a tilting LCD makes sense, if you're going to use live view. The obvious question is whether you're actually going to make significant use of live view. For some uses, such as above-head or waist-level photography, or zoomed-in manual focus for extreme macro photography, it can make a lot of sense. There are other areas where live view is not going to be particularly useful..

Not being a professional, I am scared away a little bit by thereviews which say that the Olympus E3 and the Nikon require me toapparently be very very much engaged with the mechanics of taking apicture. Now, I realize that I must sit down with the Owner's Manualand discern all the features and become adept at using them...and Ireckon that I'll do just that...but in the meantime I will just want.

Http://www.olympusamerica.com/.../cpg_section/cpg_support_manuals.asp?id=1323http://www.nikonusa.com/pdf/manuals/noprint/D300_en_noprint.pdf.

In edge cases, it's best to know well what you're doing regardless of equipment. Cameras are OK at reading light levels and calculating time * available light * aperture or noticing that the reflected light is very red. They're very bad at reading minds to decide how much shadows and highlights matter to you, or whether you wanted to preserve the color cast thrown by funky lighting or not, or how you want to trade-off between motion blur and noise..

To capture pictures. My learning curve will be slow and gradual. Ilive and photograph in the mountains, year-round. We holiday in hot,humid locations. The camera I purchase must be able to handle theseextremes in environment..

You may want to consider overall carry weight of lenses and any other gear such as tripods or lighting..

*snip*..

Comment #3

"Look, the E-3 is a fine camera, but it's a safe bet Olympus won't be able to produce a replacement model for another couple of years. By then, Nikon and Canon will have advanced far beyond Oly's reach.".

Wish I could see the future as clearly as this poster....

Considering the d300 is a newer camera than the E3 one could argue the d300 still doesn't match some of the features the Oly has I'd argue like canon, nikon will be playing catchup with Olympus as has been proven to date with dust reduction, live view, lenses matched to sensor size, etc..

The only thing the e3 trails the d300 with is higher ISO's. search around the forums here and review the image samples..

There's nothing about Olympus that precludes it from progressing with it's technology. Your opinion presents nothing more than bias at this point as you didn't want to wait out the E3..

All told and by all accounts both cameras are exceptional, but to state Oly can't keep up with Canon/Nikon is false and misleading to the OP. Oly glass is exceptional, there is simply no reason to not consider the E3..

The Oly forum here is a great place to flush out the benefits of 4/3rds and the E3. do a search for E3 vs. d300 threads and you will find the question more than hashed out. There is a lot of helpful information already out there regarding this comparison..

There's no right/wrong answer, your shooting style in reference to the lenses you would require should play large in this consideration as should hand feel, ergonomics and budget..

Good luck with the decision as it seems there's still a bit of research to do.....

Comment #4

I shoot a Nikon D40, D300, D3 AND my rugged, go everywhere camera is my Pentax K10D. Great ergonomics, easy intuitive interface, weather sealed out the kazooo and well made. Considering a K10D kit can be had for sub $800 now it is a relative steal. If I were in the market for another good reliable, good picture, RUGGED camera I would be looking at the K10D or the newer K20D..

And you don't have to be involved to use it... but when you are, it is easy to work with. The reason I have been buying more Nikon is because of limitations in what I am able to get for glass for the Pentax. The D3 is the current low light king with the D300 keeping up a good showing there as well, but as long as you don't need super fast low light focus speeds or anything faster than 3 FPS, the Pentax deserves a look...

Comment #5

GoRockies wrote:.

I am looking for a camera that is rugged (repeat: rugged) andforgiving, with a price range under USD 2000. (Okay - who isn't!).

It seems that many people are interpreting "rugged" as "water resistent". When you say rugged, what is it that you mean? What kind of use will it be getting? Are you concerned about it getting bumped around alot or do you shoot in heavy rain?.

Many bodys have weatherseals (keeps out SOME of the elements...to a point), but if water is a concern, remember you will probably invest more in lenses than a body. If you don't get sealed lenses or lenses that will seal to the body, you still need to be careful...the lenses will likely cost more to replace/repair than a body that got a little water in it. The other problem is that if moisture gets inside the lens, fungus can grow...fungus left to grow will etch itself into the glass eventually making the glass unusable and very difficult to sell if you want to recover some of your investment...

Comment #6

A spirited comparison thread that may be of some help.

Http://www..

Fourthirdsphoto.com/vbb/showthread.php?t=22618..

Comment #7

Well a few months ago I had to make this choice as well. For me it was either the Nikon D300 (having used several Nikons in "filmdays"), or the E-3..

I travel. Almost always harsher conditions (tropics/high altitude/bad weather/etc.), so sturdiness and weather proofed gear is essential). Beside that I need a relatively compact set (definitaly do NOT want to carry enormous weight).I tried both cameras in my hands..

And...yes I bought myself an E-3 with 12-60mm SWD and 50-200mm SWD lens. Now my reach is 24-400mm (film) in only 2 lenses, and the glass is absolutely super (and comparable to or better than pro lenses Nikon/Canon)!.

E-3 feels much better in MY hands than D300. Build in IS, swivel screen (handy for macro shots), the very good lenses, weatherproofing all over (including lenses), where very important to me. So far I like the E-3 A LOT! I bet you can read from very enthousiastic 40D and D300 users as well, and they are just as right..

Now I'm sure any of the cameras mentioned by you is very capable. You should hold them and try them. At the same time all these cameras have a learning curve, but I'm sure eventually you'll master..

To keep it simple: try all these cameras....you hardly can go wrong if you choose the high quality lenses of each brand.Good luck making your choice...

Comment #8

Many thanks to all whom have replied to my plea for help ! I really super appreciate it...hadn't considered the Pentax option, nor the issues of weatherproofed lenses..

Yes, I am concerned, with all the electronics packed in to these little babies, about jostling and also about that killer: moisture. I'll be taking pictures in hot, dry, desert conditions such as found in Moab, Utah; at 12,000-ft potentially during snow storms at perhaps -10F such as on the Continental Divide; and almost at the opposite extreme whilst deep-sea sportfishing, in a 'splashy' hot wet environment in the Yucatan or Hawaii... so yeah, ruggedness and competency in these conditions would be a need, not a wish. A " weather-proof " body (and now, good point: lenses) are HUGE..

Yep, I'll for sure be looking at the other forums as suggested. And I will be checking back on this thread for other great ideas - again, thanks a lot for all of your kind help and suggestions for compatible gear..

One last thing - what would be the way to go, when considering a camera body to purchase, what role and how much to weigh in the decisoin-making process * lenses *, i.e. flexibilty and choices over time, best for outdoor ruggedness / weatherproofedness (sorry, I know that ain't a word), clarity, technical evolution ? .

David..

Comment #9

You'll find the biggest shortcoming with the pentax system is the lack of sealed lenses to go with the sealed bodies, one without the other defeats the purpose in a regard. that will of course will change over time as new lenses are introduced. The Oly high and super high grade lenses are all sealed and are excellent..

Spend some time in the forums for each and post your questions about any of them as the manufacturer specific forums will help you flush out the specific answers faster and possibly a bit better than this general forum..

Any of these companies know how to make a sealed camera, it really comes down to features, hand feel and lens systems for you to base your decisions on, budget of course being a given..

I'd argue Oly's strengths are it's IQ, features, build and exceptional lens system, that's my opinion. You'll get to the point with all the review/forum reading where you'll just have to jump in pick one, spend the money and enjoy taking pictures as any of the cameras under consideration all will serve you well...

Comment #10

Sealed camera (in it's class)..

Like the other poster stated- E3 plus 12-60SWD, and 50-200SWD you have an equivalent 24-400mm, superfast AF, image stabelized, sealed system..

You can't get the equivalent in any other system for the size and performance..

I shoot a 40D by the way. If Oly had been a year quicker with the E3 I'd be shooting with that and the above two lenses..

Gene..

Comment #11

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