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Olympus E-420 or Olympus E-520
Hello everyone. I have a few questions. My wife and I are in the market for a new camera. My brother-in-law has a Canon 30D DSLR and wife loves how quick it takes pictures. She likes how when you push the button, it take a picture. We have a Sony DSC-S75 and when you push the button there is a delay before the picture is taken.



We need a camera for taking pictures of my kids, kids playing spots, family events like Christmas, Thanksgiving, birthday parties. I believe the big difference between the E420 and the E520 is the body image stabilization of the 520. On Olympus' website it states that the 420 has image stabilization. Is that in the lens? Which camera would you recommend for a newbie to DSLR? I like to get it around $700, any other brands are welcome. Thanks..

Comments (13)

Go to the store and try all the entry level cameras. Look through the viewfinder across the store and read signs. Make sure it's bright and clear enough for you. Hold the cameras in your hands and make sure they are comfortable. Make sure they feel tight and not too slippery. Make sure the controls are easy to get at..

That said, my two favoriate cameras for novice first time buyers are the Olympus 520 and the Nikon D40. Both these are easy to use and produce great images out of the box. Moreover, their kit lenses are superb, very sharp and contrasty. This twin lens kit for either might be the way to go, with the second lens being very inexpensive when bought all together. Make sure Nikon's 2nd lens has VR is you go that way. Nikon's D60 is worth a look as well..

The Olympus 520 has very useful in-body camera stabillization while the Nikon has in-lens stabiliization. They both work quite well and tend to cost about the same given the same quality optics..

I think the Olympus might have slightly prettier colors while the Nikon might be slightly easier to use. Coin toss. If you can find a Olympus 510, you might get a real bargain..

My personal favorite is the Olympus 420 though. It doesn't have in-body stabillazation like the 520, but is exquisitely small and precise..

The Pentax K200 is also worth looking at. They are weatherstripped a little better than most entry level cameras and have great prime lenses available. I don't presently like their zoom offerings, though..

Sony is a good choice if you have a collection of Minolta lenses. I'm not at all satisfied with any of their existing consumer offerings. Their expensive A700 is quite a nice camera, but certainly not an entry level model.Cheers, Craig..

Comment #1

My local Circuit City has the E420, E510, and the E520. The E510 is $150 less than the E520. I like the size of the E420. Does the image quality suffer on the E420 due the the fact that it doesn't have image stabilization? What are the major differences between E510 and E520? Thanks..

Comment #2

All the 5 major players-Canon, Nikon, Sony, Pentax and Olympus offer good entry level cameras. All have advantages and disadvantages..

Sony, Olympus and Pentax offer in body image stabilization. That means all lenses will benefit from stabilization. Canon and Nikon build stabilization into the lenses. You must use the stabilized lenses for this feature..

Pentax, Nikon and Sony(Minolta lenses) have a multitude of used lenses that you can use to expand your system at a lower cost than new glass. The Nikon D40-D60 will not autofocus with the old lenses, but the D80 will. If you can afford it, the D80 is a great camera..

Olympus has live view. Personally, I hate the feature and think that live view and SLR do not belong in the same sentence, but others love it..

I bought my Sony A200 because I was a Minolta SLR user and had some lenses that worked on it. The camera is actually a lot better than some on the reviews would lead you to believe..

Here is a shot with a Minolta lens that goes for about $80 used. Image is right out of the camera with no PP...

Comment #3

Thank you. Flowers, I can do. My biggest problem has been my big white dog. It is so hard to not blow the details in the white hair without underexposing the darker details. I still have not gotten what I consider a good shot. Here is my last attempt. You are quite good with a digitals so give me some advice (other than buying a Nikon) to improve this...

Comment #4

You probably should buy a Nikon, but seriously, those are very good. Those highlights don't look blown at all. They are just highlights and are going to be that way. I see texture and shading there. Very good, I think..

Dog pics are so cliche but I love them too..

Here's one of my two dogs. The background is quite blown, but I was just having fun with a fisheye. I'm in the dogs eye. LOL.

Cheers, Craig..

Comment #5

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

Cheers, Craig..

Comment #6

Nice shot, you are drawn to the eye. That is the reason I troll for used lenses. I want an ultra wide lens without breaking the bank. The widest I had on my 35mm was 28mm and that is like a "normal" lens on the digital..

BTW, my son is a software architect and uses a Nikon D70. I get grief from him on the Sony too...

Comment #7

Smcgil9899 wrote:.

I believe the big difference between the E420 and the E520 is the bodyimage stabilization of the 520..

A bigger difference is the size difference between the two bodies. In my own case, I used to use an E-420 sized film SLR for twenty years (see pic). However after three years using larger dSLR bodies I find the E-420 too small for me now. You should try both bodies before buying to see what feels better..

On Olympus' website it states thatthe 420 has image stabilization. Is that in the lens?.

No, both cameras come with the same lenses...the E-420 has *digital* image stabilization which (when engaged) means it boosts the ISO to obtain a faster shutter speed (you can do this yourself with the manual controls)..

Which camera would you recommend for a newbie to DSLR?.

Both are good with AUTO and scene modes if you aren't familiar with shutter speeds and aperture settings, but you can also grow with it. The choice is dependent on the size of the body you choose. Here are some learning links:- free online E-4xx/5xx lessonshttp://www.olympusdigitalschool.com/- general tidbits about the camerashttp://www.wrotniak.net/photo/43/index.html.

P.s. Although you are a beginner, suggest you post Olympus SLR specific questions in the Olympus SLR forum...unlike some other forums here we don't bite...

Comment #8

Smcgil9899 wrote:.

Does the image quality suffer on the E420 due thethe fact that it doesn't have image stabilization?.

I still shoot without IS...it's all dependent on YOUR skill and concentration. IS is only recently been added to still cameras. The whole idea is to stabilize the camera, but it doesn't prevent your subject from being blurry at slower shutter speeds..

What are the major differences between E510 andE520? Thanks.

Improved dynamic range in the newer camera...do a search in the Oly SLR forum as it's been discussed a lot...

Comment #9

I got a great deal on that fisheye. A friend of mine had it for about 4 months. He paid around $640 for it. He wanted a new macro but his wife gave him so much grief he agreed to sell a lens to help fund it. He wanted the macro by the weekend and sold me the fisheye for $350..

I didn't really need it. I have a Sigma 10-20 that generally takes care of my superwide needs, but I couldn't pass up the deal. It's unregistered with a blank warranty card. I'd always sort of wanted a fisheye, but just for fun and I don't really need one. At this price, I get to play. If I ever choose, I think I could sell it for more than I paid..

Used lenses can be real bargains.Cheers, Craig..

Comment #10

I agree. When I went digital, moving up from film, my thought was to buy only stabillized lenses for my Nikon..

Today, that view has changed. VR is the least feature on my list when looking at a new lens. I just don't need it much. That's not saying others don't..

Birding and wildlife: Im using a tripod or monopodAction: Fast shutter speed, IS not neededLandscape: Tripod. IS not neededBirds in Flight: fast shutter, IS not neededWide angle: Usually not neededGrandkids playing: fast shutter, IS not needed.

Portraits: Tripod, IS not needed, but sometimes with hand-held IS could be wanted, but I've never felt compelled..

I'm not saying IS isn't a good thing. I've just found for most of the shooting I do, fast pro-level optics are better. I"m really more and more becoming addicted to top notch glass. Once you buy and start using good glass, all the other attributes start to pale. Just my opinion.Cheers, Craig..

Comment #11

Guidenet wrote:.

I agree. When I went digital, moving up from film, my thought was tobuy only stabillized lenses for my Nikon..

Today, that view has changed. VR is the least feature on my list whenlooking at a new lens. I just don't need it much. That's not sayingothers don't..

While I agree stabilization, either lens or body based, isn't a magic bullet it is useful even on short to normal focal length lenses. Canon and Nikon seem to agree, their new short to normal kit lenses are stabilized just as Pentax, Sony, and Oly have had for some time..

I might also add the optics of the latest generation kit lenses for Canon and Nikon have been upgraded to rough parity with the previous generation Oly and Pentax kit lenses. OTOH Pentax has upgraded their latest generation kit lens in the mean time..

You seem to be pretty well sold on the Oly 4xx or 5xx. I personally would would favor the Pentax, others the Nikon or Canon offerings. One piece of advice I would like to put forward is stabilization is useful in some cases. If your choice is between the 420 and 510, the difference is $150, and you can't swing that difference, don't get any DSLR. The accessories and future purchases you will eventually get into will make $150 look like pocket change...

Comment #12

Mrxdimension wrote:.

While I agree stabilization, either lens or body based, isn't a magicbullet it is useful even on short to normal focal length lenses.Canon and Nikon seem to agree, their new short to normal kit lensesare stabilized just as Pentax, Sony, and Oly have had for some time..

Not sure that is a correct interpretation of their joint views. Nikon in particular does not feature it on their shorter zoom pro lenses..

I think rather it is market driven.Largely unsophiststicated buyers are bewitched by marketing from others that lists IS/VR as a must have feature so Nikon/Canon are forced to put it on thier kit lenses..

Like Craig I regard it as a low priority..

Chris Elliott.

*Nikon* D Eighty + Fifty - Other equipment in Profile.

Http://PlacidoD.Zenfolio.com/..

Comment #13

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