View Full Version : Hello from Pensacola, Florida

DSLR Hunter
03-15-2006, 06:23 AM
Hello - I am not a camera owner yet, but I am trying to be and I am trying to soak up as much knowledge as I can.

After a long time away I have decided to get back into photography. When I was last in, I was an avowed film man and Canon was my brand. Coming back, there is this whole digital thing going on and I have found that I have a lot to learn. I broke down a few years ago and got my wife a C-4040 and I quickly became very impressed with what you could do with a digital camera. As much as I like her camera, I miss the creative control one gets with the SLR and the lens choices associated with it. So I want a SLR and, belive it or not, its gotta be a DSLR.

I have spent some time over on the phototakers forum and I learned about image sensor sizes and at first the four thirds system standard scared me away because of its relatively smaller image sensor. I compared it to the difference between shooting 35 mm film and 16 mm film and felt that print quality would fall off as you got to the larger sizes (say maybe 11x14 or 16x20).

But then I learned all about this post processing stuff - sharpening, etc., and I have seen some of EB's post about what he did to his images after shooting them - that has got to be some of the most creative stuff I have ever seen ---- and it opened my eyes some. Maybe the fourthirds size is not such a limitation after all.

So, I thought, as long as I get a reasonably large MP camera - something like the 8MP E-500, I should be able to go to town, right? But I kept reading and learning. I have learned that there is an almost religeous following of the E-1 and its 5.5MP image sensor. All this talk about "good" pixels is totally mystifying me. But I get some sense that I can even go to large print sizes with the E-1 with maybe some post processing help. So its a no-brainer, right - get the E-1 before it is no longer available.

But, yet the E-500 still sticks there in the back of my head, somehow saying "Pick me!, Pick me!" Both are similarly priced, the E-500 is supposed to be more feature rich and has more MP, but the E-1 has the stronger build and the mystical image sensor that everybody raves over.

And so I go to the photo galleries. Picture after picture - taken with the E-1. Throw some e-300 shots in there. And a distant third is the e-500. Why is that? Is it simply because the E-1 and E-300 have been around longer and so there are more folks with those models? Or is it because it is more difficult to get the image quality that these photos represent with the E-500? I guess the way I am thinking about it is that the image sensors represent brands of film in the film world and the "brand" in the E-1 is better than that in the E-500. Only thing is, in the film world you can easily change brands. Not so in the digital world.

So by way of introduction I am also craving more knowledge. E-1 or E-500? Can you get the ocasional large print from the E-1? Am I making this too hard?

BTW - another thing that threw me over to Olympus is that the color balance of the sensors are so dynamic - the fleash tones and just the colors in general.

So thanks all. I am looking forward to your responses.

Bill Gordon
03-15-2006, 07:31 AM
I can tell you now, without ever having held an E-500 that the E-1 is the way to go. Can you make large blow ups? You most certainly can. On a regular basis I make A-3 prints..no problems at all. Do yourself a favour and by the E-1...you will have no regrets at all!!

DSLR Hunter
03-15-2006, 07:49 AM
Wow Bill, there sure isn't much confusion in that response. I just got through looking at a DR thread that was also very complimentary of the E-1.

I guess I need to take a look at one. Problem is, Pensacola is not a very camera rich town, and I can't find anywhere I can go and see one, much less hold one. For that matter, I haven't had much contact with the E-500 either. I was out of town a while back and someone had one and I was able to hold it for all of about 3 minutes. And I was not prepared to think about evaluating it. Would love to be able to handle them for a while.

Do any of you have any suggestions on what I could do in this situation. From what I can tell, the closest town that might have the Olympus E system is Atlanta GA. I see that some places rent stuff, but you have to be in that town right?


03-15-2006, 08:30 AM
I will only say that all four cameras (the E1, 300, 330 and 500) can produce fine pictures. I don't believe the fact that there are more E1 pictures has anything to do with that. It's probably much more likely that the E1 has been around longer and is used by more experienced photographers as it was the "professional" camera and the first one out.
Find somewhere that you can pick each up and hold them. The feel is a very important factor in choosing a camera.

That being said, the E1 is a GREAT bargain right now.
But there are NO bad ones of that bunch to choose from.

Louis Dobson
03-15-2006, 08:45 AM
By and large the serious bought the E1, and the E500 is entry level and relatively new.

Have a look at my photo stream at www.flickr.com/phtos/acam (http://www.flickr.com/phtos/acam) - these are all E500 shots, often with heavy (damaging) PP and large scale cropping. I think the image quality stands up fine.

Basically the E1 is a Rolls Royce of cameras, but now no longer at the cutting edge, and the E500 is a newish cheaply built device with the latest tech. Both will serve you well.

If it were my choice I'd get an E500 if you mainly print and an E1 if you mainly shoot for the web, and actually I'd rather have an E330 than either of them.

I think we all get too hung up on cameras anyway. I've tried most of the brands at most of the price points and they all take perfectly good pictures. I like Olys because the 2X crop factor makes for a smaller overall system. The downside is higher noise at high ISOs, but it is easily PPEd out and is a nuisance rather than a killer. As for the three models:

The E500 handles better than any camera in class thanks to the back menu system via the OK button and the screen. Most reviewers miss this point because they've never worked that way before.

The E330 is as above but has a unique and clever framing aid that means you'll get pictures you'd otherwise miss. I would buy one myself if I were starting again.

The E1 is a beautifully built camera now selling for joke money, if you can live with 5MP (and I think that's enough for most people all of the time, and all people most of the time).

My bias? I have an E500 round my neck, and an unused E1 in my bag that I just bought for my partner (unused because I haven't given it to her yet I hasten to add, not because it isn't any good).

Good shooting whatever you choose - digital is fantastic, and since re-starting photography in November I've had an absolute ball. I would even say it has changed my life (I'm broke and now I hate my job).

DSLR Hunter
03-15-2006, 08:59 AM
Louis - changed life - broke and hate job. That is funny. But we all have to have our passion in life. My wife and I are empty nesters now that our kids are in college. After being furiously busy all our lives, we are finding we are having big lulls of being not busy. This is one of my reasons for getting back into creative photography. Before we had kids my wife and I would go places and I'd take pictures - it was something fun for both of us to do.

I appreciate all of ya'lls insight and I welcome many more. I can't wait to get the camera. As you can tell from the above, I like doing landscapes and my other love is doing macro stuff - usually flowers and small critters in my back yard. And I am hoping the macro lens (50MM) will double as a good portrait lens as well - I think I want to try my hand at that.

I'm still undecided - the E-1 is starting to make a little more sense for this part of Florida - high, high humidity and frequent rains. But the lure of the higher MPs on the E-500 is still calling me.


03-15-2006, 09:21 AM
Welcome. I have the E-1 & E-300. I like them both. But I prefer the build of the E-1. I get fantastic 8x10s with the E-1. I'm sure that whichever one you choose you'll be happy with your decision.


DSLR Hunter
03-23-2006, 01:54 PM
Well I guess I need to change my Sign-in name 'cause I am no longer hunting for a DSLR. I just bought a new E-1 with the 14-54 lens and the SHLD-2 grip. I should get it next week sometime.

My heart is pounding 'cause it was a lot of money and I have never seen ('cept in pictures) or held one. I am hoping that it will feel ok and will be intuitive. I know enough about cameras in general and Olympus in particular to feel that it will be ok. I am also excited and I can't wait to get it and start shooting away.

I'm already thinking about the next options to buy! But I think I had better start with the software and build up a little knowledge there before I go much further.

I appreciate all the insight you guys have provided and I hope to be posting pictures soon.

03-23-2006, 02:07 PM
I just picked up an E1 myself. Pretty much blind, althought I may have handled one a couple of years ago. I used one of the original Canon EOS film cameras , and wanted something that felt good in my hand as well. Based on others comments, I felt I was safe to go for the E1. Got it yesterday and in feel and build it seems to be everything that people have described. No worries.

03-23-2006, 02:26 PM
You bought an awesome combo. You will love it. I have both the E-500 and the E-1. I still prefer my E-1. I find it much easier to use with two wheels and the focus switch.

Both make lovely prints though

03-23-2006, 03:29 PM
Not to worry. You'll love it.