Results 1 to 9 of 9

Thread: How I built a fairly comprehensice D-SLR camera system on a budget

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    British Columbia
    Posts
    4
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
    Feedback Score
    0
    Real Name
    Kendra B

    Default How I built a fairly comprehensice D-SLR camera system on a budget

    When I decided to get back into photography, I was operating on a fairly strict budget. I had perhaps $1600 to get outfitted, and by outfitted, I mean a camera body, an external camera flash, a couple good lenses, filters, and a good camera bag. I could afford to spend another $2000 over the next 12-18 months, but that would be my limit.

    I had to operate on the principle of needs versus wants. As a novice photographer, I knew I didn't need the latest 20+ MP camera body (although the salespersons sure tried to push that on me). I had some guidance from fellow photographer friends, and I decided to look for a solid 10-12 MP camera body with an above average feature set. The camera also had to be supported by a wide range of high quality lenses.

    I am not sure why Olympus has fallen so far out of favor (or at least the Four Thirds line of Olympus), but with the reduced prices on "old stock" camera bodies and the wide range of used lenses, it clearly offered me the best value for the money.

    A friend had given me an older E-510 camera a few months ago. It wasn't quite what I wanted, but I thought it was of decent quality. I was looking for either an E-30 or an E-620. I found a new in-the-box Olympus E-620 camera kit for $399, and was able to sell the older E-510 camera and kit lens for $180 (with camera bag and memory card), so I was out of pocket by about $260 after paying the taxes on the new camera.

    I got a bit lucky with a lens and a couple accessories, finding a professional photographer/Olympus owner who was being forced to get a full frame camera sytem at the urgings of his main client. I got an Olympus Zuiko 12-60mm f2.8-4.0 SWD lens, a TC-14 tele-converter, and a FL-50R flash for $1000. Note: I realized I didn't need the TC-14 tele-converter yet, but it was a bit of package deal (and it would come in handy down the road).

    When the dust all cleared, I overspent a bit at $1680, but got the following:

    New Olympus E-620 camera kit with 14-42mm kit lens
    New Olympus HLD-5 Grip
    Used Olympus Zuiko ED 12-60mm f2.8-4.0 SWD lens
    Used Olympus Zuiko ED 70-300mm f4.0-5.6 lens
    Used Olympus TC-24 Teleconverter (owner said it had never been taken out of the box)
    Used Olympus FL-50R Flash (less than a year old, so still on warranty)
    Used Tamron 72mm Circular Polarizer, and Hoya UV filter
    Used Sigma 58mm UV Filter
    Used Lowe Pro Vertex 200AW Camera Bag
    Used Lexar 16 GB Platinum II CF Card (from my old E-510 camera)
    Used Velbon VS-3 Tripod

    I recognized there are a few limitations with an Olympus Four Thirds camera, but also knew these limitations were still well above my own. Once I get my photography skills up to par, I am going to have a lot of fun! Even now, I have to say I find the new camera system to be quite impressive. When used with the 12-60mm lens, I am getting better pictures than I ever have (and by a wide margin)

    Kendra

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Latvia
    Posts
    1,183
    Thanks
    198
    Thanked 193 Times in 145 Posts
    Feedback Score
    0

    Default Re: How I built a fairly comprehensice D-SLR camera system on a budget

    Great to see people still getting good use out of 4/3.

    And yeah, I consider this system to be the best bang for the buck atm. You got a good deal with the 12-60, but generally, if you are bargain hunting the 14-54 is usually a better one, since the 12-60 @ 12mm has quite some distortion. And well, P&S goes to 12mm, if you want a wide angle get a 9-18mm
    Olympus OM-D EM-5
    12mm f/2.0 - 17mm f/1.8 - 25mm f/1.4 - 60mm f/2.8 macro - 75-300mm f/4.8-6.7
    - FL36R

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    British Columbia
    Posts
    4
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
    Feedback Score
    0
    Real Name
    Kendra B

    Default Re: How I built a fairly comprehensice D-SLR camera system on a budget

    My original plan was to get the 14-54 Mk II lens, but I couldn't find one used in my area. The used 12-60 lens was cheaper than a new 14-54, so that is why I bought it. The 9-18 wide-angle lens is on layaway at my local photography store right now.

    Distortion is present in almost all lenses at the extremes of their range. I use Lightroom 4, and with the Lens Profile option, I am able to correct for the distortion in both my lenses. It works really well; you just need to go to Adobe and get the Lens Profile Downloader.

    Kendra

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Norway
    Posts
    5,135
    Thanks
    58
    Thanked 22 Times in 17 Posts
    Feedback Score
    0
    Real Name
    Tom

    Default Re: How I built a fairly comprehensice D-SLR camera system on a budget

    I am not surprised it is difficult to get a 14-54mm II; not many selling those used. The 12-60mm is a good lens, and as you mention, distortion is easy to fix in LR. I had the E-620 earlier; a nice camera that is capable of great results. I have the E-30 now; and it has the exact same image qauality.
    flickr | "God made the integers; all else is the work of man" - Leopold Kronecker

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Latvia
    Posts
    1,183
    Thanks
    198
    Thanked 193 Times in 145 Posts
    Feedback Score
    0

    Default Re: How I built a fairly comprehensice D-SLR camera system on a budget

    I don't consider the 12-60 to be a bargain. A great lens, yes, but a bargain, I dunno. I have a "bargain" 4/3 system right now and I stuck with the kit lense. This is not a jab at the 12-60, more like praise for the 14-42. The way I think, when I buy lenses, I want them to do something that the kits lens cannot, and by something I mean like, ultra wide angle, telephoto, macro, low light capability.

    The 12-60 costs about $550. For $700, you could get both a 9-18mm and a Sigma 30mm f/1.4. For me, that would make a more interesting system.
    Olympus OM-D EM-5
    12mm f/2.0 - 17mm f/1.8 - 25mm f/1.4 - 60mm f/2.8 macro - 75-300mm f/4.8-6.7
    - FL36R

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Norway
    Posts
    5,135
    Thanks
    58
    Thanked 22 Times in 17 Posts
    Feedback Score
    0
    Real Name
    Tom

    Default Re: How I built a fairly comprehensice D-SLR camera system on a budget

    I too was a fan of the 14-42mm until I got my 14-54mm II. Haven't used the kit lens since. I am not sure about the Sigma 30mm f/1.4; I find the focal length too short or too long. The 9-18mm is a nice lens, though.
    flickr | "God made the integers; all else is the work of man" - Leopold Kronecker

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Charlotte, NC
    Posts
    220
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
    Feedback Score
    2 (100%)

    Default Re: How I built a fairly comprehensice D-SLR camera system on a budget

    Couldn't agree more with this tread. It inspired me to count up how much I've spent accumulating my current kit... $350 for the DMC-L1 w/ PanLeica 14-50mm 2.8-3.5, $600 for E-30 w/ 50-200mm 2.8-3.5 SWD, $1300 for the 35-100mm f2, $100 for the DMW-FL36 and $200 for the FL-50R, and $100 for the 25mm Pancake. A few other pieces here and there I can't recall the cost of, and the HLD-4 I traded for, but for what remains the base of my kit, I'm not sure I could have accumulated all of it for even double the price with any other system. Now if only a PL 25mm 1.4 would fall into my lap and the new body we've been waiting on. With all the old legacy lenses we can adapt as well, the savings are wonderful. My favorite to date being the Vivitar 55mm 2.8 1:1 Macro.
    E-M1 w/HLD-7 I E-30 w/HLD-4 I DMC-L1 I 25 f1.4 I 14-35 f2 I 14-50 f2.8-3.5 I 35-100 f2
    50-200 f2.8-3.5 SWD
    I Vivitar 55mm 2.8 Macro I Vivitar Series 1 90mm f/2.8 "Bokina"

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    British Columbia
    Posts
    4
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
    Feedback Score
    0
    Real Name
    Kendra B

    Default Re: How I built a fairly comprehensice D-SLR camera system on a budget

    I am glad you enjoyed what I wrote. It is nice to see someone else who has build a decent system while making some good deals. The 35-100mm and 50-200mm lenses are on my wish list. How do you like them?

    Kendra

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Charlotte, NC
    Posts
    220
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
    Feedback Score
    2 (100%)

    Default Re: How I built a fairly comprehensice D-SLR camera system on a budget

    They are both great lenses... really enjoyed the 50-200mm, but now that I have the 35-100mm, I wonder at times if I even need the former. The only purpose it serves me where the 35-100mm may not be adequate would be sports. Even then I'm not sure I'd need more than 100mm at the long end, and the constant f2 would be better for indoor sports. I think I can just about cover everything else with the 35-100mm. In fact, I don't honestly have a use for the 14-50mm either, I just can't let it go for the occasional situation where I need something wider than 35mm. The biggest difference I've found with the 35-100mm, isn't just that it's sharp, but I believe it actually renders the details better as well. I haven't taken many close-ups or shot in a studio setting with it yet, but my outdoor portraits, full length and such, have more detail when viewing a crop zoomed in than with any other lens in my bag.

    When I first purchased the 35-100mm, I listed my Sigma 30mm 1.4 and the PL 14-50mm 2.8-3.5 here for sale. The Sigma sold, and when the 14-50mm didn't, I decided to keep it. I've gone back and forth on selling the 50-200mm, and honestly think I could trade if for the PL 25mm 1.4 without regret, but it is probably one of the most versatile lenses in the system. I'll be shooting indoors during basketball season for the first time with either of those lenses, and if the 50-200mm can't give me what I need in the low light, or if the 35-100mm is adequate enough at the long in, I may be selling the 50-200mm.
    E-M1 w/HLD-7 I E-30 w/HLD-4 I DMC-L1 I 25 f1.4 I 14-35 f2 I 14-50 f2.8-3.5 I 35-100 f2
    50-200 f2.8-3.5 SWD
    I Vivitar 55mm 2.8 Macro I Vivitar Series 1 90mm f/2.8 "Bokina"

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •