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Thread: Nikon, Olympus or Sony?

  1. #1
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Nikon, Olympus or Sony?

    Hi all,

    I'll start by apologising for being so self obsessed as to bore you with my deliberations.

    The background for those that are new and haven't been bored already, I'm about to buy a DSLR - there, I've said it, so I now have got to, haven't I?

    It has to have a tilty. twisty LCD screen and of course live view, because I'm a spectacular wearer and I'm used to a point'n'shoot with effectively full time live view, so the LCD, when I can see it, wins out over peering into a V/F. Plus I like to take pics from odd angles (high, low, over fences, etc.) and my old bones aren't as bendy as they used to be.

    Shortlist;
    Nikon D5000, Olympus E-620, both due out any second, or the much older Sony A350.

    Money is a consideration, if I spend on this, there's less for the whole family for replacing ageing cars and boilers, etc. should they break, but we won't starve.

    However, I do not want to buy new camera + lens(es) and find I am unable to take the range of pics I can with my current Fuji S6500; 6MP, 28 - 300mm with macro and focuses almost to the front element, fixed LCD is 2.7" and 230k dots, a hard act to follow (for only 150).

    Leaving aside that they're all pretty much same size physically and everything else that's common to all three (e.g. spare batts at 50-60, flash at 190), the differences are:
    Price options: 1) = matches my current lens range (exc macro), 2+) betters, 0) worsens

    Sony A350
    1) Body + 18-200 = 750
    2) Body + 18-250 = 780
    3) Body + 16-105 + 75-300 = 865
    [COLOR="SeaGreen"]For:
    Cheap, half the price of Nikon for the body, leaving much more for lenses.
    In body VR/IS
    Vert grip available.
    14MP vs 12MP for the other two.


    [COLOR="Red"]Against:
    Only has a tilting screen, so useless if shooting portrait format low down.
    Also lower spec on: noise, buffer size, shooting fps, AF points, non-std hotshoe.
    2 - 2.5 fps
    Kit lenses not well regarded


    Nikon D5000
    0) Body + 18-105VR = 820
    1) Body + 18-200VR = 1250-1300
    2) Body + 18-105VR + 75-300VR = 1280
    3) Body + 16-85VR + 75-300VR = 1610
    [COLOR="SeaGreen"]For:
    Bottom hinged LCD which twists to either side or front (but underneath, so not if on tripod)
    Much larger range of lens available; both Nikon and/or 3rd party, thus more likely to find a match for performance against price I can afford, I hope.
    Shoots movies (I have been known to use this)
    Intervalometer for time lapse
    4 fps for upto 5 RAW images in buffer
    I can use my old 50/f1.8 prime on it (manual focus)

    [COLOR="Red"]Against:
    No vert grip available or possible
    If RAW format is not same as D90, may not be able to use ACR for RAW initially
    18-55 kit lens not well rated
    VR in some lenses only
    No metering with old prime?


    Olympus E-620
    1) Body + 14-42 + 40-150 = 699 online, 799 shop
    2) Body + 14-54 + 75-300 = 1430 ("mind the gap")
    [COLOR="SeaGreen"]For:
    Side hinge LCD which twists to either side or front (sticks out at left side)
    Can match my lens focal length range with the two kit lenses plus body for say 699.
    4 fps
    In body VR/IS
    Vert grip available

    [COLOR="Red"]Against:
    By far the least range of lenses and they're expensive for anything decent
    4/3 format with a bit smaller sensor
    If RAW format is not same as E-30, may not be able to use ACR for RAW initially

    Any thoughts?
    Lens recommendations?
    Shops? (e.g. do I avoid Jessops in case they go bust?)

    Can you guess which I'd really like?

    Thanks,

  2. #2

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    Re: Nikon, Olympus or Sony?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Humphries View Post
    Can you guess which I'd really like?
    A Canon?

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    Re: Nikon, Olympus or Sony?

    Hi Dave, what ever is your decision please do not buy the Sony Alpha 350 + 16-105 + 75-300 set, because these glasses are c**p.

    As a Sony user I would recommend you to buy the Alpha 350, however you have to think what is better for you and what brand will give you what you need for the price you want to pay.

    Sony has a disadvantage, when you want better lenses than the kit lenses, then the prices are either similar or mostly higher than Canon and Nikon, therefore the illusion of having a wide range of cheaper lenses is wrong.

    I own as mentioned an Alpha 350 and a 18-250 mm f3,5-6,3 and also a 50 mm f1,4, both are great and don't have any complain.

    Good luck with your search!
    Last edited by Colin Southern; 1st May 2009 at 08:50 AM.

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    Re: Nikon, Olympus or Sony?

    Hi Dave,

    If its me, I drop 4/3 off the short list. small sensor, bad noise, bad DR etc etc... not that much better than a P&S.
    (I'm currently using Nikon so take the following for what it is worth)

    Nikon and Sony both use Sony sensors (Nikon sensors, except that of D3, are made by Sony factory using Nikon spec... what ever that means) but Nikon seems to have better processing method. If history repeats, sensor in D90 is better than D300-> D5000 is going to have even better sensor then D90. See www.dxomark.com

    as for Sony vs Nikon, I would suggest you wait till the D5000 is in store and go try out both cameras side by side. Sounds like you had Nikon in the past... so my guess is you are leaning towards N camp.

    good luck, wish I can go camera shopping with ya!

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    Re: Nikon, Olympus or Sony?

    Dave if you weren't so set on a swivel screen I'd say get a D90.

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    Re: Nikon, Olympus or Sony?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill44 View Post
    Dave if you weren't so set on a swivel screen I'd say get a D90.
    Or a Canon 500D

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    Re: Nikon, Olympus or Sony?

    If you have an old gas fired boiler with absolutely no modern gimmicks, fans or built-in electronics, they last forever, so you can add that to the Nikon budget; you seem too nice a guy to have anything else. Also no cars made in last 10 years allow user maintenance, so maybe worth holding on to that if it works and has done less than 200K or can do you good price on supernumerary '98 Polo only 60K within family.

    Also I find the UK state pension so generous, I am constantly frustrated not being able to buy more lenses, tripods etc merely because I am too old to carry them.

    Not sure what you mean by vertical grip, but maybe you get that on a detachable tripod head?

  8. #8
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    Re: Nikon, Olympus or Sony?

    Presently, I wouldn't consider anything but Canon or Nikon. For me their DSLRs are top notch in their classes for image quality, and their latest offerings are really beginning to improve noise performance. In the end, Nikon edges out Canon IMO in build quality and the flash system. If I were you, I'd squeeze your budget as much as you can and grab a D90. It really is a sweet camera and top-in-class by many accounts.

    eNo
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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Nikon, Olympus or Sony?

    Thanks to all so far,

    A Canon?
    Nice try Colin

    I own as mentioned an Alpha 350 and a 18-250 mm f3,5-6,3 and also a 50 mm f1,4, both are great and don't have any complaints
    Thanks Daniel, That's quite interesting as obviously the 18-250mm is attractive as it means not having to change lenses very often and it even extends over what I have in telephoto end, something I wanted to do anyway. 250mm x 1.6 CF is equivalent to 400mm I think.

    If its me, I drop 4/3 off the short list. small sensor, bad noise, bad DR etc etc... not that much better than a P&S.
    Hi Ray, I think Olympus might disagree, even I don't think it's quite that bad, but it is something that does concern me even though I didn't state it above.

    Ray, Bill and eNo,
    I have seen it written that the D5000's sensor and EXPEED processor is the same as that in the D90, so I should get the best of both worlds IQ wise. Other than that, the main differences are the D90 has;
    an in body focus motor and a better V/F (prism and magnification). DPReview has a comparison chart.

    Chris,
    My car's a '96 Toyota at only 138,000 miles, so should last a while longer
    Yup, Boiler is a manual one, no fan and balanced flue, already changed the pump (twice), one water valve, flame detector, gas valve and thermocouple, so it's almost new again!

    "Vert grip" = one of those double battery box things that goes on the bottom and has an extra shutter button for portrait orientation holding. Can't have everything, huh.

    Once again, thanks for the advice, and yes Ray, I am leaning toward Nikon, had two of their cameras for years and both never really given any trouble. So which Nikon/3rd party lenses are good, or best avoided?

    Cheers,
    Last edited by Dave Humphries; 1st May 2009 at 07:38 PM.

  10. #10

    Re: Nikon, Olympus or Sony?

    Dave

    I have recently upgraded from a fixed lens DC. I to wear specs. After much deliberation I opted for the Canon 450D and I was not disappointed in fact I love it (after the addition of a battery grip). It has live view, but I always used the view finder on my old S7000 in any case. Don't forget if you really need to look through the lens a odd angles you could buy a prismatic view finder. Whatever your choice it will be a totally different experience to your current camera so I would not narrow your choices (and blow your budget) by trying to mimic the attributes of a fixed lens type. Having said that I am guilty of buying a canon 28-200mm EF lens which allows me the full range in one unit. The quality is not razor sharp but until I can lay my mitts on some prime glass I think it will suffice.

    Looking at your shortlist, if you can afford the bodies with those kit lenses. I would seriously consider getting last years body and treating it to a decent zoom lens. I am not practising what I preach here but with a daughter who wants a car for her 18th and another daughter who wants a DSLR for her 16th...not too mention my 25th wedding anniversary next year I was pushing it with the battery grip, the 179 quid second hand lens and a bag to cart it around in...oh and I have already marked a place in the budget for a flash gun, remote cord and camera bracket. Thats the point really, the camera body will probably be a small proportion of your overall budget so you need to leave some headroom

    Anyway good luck with whatever you choose.

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Nikon, Olympus or Sony?

    Two other points that crossed my mind;

    I think both the Sony and the Olympus use the flash (strobe) for AF assist which doesn't appeal to me "hey look at me taking a picture of you", OK so a bright LED is almost as bad, but not quite. So that's another 'For' the D5000.

    It is possible, but very hard to quantify without trying them all, that the Sony and/or Olympus Live view is better implemented than Nikon from what I've read. My Fuji isn't to bad speed wise; i.e. switch on to first snap and between the half depressed, focussed and metered and actually taking the pic. I fear in Live view, if I have to wait for mirrors to flap down and up I'll miss shots.

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    D5000 vs. D90

    Dave - I'm sure the D5000 would be a fine choice. Before you decide, though, see if you can go to a camera store and compare the viewfinder size with a D90 and a D5000 side-by-side. Kind'a hard to judge that based on some online diagram. Compare also the ergonomics and note how much more you can change without menu-diving or burning power by using the rear LCD on the D90, then decide for yourself if that's important to you. I don't know what I would do now that I've gotten used to adjusting exposure with the two thumb wheels on my D80 and D90.

    The AF motor isn't such a big deal, from my perspective -- plenty of useful AF-S lenses out there now, especially with the release of the 35mm. But I still enjoy being able to shoot my AF 24-85 (I have a nice sharp copy) and it's not bad I can use a cheapo AF 50mm f/1.8. IOW, it isn't important until it is.

    eNo
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    Re: Nikon, Olympus or Sony?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Humphries View Post
    Two other points that crossed my mind;

    I think both the Sony and the Olympus use the flash (strobe) for AF assist which doesn't appeal to me "hey look at me taking a picture of you", OK so a bright LED is almost as bad, but not quite. So that's another 'For' the D5000.
    Hi Dave, I don't know what you mean. I have never seen any bright LED ????

  14. #14
    Daniel Salazar's Avatar
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    Re: Nikon, Olympus or Sony?

    Quote Originally Posted by eNo View Post
    Presently, I wouldn't consider anything but Canon or Nikon. For me their DSLRs are top notch in their classes for image quality, and their latest offerings are really beginning to improve noise performance. In the end, Nikon edges out Canon IMO in build quality and the flash system. If I were you, I'd squeeze your budget as much as you can and grab a D90. It really is a sweet camera and top-in-class by many accounts.

    eNo
    http://esfotoclix.com
    Hi eNo, for your statement it seems that you haven't used any Sony camera nor read any review. It's a pity that a lot of users reject another brands without even knowing them. Fortunately there are still people like Michael Reichmann from The Luminous Landscape that are still willing to try something different and they find that this product considered by the people as a "not top notch" product is in fact a real top notch camera.

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Nikon, Olympus or Sony?

    Hi eNo,

    I take your point about having 2 thumbwheels, but I'm coming from a camera with no wheels, so 1 is a 100% improvement

    I really think I'd regret not having the tilty screen, when I bought my current camera I had a "no compromise" requirement for 28mm WA, I am so glad I stuck to that.

    Hi Daniel,

    My Fuji, and the D5000, have a big "searchlight" thingy between the grip and the lens, that's the AF illuminator. On my Fuji it's a superbright green LED and only comes on in the dark to help with focusing. Sony, as I'm sure you know, strobe the on camera flash to help with focusing.

    I'm going out shortly and could well be poorer upon my return, there's a D5000 being held for me until I get there! There seems to be little D5000 stock out there (none at Jessops), and fortunately, what there is is Body only.

    Thanks all,

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    Re: Nikon, Olympus or Sony?

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    A Canon?
    I think Colin is right here... lol

  17. #17
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Nikon, Olympus or Sony?

    Hi all,

    Well, rightly or wrongly, I am now poorer and will shortly be batting for team Nikon in the monthly challenge. Might enter under two teams this month, if that's allowed, still got a backlog of half decent Fuji pics!

    One D5000 and one lens; Sigma 18 - 250 'VR', battery is now charging because it ran flat in shop - I took so long deciding

    Thanks all,

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    Re: Nikon, Olympus or Sony?

    Congratulations Dave!
    You've bought great tools wich gives you lots of good time spending at photography.

  19. #19

    Re: Nikon, Olympus or Sony?

    Huzzah! Another Nikon user!

  20. #20

    Re: Nikon, Olympus or Sony?

    Nice choice of kit Dave. I am looking forward to seeing what that Sigma lens can do.

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