I'm thinking of buying Olympus EVOLT E-500 8M, what to look for?
April 25, 2006 4:06 PM   Subscribe

I recently found this digital SLR Olympus EVOLT E-500 on sales at costco.com click here It seems a good deal with a complete package. It's very attempting to me since I'd like to move from point and shoot to DSLR. I'm a beginner amateur. I've read and learned about how SLR works, but with so many choices out there on the market, I'm kinda lost. $699 is right on my budget. However, I'm willing to step up a little bit if there is a better choice for the long run and without paying a whole lot more. On the other hand, stepdown is also an option if major/critical functions are not being compromised. With your experience and knowledge, what do you think the pros and cons are for Olympus E-500. Say if i get a Canon, or a Nikon DSLR, what models are comparable to E-500, and what will I gain or lose? I'll appreciate it if you can share your thoughts with me. Many thanks. Olympus EVOLT E-500 8MP $699.99 After Rebate Digital SLR 2.5" 40-150 & 17.5-45mm Lens
posted by dy to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (20 answers total)
Buying from Costco is a risk free proposition. With their lifetime money-back no-questions-asked policy, you just can't go wrong no matter what you buy. Get it, try it out for a while, and return it if you don't like it or want to try a different camera.
posted by blueyellow at 4:17 PM on April 25, 2006

The Olympus DSLRs are a very good value, and if you're in the sub $900 range, go for it!
posted by jedrek at 4:24 PM on April 25, 2006

Costco has a lifetime money back no questions asked policy??! I had no idea. So if my fancy flat screen TV goes bad after the warranty ends, is that guarantee still in effect? Whoa.
posted by luriete at 4:26 PM on April 25, 2006

Costco lifetime money back policy? I don't think so...
posted by dbiedny at 4:44 PM on April 25, 2006

The Canon Rebel XT kit is only $675 after rebate. Dpreview's comparison of the two cameras starts here and goes on for a few pages. They're pretty similar cameras, but the Canon does better at high ISO noise, and delivers very very slightly better detail. Honestly I would say the biggest difference between them is who you're buying lenses from in the future, and I don't have anything helpful to say one way or the other about Olympus's glass.

B&H is also very good to buy from and is helpful with an excellent return policy, but they are mail order so they're less convenient. You'll save a few bucks paying shipping instead of tax. Oh and if you do decide to go with the Olympus, B&H's price on the E-500 is $699 before rebate.
posted by aubilenon at 4:46 PM on April 25, 2006

Not sure what happened to my link. Fixed
posted by aubilenon at 4:47 PM on April 25, 2006

I think this depends upon why you are buying an SLR. With an SLR, you are buying into a system, which is just as important as the individual camera you buy. I speak from experience when I say at this point, the only two systems I'd be willing to buy into are Canon and Nikon.

Now, if you think you'll buy this camera, and never buy anything else for it (lenses, flashes, remotes, etc.), then that doesn't matter. But if that is not the case, spend some time making sure that you will be happy with the Olympus system.
posted by teece at 4:48 PM on April 25, 2006

(Also it's available in black at the same price if you prefer)
posted by aubilenon at 4:49 PM on April 25, 2006

Costco lifetime money back policy? I don't think so...

Well, it doesn't promise "cash back", but they do appear to have an unlimited return policy (except on computers/laptops). Worst case, you could try out another product they offer.

Costco.com return policy

also, from "Answers.com":

Costco has a very generous product return policy that allows customers to return most products indefinitely. Unlike other stores, Costco allows returns of opened media. Many people take advantage of this with DVDs, software and other media. Buyers effectively "rent" the product temporarily by buying and later returning it for a refund. Computers, which most retailers loathe to accept for a refund, have a six-month return period. Even the membership fee is fully refundable at any time.

I'm very surprised myself.

posted by fishfucker at 4:51 PM on April 25, 2006

Costco lifetime money back policy? I don't think so...

My ex returned a Tag Heuer watch a year and a half after wearing it every day and got all his money back in cash. My mom brought her all-in-one printer back after Brother told her it was out of waranty and got all her cash back as well.

There are limits, though. Computers can't be returned after six months. I'd check to see if digital cameras fit in that category.
posted by Gucky at 4:56 PM on April 25, 2006

I'd highly recommend the Nikon D50 if you're looking at an Entry Level camera. I was a beginner into DSLR when I bought the D70 (the D50 is an improved design, with some of the features "tuned down" for beginners), and it has been a WONDERFUL experience.

I'm not a fan of olympus, however I haven't used any of their higher-end cameras. I wouldn't go with the entry level Rebels (other than the XT, which I've heard improved IMMENSELY). You can buy the D50, and when you want to move up, you just buy a new body... all of the lenses will move with you (unlike Canon Lenses, which seem to have different mounts at each price point). Buy the entry level body with a nice fast lens, and you'll be VERY happy.
posted by hatsix at 5:21 PM on April 25, 2006

hatsix: Both Canon and Nikon have lens mounts designed for APS sized sensors. Canon calls it the EF-S and Nikon calls it the DX. These allow cheaper smaller lighter lenses to be used. Both mounts are backwards compatible to the 35mm lenses (EF and whatever Nikon calls theirs).

The difference is that Canon makes some high end DSLRs with a 35mm sensor, which only has an EF mount, where Nikon does not. A hypothetical full frame sensor Nikon camera would not be able to have a DX lens mount, just as a 35mm Nikon film camera cannot either.
posted by aubilenon at 6:26 PM on April 25, 2006

If that's your budget, I'd highly recommend the Canon Digital Rebel XT, as others have. It's an excellent prosumer camera, is compatible with the full line of Canon lenses (though with a 1.6x crop factor as described by aubilenon) and performs at a much higher level than any "entry level" film camera I've ever used. Prices are falling, so it's a good time to buy.

Investing in Nikon or Canon is a good move due to their dominance in the D-SLR market, the wide range of thoroughly-reviewed lenses and the fact that you'll be able to take those lenses along with you from camera to camera if you decide to scale up or upgrade.

These two brands are your "don't mess around" choices, and given your budget and the falling prices, it's an easy choice to make.
posted by VulcanMike at 8:12 PM on April 25, 2006

aubilenon, there's is no Nikon DX lens mount. All modern Nikon's use a Nikon F mount. DX lenses are made to cover a DX sensor, which is smaller than a 35mm film frame, and will thus give some vignetting (at some focal lengths, depending on the lens), when mounted on a 35mm film camera.

But the DX lenses mount and function fine on any Nikon F mount camera -- there aren't two different mounts. They're just F mount lenses that aren't designed to cover a 35mm frame. I don't know if Canon has different lens mounts.

There's a guy on Flickr than regularly uses his DX lens (I forget which) on his F100 35mm film camera, because he likes the (relatively minor) vignetting that he gets.
posted by teece at 10:05 PM on April 25, 2006

teece: ah. I had read that they would not work with 35mm cameras. My apologies for the misleading info.
posted by aubilenon at 10:48 PM on April 25, 2006

I don't know if Canon has different lens mounts.

Yeah, they have two: EF (works on any camera) and EF-S (short backfocus, only works on cameras with APS-C size sensors because they have smaller mirrors, allowing the back of the lens to protrude further into the camera). Since trying to use an EF-S lens on a full-frame camera would actually damage it (the mirror would smack into the back of the lens), the EF-S lenses have a slightly different mount, designed to keep them from mounting on full-frame cameras. An EF-S camera can take both EF and EF-S lenses, but not vice versa.

All of Canon's EF lenses cover a full 35mm frame of film; only their EF-S lenses are limited to APS-C. However, some third-party lenses are available in EF mount that only cover APS-C.

Some people advise against buying EF-S lenses since you won't be able to use them on the full-frame camera you eventually buy. However, the cost of a sensor is dependent on its physical size; I bet the prices of full-frame silicon won't fall as much as people think. So APS-C DSLRs will be around for a long time, and therefore EF-S lenses will continue to be in demand.

Canon's 10-20mm wide-angle zoom and their new 60mm macro are both EF-S lenses and apparently quite nice. EF-S by no means denotes an inferior quality lens.
posted by kindall at 11:07 PM on April 25, 2006

The E500 is a good camera. I'd recommend it over the D50 and certainly over the Canon Digital Rebel.

Whilst the kit lens in excellent, bear in mind that Olympus has adopted the 4:3 system for the camera and as such you're not going to find many second hand/budget lenses for the system. Though as a plus, this system has been specifically designed for digital photography. The kit lens itself (worth going for the 14.5 - 85mm rather than the 17.5) is alot better than what comes with the Canon.

As far as prosumer vs professional features, there aren't really any 'critical' features that are missed in the prosumers versions rather that professional cameras have the edge in professional situation; tougher design, better buffering, faster writing, less gimmicky etc... etc... The E500 certainly feels tougher than its competitors but is a little slow on write times.
posted by popcassady at 3:41 AM on April 26, 2006

...oh, there was a but.

The E500 is a good camera, a very good camera capable of taking excellent images, but like the Canon, it too has a tiny viewfinder.

I'd toss a coin for the D50 or the E500. I went for the E500.
posted by popcassady at 3:53 AM on April 26, 2006

I'd have to side with those advocating for Canon or Nikon, as teece mentioned you are ideally buying into a system. And what's the point of upgrading to a nice DSLR and dramatically limiting yourself as far as lenses go?
I can not speak to the Rebel, but I did buy a D20 awhile back and I love it. Having said that, Nikon is also very good. Stick with the entry level model on those two and you'll be happy, AND be able to have a wide range to upgrade the body to in the future without worrying about needing a whole slew of new lenses.
posted by edgeways at 9:18 AM on April 26, 2006

One piece of good advice that I have read many times when people ask about which DSLR to buy - Go to the store and try holding the cameras and playing with the buttons.

I went and tried this when I was trying to decide between the D50 and the Rebel XT; I didn't like the feel of the XT, but the D50 felt like it was made for my hands.
posted by jmcgrady at 10:30 AM on April 26, 2006

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