Still no further forward

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by andythebrave, May 27, 2007.

  1. andythebrave

    andythebrave TPF Noob!

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    Well, there I was, happy to be about to get a Dynax (maxxum) 5D and kit lens for £200/$400 until the store sold the last one before I got there.

    I thought the Sony R1 would do just fine but it's getting impossible to find one for a decent price (read within budget of around £500/$1000 - more if I stage the purchase) and there's also the nagging feeling that I could do better (not with the lens but with the handling).

    So, at the risk of seeming to veer madly around without any purpose, I've been looking and then some for inspiration at countless review sites and online shops and think that I've got some sensible options:

    1. Olympus E-500 (evolt) + 14-45 and 40-150 for around £360/$720 - either keep the lenses as supplied or sell on ebay to fetch around £180/$360 and save a little more for the Zuiko 12-60.

    2. Nikon D50 + 18-55 for around £300/$600. Uncertain here as my required focal length range is 28-120 in 35mm terms and I don't see any lens to suit within reasonable price limits (say up to £400/$800 plus what I would get for the kit lens).


    3. Pentax K100D + 18-55 for around £300/$600. Same comments apply as with option 2.

    4. Open to suggestions.

    My needs are:
    Focal length (35mm equivalent) - 28-120mm (wider would be nice)
    Macro - no special needs
    Image stabilisation - no requirement
    Lens quality - solid construction, metal mount, low barrel/pincushion effects, no/minimal CA
    Body - must be easy to make adjustments in Manual mode, must not be tiny, must not creak or otherwise show other signs of cost cutting construction.

    Other than that I'm not bothered about the brand too much (no Canons though as I got very badly burned twice with EOS lenses in the 90s) except that I do admit to a certain fondness for Olympus as I grew up with an OM-10 and then OM2SP.

    Does anyone have anything positive or derogatory to say about my stated options or anything to add?

    Thanks in advance for your comments.
     
  2. Don Simon

    Don Simon TPF Noob!

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    First I'll address the options you listed...

    1) You can pick up an E500, or an E400 twin lens kit, for under £500.

    2) I'd suggest the D50 with an 18-70mm, or buy body only and get the 18-70mm separately, and then find a telephoto zoom on eBay to cover the rest - a Tamron would be reasonable.

    3) You can easily find the K100d, 18-55mm and 50-200mm bundled for just over £400.

    Now just to pick at the needs you listed... for lens quality, how much does a plastic mount really matter? Have you succeeded in chewing up an SLR lens before? I can see why a plastic mount on the camera matters, and why it matters with a heavy lens, but not with a kit lens unless you regularly yank the lens off the body or hang weights off it. As for "solid" construction, I'm afraid you're out of luck looking for a zoom within your budget. Any kit lens will not be all that well made. Some are more plasticky and more loose than others, but none are going to be comparable with higher-end lenses for build quality. Aberrations are going to be present on any kit lens. But you can still create a good image and even make fairly large prints with a kit lens. As for creaking, well my dSLR has never creaked but then I never tried standing on it. Meanwhile "tiny" is a fairly subjective description. Cameras can be small but still comfortable, so dimensions alone are not much to go by; and really no dSLR within your price range is going to be all that large.

    So where am I going with all this? Nowhere really. All I can say is that all the options you listed are good ones. With any of the three systems you listed you could get a body and two lenses covering your required range, within your budget (you just have to shop around a bit). And I don't think any of them would disappoint. And since your main requirements seem to be subjective ones of construction, comfort and control, I can only really give the normal advice: get thee to a shop! :)
     
  3. andythebrave

    andythebrave TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the comprehensive reply.

    If solid construction is absent from kit lenses how far up the chain do I have to go to get one that is (solid that is)?

    If it's the D50 are we talking about a £1000/$2000 Nikkor zoom to add to the 18-55 (like the 70-200 or 80-200 2.8s) in which case that would simply take too long to save for and would be difficult to justify in any case.

    If it's the K100D I'd need to be looking at the Sigma 70-200 EX I guess and keeping the 18-55 kit lens.

    Also, the point re creaky bodies - what I meant was that I have picked up a few bridge cameras in my time and they have literally creaked - something to do with the number of shell to chassis fixing points being low. It may very well be that no DSLR has this problem - it's just something I've come across and would wish to avoid.

    Quite right about getting to a shop but it's not easy finding all the relevant items in one place to do a side by side especially as the E-500 and D50 are effectively discontinued models.

    The E-500 twin lens kit is obtainable at £360 - I wouldn't want the E-400 as:

    a) I've seen it and it looks a bit naff
    and
    b) that's what I call tiny - and it's too light for me.

    I'm not saying that tiny and/or very light aren't good things just that they're not good for me.

    Would anyone have any comments to make on the Olympus lens question - keep the 14-45 and 40-150 or sell and get the 12-60 (I know that's not in the shops yet but I'm taking a bit of a leap and assuming that quality will be similar to the 14-54)?

    In a previous thread I mentioned that I was approaching phobic about dust and lens changes but this SSWF feature on the Olympus cameras seems to be exactly the palliative required!
     
  4. Don Simon

    Don Simon TPF Noob!

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    I'm not sure how well the Olympus dust removal feature works. But they got there first and I imagine it works better than anyone else's.

    For the D50 I wasn't suggesting a £1000 lens, or even a £500 lens. More like a £50-100, something along the lines of a Tamron 70-300mm. Would it be plastic? Oh yes. Would the image quality be comparable to a £1000 zoom? No. Will you be able to take good shots with it? Of course. It would give you that extra telephoto reach for when you need it.

    As for the Pentax, why would you need that particular Sigma? If you mean the F/2.8 lens, you won't get that with any current dSLR for under £500 total. The lens alone would probably cost your whole budget. A slower Sigma or Tamron zoom would do an ok job, as would Pentax's own 50-200mm. Again they're not going to compare with a £1000 zoom but they would still provide you with that range.
     
  5. andythebrave

    andythebrave TPF Noob!

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    Thanks again Zaphod (you don't have two heads do you?).

    The thing is I'm one of those insufferable bores who wants to have their cake and eat it.

    Or, in photography parlance, I want top drawer image quality but don't want to have to take a second job to have to pay for it.

    I must admit that I was spoiled during my last photographic crescendo in the late 80s and through the 90s what with the T90, Sigma apo lenses that were worth every penny, a fantastic Tamron 90mm macro and so on and so forth.

    My sights are set, reluctantly, a little lower than they were at the zenith of that period but (hearing cries of 'Get to the point') my focal length requirement at 28-120 (approx) is what I reckon I can get away with. Perhaps even the 28-105 equivalent would do, BUT, good quality glass and it would be really nice if it felt good too.

    Do you think that I've been approaching this from the wrong direction in that I've been suckered in by the magazine ads when I should really have been concentrating on what lens(es) will suit and then going out to get that great deal on a discontinued body?

    After all, the body is just a collection of pieces of plastic and metal loosely grouped around a light sensitive sensor whereas a lens is what gathers all the light and jets it on down and that's still more important right?
     
  6. andythebrave

    andythebrave TPF Noob!

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    Managed to track down one shop with an E-400, E-500, 400D, D50, K100 & K110 (would you believe PC World at the Euston end of Tottenham Court Road) and the handling results are:

    Too small: E-400 & 400D (but both appear to be very well made)
    Not quite there in build/feel: K100/K110
    Very nice indeed: E-500
    Best feel: D50

    Ouch! Exactly the result I feared - there's something indefinable about the E-500 that is screaming 'Buy Me' at me and there's something in me that's screaming 'Buy the Olympus' but I'm finding it hard to justify jettisoning the D50 on logical grounds. It feels great but I still think that the E-500 has something special about it - like character in the same way that my old Alfa 33 had it.

    I suppose it's going to come down to what the deals are like when I hit purchase time (just over 4 weeks away) - always supposing that there's any left that is.
     
  7. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Hi, just to give you a wrench you don't need, what will each of those camera systems Not do for you?

    You aren't going to find a system that will do everything well in a reasonable budget but still would one of them leave you in the lurch when you really want to do something?

    Just points to ponder.

    BTW the Nikon 18-70mm (27-105mm equiv) is a great lens for what it costs. There is a little barrel distortion in the wide end but it's sharp and reasonably fast (f4.5 at the long end instead of f5.6 and because of the internal motor focuses really fast) and you can get one previously owned fairly inexpensively due to people getting on forums that don't like 'kit' lenses. ;)

    There are loads of 70/80 -200/210mm lenses on the used market that go for a song. I have a 70-210mm f4.5-5.6 af Nikor that is a great lens for when I don't want to carry around the f2.8. Those go for under a $100 US and are very sharp. (the D version focuses faster but is a lot more expensive)

    OK, obviously I'm partial to Nikon but still, the D50 has a lot of happy shooters (and Nikon has the best flashguns ;))!

    good luck

    mike
     

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