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Nikon D70(s) or Oly E-500?

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#1 Kengar



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Posted 19 November 2005 - 11:34 PM

This request for advice pertains to general land use. I hope it's welcome here. (I AM a diver; just haven't invested in housing/strobes yet.)

I am torn between purchasing Nikon D70/D70s and Olympus EVolt 500.

Features I've picked up on via research so far:

I like the idea of the Oly supersonic wave dust cleaner, which Nikon doesn't have. (I would prefer not to have to "Photoshop out" dust marks in my photos.)

Nikon has five AF points, compared to "just" three for Oly, which suggests (based on other thread I saw here) that the Nikon would autofocus faster.

I've seen negative commentary (dpreview) re viewfinder in Oly being like looking through a tunnel. Might be problem when I eventually take camera wet. I don't know yet how the Nikon viewfinder stacks up.

Oly has 8 MP, vs. "just" 6 MP for Nikon. (I'd like to make this a hobby where I can create some artwork worthy of 11 x 17 blowups at some point.)

Nikon has status LCD in addition to view LCD; Oly doesn't, requiring status info to be viewed on power-consuming large view LCD.

Oly is significantly less $, but I'm willing to spend more for overall better quality in the long run.

I've been told that Nikon tends to have better lenses in general, and better range orflenses, but I'm just looking to get started right now with a decent "general" lens and one that gives me better telephoto capability than my current Oly 8080.

Oly's 4:3 format is supposedly closer to most frame sizes than Nikon's 3:2.

Butterflyphoto and B and H Photo both recommended Nikon in an instant over Oly (on basis of wider range of lenses and purported better quality of the Nikon lenses), but local cameral store (Penn Camera, in Washington, D.C.; two separate locations) recommended the Oly based on it being newer technology and based on the dust cleaning feature in particular.

I've currently got an Oly 8080 fixed lens camera, but I'm not happy with the sharpness of the images. (This may be apples to oranges issue when considering the EVolt)

Given these competing factors, I'm at a loss (and tossing and turning at 2:30 a.m. surfing the net trying to figure this out).

(I've got large hands and have been advised by B'fly and/or B and H that Canon (e.g., Digital Rebel) would likely be too small to be comfortable, but I can check that out for myself if anyone thinks Canon beats the other two.)

Thanks for any advice you might be able to provide.


#2 critidoc



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Posted 20 November 2005 - 04:06 AM

I am looking to upgrade to a dslr as well. I also have a 8080 when compared to my friends d70, his photos have better clarity, and color saturation. His focus lock is better and more consistant than the 8080. Olympus warranty sucks!!. Had a button stuck after 2 dive trips within 6 months and olympus refused to cover it under warranty, claiming the camera was tampered with. Hweld me up for $248. I will never buy from them again.

I am looking at 2 cameras. the d200 and the canon 5d. The d200 is not yet available to see or try in person. Both cameras are much heavier and larger than the olympus.

Housings are heavier and you will need one or two good underater flashes, not to mention lens choices.

At this time I am leaning towards a d200, it is about 1/2 the cost of the 5d.

hope this helps.
Nikon D200, 12-24mm, 60mm,105mm, 18-200mm, Aquatica D20 housing, dual Inonz240 flashes

#3 davephdv


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Posted 20 November 2005 - 02:10 PM

I would compare the costs including the lenses you will use and the cost of the housing. I suspect you will find a more choices in housings and lenses for the Nikon. Overall costs might be less as well.

For UW use the important features in dSLR I feel are: fast low light AF, a large viewfinder, and good low noise images at ISO 400.
Dave Burroughs, Nikon D300, D2X, Subal housing, DS160 strobes

Life is a beach and then you dive.

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#4 Rocha


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Posted 20 November 2005 - 02:56 PM

Hi Ken,

There was a similar discussion here not long ago. An excellent point that Alex made was that there are limited housing options for the Olympus. James and Julian also pointed out that the Olympus lenses are more expensive than their Nikon equivalents. The aspect ratio on the Olympus is different too. Take a look here:


I hope this helps,


Luiz Rocha - www.luizrocha.com
Nikon D800, Aquatica AD800, Ikelite strobes.

#5 Alex_Mustard


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Posted 20 November 2005 - 03:04 PM

My concern with the Olympus was the availability of future housings too. You don't want to invest in a system, and then find when you upgrade cameras in 5 years you can't get a housing.

Nikon and Canon are safer bets in this regard. It makes me feel bad to be saying don't back the little guy, but this seems the most sensible advice.


Alexander Mustard - www.amustard.com - www.magic-filters.com
Nikon D5 (Subal housing). Nikon D7200 (Subal housing). Olympus EPL-5 (Nauticam housing).

#6 Phil Rudin

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Posted 21 November 2005 - 07:49 AM

Hi Ken,

Let me first say that I am an Olympus user and have had the E-system since it was introduced in 2003. As an out of the water system the E-500 2 kit lens system is hard to beat price wise. Now selling at $799.00 in the U S the two lenses cover a 35 mm range of 28 mm to 300mm.

However as Alex has pointed out housings will be limited to a few manufacturers most of which will be in the entry price range. Don't expect to see a Seacam, Subal or Nexus for an Olympus camera.

If you search this fourm for E-300 and E-500 you will find several posts regarding the merits of Olympus lenses, many of which are well suited to U/W photography.


#7 Kengar



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Posted 21 November 2005 - 04:31 PM

Ultimately, I went with the Olympus kit based on value.

Thanks for the replies.