Evolt 500 versus Nikon D70s

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by Sandy Bloom, Ph.D., Nov 29, 2005.

  1. I am new to this newsgroup so if this question has been answered, please
    excuse this post.

    I am wondering if the Evolt 500 8 megapixel would give me "better" pictures
    than the Nikon D70s 6 megapixel camera, based on pixel size alone.

    I suspect that the Nikon ED lenses are generally superior to the Olympus
    Zuiko lenses. I also suspect that the Nikon is a better built camera, but
    the Evolt 500 seems to have more features.

    A year or so ago I read that the Evolt 300 had a better light metering
    system than the Nikon D70. I also read that the E300 had significant light
    drop off at the periphery of the lens (a type of vignetting).

    I'd appreciate anything you knowledgeable folks can tell me about the above
    issues. I cannot afford to buy the Nikon 200 or the Canon 20D (about

    Thanks in advance.


    Sandy Bloom, Ph.D., Nov 29, 2005
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  2. Well, if pixel size were the only factor in the equasion, then the D70s will
    give better images. The E500 condenses 8 million photosites into a smaller
    area, and so each "pixel" is smaller than those in the D70s. As it is
    generally accepted that lower pixel density means a less noisy image- that
    is, one that posesses less randomly-coloured grain, particularly at high
    ISOs in shadow areas- that greater pixel density. So, all being equal (and
    there is a lot that cannot be equal) the E500 should produce a more detailed
    image at a low ISO, while the D70s should provide a smoother,
    cleaner-looking image at higher ISOs.

    Of course, lenses aren't perfect- and neither is camera technique. For the
    average user who, for the sake of argument, takes photographs without a
    tripod and without stopping down (because, face it- these aren't cameras
    aimed at the recently-converted field camera owners), there is no point
    making comparison based on image quality. What you should be asking yourself

    - which do I think handles better?
    - which has the accessories I think I want (and would actually buy)?
    - which can I afford?

    .... because these are not bad cameras, and you will not make worse
    photographs with one than the other.
    Martin Francis, Nov 29, 2005
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  3. Sandy Bloom, Ph.D.

    Tony Polson Guest

    The 18-70mm Nikkor lens that can be bought in a kit with the D70s is a
    better lens than the 14-45mm Zuiko Digital (ZD) kit lens that is most
    often sold with the E-500. However, there is a 14-54mm ZD lens that
    is significantly better than the 18-70mm Nikkor, but it costs a lot
    more, probably taking it out of reach.

    The focal lengths can be confusing because the Olympus sensor is
    smaller than Nikon's. The equivalent focal lengths on 35mm film are:

    Nikkor 18-70mm = 27-105mm
    Zuiko Digital 14-54mm = 28-108mm
    Zuiko Digital 14-45mm = 28-90mm

    There is an 18-55mm Nikkor that is much cheaper than the 18-70mm
    Nikkor. However, it isn't anywhere near as good as the 18-70mm, which
    is an excellent performer for the price.

    As far as the cameras are concerned, the Olympus has one third more
    pixels - 8 MP against 6 MP. All other things being equal, that means
    you are able to make slightly larger prints with the Olympus than the
    Nikon. However, if you shoot a lot of action shots, you might find
    that the Nikon's lower noise levels at high ISO settings are more
    important than the pixel count.

    The Olympus E-500 and the Nikon D70s have both had very good reviews,
    so the choice comes down to the higher pixel count of the Olympus
    versus the lower noise at high ISOs of the Nikon.

    For the future, you might also want to consider the much wider choice
    available in third party lenses (from several brands) for the Nikon,
    whereas the choice of third party lenses for the Olympus is limited to
    only two Sigma lenses at the very low end of the market.

    Of the two cameras, I would probably recommend the Nikon on account of
    the excellent 18-70mm lens and the easy availability of a wide range
    of third party lenses and accessories.

    You might also want to look at the Konica Minolta 5D which has
    built-in anti-shake, and the Canon EOS Rebel XT (350D) which has 8
    megapixels but an 18-55mm kit lens that has justly gained a very poor
    reputation for its optics. As with the Olympus, you would really need
    to buy a better lens costing much more.
    Tony Polson, Nov 29, 2005
  4. Sandy Bloom, Ph.D.

    Basic Wedge Guest

    Tony, that is one of the most objective and well balanced responses I've
    ever seen on this NG. Well done Sir!

    Basic Wedge, Nov 29, 2005
  5. I've never used a D70 and I've tried out an E500 just this past weekend for
    the first time, shot a few photos with it in the local Office Max using my
    own memory card (I've got my eye on getting one).

    As for photo quality, I don't think you'd be dissatisfied with either, they
    are both extremely capable cameras. I've seen numerous photos from the D70
    and the E300 (the predesessor of the E500) and you would like all of them.

    The build quality of the Nikon is outstanding, the E500 is very good, IMO.
    As for price point, the E500 two-lens kit is the best value right now. You
    can get it for $719.00 from Circuit City if you order online. The D70 will
    definitely cost you more but that's not to say that you won't get what you
    pay for, it is worth the price, IMO.

    It's obviously your choice, I don't think you will go wrong with either, but
    as another post noted there is more room for expanding the Nikon system than
    the Olympus right now.
    Peter A. Stavrakoglou, Nov 30, 2005
  6. Sandy Bloom, Ph.D.

    Rich Guest

    In fact, it's $500 and better than Nikon's $1250 "pro" alternative.
    Subjectively, Popular Photography (latest issue)
    scored them:
    Olympus 14-54 95.1%
    14-45 92.6%
    Nikon 18-55 92.5%
    18-70 93.6%
    17-55 f2.8 94.7%

    From all accounts, Olympus's 40-150mm that comes with the kit
    is better still. Right now, there is no better value in an entry
    level DSLR than Olympus's E-500 and it's two lens kit.

    Rich, Nov 30, 2005
  7. All:

    I want to thank all of you who responded to my post. Your collective
    wisdom is very impressive and helpful. I will continue to look for further
    responses, but even if there are no more, I have learned a lot, and I
    appreciate your efforts.

    I wish you all a Happy Holiday Season.


    Sandy Bloom, Ph.D., Nov 30, 2005
  8. Sandy Bloom, Ph.D.

    Tony Polson Guest

    Thanks Rob.

    Tony Polson, Nov 30, 2005
  9. Sandy Bloom, Ph.D.

    Stacey Guest

    Doubt it would be noticable in print. You should be looking at other
    Why suspect that?
    Where ever you read that, they were wrong. The metering system on the E300
    is probably it's weakest point. It's something they fixed with the E500.

    Again bad information, this isn't true. The olympus kit lens is one of the
    better ones at this price point.
    If low noise in low light/high ISO conditions are important (avalible light
    shooting) don't get the olymus. I personally like the color output the
    olypus has, some like the nikon. There are other factors to look at as well
    to pick which would work best for you. Given I have no idea what you expect
    from the camera, I couldn't pick one over the other and neither can anyone
    else with this small amount of info.
    Stacey, Nov 30, 2005

  10. "There are other factors to look at as well to pick which would work best
    for you.....You should be looking at other

    Fair enough, Stacey.

    If it was not obvious before, I am not a pro. I don't think I will be that
    hard to please.

    Clean available low light shooting is important to me. (I wonder if my old
    eyes could tell the difference between Nikon and Olympus color renditions.
    It sounds like this is a matter of personal taste/preference).

    I want sharp pictures generally throughout varying focal lengths, so I can
    crop as I used to when I had my own black and white darkroom; good
    interchangeable lenses, a reasonably intuitive menu system, and at least 3
    frames per second burst mode. I do have a bunch of old Nikon lenses, not
    auto-focus, which I thought I might use with the Nikon D70s, if possible.

    I heard, and this may also be bad info, that the Nikon D70 had fatal
    firmware problems which the D70s is supposed to have corrected. I was
    surprised by this, because IMHO, I found Nikon film SLR's to have been of
    very high quality. I own 2 old ones.

    I don't think the memory card choice is that big of a deal.

    Price is an issue, so the Nikon D200 and Canon D20 are out of the question
    for me. I don't need the best lenses made. I was hoping to avoid making a
    big mistake which could have been achieved with help from this List.

    I cannot think of anything else right now. If you could raise other issues
    to stimulate my thinking, I'd appreciate it.


    Sandy Bloom, Ph.D., Nov 30, 2005
  11. Since price is an issue, perhaps you should consider the Nikon D50 instead
    of the D70. IMO though, there is no better value than the Olympus E500 two
    lens kit.
    Peter A. Stavrakoglou, Nov 30, 2005
  12. Sandy Bloom, Ph.D.

    Larry Lynch Guest

    In my recent decision to buy an Evolt camera, I weighed the fact that I
    dont shoot at higher than ISO 400 most of the time.

    My decision was also helped along by the fact that I already own a Canon
    Digital Rebel (300 D) which although it isnt a new model, it does a fine
    job at ISO 800, 1600 and with the hack 3200.

    90 percent or more of my shots are done at ISO 100 or ISO 200. In these
    ranges the Evolt does a really nice job, and Im quite happy with it.

    You need to be honest with yourself and decide what you are going to

    If you are going to spend 50% of your shots at ISO 400 and above, none
    of the Evolt cameras are what you want. If you are going to shoot
    primarily ISO 100 and 200 with occasional forrays int the higher range,
    then the Evolt system (whether the E1, The E300 or the E500) coud be a
    bargain for you.

    Larry Lynch
    Mystic, CT
    Larry Lynch, Nov 30, 2005
  13. Sandy Bloom, Ph.D.

    Larry Lynch Guest

    Stacey if I had read your post before I sent mine, I wouldnt have
    bothered posting!

    It seems we agree on this.

    I bought an Evolt last week (the 300) but KEPT my digital REBEL just for
    the times I NEED ISO 800 or 1600.(less than 10% of my shots)

    As an aside, I got the E 300 because I dont let my cameras make many
    decisions (mostly shoot in Manual) so the metering isnt all that
    important to me.

    I like the view finder on the E 300 better than the one on the E 500, so
    I save a couple of dollars and got the 300.. Luvin' that OLYMPUS color.

    Larry Lynch
    Mystic, CT
    Larry Lynch, Nov 30, 2005
  14. Sandy Bloom, Ph.D.

    Rich Guest

    Nikon's D50 is the current low noise champ when it comes to low light
    shooting. Of the light, entry-level DSLRs. It's also substantially
    less expensive than either the old Nikon D70 or the Canon Rebel XT.
    However, once you get to the
    Canon 20D, the build quality is way beyond any of the entry level
    DSLRs and it also has outstanding low light noise characteristics.
    Nikon's new D200 should be an amazing camera too.
    Rich, Dec 1, 2005
  15. Sandy Bloom, Ph.D.

    Stacey Guest

    Sandy Bloom, Ph.D. wrote:

    Then buy the nikon..

    That was easy wasn't it? :)

    Seriously high ISO performance isn't a strong point with the olympus so if
    this is important, buy something else.
    Stacey, Dec 1, 2005
  16. Sandy Bloom, Ph.D.

    Stacey Guest

    But they mention avalible low light shooting is -important-, not a strong
    point with the E500.
    Stacey, Dec 1, 2005
  17. Sandy Bloom, Ph.D.

    Stacey Guest

    The viewfinder is what sold me on the E300. It was the only cheap dSLR that
    is easy to manual focus which is important for the things I like to shoot,
    mainly landscape and macro stuff.

    Stacey, Dec 1, 2005
  18. Sandy Bloom, Ph.D.

    Larry Lynch Guest

    I like your little gallery! Especially the goose/goslings (or is it
    duck/duclings?) and the couple on the bench. (I have a whole collection
    of those taken on the same bench at different times I call it my
    "bookends" collection).

    I wont be able to try the E 300 at event photography until April, but Im
    sure that the viewfinder will be an advantage. Those horse show rings
    are VERY badly lit.. not even enough light to read a newspaper most
    days, so Ive had to depend on the camera to focus most of the time with
    the Canon, and Im sure you knoe that means a lot of my shots were poorly

    This is a 100% crop from a "practice" shot (RAW converted through
    Photoshop CS 2 ACR)..


    Though it appears that the light was good, it was not. I took a whole
    series of these on a VERY dark day, late in the afternoon. ISO 100,
    manual focus, PUSHED like crazy in post to make it brighter. I just
    couldnt take the shot with the Canon (I tried and couldnt see to focus).

    Its not a great shot, or even a good shot, but its much closer to good
    focus than I could get with the Rebel no matter which lens I used.

    Larry Lynch
    Mystic, CT
    Larry Lynch, Dec 1, 2005
  19. Sandy Bloom, Ph.D.

    Larry Lynch Guest

    After looking at the EXIF on that picture:

    There were itms in the background that were VERY dark causing the ESP
    metering to go nuts.. the lighter parts of the birds would have been
    "blown out" without the - EV setting, even though the light was really
    poor... The one downfall of the E 300 I guess.

    I used the embossed lettering on the green plastic parts of the feeder
    as my "focus point".. the birds were a "gimme".

    Larry Lynch
    Larry Lynch, Dec 1, 2005
  20. You really think so? Manual focusing is one of my least favorite
    things about my E300. It's slow and imprecise and because it's
    completely electronic, you can't preset the focus to a known distance.
    All IMO, of course. And then there's that focusing screen...I want my
    old split-prism back! (Yes, I know about keoptics.com, thanks, but they
    don't offer one for the E300.)

    Then again, I suspect that most low-cost AF lenses aren't very good
    at manual focusing. My girlfriend has a Tamron which at least has a
    real manual focusing ring which doesn't just spin endlessly like the Zuiko
    ones, but the range through which it rotates is tiny - something like 45
    degrees or less - so it's still very fussy to use.
    Jeremiah DeWitt Weiner, Dec 1, 2005
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