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11-09-2007, 09:18 AM   #1
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Pentax K10D Vs Olympus 510D

Hi guys,

I'm about to make the leap from my trusty Canon Digital Elph Powershot S500 to the scary world of DSLR.
I've never used an SLR let alone a DSLR before, so would appreciate any advice you could give to a complete DLSR novice. As I said I have no photography knowledge so I apologise for an errors or omissions in my ramblings.

I've been comparing a few of the cameras in my price range and like the Pentax K10D and Olympus 510D.
Why no Nikon and Canon I can hear you muttering in the back of the class?
Well, from the cameras in my price range, I thought that the Nikon D40x felt really flimsy and cheap, and the Canon 400D very plasticky and it didn't have Image Stabilisation.
Now that I know what Image Stabilsation is I think I like it.
The Nikon D80 didn't have dust removal, and I think I certainly need that.
No Sony? I thought the Sony Alpha 100 was a little ugly.

OK, so I'm now down to the Olympus 510D And Pentax K10D....

Why the Pentax?
Again, I'm no exert but its build quality alone made it stand out. The weatherproofing means I can take it hiking and fishing, and this corner of England is the rainiest place on the planet! Perhaps not, but as I look out of my window it can't be far off. Also, I liked the weight. It all seemed so solidly made compared to everything else in my price range.
Against the Pentax? No scene modes. But do I need them? I don't know yet. Will it be too advanced for me?

Why the Olympus?
This is a very light camera but it seemed much more solid in my monkey like paws than the nikon 40 and canon 400. It comes in a kit with two lenses, and there is a 100 rebate from Olympus until 31 Dec, which means I can get the full 2 lens kit for as little as 512 which seems good value to me.
Against the Olympus? It wasn't weatherproofed and is nowhere near as tough as the Pentax.

I could flip a coin, but thought I should share my dilemma with the experts out there!

Once I've chosen the body, do I stay with a kit lens?
As a beginner I don't know an f-stop from a bus stop so I have no idea what lenses I'll need.
I'll taking pictures of the family and landscapes for example.

Thanks for any advice you are able to offer, it really is appreciated.
Billy

11-09-2007, 09:51 AM   #2
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I was also considering the Olympus. It's a pretty nifty camera with live view (although I thought the way in which it worked was sort of clunky) and felt solid in my hands, albeit the viewfinder was quite small.

I wasn't crazy about the 4/3 lens mount nor the cost of lenses as you go beyond the two kit lenses.

For me, the sealing of the k10d, the dust removal, the stablization, the solid feel of the camera in my hands, the way in which I could navigate using its controls and the excellent lens line-up when I'm ready to acquire... all of these helped me make my decision.

But it's a tough call and I'm not suggesting you follow suit. Just sharing my own feelings about having to make the same decision. I'd do it again, by the way. I really love my k10d (as does my wife hers). However, either way you are going to have a fine camera so in a way, you can't go wrong.
11-09-2007, 09:53 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Billy Quote
Hi guys,

I'm about to make the leap from my trusty Canon Digital Elph Powershot S500 to the scary world of DSLR.
I've never used an SLR let alone a DSLR before, so would appreciate any advice you could give to a complete DLSR novice. As I said I have no photography knowledge so I apologise for an errors or omissions in my ramblings.

I've been comparing a few of the cameras in my price range and like the Pentax K10D and Olympus 510D.
Why no Nikon and Canon I can hear you muttering in the back of the class?
Well, from the cameras in my price range, I thought that the Nikon D40x felt really flimsy and cheap, and the Canon 400D very plasticky and it didn't have Image Stabilisation.
Now that I know what Image Stabilsation is I think I like it.
The Nikon D80 didn't have dust removal, and I think I certainly need that.
No Sony? I thought the Sony Alpha 100 was a little ugly.

OK, so I'm now down to the Olympus 510D And Pentax K10D....

Why the Pentax?
Again, I'm no exert but its build quality alone made it stand out. The weatherproofing means I can take it hiking and fishing, and this corner of England is the rainiest place on the planet! Perhaps not, but as I look out of my window it can't be far off. Also, I liked the weight. It all seemed so solidly made compared to everything else in my price range.
Against the Pentax? No scene modes. But do I need them? I don't know yet. Will it be too advanced for me?

Why the Olympus?
This is a very light camera but it seemed much more solid in my monkey like paws than the nikon 40 and canon 400. It comes in a kit with two lenses, and there is a 100 rebate from Olympus until 31 Dec, which means I can get the full 2 lens kit for as little as 512 which seems good value to me.
Against the Olympus? It wasn't weatherproofed and is nowhere near as tough as the Pentax.

I could flip a coin, but thought I should share my dilemma with the experts out there!

Once I've chosen the body, do I stay with a kit lens?
As a beginner I don't know an f-stop from a bus stop so I have no idea what lenses I'll need.
I'll taking pictures of the family and landscapes for example.

Thanks for any advice you are able to offer, it really is appreciated.
Billy
An interesting post, as a frriend of mine was considering the olympus for the same reason. it's small size. We discussed the pros and cons at length. Here is the conclusion/

olympus is a 4/3 system, which uses a smaller sensor and therefore the "magnification or crop factor" i.e. the ratio of image projected on the sensor by the lens, compared to a 35mm camera (the old standard) is 2:1. This means for the same field of view on the 4/3 system you need a lens 1/2 the focal length of a 35mm camera. Pentax DSLRs are using an ASP-C sensor which is 2/3 the size of a film frame, hence the "magnification factor" is 1.5:1.

In terms for a photographer, and all else being equal,

- if you are interested in mostly long telephoto shots, there might be some advantage with the smaller sensor,
BUT at the other end,
- for wide angle shots, it is really difficult to get the same field of view for the 4/3 system as you can for the pentax cameras. As an example, if you use the sigma 10-20mm lens on a pentax camera, for the same the same field of view with the olympus, you would need a 7-14mm. Olympus do make one but you can get a K10D plus the sigma lens for the same price as the olympus lens only. There is some logic to making a choise based on money, and your budget limitations.

Additionally, you need to consider size. I have an *istD and K10D. Although I have not used the olympus, I would imagine it is at least as small as the *istD. While that makes for a nice compact camera for short lenses, just hang an F2.8 70-200 plus teleconverter on it. the camera is simply too small for a really big lens and difficult to hold onto.

The next thing to consider is noise. smaller sensor chips suffer more from noise than larger ones (for the same megapixle count) therefore you may also give up a little with higher ISO settings. Although low light and available light photography is not for everyone,. I use my cameras A LOT at high ISO

In terms of operating modes i.e. scene mode, etc..... I don't use them, they are really a stop gap for people who don't know about photography, to give them settings or control options that return a high probability of the best exposure under the situation. My advise, forget all these automatic modes, and learn a little about how lenses, and cameras work. In the long run you will be better off because you will never have a mode for every situation any way, and if you understand the basics, a little thinking can give you the results.
11-09-2007, 10:22 AM   #4
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Hi Billy -

And welcome! Let me admit my biases. I am a long time Pentax user, with both film (K1000, ME-Super, MX, and LX) and now digital with the K10D in my "stable."

Olympus is an old and honorable marque; the orginators of the small SLR, the OM-1, and a series of wonderful variants thereon. I remember lusting after the OM-2: small but capable.

But...

1. as far as I know their current DSLRs all use a smaller sensor than is "standard." This may well reduce the number of third party lens makers who will make lenses to fit. Additionally the pool of used lenses will be small.

2. while the Pentax dust removal "shaker" is only partially successful, the shake reduction is really worth the money. It won't take the place of a tripod, but it will give you perhaps 2 stops advantage with a long lense.

3. don't worry about the absence of scene modes. The K10D will allow you to customize its various modes, and the hyperprogram mode is unique and useful.

4. the K10D can use almost ANY Pentax lens ever made, either directly or with a M42 adaptor! All of my lenses will work on it. The 18-55mm kit lens which comes with the K10D is generally felt to be superior to the kit lenses of Canon and Nikon.

5. you mentioned the weather sealing; this is unique in a DSLR at the K10D's price point.

6. avail yourself of the fitted grip; as an owner it is worth the cost.

7. while I can't speak regarding the Olympus, the viewfinders of the Canon and Nikon competitors are much smaller than that of the K10D. Size really does matter here, since that viewfinder is truly your window on the camera's world.

Either will do well. I feel the Pentax will do better. Do let all of us know of your decision.

Again, welcome to the DSLR world.

11-09-2007, 10:32 AM   #5
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These two are my home brands. Both will make excellent photographs, and are fine cameras. I ended up with the K100D to get the smaller size (before the new Olympi came out).

To add to what everyone's said here already:

- the viewfinder on the 4/3 Olympus is smaller and more tunnel like than what Pentax has. This may or may not bother you.
- According to Popular Photography (IF I remember correctly) the Olympus SR may be even more effective than that of the Pentax (I'd check that 'fact' if I were you)
- The Olympus has all sorts of lens adaptors available - more than the Pentax does - to allow different brand lenses to be used. The Pentax however retains metering with all legacy Pentax glass, and the Olympus does not.
- A smaller sensor also puts more strain on the resolving power of the lens. It may not be a whole lot, but a third party lens would seem sharper with a larger sensor.
11-09-2007, 10:42 AM   #6
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As someone said earlier, you're going to get a great camera regardless of whether you choose the Olympus or the Pentax, so don't agonize over this too much. One of my co-workers has the Olympus with the 2 kit lenses and he loves it. I've got a K10D and I love it! lol Here's my 2 cents worth: While the Olympus will be a step up from your Elph in quality and versatility, the Pentax is a camera you can grow into, if that makes sense.
11-09-2007, 10:50 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Billy Quote
Hi guys,
I'm about to make the leap from my trusty Canon Digital Elph Powershot S500 to the scary world of DSLR.
I've never used an SLR let alone a DSLR before, so would appreciate any advice you could give to a complete DLSR novice. As I said I have no photography knowledge so I apologies for an errors or omissions in my ramblings.
No need to apologize. Most all here love giving their opinions and are patient with folks who are green. A word of caution from me after reading this introduction, as I appreciated reading something similar when I was in the same boat as you a few months ago... best put into words by the irony conveyed in this sig snippet someone on this board uses: "I bought all this expensive camera equipment, now where's the button I press for a good picture"...

I was considering waiting for the Oly for my epic journey to Tanzania, but I got the K10D for its weather sealing and the 4/3 lens selection was rather limiting/limited @ the time (at the time I wasn't 100% I'd be able to get everything I needed before I needed to leave). I did like the noise characteristics of the 510 that I saw on imaging-resource.com.
11-09-2007, 10:56 AM   #8
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Hi Billy,

I've gone through the same process as you are going through.
Both are great camera's.
In fact I made a excell spread sheet with all features, pros and cons of a long list of cameras.
I ended up with the E510 and K10d.
Finally I bought the K10D, because of the following:
- It has much more control over exposure and in camera image conversion.
- Weather and dust seals! My Panny P&S camera just before got poluted with dust in the lens.
- Price
- More dynamic range. There are several reviews where you can see crops of the 510 blowing out high lights much earlier than the K10D.

What the E510 has in advantage is:
- Weight
- Life view
- Very sharp Oly lenses at affordable prices.

Lots of succes with your decision. I'm sure you will be satisfied either way.

- Bert

11-09-2007, 12:48 PM   #9
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A very big thank you to all those kind enough to contribute to my fledgling flight into photography!

bymy141 - I did exactly the same as you, and wrote a spreadsheet on the Mac listing all of the different features of the various brands of cameras and slowly worked my way through them.
I thought I'd be the only person sad enough to do that, but I'm leased to hear that there's at least one other out there!

As a beginner I have no brand loyalty/slavery through prior purchases and the Pentax is where I really want to go as its as tough as old boots and I really like the extra mass and undoubted quality advantage. I think it certainly will keep me learning for several years to come, and will be happily chugging away when the other makers' cameras have fallen to bits.
Is there a difference between the Pentax and the Samsung badged K10D?

In its favour the Olympus has scene modes and lenses ( I think?)

This will be my Christmas present from my wife and baby so let's hope Santa will be kind as I've been really good all year and I find a K10D in my stocking!

Another thing I've learned from this forum is the difference between a 'snap' and a 'photograph'!
Some of you guys are very talented!
11-09-2007, 02:28 PM   #10
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Billy,

I wouldn't be on this forum if I hadn't ended up buying the K10D, so all I can give you is biased info To be honest, when I was researching cameras, I thought there must be something terribly wrong with the K10D, because I couldn't understand how a camera with so many great features cost almost half of what the equivalent cameras cost in Canon and Nikon mounts. Turns out that's just the way it is; you can have your pie and eat it too.

One thing I will recommend to you, which is independent of what camera you settle on, is the book Understanding Exposure, by Bryan Peterson.

As a newbie I read/browsed many books on photography at the library; this one is the only one I've actually bought, so I could reread it. When you're done, you'll know that bus stops and f stops are quite different (although similar in that you can't always find the one you're looking for). I suggest you buy it soon and read it before you get the camera, that way you'll be way ahead of the learning curve when you lay your monkey hands on it (the camera, that is).
11-09-2007, 04:20 PM   #11
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Hi Misere,

Biased opinion is just as valid and welcome as objective information in my book, so many thanks for your reply!
I was thinking a similar thing in the shop today, I played with the Nikon, Canon, Sony, Olympus models and thought none of them felt as "right" in my hands as the Pentax.
But, I thought to myself, what do I know - what's wrong with the camera, its clearly better than all of these others just in terms of its build alone. The guy in the shop was very good but he was a Nikon man and was pushing the Nikon D80, but I think I will be a Pentax man!
I loved the Olympus too, but I'm 90% decided - its just the lingering doubt of not knowing what I'm doing that's holding me back from jumping in.
Fortunately I have a few more weeks before Santa's visit, so there's still time to do a little more studying before committing.

Many thanks for the book recommendation, I'll be ordering this from Amazon if my local Borders doesn't stock it.
If you have any other book recommendations then feel free to chip in with them as I'm quite enjoying the idea photography now.
In a couple of months I may have swapped my f-words for f-stops and I'm quite looking forward to the challenge!
I doubt that any camera will instantly turn you into a photographer, that is probably a craft that has to be learned over time.
When we were in Yosemite we went to a gallery showing some work by Ansell Adams - that guy was amazing, and all he had was a big wooden box with a lens on the front and an enormous amount of talent. Well, if I get the Pentax I'll have him beaten on the wooden box, so all I need is a lifetime of talent and observation!

Your posted photographs are beautiful, thank you for sharing them. Were they taken with your K10D?
I noticed you're from Boston, I've been there three times and its my favourite US city - there's the fabulous clarity in the air in the winter's chill and the incredibly blue skies, such a nice city to walk around with contrasts between the very techno glass tower and the common with the graves stones of the fallen. Great place.
Oh and Sam Adams is a very nice beer too!
11-09-2007, 04:55 PM   #12
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Hi Billy

Your observation that the "Canon 400D......didn't have Image Stabilisation" is a very astute assessment from a person apparently not well-versed in DSLR technology.
Whilst not wishing to appear overly pedantic, I think what you actually intended to say is that the Canon 400D BODY doesn't have inbuilt Image Stabilisation.
The critical difference in this respect between the Pentax K10D and it's direct competitors from 'Canikon' has massive ongoing implications as far as your bank account is concerned. This is primarily because the glass which these two manufactures produce has to be expensively engineered to incorporate image-stabilisation technology WITHIN the lenses themselves. That's every new lens you might consider purchasing in the future......simply do the maths for yourself, it soon adds up pretty quickly, believe me !! I think it only fair to advise you that if you decide to persue the 'Canikon' route, you can expect to pay well 'over-the-odds' for the privilege of buying their respective stabilised optics ! Just in case you are wondering, I genuinely have no axe to grind on this particular matter, because the K10D is the first DSLR that I have ever bought.
Fortunately I don't own a shed-load of old K-mount 'legacy' lenses, like many others on this forum. As far as I am concerned, NOBODY presently produces a weatherproofed DSLR which can directly compete with the overall build-quality of the Pentax K10D (certainly not at it's current price point) and although I am trying to remain impartial for your sake, I feel fully vindicated by the eventual decision that I made !

Best regards
Richard

Last edited by Confused; 11-09-2007 at 05:18 PM.
11-09-2007, 05:35 PM   #13
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Hi Richard,

Many thanks for taking the time to contribute.
Yes, you're correct - you can buy lenses with built in stabilisation to workaround the absence of i.s. in the D400 body - but, wow look at the price! I didn't realise glass was so expensive, my windows must be worth a fortune
Well any lingering fraction of doubt that may have pulled me the Canon/Nikon way has certainly been scared out of me, or rather my wallet, now! Funny they don't tell you the full costs of other lenses when you look at the starter kit eh?
Were you a newcomer to SLR cameras when you bought your K10D or did you have a background in film SLRs?
If you were a total beginner like me how do you find your new toy, is it easy enough to get to grips with?
Right now I really think the toughness and weatherproofing will win it for Pentax - ever been hiking to the Lake District when it wasn't raining?

I don't have an axe to grind against any manufacturer, in fact I love my little Canon compact its been a great little servant over the last 4 years or whatever, but since I have no existing equipment to chain me to BrandX then I'm maybe in a fortunate position to get the perfect camera given the great cameras that are in my modest budget?

No doubt I'll struggle a little at first but I've got a book recommendation from Miserere and I'll happily sit there with a cup of tea and thumb through the manual, and of course the people on this forum are great!

All the best,
Billy
11-09-2007, 05:35 PM   #14
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I don't know anything about the Olympus, but their reputation is superb.

My choice was between the Canon 400 and the K10, and I'd been a loyal Canon user for nearly 30 years without any complaints or problems.
I love the Canon EOS 600 ( film ) that sits in a cupboard, without a battery for the last 3 years, because it did everything I wanted a camera to do, and it 'felt' right.

The EOS400 digital 'felt' wrong to me, it was small and fiddly, felt cheap and flimsy.
The K10 'felt' right, it's got a quality feel, it sits comfortably in my big hands, it keeps our English rain out and has a great reputation.
And it does everything I want a camera to do.

Dave
11-09-2007, 05:46 PM   #15
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Hi Dave,

I think I know what you mean, even as a non-photographer the Canon seemed plasticky, which surprised me as I was originally just going to get that one without even thinking of anything else just because my digital compact is Canon and my two previous film compacts were Canon.
I'm really pleased I wandered into the shop and asked to look at a few DSLRs now, else I may have made a real mistake.
You all seem very pleased with your K10s so I think that's the route I'll probably be taking.

Billy
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