Can you tell me what you think on the Olympus DSLR E-500 Camera?

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by abbottie, Jun 29, 2012.

  1. abbottie

    abbottie New to Mu-43

    Jun 29, 2012
    I have the chance of buying an Olympus E-500 DSLR Camera from a Friend (He bought it brand new way back in 2006 on a whim and it was never used that much)
    I don't know much about Olympus cameras, He only wants £120 for it with a 17.5-45mm Lens fitted
    It is in as new condition.
    Thank you for your answers.

    Seo Services India
  2. DeeJayK

    DeeJayK Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 8, 2011
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    Real Name:
    That price is roughly in line with what that kit is selling for on US eBay. The camera is a bit of a dinosaur with just an 8MP sensor. In addition the Four Thirds (as opposed to Micro Four Thirds) system is all but on life support at this point.

    I can't help but think that you'd be much happier by spending a few dollar more on something like an E-PL1 kit. The E-PL1 is smaller than the E-500, has a 12MP sensor and can use all of the :43: lenses, which are more plentiful.
  3. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Huh, whut?

    Lenses are the strength of the Four-Thirds system, and the one major deficiency in the Micro Four-Thirds system. The Four-Thirds lens collection is a COMPLETE system, even consisting of some of the best top-pro glass in the world (including the fastest zoom lenses made, all winners of the EISA awards professional lens category). The Micro Four-Thirds lens system on the other hand, is far from complete, with no fast telephotos whatsoever and only one fast zoom which has just been announced and should be arriving soon.

    That's not to say that the Micro Four-Thirds system will not eventually get to the place Four-Thirds is. In fact, at the rapid rate of growth it's showing I would surmise that it will reach that point faster than any other system has in the past. That still doesn't change the fact though, that the system is less than 5 years old and still maturing from infancy!

    The advantage of the Micro Four-Thirds system on the other hand, are high-performance compact bodies. They will take your Four-Thirds glass though (it doesn't work the other way around), which is why I use Four-Thirds glass with Micro Four-Thirds bodies, to get the best of both worlds.

    The E-500 uses a nice Kodak CCD sensor instead of the Panasonic NMOS sensors seen on more recent cameras (up until the E-M5, which is a new manufacturer). It may have less megapickles, but I doubt you will be displeased with the results. However, I would get rid of that 17.5-45mm lens first off. That was the softest Zuiko Digital lens ever made, and does nothing but mar the system in my opinion. One thing you will not get with the E-500 is the IBIS which Olympus is known for, but you will get the same SSWF dust buster which works so well.
  4. DeeJayK

    DeeJayK Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 8, 2011
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    Real Name:
    I stand corrected. I guess what I was trying to convey is that the :43: lens ecosystem is continuing to expand, while I haven't seen a new Four Thirds lens announcement in a while.
  5. AoxomoxoA

    AoxomoxoA New to Mu-43

    Apr 28, 2012
    My first digital camera was a Nikon Coolpix 995 and at the time i was really not interested in much except taking a good picture and it did that well!

    A fishing boat ride into a typhoon in 2003 did that camera in and I picked up an Olympus E-500 two lens kit at Costco to replace it. I honestly had no idea what full frame/APS C/FourThirds meant at the time only that when I picked it up vs a Canon Rebel (my budget at the time), it felt a little more substantial. It had 2 kit lenses and they were a tad faster than the one the Canon kit had, and it was a little cheaper.

    That was my decision making process and knowledge level at the time.

    The pictures however, were stunning. Colors looked so good. I had no idea of all the limitations as far as low light and sensor size and equivalence etc.

    That awoke the interest in me and it has turned into my dominant (by a long range) hobby.

    I moved to an E-3 in 2008 and have some of the very nice HG and SHG lenses and now have an E-M5 and am so giddy about that.

    The E-500 lives on in that same vein as I gifted it to a treasured employee at the time (I've retired) and he just takes great snapshots with it and has no clue why.

    All things being equal starting an EP-1 kit at a similar price point makes more sense, but the E-500 sure has an appealing character, and it was built pretty darn well.
  6. snkenai

    snkenai Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 5, 2010
    Had one. Great, practical camera, if all you want to do is take great pics. Not the latest and greatest, but fine. I actually just received my E-1 back from my son in Alaska, that if memory serves, is only about 5 mp. In good light does great. Old does not mean dead.
  7. Robert Watcher

    Robert Watcher Mu-43 Top Veteran

    I as well purchased an E-500 back in 2006 with the 2 kit lenses - and really liked the camera. At the time I was a Nikon shooter and wanted to get back into Olympus and so was testing the waters with the E-500. I used it professionally alongside my Nikons for and absolutely loved the images that it produced. I did find it hard working with 2 different systems at the same time (different menus and button placement) when I had to think and change quickly, and so traded it in for another Nikon lens at the time.

    Later on when I made the decision to move completely from Nikon to Olympus in 2008, my first purchase was it's successor the E-510 based on my love for the E-500. I used it professionally as well and in fact still use it today along with my E-3. An advantage of the E-510 is that it has image stabilization.

    For the price you mention, the E-500 is a modern enough camera with plenty of megapixels (I have sold many wonderful 20x24 to 30x40 enlargements from my Nikon D70's which were 6MP) for just about anyones needs and a great sensor - and the kit lenses were very good.
  8. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    I really enjoyed using both the E-500 and E-520. The 14-54 four thirds lens is one of my favorite lenses ever on a digital camera. My only real complaint about the E-500 and its brethren was that I found the OVF quite small and difficult to use for manual focusing (the E-1, E-3 and E-5 being notable exceptions). Would I buy one today? The E-500 is capable of producing terrific images but there has been almost no development of four thirds bodies or lenses for quite some time and given the success of the OMD I wouldn't be surprised if four thirds cameras eventually get phased out entirely.

    If it were me I'd be more inclined to go for an m43 body. In that compact DLSR style I would think a G1 or GH1 would be a better option.
  9. kenez

    kenez Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 18, 2012
  10. M4/3

    M4/3 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 24, 2011
    I have a E-500 with kit 14-45 lens. I shoots fine pictures, especially colorwise, but they are a little soft in sharpness compared to my E-PL1 with it's kit lens and it blows out highlights easily. Plus the E-500 is twice as big and heavy. And doesn't shoot video.

    So I think the E-PL1 is a more useful camera for the money, especially now that body + kit lens is only $280 here in the USA and body only is $149.

    The E-500 is known to have a fragile and failure prone card reading mechanism. So I avoid frequent removal and reinsertion of compact flash cards and just use the USB cable to download pictures.

    I also have an E-1 that is an older design than the E-500 and only 5 megapixels, but it's a more rugged and weather sealed camera that has a pro grade optical viewfinder and produces sharper jpeg images than my E-500 that are almost as good as my E-PL1 and the same or better than my E-M5. So I'd personally buy an E-1 before an E-500.
  11. bitmatt

    bitmatt Mu-43 Veteran

    Apr 7, 2012
    Real Name:
    My fondness for my old E-500 is one of the factors that drove me to get back into Olympus cameras with the E-M5. It's reasonably tough for a plastic body and feels good in your hands. But, as has been stated by others, it is a dinosaur as far as cameras go. As long as the light is good it will take nice photos (jpgs especially, was never impressed with the raw files). But keep it at ISO 400 or below, the files get cludgy quickly after that. Low light is not a friend. For a camera of that era it has very good auto white balance, which is important if you're just shooting jpgs with it. When attached to nice lenses the E-500 still holds up fairly well. In fact I still use my old one for small product table-top photography.

    Honestly though, for the money, unless you were getting a nice lens with it as well (the one you mention isn't) I think you might be better served picking up a newer m4/3 kit. There are so many crazy deals available.
  12. harrysue

    harrysue Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 12, 2011
    My thoughts as someone who had the Olympus E300 and E510, so I believe I know what the E500 can do, and what it can't do.

    This is a six year old body with a cost reduced zoom. It's only worth it if you get it cheap. While I don't know the UK market, £120 seems like a lot (equivalent to $180 US) for a deal between friends. If that's walking around money, then I stand corrected.

    Being as this is the micro 43 forum, we would like to see new members sporting micro 43 cameras. Maybe check in with the Digital Photo Review 4/3 forum for what kind of local value you are getting.
  13. Mikefellh

    Mikefellh Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 7, 2012
    Toronto, Canada
    Off topic for this forum! :rofl:

    You didn't say if you already own a camera...if you do the E-500 isn't woth buying. Having been an E-300 user (same sensor), the E-500 is just too out of date. The image quality just isn't worth it. Especially with the cheap 17.5-45.

    Even without the E-M5 in my collection, personally I wouldn't accept it for free.
  14. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin .

    Oct 9, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    Real Name:
    The E-500 still has something of a fanbase for being the last widely available DSLR to feature a Kodak CCD sensor (the slightly younger E-400 having had only a short model run and limited distribution). You'll find a lot of good things spoken about the Kodak CCDs, but not at higher ISOs as has already been mentioned.
  15. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Real Name:
    There's a very good reason consumer 4/3 gear sells for peanuts. It's dead-end gear. It can still take fine photos, but there's no meaningful upgrade path.

    As to lenses, m4/3 offers more choices, particularly when it comes to inexpensive lenses. I very much doubt that the OP has much use for all the fancy $2000+ Olympus 4/3 lenses that Ned was speaking about above.

  16. Robert Watcher

    Robert Watcher Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Except that everything isn't just about upgrading. Many people just want a digital camera to use and probably would never purchase further lenses anyway. I feel that at this point in time, it is very practical to purchase used cameras for very cheap prices if that is all you are intending.

    Not having the latest and best camera, should never be an excuse to not take great pictures. Here is a shot taken with my E-500 (not E-510) at my standard 400ISO - shooting through a restaurant window in Quebec City a few years ago, as Anne and I enjoyed breakfast early in the morning. I have many beautiful framed 13"x19" enlargements that I took that day from around Quebec City. Will you be printing larger than that? Not likely. But even if so, my E-500 files will go larger:


    Here are a few more that I took that day with the E-500 -


    I didn't use 1600ISO too much with the E-500 - but after scrounging around for a while, I found this shot from a wedding that I shot using that camera. It is taken with the kit lens, handheld with exposure being f5.6 @ 1/40'th 1600ISO. My son Ryan took this shot as you can see me working the other side of the church with my flash rig. It had some noise, but cleaned up very well with noise reduction software:


    Yes - I have newer cameras (although my E-510 that I still use heavily, is just the next generation after the E-500) - - - and can attest to the abilities of the E-PL1 and E-PL3s, both of which I own. However, even with a good deal you are looking at a substantial investment with just the body and kit lens. If you don't mind that or you are looking at cameras with upgrade options, then these may be the cameras for you. If you are just wanting to spend a minimal amount of money to get a camera that you can get some really nice images from - then nothing wrong with the E-500 in my view.

    I shoot to make my living and may have different needs than photographers who don't - as far as camera functionality, even more than image quality with my subject content - - - but the reality of probably 99% of people purchasing cameras these days, is that they may make the odd 8x10 and more than lilkely limit to 5x7's or 4x6's and most images will in fact see nothing more than a computer screen and be viewed on the web at reduced sizes. Just about any digital SLR camera even older than the E-500 will do those things just fine. Nothing wrong with being realistic about our needs based on end use and budget.
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