Trying out Nikon (D5500) for the first time (after using Olympus for 2.5 yrs.)

Discussion in 'Other Systems' started by Enoch, May 1, 2016.

  1. Enoch

    Enoch Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 10, 2015
    Enoch Haven
    I know the question of m43 vs. other systems is one of the hottest topics around here, but I thought I would share about my recent exploration in to the Nikon ASPC world. I have been shooting m43 for about 2.5 years now and it is my first ILC system. After experiencing some (people walking down the isle) focusing issues with my EM10 at the first wedding I shot about a month ago (with primes), I decided to try out the Nikon D5500. I found a good price on a refurbished kit, and bought it along with the Sigma 17-50mm f2.8 zoom. For a few different reasons I am returning the Nikon kit and Sigma zoom.

    - I really missed the speedy, accurate live view functionality; evf; and tilting (instead of swivel) display. The Nikon live view focusing is very slow and the focus point is very large. While it may be generally better for low light or action, the D5500 focusing system is slower and feels more inflexible than the Olympus system.

    - Common Nikon primes are not image stabilized and would require higher shutter speeds. (not a problem with the Olympus because of in body stabilization).

    - The manual controls of the Olympus were much more to my liking – the two wheels in particular. It was nice to have access to two different settings without having to push an extra button.

    - My Olympus primes, 45 and 25, simply outperformed the Nikon kit and Sigma zooms in terms of sharpness. I know this is comparing apples and oranges since I didn’t try out a range of Nikon primes (I am sure they are great), but I was expecting the Nikon options to be sharper than they were– since they are both described as sharp.

    - I also realized that many of the Nikon lens options I was looking at had older technology than the Olympus system equivalents. (the 70-300 FF VR zoom for example)

    - I have two old Nikon lenses (50 1.4 and 85 1.8) that I adapted to my Olympus, and they automatically meter well on the EM10, but on the D5500 it is much more difficult to determine lighting accurately for these lenses since live view does not show what the exposure will look like. In terms of usability, these lenses are easier to use on my EM10 than they are on the Nikon system they were originally designed for. I know these lenses would work better on the D7xxx series, but that would require purchasing a more expensive and much larger camera.

    - I did enjoy the deep, secure grip of the Nikon, but that was pretty much the only thing I preferred over the Olympus.

    If I did stick with the Nikon system I would likely adapt over time. However, I have come to realize that Olympus has spoiled me with their feature set and lens quality. I still may pick up an ASPC or FF system at some point for professional use (because of the iso, dr, dof, and focusing advantages), but right now it just feels like I would be giving up too much in terms of control and convenience. Call me a lazy photographer, but I have really come to appreciate the convenience of the Olympus system, and I plan to stick with it and try to improve my technique for the second wedding I am shooting later this month.

    Thanks for reading. I would love to hear any thoughts or feedback you all might have, especially tips for using m43 at indoor events. I still have a lot to learn about photography, but at this point I believe the m43 system still fits my needs best.
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  2. ijm5012

    ijm5012 Mu-43 Legend

    Oct 2, 2013
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Thanks for offering your feedback Enoch. If it's the C-AF performance you're not happy with on your E-M10 II, you may want to try an E-M1. While the C-AF performance may not be as good as a DSLR for really fast action (I think it's perfectly fine for what I do with shooting cars and what not, but others have different opinions), it should certainly be good enough to focusing on people walking down the isle at a wedding.

    In addition to the better C-AF performance, you get a more secure grip, similar to the one on the D5500. I'm a firm believer that once you've shot with mirrorless cameras for a while, it's VERY difficult to go back to a DSLR unless you absolutely have to. It can seem like you're taking a step back in technology.

    E-M1's are getting cheaper and cheaper on the used market, so it may be the camera you need to fill the few voids you're experiencing with the E-M10 II.
  3. Enoch

    Enoch Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 10, 2015
    Enoch Haven
    Thanks Ian, I may look into that... I am shooting with the Original EM10, so I assume the gap would be even wider between the focusing systems...
  4. jimr.pdx

    jimr.pdx Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 5, 2010
    near Longview ~1hr from PDX
    Jim R
    That's what makes Pentax and Oly such a good team, the shared in-body IS for primes and the thorough way of setting things up to any user's level of interest/skill.
  5. spatulaboy

    spatulaboy I'm not really here Subscribing Member

    Jul 13, 2011
    North Carolina
    Do you still have the Oly kit? Why don't you bring both to the next wedding you are shooting (honestly you should really have at least two bodies for weddings anyway)?
  6. Turbofrog

    Turbofrog Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 21, 2014
    I actually have a very similar experience to share! I just recently bought a Pentax K-S2 and 18-135mm WR because I wanted a cheap, durable weather-sealed kit, and a fully articulated screen as well for low-angle portrait shots (which is my preferred orientation for those kinds of images). I was also tempted by the idea of a slightly larger sensor to see what the magic was all about, and the fact that the Pentax has decent IBIS and much better controls and viewfinder than any other DSLR at its price point was very tempting, too.

    • I definitely, definitely miss the EVF. The K-S2 has one of the very best viewfinders available on an APS-C DSLR, and it's...well, underwhelming to me. It's nice having the direct feeling of transparency for following action, but being able to see the true exposure that the sensor sees is so much more important to me in terms of how I create images. I hate having to guess at what the camera is actually going to give me.
    • Using manual lenses is a terrible process on a DSLR. This is another OVF complaint, I guess, but the inability to show accurate depth of field below f2.8 feels like an absurd limitation after using mirrorless. You can rely on phase-detect AF for manual focus confirmation, but it's not accurate enough for fast lenses. Despite the immense number of compatible Pentax lenses out there, I won't be using them on a DSLR.
    • The Pentax does have a lot of really smart controls and options that are nice. The Auto ISO implementation is much better than on my Panasonic cameras, and there are a bunch of other clever little features.
    • Miss the touchscreen. Desperately.
    • I haven't had much opportunity to shoot it in anger, but I took it out to the dog park to test out the much-lauded continuous AF of DSLRs, and found that my hit-rate was no better than with my mirrorless cameras. I knew Pentax is a distant 3rd place in terms of AF-C performance compared to Canon and Nikon, but it's still disappointing.
    • The 20MP sensor without an AA filter definitely gives sharp images with a good lens. It didn't blow me away compared to my M4/3 cameras, though.
    • ISO performance does seem better. Probably about half a stop, but I still put max ISO at 8000 on the K-S2, whereas I can sometimes tolerate up to 6400 on my GX7 if I really need it.
    • The K-S2 is amazingly compact by DSLR, but that still means it's bigger than my GX7, and it is dense. The weight is really noticeable by contrast.
    I'm still very much on the fence over whether I'm going to keep it. I need to put it through its paces in the canoe/camping/rainy/snowy situations that I bought it for in the first place, but I'm worried that the weight will be bothersome in those situations. I kind of wanted to know "what I was missing" when it comes to using a larger-sensor and a DSLR, and from my personal experience so far, the answer is "not much." Still, don't want to judge it too prematurely...
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  7. b_rubenstein

    b_rubenstein Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 20, 2012
    Melbourne, FL
    I used Nikons for years before getting into µ4/3 cameras and I agree with most of your comments. However, DSLR primary focusing method is not by CDAF Live view, but via dedicated PDAF sensor arrays and they are very fast. Also, the D5500 only has a single control wheel, but the D7x00 and above cameras have two wheels. No different than the Olympus EPL cameras only having one.
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  8. Enoch

    Enoch Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 10, 2015
    Enoch Haven
    Yeah I do still have the Olympus kit and at this moment I still have the Nikon setup as well, though I have planned to mail the Nikon camera and Sigma lens back before the return period passes. I am the second shooter on this wedding in three weeks, so two bodies may not be essential, but I have been thinking about getting a second body for the future. I could keep the Nikon at least until after the wedding, but that would mean not being able to return it for a full refund. I also think if i were to use the Nikon for an indoor wedding (and a planned evening shoot afterwards) I would at least need get a prime to make it helpful for the event. At minimum, I want to return the Sigma zoom - just not pleased with the performance.
  9. Enoch

    Enoch Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 10, 2015
    Enoch Haven
    Right with you there Turbo. I had heard great things about high ISO performance and DR with Nikons, and liked the fact that the D5500 had a touchscreen and long battery life. The camera itself is comfortable and seems to work as intended (it is a $550 refurbished model from Adorama), but the features are lacking in some key ways.
  10. littletim

    littletim Mu-43 Rookie

    Jan 30, 2016
    I disagree with some of this thread
    When I shoot soccer, I used the D5300 and the older 70-300 VR. The focus speed is better than EM1 and the lag in the EVF bothers me. I used the Olympus 75-300 II as my long zoom.
    I find the Nikon 70-300 sharper at full zoom with crop.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G920A using Mu-43 mobile app
  11. davidzvi

    davidzvi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 12, 2012
    Outside Boston MA
    I have to agree with this, live view is not what you buy a DLSR for, it's just a nice add on unless you're talking video (something I don't do). Live view on my D750 is behind the live view on ever m4/3 I've used. But AF speed, accuracy, flexibility for event work? Sorry, turn off the live view, use the view finder.

    Controls, metering, and lens use? Yes you have the top consumer / family DSLR. It's not even an enthusiasts body, it's made for modern AF-S lenses (digital, in lens motor lenses). This is a class Nikon introduced with the D40 when they removed the in body lens AF motor. While you might have gotten a good deal on the D5500 it's far from what I would have gotten for event work.

    I don't mean to be hard, it's just not the right tool for what you seem to be trying to do.
  12. Enoch

    Enoch Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 10, 2015
    Enoch Haven
    Thanks for the feedback David. No disagreement with what you say here. I am sure that there are a lot of better tools out there for event work. I was trying to make slow movement toward better gear as finances allow and I thought the D5500 might be that. I would also agree that viewfinder auto focus is much better on this camera, and reasonably fast even without the micro adjustment feature offered in better Nikon bodies.

    Using the viewfinder on the Nikon is a bit more difficult to use than the Olympus is when wearing eyeglasses. With the Olympus I can see everything without having to move my angle of view, and with the nikon I can see about 85% of the image coming through the prism and have to move my eye slightly in order to see the settings on the LCD.

    If you have any further suggestions I would love to hear them.
  13. davidzvi

    davidzvi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 12, 2012
    Outside Boston MA
    Maybe you're running into viewfinder coverage and Viewfinder magnification differences?

    Viewfinder coverage
    D7200 - 100%
    D5500 - 95%
    E-M10 - 100%

    Viewfinder magnification
    D7200 - 0.94×
    D5500 - 0.82×
    E-M10 - 1.15×

    Advice for eyeglass wearers? I can't help you. I can't remember when I didn't wear glasses so for me I'm just use to it.
  14. AlanU

    AlanU Mu-43 Veteran

    May 2, 2012
    I don't quite understand why people put so much emphasis on IBIS. It certainly is a nice to have but in most of my shooting shutter speed is more critical in stopping action. Enoch you should be more concerned about high ISO capabilities to stop action with faster shutter speeds. Wedding work unintentional motion blur is totally UNACCEPTABLE. Prime with stabilization is more for video application IMO vs stabilizing and image with fast glass. Stabilization does not stop action.

    Live view is a great tool but I find I'll only use it with my mirrorless bodies for my casual application. I tend to use the viewfinder for accurate targeting and composition for both mirrorless and dslr.

    Things are changing now but I'd honestly be using a body that has dual memory cards. Dont play with potential memory card failures on your clients pivotal moments.

    For events work you should have a lot of redundancy. Minimum a couple of flash units, minimum 2 bodies and a lot of lenses that will cover versatility in a zoom and primes for no flash photography. With the mirrorless you should have ALOT of batteries to assure you don't run out of juice.

    I find I will stop using my mirrorless for a while because it's easy to loose touch of second nature skills in settings on my Canon. I find the mirrorless to spoil me too much since it's realtime exposure settings. With a dslr i will chimp to see if I'm in the sweetspot in exposure. Yes....I get real lazy shooting with mirrorless bodies.

    For wedding work "if" i was using m43 Id bare minimum be using a couple m43 bodies, 12-35, 35-100, 7-14 f/2.8, 12 f/2 or 15 f/1.7, maybe a 45 f/1.8 or 42.4. That would cover most shooting if your a solo wedding photog.....not to mention many flash units, remote flash triggers etc.....

    The only real disadvantage with dlsr for wedding work is a person's tolerance to a tad more weight. I use a spider holster pro so I do not really care what my camera weighs. I do find I get solid confidence in my Raw files regardless of brutal light conditions be it ultra bright to miserable dark using no flash.
  15. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    Los Angeles, USA
    Honestly I wouldn't even touch a D3xxx or D5xxx body. You're better off buying the older D7xxx bodies just for the AF fine tune, advanced AF and the ability to use Ai/Ai-S lenses. You can get an older D7000 for like $350 refurbished. If you want better focusing at the expense of high ISO sensor performance, the D300 will eat most modern MILC cameras for lunch for cheap.
  16. davidzvi

    davidzvi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 12, 2012
    Outside Boston MA
    I'd go for the D300"s" over the D300 for the dual cards if for nothing else.
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  17. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    Los Angeles, USA
    Oh yeah, the D300S with the CF and SD slot is awesome. I can't believe it took how many years to replace that body with the D500! Though I don't shoot APS-C anymore and M43 took over for my small format camera. Man, Nikon has been falling asleep on the whole mirrorless craze!
  18. Moula

    Moula Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 9, 2016
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but there are virtualy no compact and sharp DX primes for both Nikon and Canon. Nikon has 35/1.8 DX (roughly EQ to Oly 25/1.8 or Pana 25/1.7), Canon 24/2.8 EF-S (roughly EQ Oly 17/2.8) and both have some short to medium tele macros. Nothing like Oly 17/1.8, Pana 15/1.7 or so, as far as I know. Only Pentax has his Limited primes, but mostly slower: 15/4, 21/3.2, 35/2.8, 70/2.4 etc.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  19. davidzvi

    davidzvi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 12, 2012
    Outside Boston MA
    Yes and no. Nikon FX and DX are both the same F mount so there are plenty of options. Including a 20mm f/1.8 and 24mm f/1.4, so basically the same angle of view and faster than the 15mm & 17mm. And Sigma has the Art lens series with 20mm - 50mm f/1.4-1.8 options. And then there are the Sigma Art zooms, the pair of f/1.8 zooms and the f/2.0 zoom.
  20. SVQuant

    SVQuant Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Sep 20, 2015
    SF Bay Area, California, USA
    While FX lenses can be used on DX bodies, the fact that they are designed for a larger sensor can mean that they are larger than they need to be. And the Nikon 24/1.8g lists for about twice the O17/1.8 and weighs twice as much as well. Until the recent introduction of the D500, Nikon was really positioning their DX systems as an entry to FF and the lens selection reflects that. The Sigma Art lenses and zooms, though, do provide a good and well priced alternative to Nikon lenses.
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