Now many moons ago I used to dabble in photography with an Canon AE-1 of my Dad’s and then my own Canon A-1. Quick to adopt digital I bought a Sanyo VPC-X350 in 1999, as it did video too. Nothing special by today’s standard, but it was very novel being able to click away for free and check I got the shot there and then. After a few years of that I bought a Canon PowerShot A520, as it had loads of manual features I’d missed since the days of film. This served me well, until I updated to a Canon PowerShot A700, which has served even better and continues to do so now.
However, the capability of my compact camera is limited in certain situations and when asked to take some photos at a party, since I seemed to be the only one with a camera, I struggled. The main problem was the very low light, under which the A700 struggled. Whilst suitable stationary close up shots were OK, anything too rapid and I missed the action, through having to wait for the flash to re-charge. Plus the range of the flash was just not far enough. Afterwards, I thought: “wouldn’t it be nice to have a flashgun”. Alas the A700 has not hot shoe, but that was enough, coupled with the up and coming Birthday to think about getting something more powerful.
The journey to the e620 had started, though I didn’t know I’d end up with one. At first, I thought I’d look at some of the larger compacts, or ‘Bridge’ cameras that could accommodate a flash gun. The hope was this could be an affordable option, as budget was tight. There was no chance of blowing 4 figures on a load of semi-pro stuff.
To my surprise, the cost of these hybrids seemed to top the budget SLRs. The more I looked the more I got confused on what I should get. Great sites like http://www.dpreview.com, steves-digicams.com, www.ephotozine.com, and www.photographyblog.com gave me a big insight into the pros and cons of cameras available, as it’s all to easy to fall for the manufacturer’s jargon.
I narrowed the search to the Canon EOS 500D, Nikon D5000, the new Pentax K-x and the Olympus e620. Now the Pentax was initialy the most interesting, since it was available in red. Now I know that’s no reason to choose a camera, but I was very tempted. I was tempted too by it’s use of AA batteries which is something I find very handy on holiday with my Canon PowerShots. Hoever, the reviews and forum threads on capacity with AA was appaling and scared me off. So time to compare the other 3. I thought I’d best see them in the flesh and that’s when I liked the e620. It’s compact, lightweight (as are the lenses thanks to in-body stabalisation) and has an articulated screen (something I find very useful on my video camera). Many folks said it’s important to be comfortable with the camera in hand, and the e620 drew me in. I was no longer tempted by the HD video of the others, as it seems D-SLRs are not thr right format for recodding video, espceically when auctoficus ins’t available whiclt recording, or apature control, etc… Video cameras as good for video and at the moment, it seems, D-SLRs are still best for stills.
So to sum up, why I bought the e620?
- I liked it in the flesh
- In body image stabilization.
- Versatile articulated screen – great when at the back of the crowd, or for self portrait.
- Loads of features – most of which I feel I need and enough to keep my mind occupied for a while.
- Image quality, that whilst might be pipped at the post by the Canon at high ISO, it’s still way ahead of what I can acheive with my PowerShot 700.
- Price – I got a twin lens bundle 14-42 and 50-150mm that I couldn’t find anything near to for the Canon or Nikon.
I’m not going into detail about the pros and cons compared to the rest, as there’s plenty of good reviews out there, that have already done that. What I do hope to do, however, is blog ‘living with an Olympus e620’ as a new to Digital SLR user coming from a digital compact user’s perspective.
That’s it for now – time to read some more of the user manual – again