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Thinking about buying a E-520 instead of a second E-3

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  • HELP! Thinking about buying a E-520 instead of a second E-3

    I shoot weddings and portraits with an E-3, and up until recently an E-1 alongside it (one with short lens, one with long lens as I hate changing lenses).

    I am in need of another camera urgently (must purchase within the week).

    It is to use as a backup incase my E-3 fails, but also to have either my 50-200 or my 35-100 on it so I can use both bodies out on a shoot.

    I was thinking another E-3, or possibly an E-30 (to save a bit of money, and I thought seeing as it's a newer body it's probably just as good anyway withthe advances in technology).

    However I just read a good review of the E-520 and I have been considering purchasing it maybe,

    1. Cheaper! Would like to save all the $ I can.
    2. Smaller..... not really a good thing, as I uise big lenses and am used to my E-3+grip, but it would be nice to have something a little smaller when out with the family occasionally.

    However, I'm not sure if it's "good enough"...... I have only really used the higher-end models (E-1 and E-3) and unsure of how it will perform?

    As I said, mainly weddings and portraits. I note the ISO stops at 1600, that's no problem. Only to 1/4000 SS, that's no problem either... that's 2 difference I've picked up between it and the

    What are the main differences between this E-520 and an E-3?? (I know size is a biggie)

    So I have a few questions in bold below and I would be really grateful if a few member could help me out as I really don't know a whole lot about the Oly range apart from what I use!! And I do need to purchase asap.

    1. Is it too small to use easily with my 50-200 and my 35-100?
    2. Will it take a battery pack?
    3. Does it take BLM-1 batteries? As far as I can tell it does but I want to make sure
    4. I shoot only in A/S/M - are ISO, aperture, shutter speed, flash settings (on/off/2nd curtain etc..) and exposure compensation all easy to adjust and access? As easy as the E-3?
    5. Is there a flash compensation button? (Can't seem to see one?)
    6. Image-wise.... is there much of a difference between the E-520 and the E-3?
    7. Is it good enough?

    I really would like to save myself a bit of money and get the 520 if it will do for a bit. I would prefer and wait and see what Oly brings out next and pruchase that or get another E-3 as it drops in price then.
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  • #2
    Re: Thinking about buying a E-520 instead of a second E-3

    Hi.
    Here is a good John Foster's review http://www.biofos.com/esystem/e520_tst.html

    He tested a e-520 in one hand with the e-3 in the other...

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    • #3
      Re: Thinking about buying a E-520 instead of a second E-3

      Useful review, thankyou!

      I don't think image quality between the two cameras would be something that would concern me at all.

      The reviewer says the viewfinder size is smaller.... aren't DSLR viewfinders the same size?? How much smaller is it?

      Also, I have looked at a pic of the camera and it appears to have only one dial to adjust SS & aperture?? Or am I wrong?

      Just wondering when shooting in manual, how do you adjust both easily if it only has the one?
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      • #4
        Re: Thinking about buying a E-520 instead of a second E-3

        Hmmm there is one on Ebay right now, 2nd hand but shutter acutations just 755 for AUD$450.

        BUT there is also an E-1 in great condition for the same price.... hmmmmm
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        • #5
          Re: Thinking about buying a E-520 instead of a second E-3

          The E-3 has a very spacious view through the viewfinder compared to the E-520. But the E-520 finder is bright - even brighter than the E-3's actually.

          The shooting info is on the right hand side of the frame rather than underneath, which I know some people don't like on the E-520.

          I think the E-620 is the obvious alternative to go for; it has a larger viewfinder magnification than the E-520, more AF points, and the latest image processing technology (same as the E-30). But it will be more expensive.

          Ian
          Founder/editor
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          • #6
            Re: Thinking about buying a E-520 instead of a second E-3

            Originally posted by olynut View Post
            Useful review, thankyou!

            I don't think image quality between the two cameras would be something that would concern me at all.

            The reviewer says the viewfinder size is smaller.... aren't DSLR viewfinders the same size?? How much smaller is it?

            Also, I have looked at a pic of the camera and it appears to have only one dial to adjust SS & aperture?? Or am I wrong?

            Just wondering when shooting in manual, how do you adjust both easily if it only has the one?
            The E-3 has 100% sensor coverage in the viewfinder for accurate framing with 1.15x magnification vs E-520 with 95% coverage and 0.96.

            Check this out: http://www.wrotniak.net/photo/43/view-size.html

            The 520 has only one dial, so you have to press the EV comp button at the same time to get the same functionality as the E-3.

            Andy
            Olympus E-M1 ZD 7-14 f4, 300 f2.8, PL 25 f1.4D
            mZuiko 12-40 f2.8 Pro, 60 f2.8, 40-150 f2.8 Pro
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            • #7
              Re: Thinking about buying a E-520 instead of a second E-3

              I haven't used E-3 so I can't say much about how E-520 compares to it.
              Anyway, I suppose 520 can output images almost as good as E-3, at least from ISO 100 to 800. 1600 is usable but noisy and you have only 100,200,400,800 and 1600 options.

              I think that 520 has considerably smaller viewfinder than E-3 and has only 3 focus points.

              There are only third party battery grips available for 520.

              520 is very easy and fast to use even with one dial, but I could think that it would be easier to switch between two similar cameras.

              520 grip is good and IMO the smaller size of 520 wouldn't be an issue even with longer lenses.

              The most Important factor to get 520 is its smaller size.
              The small size of the viewfinder might be the biggest con for 520.
              Olympus loser

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              • #8
                Re: Thinking about buying a E-520 instead of a second E-3

                Hmmm interesting about the viewfinder.

                vivalo - thankyou, that's good to know with larger lenses the e-520 is still ok to handle.

                So confusing. Too many choices. I think I'm going to have to head into a store tomorrow and hope that they have a good range on hand for me to hold and have a feel of.
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                E-1 | E-3 | E-30 |
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                • #9
                  Re: Thinking about buying a E-520 instead of a second E-3

                  Hi.
                  I have an E-1, an E-330 and an E-520 (that I bought instead of an E-3...)

                  if handling and viewfinder are important, go for the E-1/E-3/E-30. If you never used a camera with just one dial, it can be very uncomfortable.

                  if image quality is what it takes, go for the E-30/E-620.

                  if portability is what you care about, go for the E-620/E-520.

                  If battery and power are fundamental, go for the E-3/E-30 with the HLD-4 (or the E-620 with HLD-5).

                  Im my case, I bought the E-520 for three reasons: It was very cheap (250 Euros, new , body only); it is very small and light, including IS and a very good image quality; it uses the BLM-1, the same as my other cameras, and I just have to cary one spare and one charger, and this is very important when you travel!

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                  • #10
                    Re: Thinking about buying a E-520 instead of a second E-3

                    I use to have both and after becoming familiar with the E3 never liked going back to the 520, the funtionality and feel etc of the E3 made it a much nicer camera to use in my opinion. Changing settings on the fly with the E520 is more cumbersome than the E3.
                    The E520 uses the same BLM1 battery as the E3 and there are after market grips for it.
                    For most part image quality is fine and I don't think that would be an issue.

                    I used it with the 50-200 + EC-20 and it was ok to use, the E3 is better though.

                    It only has 3 focus points so if like me you like to manually select the focus point then it is restricted (the E3 is brilliant in this respect with 12 points and easily selectable on the fly).

                    Compared to the E3 the viewfinder is smaller and has less coverage.

                    Paul
                    GH-3, OM-D, 7-14, 12-35, 35-100, 100-300, 25, 60 macro, 40-150 Pro.

                    RX100

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                    • #11
                      Re: Thinking about buying a E-520 instead of a second E-3

                      I agree with Paul's sentiment.

                      The obvious choice reading your posts would be an E30 - and this would also be my personal recomendation.

                      If I'm taking 1 body it's always the 30 (unless it's raining!) now.

                      My usual sports coverage has the 30 + 35-100 on one shoulder and the 3 with the 50-200 + ec14 on the other.

                      The 520 is about a stop off the 3 in the noise/detail equation but the 30 is at least another one above the 3. The 30 also has a few other little tricks and, overall, the user interface is a close enough match to the 3 - I got rid of the 510 because it wasn't such a match.
                      E-P1, OMD E-M1, E400
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                      • #12
                        Re: Thinking about buying a E-520 instead of a second E-3

                        I've got an E3 and E30, and had an E520.

                        IQ wise the E520 is not too far from the 3/30 but without doubt the latter 2 are better. I got the E30 to replace the E520 because:-

                        The VF is better and exposure data at bottom and not on the right.
                        The HLD-4 grip fits the E30.
                        The E30 is better equiped to handle my 35-100 (in terms of balance).
                        The E30 has focus adjustment if you-ve got a slightly off lens.
                        Noise is better controlled on the E30 and you've got ISO3200 in an emergency.
                        The E30 has two control knobs back and front as with the E3 - E520 only has front one.
                        The E520 only has 3 focus points - the E30 has 11.

                        The E30 s just a better all round camera than the E520.

                        Ffordes have got a 2nd hand E30 in E++ condition for 549. Do a deal with them and get that my friend.

                        EDIT: just spotted your in Oz! Forget the Ffordes bit then!
                        Last edited by Chris_Smith; 2nd February 2010, 07:15 PM.
                        Chris

                        OMD-EM1, 12-40 Pro, 40-150 R, HLD-7

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                        • #13
                          Re: Thinking about buying a E-520 instead of a second E-3

                          I haven't used an E3, only an E520 and E30, but I would say that the only real drawback of the E520 other than more banding at high ISO would be AF speed in low light. That and viewfinder size.

                          I think having a lighter camera might be worth it. I know I end up using my E520 way more than the E30 despite the comparatively small difference in size. It is perhaps a difficult adjustment though moving from using two different dials to just one, but really, I find them both equally easy to use.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Thinking about buying a E-520 instead of a second E-3

                            Originally posted by olynut View Post
                            1. Is it too small to use easily with my 50-200 and my 35-100?
                            Nope. The E-520 has a hefty grip and holds larger lenses easily.

                            Originally posted by olynut View Post
                            2. Will it take a battery pack?
                            No, there is no battery pack for the E-520.

                            Originally posted by olynut View Post
                            3. Does it take BLM-1 batteries? As far as I can tell it does but I want to make sure
                            Yes, it takes the same BLM-1 batteries as your E-3.

                            Originally posted by olynut View Post
                            4. I shoot only in A/S/M - are ISO, aperture, shutter speed, flash settings (on/off/2nd curtain etc..) and exposure compensation all easy to adjust and access? As easy as the E-3?
                            No, the E-3 is a lot easier to adjust Aperture and Shutter Speed settings, because of the dual dials. With the E-520, you will have to hold down the tiny, hard to get at, Exposure Compensation button while you turn the dial to access the secondary function (either Exposure Compensation or Aperture/Shutter). This is quite a pain, especially when you use the E-3 as your main camera. With the E-3 you can program one wheel for each function. Much easier for quick adjustments. For somebody who isn't used to a body like the E-3 it may be easier to get used to, but after you've experienced the ease of the E-3 it's tough to go back to an E-520.

                            Originally posted by olynut View Post
                            5. Is there a flash compensation button? (Can't seem to see one?)
                            I set my flash on the flash itself and no longer own an E-510/E-520 body, so I can't remember this one to answer it.

                            Originally posted by olynut View Post
                            6. Image-wise.... is there much of a difference between the E-520 and the E-3?
                            Actually, the best Image Quality from that era of 10MP sensors is in the E-510, not the E-520 or E-3. The E-3 mind you, does have the best ISO performance (this is too often incorrectly used as a gauge for image quality), but the E-510 has the sharpest images and lowest compression. I also like the colors out of the E-510 best, but that may just be my imagination. The E-520 I don't like at all for Image Quality, as they changed the curves from the E-510 to brighten the image, which seemed to me to lose overall image quality especially in low-key images. It's like the E-520 images were over-processed when compared with similar E-510 images. If you really do want one of the E-5xx class bodies, I would go with the E-510 unless you use the Remote Flash Commander for wireless TTL with R-series Olympus flashes (available in the E-520 and E-3). Otherwise, the E-510 is a better classic.

                            Originally posted by olynut View Post
                            7. Is it good enough?
                            Yes and no. The E-510 and E-520 (as said, my preference is the E-510) are great cameras, but the E-3 is so much better in many ways. The control system with the dual dials has already been mentioned, but the other big practical advantage of the E-3 is the large pentaprism viewfinder. Entry-level bodies like the E-520 use a cheap pentamirror system to get your TTL view to the viewfinder, whereas the pro-grade bodies like the E-3 use a crystal pentaprism. The pentaprism adds a lot to the bulk, weight, and manufacturing cost to the camera, but the difference in viewing is night and day! It's much clearer, brighter, and larger, allowing easier manual focus with less eyestrain. The E-520 will give you a dim tunnel vision, which won't show focus details as clearly.

                            Then of course there's weather sealing and a metal sub-frame... Both your lenses are weather sealed, and it would be a shame to waste it. When you're spending a good chunk of cash on a camera body, this weather sealing is like included insurance. The E-3 can be dropped repeatedly, banged around, and even dunked in water. You never have to worry about all that money you dropped on it suddenly disappearing because you happened to drop your camera or get it too wet. The E-520 is a tough, well-built camera (certainly not as cheap as its competitors from other brands), but nowhere near the class of the E-3.
                            Olympus E-3 | Olympus E-PL2 PEN | Olympus E-PM1 PEN | Zuiko ED 50-200mm f/2.8-3.5 SWD | Zuiko 14-54mm f/2.8-3.5 | Vivitar 100mm f/2.8 Macro | Carl Zeiss Sonnar 135mm f/2.8 | Konica Hexanon 50mm f/1.4 | Konica Hexanon 85mm f/1.8 | G.Zuiko 50mm f/1.4 | Zuiko 35mm f/3.5 Macro | Zuiko 25mm f/2.8 | KMZ Jupiter-3 50mm f/1.5 | E.Zuiko 200mm f/4 | Zuiko 75-150mm f/4 | Olympus EC-14 teleconverter | VF-2 and VF-3 Viewfinders | EMA-1 Mic Adapter | Olympus FL-36R and FL-50R speedlights

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                            • #15
                              Re: Thinking about buying a E-520 instead of a second E-3

                              but the E-510 has the sharpest images and lowest compression. I also like the colors out of the E-510 best, but that may just be my imagination. The E-520 I don't like at all for Image Quality, as they changed the curves from the E-510 to brighten the image, which seemed to me to lose overall image quality especially in low-key images. It's like the E-520 images were over-processed when compared with similar E-510 images. If you really do want one of the E-5xx class bodies, I would go with the E-510 unless you use the Remote Flash Commander for wireless TTL with R-series Olympus flashes (available in the E-520 and E-3). Otherwise, the E-510 is a better classic.
                              I disagree that the E510 has better colours or better image quality than the E520. It may be sharper at a per pixel level. However, I have had plenty opportunity to compare the two and I also believe that people are generally in agreement that the E520 has a far better jpeg engine than the E510. The E520 has rich, E1 like colour, and the jpegs look great out of camera. The E510 colours are duller and flatter- they need a lot of post processing to look good.

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