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Compared to...

The market place in the 'budget DSLR' sector is more crowded than it ever was before. While a couple of years ago the predecessors of these cameras were the most 'entry level' offerings of Canon, Nikon and Olympus respectively now all the manufacturers offers cameras below these new models (EOS 1000D, D60, E-450) giving consumers a lot of choice and making the process of buying an 'entry level' camera even more confusing.

Despite of this the truth is that the differences between cameras are narrowing all the time. There are maybe 4 or 5 direct competitors to the EOS 500D but for the purpose of this studio comparison we've limited the the field to a slightly more manageable two; the new Olympus E-620 and Nikon D5000. For any potential upgraders we've also included the the EOS 500D's predecessor, the EOS 450D.

Let's start with a quick look at how the competitors line up, including those mentioned above (plus the Sony A350 which is Sony's most obvious 500D competitor, but has just been replaced by the A380 which is not yet available in the shops):

Camera Kit
price
Live
view
LCD Anti
Shake
Sensor
(effective pixels)
Canon EOS 500D $895 Yes 3.0" / 920k pixels Lens option 15.1 MP CMOS (1.6x crop)
Nikon D5000 $800 Yes 2.7" / 230k pixels Lens option 12.3 MP CMOS (1.5x crop)
Olympus E-620 $700 Yes 2.7" / 230k pixels In-body 12.3 MP LiveMOS (2.0x crop)
Canon EOS 450D $700 Yes 3.0" / 230k pixels Lens option 12.2 MP CMOS (1.6x crop)
(Sony DSLR-A350) $650 Yes 2.7" / 230k pixels In-body 14.2 MP CCD (1.5x crop)

For a number of years, at least partly due to the lack of competition, Canon's Rebel cameras were the obvious choice for anyone looking to buy their first DSLR. Market conditions are much more difficult these days with all of the major manufacturers trying to secure their slice of the 'entry level' pie and Canon engineers are certainly under more pressure with each new model to design something that's ahead of the competition in order to keep the Rebel line in a front position.

On paper it looks as if they've managed to do quite a good job at that once again. The EOS 500D offers the highest resolution in class (15.1MP), 1080P video (albeit only at 20fps, you get 720P at 30fps though), a very nice high resolution 3.0 inch screen (920,000 pixels) and a higher maximum sensitivity than the competition (ISO 12800). As usual though it is located pretty high up on the price scale as well. Nikon and Olympus offer smaller bodies with arguably better ergonomics but fewer megapixels and 'only' 720P video (Nikon) or no video option at all (Olympus). Both cameras come with smaller, lower resolution screens than the Canon too (the Nikon's is of the tilting kind though).

Below you find a detailed comparison table of the competitors. Keep reading on the following pages to find out how all these figures and specifications translate into image quality.

EOS 500D advantages

  • 15.1 megapixels (highest megapixel count in class)
  • Largest and highest resolution screen
  • 1080P video (20fps)
  • ISO 12800
  • 14-bit RAW
  • Battery grip option (also available for E-620)
  • Arguably the most comprehensive 'in box' software suite

EOS 500D disadvantages

  • Price
  • Exposure compensation only +/- 2.0 EV
 
Canon 500D

Nikon D5000

Olympus E-620
Price
(single lens kit)
US: $895 [check price] US: $800 [check price] US: $700 [check price]
Sensor • 22.3 x 14.9 mm CMOS
• 15.1 million effective pixels
• 15.5 million effective pixels
• 23.6 x 15.8 mm CMOS
• 12.3 million effective pixels
• 12.9 million effective pixels
• 17.3 x 13.0 mm LiveMOS
• 12.3 million effective pixels
• 13.1 million effective pixels
Dust reduction • Anti-dust materials
• Low pass filter vibration
• Dust reference image
• Low pass filter vibration
• Airflow Control System
• Dust reference image
• Supersonic Wave Filter
Native image size 4752 x 3168
(3:2 ratio)
4288 x 2848
(3:2 ratio)
4032 x 3024
(4:3 ratio)
Video

1080p @ 20fps
720p @ 30fps
MOV (Video: H.264, Sound: Linear PCM)

720p @ 24 fps
AVI Motion-JPEG, with monaural sound

no video capability
Lens support • Canon EF mount
• Including EF-S lenses
• Nikon F-mount
• Includes DX lenses
• AF only available with AF-S or AF-I lenses
• 4/3 standard lens mount
• Olympus and third party 4/3
FOV crop 1.6x 1.5x 2.0x
Body shake reduction No No Yes
Live view Yes, Contrast detect (inc Face detection) or Phase detect AF Yes, Contrast detect (inc Face priority) or Phase detect AF Yes, Contrast detect (inc Face detection) or Phase detect AF
File formats • RAW (comp. lossless 14-bit)
• JPEG (2 levels)
• RAW (compressed)
• JPEG (3 levels)
• RAW (comp. lossless)
• JPEG (4 levels)
RAW+JPEG RAW + JPEG (Fine) RAW + JPEG (Any quality) RAW + JPEG (any quality)
Auto focus • 9 area TTL
• Cross-type F2.8 at center
• Range: -0.5 to +18 EV
• Contrast detect AF in live view
• 11 area TTL
• Cross-type at center
• Range: -1 to +19 EV
• Contrast detect AF in live view
• 7 area TTL
• Range: -1 to +19 EV
• Contrast detect AF in live view
AF illuminator Flash strobe, must be raised Built-in lamp Flash strobe, must be raised
Color space • sRGB
• Adobe RGB
• sRGB
• Adobe RGB
• sRGB
• Adobe RGB
Metering sensor • 35 zone sensor
• 1 - 20 EV working range
• 420 pixel RGB sensor
• 0 - 20 EV working range
• 49 zone sensor
• 1 - 20 EV working range
Metering • Evaluative
• Partial
• Center-weighted average
• 4% spot

• 3D Color Matrix Metering II
• Center-weighted average
• Spot

• Digital ESP
• Center-weighted average
• Spot
• Highlight based spot
• Shadow based spot
Exp. comp. +/- 2.0 EV +/- 5.0 EV +/- 5.0 EV
EV steps 1/3 or 1/2 EV 1/3 or 1/2 EV 1/3, 1/2 or 1 EV
Sensitivity • ISO 100 - 3200
(with 6400 and 12800 equiv)

• ISO 200 - 3200
(with 100 and 6400 equiv)

• ISO 100 - 3200
Auto ISO Auto (100-1600) User definable maximum ISO and minimum shutter speed Auto (100 - 1600)
High- ISO NR Yes (4 levels) Yes (4 levels) Yes (4 levels)
Shutter speed • 30 - 1/4000 sec / Bulb
• 1/200 sec Flash sync
• 30 - 1/4000 sec / Bulb
• 1/200 sec Flash sync
• 60 - 1/4000 sec / Bulb
• 1/180 sec Flash sync
Continuous
shooting
• 3.4 fps
• 170 JPEG/Fine frames
• 9 RAW frames

• 4 fps
• 67 JPEG/Fine frames
• 11 RAW frames

• 4 fps
• Unlimited JPEG/HQ frames
• 5 RAW frames
White balance • Auto
• Eight presets
• Manual preset
• Kelvin temperature
• Fine tunable
• Auto
• Twelve presets
• Manual preset
• Fine tunable
• Auto
• Eight presets
• Manual preset
• Kelvin temperature
• Fine tunable
Embed comment Owner name set via software Comment set in-camera No
Flash Electronic release pop-up Electronic release pop-up Electronic release pop-up
Viewfinder • Pentamirror
• Eyepoint 18 mm
• Frame coverage 95%
• Magnification approx 0.87x
• Precision matte screen
• Pentamirror
• Eyepoint 18 mm
• Frame coverage 95%
• Magnification approx 0.78x
• B-type Bright View Clear Matte Mark V
• Pentamirror
• Eyepoint 16 mm
• Frame coverage 95%
• Magnification approx 0.96x
• Lumi-Micron Matte screen
LCD monitor • 3.0 " TFT LCD
• 920,000 dots

• 2.7 " TFT LCD
• 230,000 dots
• Hinged/swivel

• 2.7 " TFT LCD
• 230,000 dots
• Hinged/swivel
Mirror-lockup Custom function No (exposure delay mode) Yes, custom 1 - 30 sec
Other features • Multi-shot self-timer
• Image verification data
• Auto Lighting Optimizer
• Highlight Tone Priority
• Remote Live view shooting (via USB)
• Eye sensor
• DOF preview
• In-camera retouching
• Active D-Lighting
• RAW Development
• Interval shooting
• Stop motion movies
• JPEG edit
• Shadow adjustment technology
• Wireless flash control
• RAW development
Storage SD/SDHC card SD/SDHC card • Compact Flash card
• xD Picture card
Battery LP-E5 (7.4 V, 1050 mAh) EN-EL9a (7.2 V, 1080 mAh) PS-BLS1 (7.2 V, 1150 mAh)
Battery status Battery life (3 stage) Battery life (3 stage) Battery life (3 stage)
USB USB 2.0 Hi-Speed USB 2.0 Hi-Speed
USB 2.0 Hi-Speed
Vertical grip BG-E5 (option) No HLD-5 (option)
Software • Canon DPP
• Canon PhotoStitch
• Canon ZoomBrowser EX
• EOS Utility (Remote Capt.)
• Nikon Transfer
• ViewNX
• Nikon Capture NX (trial)
• Olympus Master 2.0
• Olympus Studio 2.0 (trial)
Dimensions 129 x 98 x 62 mm
(5.1 x 3.9 x 2.4 in)
127 x 104 x 80 mm
(5.0 x 4.1 x 3.1 in)
130 x 94 x 60 mm
(5.1 x 3.7 x 2.4 in)
Weight (no batt) 480 g (1.1 lb) 560 g (1.2 lb) 475 g (1.0 lb)
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Comments

golfmike304
By golfmike304 (3 days ago)

Haven't had it for long but am impressed with my initial pictures. I also own a canon SX50HS. I owned a canon eos rebel slr and am glad for the digital age.

0 upvotes