Is it worth to buy and use an older digital camera?

We bought for barely more than 100 Euros a pristine Olympus E-510….

We are using regularly our faithful Canon G 9 X, which has now shot thousands and thousands of pictures and is still soldiering on fine.

But then, what if it breaks down on an important photo shoot? Is a cheaper but sturdy backup not useful? Bringing along the big Nikons or Canons is not always the practical answer either, so we were looking for something just a little bit more compact. We love the “sturdy” touch and feel of an old school SLR however, so when we stumbled in an Antwerp photo shop on an older  Olympus E-510 with two lenses, we took a closer look.

The camera body and lenses were looking immaculate and pristine, totally “as new”, with all the controls working smoothly. Also the lenses moved smoothly in their barrels, no traces of use on the focus rings, no grease or dirt, just nothing which betrays any unloving previous use. Also the base of the camera body had never seen any rough surfaces, as it was totally scratch-free.

The asking price for the camera body with both lenses and their lens hoods was some 129 Euros, and this convinced us to risk this purchase. We also have a fairly good range for the two lenses, 14-42 mm and 40-150 mm respectively. One has to multiply the focal length by two to get the 35 mm equivalent. This means we have a focal range of 28 to 300 mm, which is not bad for this price.        

In good Olympus tradition, the camera body is compact , and for its day and age, it had some impressive specifications. It features sensor cleaning, image stabilization in the camera body (using Gyro sensors to register camera shake, with supersonic wave drive motor then moving the image sensor to compensate) , and the rear electronic screen can also act as a viewfinder, a special feature then, now of course totally common on our cameras.

The focus and exposure modes are impressive, the 10 megapixel 4/3 type Live MOS sensor is quite OK and after taking some convincing test shots we decide to take it along on our next photo assignment to Bologna, where we will drive the Mild Hybrid Panda and 500.

Just stay tuned to have a look at the photos of our “new” bargain Olympus soon!

Hans Knol ten Bensel