Camera: Phil Smith
For the last two years I have used an Olympus E510 digital SLR (now superseded by the E520). This camera comes in at the medium to low price range for DSLRs. For close-ups I use a Sigma 105mm macro-lens which becomes the equivalent of a 210mm macro on this camera, giving a long working distance for the insects and other small creatures I tend to specialize in. I frequently use the built-in electronic flash which means I can stop down to f11 to f16 in “aperture priority”, giving a reasonable depth of field. In bright daylight this operates as “fill-in” flash and works very well to sharpen the pictures. The camera also has image stabilisation technology which reduces camera-shake so I don’t need to use a tripod. There is an effective dust-removal system as well. I have not yet had any specks on my images. Many potential users are put off by the weight of DSLRs; that is one reason why I chose the Olympus, which is relatively light. The down-side is that the viewfinder gives a rather small image, though you can buy a magnifying eyepiece which helps a bit. Also, the performance at high ISO is said to be not as good as the Canons and Nikons. I find it OK for my purposes at ISO 200. Overall, I am happy with the camera, though I only use a small fraction of the features (the instruction booklet runs to 140 pages!). 

In September 2010, I upgraded my camera body to an Olympus E-620; as well as a higher all-round specification, this has a fold-out screen for low-angle shots. I also invested in a Zuiko 50mm macro-lens which has superb optics and gives a greater depth of field than my Sigma 105mm."


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