As I mentioned in my previous post, I very recently got a new camera. Actually, I got it Thursday night (It's now Sunday night). That camera is the Olympus E-510.
To explain why, first off, my cell phone used to take great pictures, but for some reason (moisture I think) the camera has become terrible, and now only takes low resolution pictures that are usable, so the once glorious 5 megapixel phone now only does 640X480. It's still good 640X480, but it is far from it's former glory.
Secondly, when I went to the Hayao Miyazaki press conference, I brought my Konica Minolta DiMAGE Z6 camera, which I got for cheap about 2 and a half years ago on clearance. Now it is a 3 and year old camera, and when I brought it to the press event, everyone had their professional cameras, I really felt way behind. Also, the pictures clearly showed this, as one was used on the Japan Times website, but the other 300 I took weren't. Maybe less than 10 of them could have been used.
The other reason I got it is I got a teaching assignment one Saturday. It was quite profitable, and in the end paid for the whole camera.
Also, I did PLENTY of research on Digital SLR cameras. I settled on the E-510 for a few reasons. First off, I am a digital camera guy. This is digital camera #4 (5 if you count my phone), and I am not used to looking through a viewfinder. Lots of DSLRs don't have live preview, which means I have to use the viewfinder and can only see the picture after you're done. I almost got an unfortunately named Canon Kiss Digital X (also known as the 400D in Europe and the Digital Rebel XTi in America) that I found new for 35,000 yen, but I couldn't get over using nothing but the viewfinder.
I looked at the Olympus E-420 and E-520, and I liked the shake reduction of the 520, but it's a pretty pricey camera. I also looked at the Sony A-300, the new Panasonic G1, and a few others. I am on a budget, so while these are all great cameras, they all were pricey too.
Then one day I popped into a great used camera shop in Nakano called Fujiya Camera. There they had two E-510s for sale at quite a reasonable price. They didn't have any lenses included, but they sold them separately, for a quite reasonable price. I also saw the same camera being sold as a clearance floor model in Akihabara for more than Fujiya wanted, which I'm sure was much more manhandled.
I did research and found that there wasn't a huge difference between the E-510 and E-520 (which was actually the biggest complaint about the latter), and I also checked online store and auction prices and found even compared to Ebay, Fujiya was a good deal.
When I went back just to look on Thursday, one of the two E-510s were gone, and with the fear of not being able to get it, I snapped up the other one.
It's way more complicated than any other camera I've used, but I am happy with the results. It's an entry level DSLR and not really pro, but for the price, I am quite satisfied.