Mar 13, 2005

Olympus EVOLT E-300 digital camera review

8.0 megapixels, ZUIKO DIGITAL lens mount, digital SLR design, and loads of features!
The Imaging Resource has written another one of their extensive reviews, this time on the digital camera. It is a must-read if you are considering purchasing this camera.
Olympus EVOLT E-300 digital camera

High Points

* 8.0-megapixel (effective) CCD with Supersonic Wave Filter delivering image resolutions as high as 3,264 x 2,448 pixels.
* Digital SLR design and true optical viewfinder.
* 1.8-inch, color, Advanced Super View LCD display for image review.
* Lens mount accommodates full range of Olympus ZUIKO DIGITAL lenses.
* Manual and automatic focus modes, with adjustable AF area and Single-Shot and Continuous settings.
* Shutter speeds from 1/4,000 to 30 seconds, with a Bulb setting (8 minute limit).
* Program, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, and Manual exposure modes, plus 14 Scene modes.
* Spot, Center-Weighted, and Digital ESP metering systems.
* Auto Bracketing and Sequential Shooting capture modes.
* Adjustable White Balance with 11 settings, including a manual adjustment, Kelvin temperature range, and a bracketing option.
* Variable ISO setting, with ISO equivalents from 100 to 1,600 (800 and 1,600 available when enabled in menu).
* Contrast, Saturation, Sharpness, Monochrome, and Graduation image adjustments.
* Adobe RGB and sRGB color space options.
* Built-in sliding pop-up flash with six operating modes.
* Hot Shoe for attaching external flash units, compatible with Olympus' own line of dedicated flash units for better-integrated exposure control.
* JPEG, uncompressed TIFF, and RAW file formats.
* Images saved on CompactFlash cards and Microdrives (no card included; not compatible with xD cards).
* USB cable for fast connection to a computer. (USB auto-connect for driverless connection to Windows Me, XP and 2000, and Mac OS 8.6 or greater.)
* Video cable for connection to a television set.
* Optional remote control.
* Power from rechargeable lithium-ion battery pack (battery and charger included) or optional AC adapter.
* Software CD with Olympus' Camedia Master utility software (includes QuickTime and USB drivers).
* DPOF (Digital Print Order Format)/PictBridge compatibility and print settings.

They conclude-
"The Olympus EVOLT E-300 digital SLR is entering an increasingly crowded d-SLR market, with aggressive price and feature competition among a number of manufacturers. With an 8-megapixel sensor, rugged build quality, and several unique features though, it will offer a good choice for many users. Its combination of very extensive Scene modes with full-featured exposure and creative control suit it to situations where both novice and experienced shooters need to share the same camera. It also could be a good choice for an enthusiastic novice, who wants a camera that's easy to use from the start, but that offers no limitations as their skills mature. Also important to an entry-level SLR is the availability of high-quality, affordable lenses. Olympus has begun to address this with the development of the affordable 14-45mm "kit" lens the camera will be sold with, and Sigma has a growing (and now pretty extensive) line of Four Thirds-compatible lenses available, covering a wide range of focal lengths. The E-300's image quality is generally quite good, with pleasing color and image noise matching that of the competition at all but the highest ISO setting. Our biggest complaint about the camera was that its ESP exposure mode over-reacted to strong highlights near the center of the frame, knocking down the exposure to hold highlight detail, but in the process underexposing the rest of the scene. This caused us some consternation, as we found it hard to predict how the camera would respond to subjects with bright highlights near the center of the viewfinder. On the other hand though, it wasn't too difficult to deal with, simply by using the Exposure Lock button to set the exposure with the highlight area to one side or the other of center. On a positive note though, the Olympus E-300 does provide a lot of photographic control, a lot of resolution, and good-looking photos for a very affordable price. If you're shopping for a digital SLR, and don't already own a bagful of Canon or Nikon lenses, the Olympus E-300 EVOLT deserves a close look."

Read the full article here...