Oct 23, 2005

Olympus E-500 | Technical Review

Olympus recently introduced their new EVOLT E-500 digital SLR. The Olympus EVOLT E-500 is a full-featured, 8-megapixel digital SLR camera that was designed to be used easily by photographers of any skill level. The EVOLT E-500 is their third camera in their Four-thirds system, this camera could be their finest offering yet. Looks lhe E-500 has many of the same features as the E-300 but it has as more traditional (YAY!) body, a larger LCD display, new noise reduction software, and much more. The E-500 features an eight megapixel Kodak 4/3 Type CCD sensor.

Wrotniak.net has posted a technical review of the Olympus EVOLT E-500 although portions of the article are stll under construction. In it the author talks about Olympus' ultrasonic dust removal system-
"This may be the most underestimated feature of the E-System. One of the filters just in front of the sensor (probably the low-pass one) serves also as a dust barrier with the CCD sealed behind it; when the camera is turned on, that filter vibrates for one second or so at a near-ultrasonic frequency of 25 kHz; the dust particles are shaken off the sensor, and stick to an adhesive surface at the bottom of the mirror chamber. This surface has to be replaced by a service center every three years or so, according to Olympus, but this depends on how often and in how clean environment you change lenses.

This is how this works in theory, and when I started using E-System cameras, sharing this feature, I had some doubts how effective the system may be. After a year with the E-300 I can say that it really seems to work: my monthly check shows no traces of sensor dust, and I am changing lenses quite a lot.

Dust is a major issue in interchangeable-lens SLRs; every time you remove the lens, some particles may settle on the sensor (more exactly: a filter in front of it, serving also as a dust barrier), giving you dark specks in subsequently taken pictures. This is best visible in shots of smooth, uniform areas, like a blue, clear sky. The specks will be somewhat fuzzy, as the dust particles are not directly in front of the sensor but somewhat ahead of it; still, the effect is quite clear.

There is a booming, home-grown industry of tools for removing the dust from the front of the sensor: brushes, swabs, pads, tissues, liquids, and prayer beads; sometimes just repackaged or re-branded cosmetic accessories sold at ten times original price; there are also whole schools supporting one or another approach to performing this operation. I'm glad I don't have to do it."

If you're thinking about buying this digital SLR, the article is definitely worth a read.

EVOLT E-500 Features
* High performance Kodak 8-Megapixel Progressive Scan CCD imager
* Super Sonic Wave Filter for CCD dust protection
* Four-Thirds System lens mount for Zuiko Digital Specific lenses
* Program Auto, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, Manual and 21 Scene modes
* sRGB and Adobe RGB color space plus three color modes (Vivid, Neutral, and Muted) in each color space based on the image use/output.
* JPEG, TIFF and RAW file formats
* Simultaneous capture of RAW + JPEG files
* Metering modes: 49 point ESP, Center weighted, Spot (2%), Spot High Light and Spot Shadow
* Exposure compensation ±5 steps EV in 1, 1/2 or 1/3 steps
* 3-point (selectable) TTL Auto Focus
* 2.5" HyperCrystal LCD monitor with 160° viewing angle
* Auto popup multi-mode intelligent flash
* Hot shoe for E System TTL flash units (FL20, FL36, FL50)
* Capture 2.5fps up to 4 frames in SHQ
* Capture 2.5fps in HQ or SQ up to the capacity of high speed CF card
* Auto Exposure, Flash and White Balance bracketing
* ISO range 100-400 with boost to 1600
* RGB histogram display for accurate color information per channel including overall luminance
* Next Generation TruePic Technology with advanced noise reduction
* 5-level Sharpening, Contrast and Saturation controls
* B/W and duo tone modes with four contrast-enhancing filters (Yellow, Orange, Red, and Green)
* USB connectivity and PictBridge direct-print compatible
* xD-Picture Card and CompactFlash I/II/Microdrive storage
* High capacity Li-ion rechargeable battery and charger
* Compatible with all Olympus E-System lenses and accessories
Accessories
Tamrac 5273 Expedition 3 SLR Photo Backpack (Forest Green)?
SLIK U212 DLX Heavy Duty Tripod
Olympus FL-20 Electronic Flash for SP series, C5000, C750, C770, C5060, C7070, C8080, E1, E300 & E500 Digital Cameras
Olympus FL-50 Electronic Flash for Olympus C7070, E1, E300 & E500 Digital SLR Cameras
Olympus 14-54mm f/2.8-3.5 Zuiko ED Digital SLR Lens for E1, E300 & E500 Cameras

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