Olympus E-1 SLR Review

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Olympus E-1 Digital SLR




Features & Controls



Olympus E-1 Digital SLR, photo (c) 2003 Steves Digicams

The eyelevel viewfinder shows 100% of the field of view and includes dioptric compensation (+3 / -1). For self-timer, remote or long exposures there is a shutter that can be closed over the eyepiece. This high-eyepoint type viewfinder allows easy composition, even for those wearing eyeglasses. Inside the viewfinder is a Neo-Lumi-Micron Matte II™ Focusing Screen with a deformed hexagonal pattern for fine, bright viewing and reduced moir� phenomenon.


Olympus E-1 Digital SLR, photo (c) 2003 Steves Digicams

Along the bottom of the viewfinder is a full Information Display that includes: AF frame, AF lock, AF correct mark, Exposure mode, Exposure level indicator, Exposure compensation indicator, Exposure compensation value, AE lock, Metering mode, Shutter speed, Aperture value, Auto bracket, White balance, Flash, FP flash, Number of storable sequential pictures.



Olympus Camedia FL-50, photo (c) 2003 Steves Digicams

The flash hot shoe accepts external flash units like the new Olympus FL-50 (or the new lightweight FL-20) which has been designed specifically for the E-System. The FL-50 operates in full TTL mode and features a Guide Number of 164 feet/50 meters at ISO 100.

Flash emission period is 1/20000 to 1/500 sec. (variable according to light intensity.) The E-1's flash X-sync speed is 1/180 sec., Super FP mode syncs up to 1/4000 sec. for fill flash.



Olympus Camedia FL-50, photo (c) 2003 Steves Digicams

The E-1 "tells" the flash the lens' focal length and then adjusts the motorized flash head accordingly, this data is displayed on the LCD on the back. The FL-50 can be bounced Up 0 - 90°, Down 7°, Left 0 - 90° and Right 0 - 180°.   It auto powers off with the E-1 camera.

Third-party external flashes and studio lights can be connected to the PC sync terminal on the side of the camera.


Olympus Camedia FL-50, photo (c) 2003 Steves Digicams

The optional SHV-1 Flash High Voltage Set offers flash recycling times of just 1.5 seconds. The FL50 can be powered by four AA (lithium, NiMH, NiCd, alkaline) cells, two CR-V3 battery packs or the optional FP-1 Flash Power Grip.



Olympus E-1 Digital SLR, photo (c) 2003 Steves Digicams

On top of the grip is the Mode Dial with positions for Manual, Shutter priority, Aperture priority and Program AE, the button in the center releases the dial. The Power on/off switch is built around the base of the Mode Dial. The unmarked dial is the Main Dial, next to that is the white balance button. Above the data LCD are the flash mode and image resolution buttons, pressing both resets settings to default. Next to the Mode Dial is the Exposure Compensation (+/-) button and underneath the data LCD is the ISO button and the Light button to illuminate the data LCD. Most buttons are held down while turning the Main Dial or Sub Dial on the back. Selections are indicated by icons on the monochrome data display.


Olympus E-1 Digital SLR, photo (c) 2003 Steves Digicams

Monochrome data LCD with all possible icons shown





Olympus E-1 Digital SLR, photo (c) 2003 Steves Digicams

On the back edge is the Sub Dial, it also controls the display in Play mode (index, zoomed, info, histogram). The AEL is the autoexposure lock button and next to that is the Focus Area button.



Olympus E-1 Digital SLR, photo (c) 2003 Steves Digicams

On the left side of the pentaprism is the Metering button, Remote / Selftimer / Drive button and the AE Bracketing button.



Olympus E-1 Digital SLR, photo (c) 2003 Steves Digicams

The sub dial in Playback mode can display a thumnail index or enable zoomed (magnified) viewing. The button below it with the green arrow enables Playback mode. Below that is the MENU button to call up the onscreen menu system. You navigate the menus using the 4-way selector, in playback you use the 4-way buttons to select images. The OK button accepts menu selections. Below the color LCD is the INFO button which displays current settings in record mode or shows extended exposure info during playback. The green key button marks/unmarks images to be Protected from erasure. The red trashcan button is for deleting images.





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