Olympus E-20 SLR Review

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Olympus Camedia E-20N, photo (c) 2001 Steves Digicams

Camera Features & Controls (cont.)

The 1.8-inch wider angle color TFT LCD has a resolution of 118,000 pixels, the brightness is adjustable. It can be operated in a fixed (locked) position flat up against the body or it can be tilted downward 20 degrees or upwards to 90 degrees.

It can be used as a live viewfinder, to access the menu system or to preview captured images. The one "gotcha" is that you can't have the LCD (or video out) enabled when in remote control drive mode.

Exposure Control

  • Metering Modes selectable in any mode but Manual.

    • iESP Multi-patterned reads the entire image to calculate the exposure
    • Center-weighted reads a large area of the center
    • Spot metering uses a very small portion of the center of the frame

  • Exposure Compensation can be adjusted from -3 to +3 EV in 1/3 EV increments.

    Olympus Camedia E-20N, photo (c) 2001 Steves Digicams
  • White Balance can be iESP-TTL Automatic or dialed in to various presets from 3,000 to 7,500 degrees Kelvin. A little confusing to those used to Daylight, Incandescent and etc but the manual explains it all. For "perfect" white balance there is a One-Push button on the front of the camera that measures and sets a custom white balance setting.

    Typical Sources and Comments
    1000 Matches, candles, oil lamps - yellow orange flame
    2000 Very early sunrise; low effect tungsten lamps
    2200 - 2500 Household light bulbs
    3000 Select to shoot under incandescent light.
    3200 - 3400 Studio lights, photo floods
    3700 Select to shoot under incandescent light to preserve the mood of the lighting.
    4000 Select to shoot under white fluorescent lighting.
    4500 Select to shoot in daylight with white fluorescent lighting.
    5000 - 5200 Typical daylight; electronic flash
    5500 Select to shoot outdoors on a clear sunny day, to shoot sunsets in red or to shoot fireworks displays.
    6000 Bright sunshine with clear sky
    6500 Select to shoot outdoors on a cloudy day.
    This is also the Olympus recommended preset white balance for electronic flash.
    7000 Slightly overcast sky
    7500 Select to shoot outdoors in the shadows on a clear day.
    8000 Hazy sky
    9000 Open shade on clear day
    10,000 Heavily overcast sky
    11,000 Sunless blue skies
    20,000+ Open shade at upper elevations on a very clear day

  • AE Lock button will hold the calculated exposure to allow you to re-compose your shot without having to keep the shutter button half-pressed which is normal for consumer-priced digicams.

  • AE Bracketing causes the camera to shoot three frames and varies the EV for each according to the user-selectable options of 1/3, 2/3 or 1.0EV step in either the plus or minus direction. The flash is disabled in this mode.

  • Flash Intensity for the popup flash can be adjusted from -2 to +2 in 1/3 EV increments.

Olympus Camedia E-20N, photo (c) 2001 Steves Digicams

The E-20 has a host of dedicated buttons that let you change settings without using a menu on the color LCD. On the left side starting at the top is the metering (ESP, center-weighted, spot) and drive mode (single, sequence, self-timer, remote) buttons. In the middle are the exposure compensation and macro mode buttons and below that is the autofocus / manual focus switch.

Olympus Camedia E-20N, photo (c) 2001 Steves Digicams

The menu system is easily navigated using the 4-way jog switch and pressing the OK button to accept selections. During playback you use the rear Main Dial to control the thumbnail and zoomed playback modes. Below the LCD is the INFO button that displays the exposure data and/or histogram, the Protect / Unprotect button and the Erase button.

Olympus Camedia E-20N, photo (c) 2001 Steves Digicams

The E-20 is supplied with the Olympus RM-1 remote control. Because the E-20's zoom is manual it cannot be operated by the remote. It can be used to trip the shutter in record mode (from in front of the camera) and control playback functions when connected to a TV.

Olympus RM-CB1 remote

When the color LCD is enabled you cannot select the remote drive mode. Granted you can't turn the LCD around to face forwards but a wireless remote is great for macro shots as you don't have to physically touch (bump) the camera. You can trip the shutter with the LCD on if using the optional Olympus RM-CB1 wired cable release (shown above), especially if doing time exposures with the Bulb mode.

Olympus Camedia E-20N, photo (c) 2001 Steves Digicams

The E-20 is equipped with both a SmartMedia and a compactFlash Type II card slot. Any size 3.3v SmartMedia card up to 128MB may be used. Both card slots can be occupied, user selects desired media with the SM/CF button on the top.

Any capacity solid state CompactFlash Type I or II card or IBM Microdrive may be used, the bigger, the better. The raw files are 9.5MB, TIFF are 15.2MB and JPEG SHQ are ~3.5MB each.

Olympus Camedia E-20N, photo (c) 2001 Steves Digicams

Tucked away behind this little door is the Video Out port for connection to a television and a high speed USB data port for downloading to the computer. On the bottom is a DC INput port for the optional AC power adapter. Not shown is a PC sync connector for external flash units and a port that is used by the optional Olympus RM-CB1 remote cable release.

Olympus Camedia E-20N, photo (c) 2001 Steves Digicams

Power for the E-20 comes from either 2 of the Olympus CR-V3 lithium batteries, 4 x AA Ni-MH or Ni-Cd batteries or an optional AC power supply...

Olympus Camedia E-10Olympus Camedia E-10

You can also use the optional Olympus B-HLD10 power battery holder with the heavy duty B-10LPB lithium polymer battery. Besides supplying a lot more power this also serves as a portrait grip with a vertical shutter release.

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