Olympus E-420 SLR Review

Features & Controls

Olympus  E-420 Digital SLR

The eye-level viewfinder is equipped with an EP-4 eyecup and shows 95% of the field of view and includes dioptric compensation (-3 / +1). This 14mm high-eyepoint viewfinder allows for easy composition, even when wearing eyeglasses.

Olympus  E-420 Digital SLR

Inside the viewfinder is a fixed, Neo Lumi-Micro Mat Screen with AF/Metering marks. Viewfinder information includes: AF frame, AF confirmation mark, Exposure mode, Exposure compensation value, AE lock, Metering mode, Shutter speed, Aperture value, White balance, Flash and Battery status.

Olympus  E-420 Digital SLR

The optional ME-1 eyecup (shown here mounted on the E-500) with magnifying lenses can be attached to the E-420 in place of the bundled standard eyecup. The ME-1 magnifies the original view field in the finder by 1.2x (approximately 20%), making it easier to check focus and framing. The ME-1 is about $49.99 US.

Olympus  E-420 Digital SLR

Controls on the top right include the Mode Dial with positions for Full Auto, Program AE, Aperture priority, Shutter speed priority, Manual, Portrait, Landscape, Macro, Sports, Night + Portrait and Scene Modes. Like a point-n-shoot digicams, the Scene position offers various preset exposure modes that are tailored for specific shooting situations one might face. There are 18 Scene Modes available: Portrait, Landscape, Landscape + Portrait, Night Scene, Night + Portrait, Children, Sport, High Key, Low Key, Digital Image Stabilization, Macro, Nature Macro, Candle, Sunset, Fireworks, Documents, Panorama, and Beach & Snow.

The Power on/off switch is located around the Mode Dial. The unmarked dial below is the Control Dial which has various functions depending on the exposure mode you are using (in playback mode it controls the Magnify and Index options). Next to the Mode Dial is a blue LED labeled "SSWF" that blinks each time the camera is powered up - this indicates the SuperSonic Wave Filter is operating. In between the Mode Dial and shutter release is a +/- Exposure Compensation button, which also controls the rotate function in playback.

Olympus  E-420 Digital SLR

On the top left you'll find the Flash button that pops up the flash and selects flash modes. Next to the Flash button is a multi-function control that is used to set Sequential shooting, the Self Timer and Remote control options (in playback it operates the Copy/DPOF functions). You can also change the use of this button in the "Custom 1" menu.

Olympus  E-420 Digital SLR

The Super Control Panel display is a very useful info display/shortcut menu that keeps you informed of current camera settings as well as allows you to quickly change them. To display this screen, you press the Info button located on the back of the camera (see below). To change a setting, you can use the 4-way arrow buttons or Control Dial. You can also press the OK button and then use the arrow keys to select just about any item shown on the LCD and change it with the dial.

  • Info displayed: Battery check, Flash charging, Shooting mode, Shutter speed, Exposure compensation/Exposure level indicator/Flash intensity control indicator, Aperture value, Exposure compensation value, Date, Super FP flash, Noise reduction, Auto Bracket, RC mode, AF Illuminator, Internal temperature warning, and Number of still pictures remaining.
  • Functions that can be set using the Super Control Panel: ISO, White balance, Picture mode, Color space, Sharpness, Contrast, Saturation, Gradation, B&W filter, Picture tone, Face Detection, Flash mode, Drive mode, AF mode, AF target, Metering mode, Flash intensity control, Memory card used, and Image size/quality.

    Olympus  E-420 Digital SLR

    The E-420 has a bright, high-resolution, 2.7" " HyperCrystal II" LCD screen (230,000 pixels). As you change setting on the Mode Dial the Super Control Panel display will change to show the options available within that mode. Like almost all dSLR models these days, the E-420 features a Live View or "Live Preview" function that allows you to use this great LCD to frame your pictures, much like you would with a typical point-n-shoot digicam.

    The largest control on the back is a set of multifunction buttons arranged in a circle called the Arrow Pad. In the center of this array is an OK button. Around the OK button are 4-way arrow buttons, called the Arrow Pad, used to navigate menus and previews. The "Left" arrow (Fn) can changes various functions found under the "Custom 1" menu.

    Other controls on the back include the AEL/AFL (Auto Exposure/Auto Focus) Lock button next to the optical viewfinder. Next is the Live Preview button that switches the camera to Live View mode for using the LCD to frame you pictures.

    Olympus  E-420 Digital SLR
    Topmost to the left of the LCD is the Playback button. Pressing it brings up the last image captured.

    Below the Playback button is the Delete button.

    Next we find the Menu button which calls up the camera's basic setup menus.

    And finally we have the info button which calls up the Super Control Panel display.

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