Olympus E-500 SLR Review

By Movable Type Admin

Click for main menu

Olympus EVOLT E-500 Digital SLR

First Look posted 09/26/2005
Full review posted 11/17/2005

Click to take a QuickTime VR tour of the Olympus EVOLT E-500 Digital SLR
Click on the E-500 to take a QuickTime VR tour

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 E-500 is compact (approx. 5 x 3.7 x 2.6 inches), lightweight (15.3 oz.), durable and packed with Olympus innovations like an exclusive Dust Reduction System for spot-free photos, a TruePic TURBO Image Processor for fast response time, and a large 2.5-inch HyperCrystal LCD. Compatible with a wide range of Olympus Zuiko Digital Specific Lenses, the E-500 delivers the versatility and power that are the hallmarks of a performance SLR, but at an affordable $799USD price.

The E-500 uses a high-performance KODAK KAF-8300CE CCD imager for an impressive 8 million pixels of detail. With this amount of resolution photographers have the flexibility to make large prints with today's wide-carriage printers, or crop into an image to print only the part that is important to them. Moreover, the E-500's image sensor delivers improved dynamic range, low noise to capture fine image details in the highlight and shadow areas, as well as excellent color fidelity for brilliant colors. Additionally the anti-blooming technology on each pixel and the exclusive Olympus TruePic TURBO Image Processor helps to eliminate undesirable artifacts, stepping or jaggies, purple fringing or moir� in an image.

The E-500 has a big and bright 2.5-inch HyperCrystal LCD that offers many times the contrast of conventional LCD monitors, so captured images can be beautifully displayed in vivid color on the screen with exceptional clarity. Because photos are for sharing, this LCD features a wide, 160° viewing angle on the vertical and horizontal axis, ensuring excellent visibility and beautiful image quality even when everyone huddles around the camera to see what you've created. The larger LCD also means the icons and text on the camera's menu display are enlarged for easier viewing.

The versatility of the Olympus E-System comes from delivering the largest selection of "Designed-for-Digital" lenses -more than any other manufacturer to date. Most other digital SLR cameras still use many traditional 35mm film lenses on digital bodies. But since those lenses are based on designs for film and not for pixels, they deliver insufficient light at the edges of a digital camera's image sensor. This can result in reduced sharpness and color definition, particularly when shooting with large apertures and wide-angle lenses. The E-500 does not have this problem, because it accommodates the full line of interchangeable Zuiko Digital Lenses. The E-500 outfit includes a compact, Zuiko Digital 14 - 45mm Zoom Lens (equivalent to 28mm - 90mm in 35mm photography). Its 3.2x zoom covers the range most frequently used in ordinary photography and weighs just 10 ounces (285 grams) offering users an extremely dynamic, portable everyday-use zoom. Close-ups as near as 15 inches (38cm) are possible throughout the zoom range.

Everybody can shoot like a pro with the E-500. Select from one of the 25 Exposure Modes (Easy, Basic and Creative) that make it easy to get the results you want. The 15 pre-programmed Scene Select modes to achieve the optimal results for: Night Scenes, Fireworks, Sunsets, Beach and Snow, Children, Landscape, and more. Every Scene Select mode provides a sample image and a description of what is happening to achieve the desired result. For example, choosing the Landscape setting reveals a sample of a landscape photo, and a text description of what the mode is displayed on the large, easy-to-read 2.5-inch LCD. The Creative Modes allow users to take more control of the E-500 for the ultimate in artistic expression. For example, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority and Manual Modes allow users to tweak all of the camera's settings just the way they want for any situation at hand.

Transferring images to the computer is easy with the Auto-Connect USB, software drivers aren't required (for most computers/operating systems). Images may also be viewed on a television using the video cable. When it comes time to print images just connects the camera's USB cable to any PictBridge-enabled printer, no need for a computer. The Olympus P-11 Digital Photo Printer is a perfect match for the E-500. Simply select the images displayed on the camera's LCD, press a button and the finished print is in your hand in under a minute.

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

The Olympus EVOLT E-500 Digital SLR will be available in October 2005. It includes: EVOLT E-500 Body with 14-45mm f3.5/5.6 Zuiko Digital Zoom Lens, USB Cable, Video Cable, Li-Ion Battery Pack (BLM-1), Li-Ion Battery Charger (BCM-2), Shoulder Strap, OLYMPUS Master Software CD-ROM, Manuals, Warranty card. The Estimated Street Price is $799.99 USD.

The EVOLT E-500 TWO Lens Outfit; 14-45mm f3.5/5.6 and 40-150mm f3.5/4.5 Zuiko Digital Zoom Lens has an estimated Street Price of $899.99 USD.

Physical Views

Olympus EVOLT E-500 Digital SLR

Olympus EVOLT E-500 Digital SLR

Olympus EVOLT E-500 Digital SLR Olympus EVOLT E-500 Digital SLR

Olympus EVOLT E-500 Digital SLR

Olympus EVOLT E-500 Digital SLR

Olympus EVOLT E-500 Digital SLR

Olympus EVOLT E-500 Digital SLR

Olympus Evolt E-500 and E-300 for comparison

Olympus EVOLT E-500 Digital SLR

Olympus EVOLT E-500 Digital SLR

Olympus Evolt E-500 and the E-1 for comparison

Compare Digital SLR Specifications

Click to see side by side comparisons of Evolt E-500 and Canon Rebel XT, Konica Minolta 5D, Nikon D50, D70 and Pentax *ist DS and *ist DL.

Continue on to
Page Two

Olympus EVOLT E-500 Specifications

Type Interchangeable lens digital SLR camera
Body Die-cast aluminum chassis, aluminum top cover, polycarbonate
Lens Mount Four-Thirds mount
Media xD-Picture Card, CompactFlash Card, Type I or II, Microdrive
Image Sensor
    Type Kodak KAF-8300CE 4/3-type Full Frame Transfer CCD
    Size 17.3 x 13.0 mm
    Number of Pixels 8.15 Megapixels (total)
8.0 Megapixels (effective)
    Aspect Ratio 4:3
    Filter Array Primary color filter (RGB)
    Dust Protection Fixed-type Low Pass Filter with Supersonic wave filter
    Image Quality,
    Resolution,     File Size
Recording Format JPEG (Exif 2.2), TIFF ver 6.0, RAW (12bit), RAW+JPEG
File Format DCF, DPOF compatible / Exif 2.2 compatible, PRINT Image Matching II compatible
    Type Eye level Dach Mirror type Optical View Finder
    Viewfield Coverage 95% centered horiz./vert.
    Magnification Approx. x 0.9 with 50mm lens set to infinity on -1 diopter
    Eye Point approx. 10mm
    Diopter Adjustment Built-in, -3.0 to +1.0
    Focusing Screen Fixed (Mat Screen with AF/Metering marks)
    Mirror Quick-return mirror
    Viewfinder Information AF frame, AF confirmation mark, Exposure mode, Exposure compensation value, AE lock, Metering mode, Shutter speed, Aperture value, White balance, Flash
    Depth of Field Preview One-touch WB Button (Customizable)
    Eye Cup Interchangeable type (EP-5/6), EP-5 supplied
    Type TTL phase difference detection system
    Focus Modes Single / Continuous autofocus, Manual, S-AF + MF/ C-AF + MF
    Detection Range EV 0 to 19 (ISO 100, temperature 20°C)
    Focus Area 3 points
    Focus Area Selection Auto, Manual
    AF Assist Lamp Uses builtin flash or AF-assist lamps on Olympus external flashes
    AF Lock Locked by first position of shutter button or OK button (customizable) (customizable)
Exposure Control
    Light Metering System TTL full-aperture light metering by 49-zone multi-pattern sensing system
    Metering Modes Digital ESP, Center-weighted average (60%), Spot (2%), Spot High Light and Spot Shadow
    Detection Range ESP, Center-weighted average: EV 1 to 20, Spot: EV3 to 17
    Exposure Control Full Auto, Program with Program Shift / Shutter Priority / Aperture Priority / Manual Scene Program (Portrait, Macro, Landscape, Night Scene & Portrait, Sports)/ Scene Select (Portrait, Macro, Landscape, Night Scene, Sports, Landscape & Portrait, Night Scene & Portrait, Firework, Sunset, High-Key, Low-Key, Documents, Children, Beach & Snow, Candle)
    Exposure Compensation +/- 5 steps EV in 1, 1/2 or 1/3 steps
    Exposure Bracketing Selectable from 1, 2/3, 1/2 or 1/3 EV steps, 3 or 5 frames
    Auto ISO (100 - 400)
    Manual ISO 100-400 in 1/3EV or 1EV steps with Boost to 1600
    Type Electronically controlled focal plane shutter
    Shutter Speed A, P, Ps: 1/4000 to 60 sec.
S: 1/4000 to 60 sec.
M: 1/4000 to 60 sec.
Bulb (up to 8 minutes)
    X-Sync Speed Syncs at 1/180 sec., Super FP mode syncs up to 1/4000 sec. for fill flash
    Shutter Release Soft-touch electromagnetic
    Selftimer 12 or 2 sec.
    Remote Control Wireless by optional RM-1
Drive System
    Drive Modes Single, Sequential shooting
    Sequential Shooting Speed 2.5 frames per second
    Max. Frames in Sequential
RAW or TIFF: 4 frames
JPEG (HQ, SQ) up to full capacity with high speed media
White Balance System
    Auto WB System Advanced detection system with CCD imager
    Preset WB 12 Types (3000K - 7500K)
    Custom Mode 1 setting
    WB Compensation Adjustment -7 to +7 steps in each Auto/Preset setting
    WB Bracketing 3 frames with +/- 4/8/12 MiReD steps (1 MiReD = 10° Kelvin)
Flash Control
    Type TTL Auto FP, TTL Auto for Olympus dedicated flash
    Built-in Flash Yes
    Flash Modes Auto, Red-eye reduction, Slow synchro, Fill-in for exclusive flash
    X-Sync Speed X = 1/180 Sec. or less (FP= 1/30 sec to 1/4000 sec.) (up to 1/4000 sec with "Super FP" Flashes)
    Intensity Control +/- 2 EV in 1, 1/2 or 1/3 EV steps for exclusive flash
    Synchro Timing 1st Curtain Synchro / 2nd Curtain Slow Synchro ( Selectable )
    Multi Flash Control Yes (control built-in and ext flash independently)
Color Space sRGB, Adobe RGB
Picture Mode Vivid, Natural, Flat, B&W, Sepia
Color Saturation 5 levels in each Vivid, Natural and Flat mode
Image Adjustment Sharpness: 5 levels in each Picture mode
Contrast: 5 levels in each Picture mode
Filter: Yellow, Orange, Red, Green, in B&W mode
Toning: Sepia, Blue, Red, Green in B&W mode
Gradation: 3 levels
Control Panel Information Flash mode, Flash compensation value indication, Metering mode, Focus mode, Record mode, Aperture value, Shutter speed, Battery check, Number of storable still pictures, Image quality adjustment, ISO, Color space, Mono tone, Hi/Lo Key, White balance, Remote control, Self-timer, Exposure level indicator, Exposure compensation indicator, AF frame, Number of storable sequential pictures, Exposure compensation value indication, Auto bracket, Noise reduction, Single-frame shooting/Sequential shooting, Color saturation compensation value indication, Sharpness compensation indication value, AE bracket, WB bracket
LCD Monitor 2.5" HyperCrystal TFT color LCD (approx. 215,250 pixels). Viewfield coverage 100%. +/- 7 step brightness control
Playback Modes Single, Zoom (2/3/4/6/8/10/14x), Index (4, 9, 16, 25 frames), Slide show
Playback Information Histogram, High Light Point Warning, AF frame, Exposure Mode, Metering Mode, Shutter Speed, F-Stop, Compensation level, ISO, Color Space, WB Mode, Focal Length, Focus Area, File Type, Contrast Level, Sharpness Level
Erase/Protect Erase: Single / All / Selected
Protect: Single / Selected
Menu REC1, REC2, Play Back, Custom, Setup
Menu Languages English (default), German, French, Spanish, Japanese, Chinese, Korean
External Connectors Data I/O: USB 1.1 (MiniB)
Video Out: NTSC or PAL
Flash Sync: Hot shoe
Power Supply BLM-1 rechargeable Li-Ion battery pack and BCM-2 charger (included)
Box Contents EVOLT E-500 Body, USB Cable, Video Cable, Li-ion Battery Pack (BLM-1), Li-ion Battery Charger (BCM-2), Shoulder Strap, OLYMPUS Master ver 1.0 CD-ROM, Manuals, Warranty card, System chart
Operating Temperature / Humidity 32° - 104°F (0° - 40°C), 30 - 90% humidity
Size 129.5 x 94.5 x 66 mm / 5.1"w x 3.7"h x 2.6"d
Weight 435g / 15.35 oz. (without battery & memory card)

NOTE: These specifications are as represented by the manufacturer.

Continue on to
Page Two

Return To Our
Reviews Menu

Visitors of Steves can visit the stores below for real-time pricing and availability. You can also find hot, soon to expire online offers on a variety of cameras and accessories at our very own Camera Deals page.