Olympus E-510 SLR Review

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Olympus EVOLT E-510 Digital SLR




Steve's Conclusion

The Olympus EVOLT E-510 10-megapixel digital SLR camera would be an excellent choice for either a experienced or novice photographer. This camera has all the bells and whistles yet can be used in the basic Auto Mode. The E-510 has a "Live View" LCD that allows you to compose shots on the LCD or the optical viewfinder. The E-510's big and bright 2.5-inch LCD, using Olympus' HyperCrystal technology, offers more contrast than a conventional LCD even in bright sunlight.

A trend I am happy to mention is use of dust reduction systems, like the Olympus Supersonic Wave Filter, that help reduce dust spots photos. This high tech ultrasonic technology vibrates to remove dust and other particles from the front of the image sensor, and captures the debris on a special adhesive membrane every time you turn on the camera. This dust reduction system liberate you from hours of retouching photos.

The E-510 employs Mechanical Image Stabilization, which compensates for camera movement. This new technology complements Digital Image Stabilization, which compensates for a moving subject. Combined, Mechanical Image Stabilization and Digital Image Stabilization provide a powerful solution, ensuring blur-free photos even in active shooting situations where photographers may encounter camera shake or a moving subject. This powerful combination resides within the camera's body, translating to blur-free images taken with any of 30+ digital-specific lenses.

All Olympus E-Series cameras support the "Four Thirds Lens Standard". Olympus, and other manufacturers, produce high-quality Four Thirds-compliant lenses and accessories that are specifically designed for digital SLRs. Because the E-510 is part of the Olympus E-System, it works with a large number of E-System accessories to further enhance personal shooting styles and applications. This includes the full line of Zuiko Digital Specific lenses and flashes. The Zuiko Digital 40-150mm lens complements the E-510; its 80-300mm 35mm-equivalent focal length is an effective telephoto zoom range for your distant subjects. The Two Lens Outfit I reviewed also contained a 14 - 42mm lens so I felt ready for anything.

This camera is all about new technology and the Olympus' TruePic III Image Processor produces crystal clear photos with accurate color, true-to-life flesh tones, brilliant blue skies and precise tonal representation in between. TruePic III also lowers noise in images shot at higher ISO settings, enabling better results in low-light situations.

The E-510's single image shooting performance is average in the consumer digital SLR class of cameras. From power-on till the first image was captured measured 2 seconds. Shutter lag, the delay between depressing the shutter and capturing the image, was 1/10 second when pre-focused, and 3/10 second including auto focus time for a high-contrast subject. Rapid shooting in single shot mode without flash captured 8 images at 8/10 second intervals, with subsequent shots at 1.6 second intervals. With flash, shots could be captured at intervals ranging between 1 and 5 seconds, depending on subject distance.The Zuiko Digital 14-42mm lens was used for the AF performance measurements.

The E-510's Auto Focus system is accurate and has 3 focus points organized horizontally across the frame. The E-510 provides a choice of focusing modes including Manual, Single AF, Continuous AF and simultaneous use of MF with both single and continuous AF. AF point selection can be performed automatically by the camera, or you can manually select the AF point. Custom Functions are provided to give you control of shutter release priority in both S-AF and C-AF modes; the camera defaults to focus priority in S-AF and release priority in C-AF.

The E-510competes with both prosumer digicams and other dSLR's. Borrowing features from its prosumer siblings and meeting the needs of less-experienced photographers, the E-510 incorporates Scene Modes that optimize camera settings for 18 distinct shooting conditions and subjects. While most cameras shield the photographer from the exposure settings chosen by a Scene Mode, the E-510 displays all of the exposure settings on the LCD. This information can be educational for the intermediate photographer, providing a basis for experimentation using the E-510's more advanced shooting modes

The E-510's 10-Megapixel imager offers plenty of resolution for producing large prints and high-quality cropped images. The E-510's results were well-exposed, and color reproduction was realistic. The E-510's image quality was very good at ISO 100 and 200 and at higher ISO's, some noise becomes evident.

In-camera editing is not a feature you'll find on many dSLR's, but the E-510 provides an effective image editing function that can operate on RAW and JPEG images. It allows you to convert an image to Black and White, apply a sepia tone fix red eye and adjust saturation, saving the result as a separate image file. While it doesn't have the features and flexibility of an image editor, the E-510's in-camera editing feature will appeal to beginners or those who print directly from the camera using DPOF or PictBridge printers. .

The Olympus E-510 is a very capable digital SLR, offering terrific image quality, an extensive list of useful features and an automatic cure for a common dSLR annoyance - the dusty image sensor. The E-510 is also a terrific value; for under $1000 you can get the E-510 in a Two Lens Outfit with both the 14-42mm and 40-150 lenses, a package that covers an effective focal length range of 28-300mm. It competes well with other consumer dSLR's and offers a compelling alternative to those considering high-end consumer digicams. The E-510's Auto and Scene modes will produce high quality snapshots for beginners, while its advanced operating modes will satisfy the enthusiast photographer - it's truly a camera the entire family can use. Please take a look at our sample images to see examples of the E-510's capabilities.





Olympus Posts EVOLT E-510 Firmware Update

The EVOLT E-510 Firmware Update Ver1.1 adds/revises the following:

  1. Improved reliability when writing to the new UDMA type (ultra direct memory access) high-speed Compact Flash cards.




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