Olympus E-520 SLR Review

By Movable Type Admin

First look posted 10/16/2008
Conclusion and samples posted 10/24/08

Click to take a QuickTime VR tour of the Olympus  E-520 Digital SLR
Click on the E-520 to take a QuickTime VR tour


The Olympus E-520 replaces the EVOLT E-510 from last year as Olympus' mid-level dSLR offering. This camera is loaded with advanced technologies. These include an Image Stabilization system that is built right into the camera body, which compensates for movement so that images are sharp and blur-free with any lens, even at slower shutter speeds. Together, these technologies help the E-520 produce pleasing results:

  • In-Body Image Stabilization with Supersonic Wave Drive technology provides blur-free images when using any of the more than 30 digital-specific lenses
  • Face Detection Technology targets and locks on faces to ensure they are in focus (Live View mode only)
  • Shadow Adjustment Technology opens up detail in the shadows that other cameras would render too dark or underexposed while maintaining detail in the highlights
  • Perfect Shot Preview enables photographers to view and select White Balance and Exposure Compensation effects right on the LCD, and see how the image will look before they even capture it.

The TruePic III Image Processor allows the E-520 to produce crystal-clear photos by using all of the pixel information for each image to provide the best digital images possible for every photo with accurate color, true-to-life flesh tones, brilliant blue skies and precise tonal representation in between. TruePic III also lowers image noise by one step to reduce graininess in images shot at higher ISO settings, enabling great results in low-light situations.

First seen on the E-510, the E-520 features in-body Mechanical Image Stabilization with three modes for increased versatility. IS-1 mode for general shooting adjusts the sensor on both the X and Y axes to compensate for movement by the photographer so images stay sharp even at slow shutter speeds. To capture the motion of athletes and animals, and other moving subjects, the E-520 offers two specialized modes. IS-2 mode is ideal for capturing a race car flying down the track, preserving the sense of motion while panning with the moving subject and holding the camera horizontally to dramatically portray the car's high speed. For sharp images of moving subjects like a basketball player charging up the court, the IS-3 mode allows a photographer to hold the camera vertically while panning. The artistic effects of panning enhance the shot and render the player in sharp detail with blurred background.

The E-520's viewable HyperCrystal II LCD is the key to its Live View capabilities. While some LCD screens force photographers to squint to preview images in bright sunlight or a dimly lit room, the E-520 features a large, bright 2.7-inch LCD display that incorporates new technology. It also offers twice the contrast for better viewing in extreme light conditions, a larger color gamut that displays a greater range of color detail, and a 176-degree viewing angle.

Sometimes wireless flashes can help photographers cast the best light on their subjects and capture great images. For this reason, the E-520 is compatible with the Olympus FL-50R and FL-36R wireless electronic flashes that are designed exclusively for digital photography. When these flashes are used in combination with the E-520, wireless multi-flash photography is possible. The E-520 can control up to three wireless flash groups independently, with multiple flash units in each group.

Life moves too fast to spend time worrying about dust ruining the perfect image. To help battle this, the E-520 offers Olympus' proven Dust Reduction System. It produces spot-free photos with the exclusive Supersonic Wave Filter. This patented ultrasonic technology vibrates to remove dust and other particles from the front of the image sensor and captures it on a special adhesive membrane every time the camera is turned on. These spot-free photos liberate users from hours spent retouching photographs at the computer or sending their cameras back to the manufacturer to remove dust trapped inside.

Olympus will offer the PT-E05 optional underwater housing for the E-520 to allow photographers to document the richness of life in the depths. Capable of reaching depths of 130 feet underwater, the housing will ensure that divers will not miss an image during their journeys to the abyss. Special underwater scene modes on the E-520 will assure that the camera is set up correctly for underwater use.




E-520 Features

  • High performance 10-megapixel Live MOS Image Sensor
  • Supersonic Wave Filter (dust reduction system for image sensor)
  • Four-Thirds System lens mount for Zuiko Digital Specific lenses
  • Built-in IS (Image Stabilization) effective for up to 4EV steps
  • Full Auto, Program AE, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, Manual and 20 Scene modes
  • sRGB and Adobe RGB color space options
  • Five Picture modes (Vivid, Natural, Muted, Portrait, Monotone) with adjustments for Sharpness, Saturation, and Contrast
  • JPEG and RAW file formats
  • Simultaneous capture of RAW + JPEG files
  • Metering modes: 49 point ESP, Center weighted, Spot (2%), Spot with High Light control and Spot with Shadow control
  • Exposure compensation ±5EV with 1, 1/2 or 1/3 EV steps
  • 3-point (selectable) TTL Contrast/Phase-difference detection Auto Focus system
  • 2.7" HyperCrystal II LCD monitor with Color and Brightness control (15 steps)
  • Live View recording with 11-point imager AF system (can also select AF Sensor or Hybrid AF modes)
  • Face Detection AF in Live View mode
  • Built-in pop-up multi-mode intelligent flash (Auto pop-up in Scene and Full Auto exposure modes)
  • Hot shoe for E System TTL flash units
  • Capture image at 3.5fps (Max. 8 frames in RAW)
  • Auto Exposure, Flash and White balance bracketing
  • ISO range from 100 - 1600
  • RGB histogram display in playback for accurate color information per channel including overall luminance
  • Next Generation TruePic III processor with advanced noise reduction (including a noise filter)
  • 5-level Sharpening, Contrast and Saturation controls
  • USB 2.0 High-speed connectivity and PictBridge direct-print compatible
  • xD-Picture Card and CompactFlash I/II/Microdrive storage
  • High capacity Li-ion rechargeable battery and charger
  • Certified as an Olympus Eco-product
  • Compatible with all Olympus E-System lenses and accessories
  • Optional PT-E05 underwater housing


The Olympus E-520 Digital SLR is available now in two configurations:

  • E-520 body - $599.99
  • E-520 with ED 14-42mm f3.5/5.6 Zuiko Digital Zoom Lens - $699.99

Each kit ships with: E-520 Body (outfit contents), Li-ion Battery BLM-1, Li-ion battery charger BCM-2, USB 2.0 cable, Video cable, Shoulder strap, OLYMPUS Master 2 CD-ROM, Instruction Manual, Registration card, Eyepiece cap EP-4, Lens and Body Caps, Lens Hood.


Physical Views

Olympus E-520 Digital SLR

Olympus E-520 Digital SLR

Olympus E-520 Digital SLR

Olympus E-520 Digital SLR

Olympus E-520 Digital SLR

Olympus E-520 Digital SLR



Olympus E-520 Digital SLR


The E-520 (right) seated next to its little brother, the E-420.




Olympus E-520 Specifications

Product Type
Product type Single-lens reflex Live View digital camera with interchangeable lens system
Memory CompactFlash Type I/II, Microdrive, xD-Picture Card (Dual-Slot)
Sensor Size 17.3 mm (H) x 13.0 mm (V)
Lens mount Four Thirds Mount
Effective Pixels
Number of effective pixels 10 million pixels
Image Pickup Unit
Product type Live MOS Sensor
Total pixels Approx. 11.8 million pixels
Aspect ratio 1.33 (4:3)
Filter array Primary color filter (RGB)
LPF Fixed type
IR cut filter Hybrid type
Dust reduction Supersonic Wave Filter (dust-reduction system for image sensor)
Recording
Recording format DCF, DPOF compatible/Exif, PRINT Image Matching III
File format RAW (12-bit), JPEG, RAW+JPEG
Recording image size [RAW] 3648 x 2736 pixels
[JPEG] 3648 x 2736 pixels - 640 x 480 pixels
File size

RAW: 3648 x 2736 compressed Approx. 11MB
Large: 3648 x 2736 Super fine (1/2.7 compressed) Approx. 6.8MB
3648 x 2736 Fine (1/4 compressed) Approx. 4.7MB
3648 x 2736 Normal (1/8 compressed) Approx. 2.2MB
3648 x 2736 Basic (1/12 compressed) Approx. 1.5MB

Middle 3200 x 2400 Super fine (1/2.7 compressed) Approx. 5.3MB
3200 x 2400 Fine (1/4 compressed) Approx. 3.7MB
3200 x 2400 Normal (1/8 compressed) Approx. 1.7MB
3200 x 2400 Basic (1/12 compressed) Approx. 1.1MB
2560 x 1920 Super fine (1/2.7 compressed) Approx. 3.6MB
2560 x 1920 Fine (1/4 compressed) Approx. 2.2MB
2560 x 1920 Normal (1/8 compressed) Approx. 1.1MB
2560 x 1920 Basic (1/12 compressed) Approx. 0.7MB

Small 1600 x 1200 Super fine (1/2.7 compressed) Approx. 1.3MB
1600 x 1200 Fine (1/4 compressed) Approx. 0.8MB
1600 x 1200 Normal (1/8 compressed) Approx. 0.5MB
1600 x 1200 Basic (1/12 compressed) Approx. 0.3MB
1280 x 960 Super fine (1/2.7 compressed) Approx. 0.8MB
1280 x 960 Fine (1/4 compressed) Approx. 0.5MB
1280 x 960 Normal (1/8 compressed) Approx. 0.3MB
1280 x 960 Basic (1/12 compressed) Approx. 0.2MB
1024 x 768 Super fine (1/2.7 compressed) Approx. 0.5MB
1024 x 768 Fine (1/4 compressed) Approx. 0.4MB
1024 x 768 Normal (1/8 compressed) Approx. 0.2MB
1024 x 768 Basic (1/12 compressed) Approx. 0.1MB
640 x 480 Super fine (1/2.7 compressed) Approx. 0.2MB
640 x 480 Fine (1/4 compressed) Approx. 0.2MB
640 x 480 Normal (1/8 compressed) Approx. 0.1MB
640 x 480 Basic (1/12 compressed) Approx. 0.1MB

Viewfinder
Product type Eye-level single-lens reflex viewfinder
Field of view Approx. 95%
Viewfinder magnification Approx.0.92x (-1m-1, 50mm lens, infinity)
Eye point Approx. 14 mm (-1m-1)
Diopter adjustment range -3.0 - +1m-1
Focusing screen Fixed (Neo Lumi-Micro Mat screen)
Eyepiece shutter Eyepiece cap EP-4 supplied
Eye cup Interchangeable type. EP-5 supplied. Optional EP-6, EP-7, Magnifier eyecup ME-1 available.
Preview Can be checked (when FN button is set in preview mode),
selectable from the optical viewfinder or rear-mounted LCD monitor
Viewfinder information Aperture value, Shutter speed, Record mode, AF confirmation mark, Flash, WB, AE lock, Number of storable still images, Exposure compensation value, Metering mode, Battery warning, Exposure mode, AF frame (super impose). IS activating mode.
Live View
Live View Live MOS Sensor for still picture shooting is used, 100% field of view, Exposure adjustment preview, White balance adjustment preview, Gradation setting preview, Face detection preview, Perfect Shot preview, Grid line displayable, 7x/10x magnification possible, MF/S-AF, AF frame display, AF point display, Shooting information, Histogram, IS Activating mode.
AF High-speed imager AF, Phase difference detection AF
Image Stabilizer
System Built-in (Imager shift image stabilizer)
Mode 3 modes
(2-dimensional activation (Horizontal + Vertical), 1-dimensional activation (Vertical), 1-dimensional activation (Horizontal)
Effective compensation range Up to 4 EV steps maximum
LCD Display
Product type HyperCrystal II LCD (semi-transmissive TFT color LCD)
Size 2.7 inches
Total no. of pixels Approx. 230,000 pixels
Playback field of view 100%
Brightness control 15 levels
Color balance 15 levels
Focusing
AF system TTL phase difference detection system, contrast detection system (with 25mm f2.8, 14-42mm f3.5-5.6, 40-150mm f4.0-5.6)
Focus mode Single AF (S-AF) / Continuous AF (C-AF)* / Manual Focus (MF) / S-AF + MF / C-AF + MF
*C-AF mode is not available with the contrast detection system
Focusing point 3-point multiple AF with the phase difference detection system (Auto, selectable in option)
11-point multiple AF with the contrast detection system (Auto, selectable in option)
Focusing point selection Auto/Option selectable
AF luminance range
(phase difference detection system)
EV 0 to 19 (at 20°C, ISO 100)
AF illuminator
(phase difference detection system)
Built-in flash (on/off selectable), external flash available.
AF lock Locked at first position of Shutter button in Single AF mode / AEL button (customizable)
Focus tracking
(phase difference detection system)
Interlocked with Continuous AF mode
Focus aid Available
Exposure Control
Metering system TTL open-aperture metering system
(1) Digital ESP metering (49-point multipattern metering); (2) Center-weighted average metering; (3) Spot metering (approx. 2% of the viewfinder screen); (4) Spot with Highlight control; (5) Spot with Shadow control
Metering range EV 1 - 20 (Digital ESP metering, Center-weighted average metering, Spot metering)
(At normal temperature, 50mm f2, ISO 100)
Exposure mode (1) Auto; (2) P: Program AE (Program shift can be performed); (3) A: Aperture priority AE; (4) S: Shutter priority AE; (5) M: Manual; (6) Scene program AE; (7) Scene select AE
Scene program AE Portrait, Landscape, Macro, Sport, Night + Portrait
Scene select AE 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 (requires Olympus xD-Picture Card media), Beach & Snow, Underwater Wide, Underwater Macro
ISO sensitivity AUTO (ISO 100 - 1600) / Manual (ISO 100 - 1600), 1 EV steps
Exposure compensation ±5 EV in 1/3, 1/2, 1 EV steps selectable
AE lock Locked by first position of Shutter button / AEL button (customizable)
Exposure bracketing 3 frames in 1/3, 1/2, 2/3, 1 EV steps selectable
White Balance
Auto WB system Advanced detection system with Live MOS sensor
Preset white balance 8 settings (3000K - 7500K): Lamp (3000K), Fluorescent 1 (4000K), Fluorescent 2 (4500K), Fluorescent 3 (6600K), Daylight (5300K), Cloudy (6000K), Shade (7500K)
White balance compensation ±7 steps in each A-B/G-M axis (in Auto WB/Preset WB mode)
Custom white balance 1 temperature setting can be registered in degrees Kelvin (2000K - 14000K)
One-touch white balance 1 custom setting can be registered
Color Mode
Color matrix sRGB, Adobe RGB
Picture Mode
Mode Vivid, Natural (default setting), Muted, Portrait, Monotone, Custom
Adjustment parameter Contrast, Sharpness and Saturation level available in 5 steps for Vivid, Natural, Muted and Portrait
Contrast and Sharpness level available in 5 steps for Monotone
Filter effect Yellow, Orange, Red or Green filter available for Monotone
Picture tone Sepia, Blue, Purple or Green tone available for Monotone
Gradation 4 levels (Auto, high key, normal, low key)
Shutter
Product type Computerized focal-plane shutter
Shutter speed Auto mode: 2 - 1/4000 sec. (depends on settings), P(Ps), S, A, M mode: 60 - 1/4000 sec. (Bulb: up to 30 min. with limiter), Scene program/Scene select mode: 4 - 1/4000 sec. (depends on settings) 1/3, 1/2, 1 EV steps selectable
Self-timer Operation time: 12 sec., 2 sec. (cancel available)
Remote cable release Available (with optional RM-UC1 Remote Cable)
Optical remote control Operation time: 2 sec., 0 sec., bulb control available (with optional RM-1 Remote Control)
Anti-shock mode Available (1 to 30 sec. selectable)
Drive
Drive mode Single-frame shooting, Sequential shooting, Self-timer, Remote control
Sequential shooting speed Approx. 3.5 frames/sec.
Max. recordable pictures RAW mode: Max. 8 frames
on sequential shooting JPEG mode: Depends on compression ratio and no. of pixels (LN mode: approx. up to card capacity with SanDisk Extreme III 1GB)
Integrated Flash
Built-in flash Retractable flash (Auto pop-up type), GN=12 (ISO 100.m)
Compatible external flash FL-50R, FL-36R, FL-50, FL-36, FL-20
Flash control mode TTL Auto (TTL pre-flash mode), Auto, Manual
Flash mode Auto, Red-eye reduction, Red-eye reduction slow sync., Slow synchronization, Fill-in, Manual (1/4, 1/16, 1/64), Off.
Synchronization speed 1/180 sec. or less, Super FP up to 1/4000 sec.
Flash intensity control Up to ±2 EV in 1/3, 1/2 or 1 EV steps
Synchronization timing 1st curtain synchronization/2nd curtain slow synchronization (selectable)
Flash bracketing 3 frames in 0.3, 0.5, 0.7, 1 EV steps selectable
Wireless flash control
Compatible external flash FL-50R, FL-36R
Control method Triggered and controlled by built-in flash light
Flash control modes TTL Auto (TTL pre-flash mode), Auto, Manual, FP TTL Auto, FP Manual
Number of channels 4 channels
Group setting 3 groups
Super control panel
Information (Shooting) Battery information, Exposure mode, Shutter speed, Aperture value, Exposure compensation value, ISO sensitivity, Exposure compensation indicator, Exposure indicator, Flash intensity compensation indicator, Date, BKT setting, NR setting, WB, WB compensation value, Picture mode, Flash mode, Record mode, Image size, Card information, Drive mode, Flash intensity compensation value, Metering mode, Recordable still image number, Focusing mode, FP warning, AF frame, AF illuminator deactivated notification, Color space, Sharpness, Contrast, Saturation, Gradation, IS activating mode, Face detection, RC mode setting
Information (Wireless flash commander) Exposure mode, Shutter speed, Aperture value, Exposure compensation indicator, Exposure compensation value, Flash compensation indicator, Flash compensation value, ALE notification, Flash compensation notification, NR notification, BKT notification, AF illuminator deactivated notification, Color space, IS activating mode, Wireless channel setting, Built-in flash intensity, Group setting
Back light timer Back light lighting time is selectable (Keep, 8 sec., 30 sec., 1 min.)
Playback
Playback modes Single-frame, Index (4/9/16/25/49/100 frames), Calendar, Close-up ( 2 - 14X), Slideshow, Picture rotation (auto mode available), Light box
Information display Histogram (independent luminance/RGB available),
Highlight/Shadow point warning, AF frame, Shooting information
Menu
Languages Americas: English, French, Spanish, Portuguese
Custom setting
Custom function Fn button is available to set 10 functions: Face detection, Preview, Live preview, One-touch WB, AF home position, MF, Record mode, Test picture, My mode, Off
Drive button is available to set six functions: Drive, AF target selection, AF mode, WB mode, Metering mode, ISO setting)
Custom reset 2 settings are recordable
My mode 2 settings are recordable
Image Editing
Erasing function Single frame, All frames, Selected frames (with protect function)
Protect function Single frame, Selected frames, Release protect (Single/All selected)
Copy between media Single frame, All frames, Selected frames
RAW picture editing RAW development
JPEG editing Shadow Adjustment, Red-eye fix, Triming, Monotone, Sepia, Saturation (color depth), Resize (producing another file)
Print
Print function Print reservation (DPOF), Direct print (PictBridge compatible)
Input/Output
PC interface High Speed USB for storage and camera control (MTP mode is available)
USB/Video connector Dedicated multi-connector (Video: NTSC/PAL selectable, Optional remote cable RM-UC1 is available)
Flash attachment Hot shoe
Power Requirements
Battery BLM-1 Li-ion battery (included)
Sleep mode Available (1, 3, 5, 10 min., Off selectable)
No. of recordable pictures Approx. 650 shots (optical viewfinder)
(with BLM-1 under CIPA testing standard)
Dimensions/Weight
Dimensions 5.4 in. (W) x 3.6 in.(H) x 2.7 in. D / 136 mm (W) x 91.5 mm (H) x 68 mm (D) (excluding protrusions)
Weight 16.8 oz. / 475 g (body only)
Operating Environment
Temperature 32-104 °F / 0 - 40 °C (operation)
-4 - 140 °F/ -20 - 60 °C (storage)
Humidity 30 - 90% (operation) / 10 - 90% (storage)
Box contents
E-520 (outfit contents), ED 14-42mm Zoom lens, Li-ion Battery BLM-1, Li-ion battery charger BCM-2, USB 2.0 cable, Video cable, Shoulder strap, OLYMPUS Master 2 CD-ROM, Instruction Manual, Registration card, Eyepiece cap EP-4, Lens and Body Caps, Lens Hood

NOTE: These specifications are as represented by the manufacturer.


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.

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