Olympus E-500 SLR Review

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Olympus EVOLT E-500 Digital SLR

Features & Controls

The eye level viewfinder is equipped with an EP-5 eyecup and shows 95% of the field of view and includes dioptric compensation (-3 / +1). This 10mm high-eyepoint viewfinder allows for easy composition, even when wearing eyeglasses.

Olympus Evolt E500 Digital SLR

Inside the viewfinder is a fixed, Mat Screen focusing 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 Evolt E500 Digital SLR

The optional ME-1 eyecup with magnifying lenses can be attached to the E-300 and E-500 in place of the bundled standard eyecup EP-5. 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 will be available in mid to late December 2005 for US$39.99.

Olympus Evolt E500 Digital SLR

On top is the Mode Dial with positions for: Manual, Shutter-speed priority, Aperture priority, Program AE, Auto, Portrait, Landscape, Macro, Sports, Night Scene and Scene Select (Portrait, Landscape, Landscape & Portrait, Night Scene, Nigh Scene & Portrait, Firework, Sunset, Macro, Sports, High-Key, Low-Key, Documents, Beach & Snow, Candle, Children). The Power on/off switch is built around the Mode Dial. The unmarked dial below is the Control Dial. To the left is a blue LED labeled "SSWF" that blinks each time the camera is powered up - this indicates the SuperSonic Wave Filter is operating. Inbetween the Mode Dial and shutter release is the +/- Exposure Compensation button.

Olympus Evolt E500 Digital SLROlympus Evolt E500 Digital SLR
The Default (left) and Detailed control panel display

The Evolt lacks a data LCD, instead it offers this Super Control Panel displayed on the 2.5-inch HyperCrystal color LCD. Most of the buttons on the back (see below) are used to quickly change important camera settings in conjunction with the 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.

Control Panel info displayed: 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.

Olympus Evolt E500 Digital SLR

Top right is the Control Dial, in Playback it functions as the index and zoomed mode control. The AEL is the auto exposure lock button, to the right is the White Balance One-Push button and the Focus Area button. Just above the 4-way controller is the Drive Mode button. You navigate the menus using the 4-way buttons, in playback you use the 4-way buttons to select images. The OK button accepts menu selections, in playback it marks/unmarks images to be Protected. The "Up" button selects the desired White Balance setting, the "Down" button is used for changing ISO sensitivity, the "Left" button selects the Metering Mode and the "Right" button selects the Auto Focus Mode.

To the left of the LCD is the Flash pop-up button. The teal-green arrow button puts the camera into Playback mode. The "trashcan" button is for deleting images. The MENU button calls up or dismisses the onscreen menu system. The INFO button calls up and dismisses the Control Panel screen in record mode, in Playback it functions as a Display button to select one of six screen modes (see playback features on page 6.)

Olympus Evolt E500 Digital SLR

Direct Button operation enables users to get to the settings they want without wading through the menus or pushing arrow buttons excessively. The EV Compensation, ISO, Drive Mode, Metering Mode, AF Mode, AF Frame and White Balance settings can be set by pressing one of the camera's direct key buttons and turning the Control Dial. The changes are seen immediately on the Super Control Panel or the onscreen displays shown above.

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