Olympus E-300 SLR Review

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Olympus Evolt E300 Digital SLR

Features & Controls

The eye level viewfinder is equipped with an EP-3 eyecup and shows 94% of the field of view and includes dioptric compensation (-3 / +1). This 20mm high-eyepoint viewfinder allows for easy composition, even when wearing eyeglasses.

Olympus Evolt E300 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 E300 Digital SLR

On top is the Mode Dial with positions for: Manual, Shutter-speed priority, Aperture priority, Program AE, Portrait, Landscape, Macro, Sports, Night Scene and Scene Select (Portrait, Macro, Landscape, Night Scene, Sports, Landscape & Self Portrait, Night Scene & Self Portrait, Fireworks, Sun Set, High Key, Document, Manor Shot, Beach & Snow and Candle). 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.

Olympus Evolt E300 Digital SLR

The Evolt lacks a data LCD, instead it offers this Super Control Panel displayed on the 1.8-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.

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 E300 Digital SLR

Direct Button operation enables users to get to the settings they want without wading through the menus or pushing arrow buttons excessively. Most custom settings can be set by pressing one of the camera's 8 direct key buttons (White Balance, Exposure Compensation, ISO, Flash Mode, Metering Mode, Auto Focus Mode, Auto Focus Frame and Recording Mode) and turning the Control Dial. The changes are seen immediately on the Super Control Panel.

On the 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 and next to that is the Focus Area button. The teal-green arrow button puts the camera into Playback mode. The MENU button calls up or dismisses the onscreen menu system. 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.

To the left of the LCD is the Exposure Compensation button, in Manual mode it swaps control of shutter speed and aperture settings. The WB and Resolution buttons are direct buttons and are described above. The "trashcan" button is for deleting images. 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.)

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