Olympus E-330 SLR Review

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Olympus EVOLT E-330 Digital SLR

Lens Mount, Lenses, Imager, Live View

The Evolt E-330 is constructed of high-impact polycarbonate plastic over a durable steel chassis. It measures 140 x 87 x 72 mm / 5.5" x 3.4" x 2.8" (WHD). Weighing only 550g / 1.2 lb., the EVOLT E-330 is light and compact enough to comfortably shoot with all day without fatigue.

The E-330 continues the prismless "flat top" look first seen in the E-300 model, but as you will see below, there's a lot of new technology inside.

Olympus Evolt E-330 Digital SLR

The all-metal lens mount for the Four Thirds System is twice the diagonal measurement of the imager. With this lens mount the body size, lens size and overall weight are reduced. The focal length multiplier is 2x, a 14-45mm lens is the equivalent to 28-90mm in 35mm photography.

Digital Specific "Smart" Lenses

Olympus Zuiko Digital Lenses are designed so light strikes the camera's image sensor directly, ensuring rich, accurate colors, sharp contrasts and bright images even at the edges.

Lenses that are smart, that talk with the camera about their specific optical designs and imaging information. Lenses, particularly zoom lenses have some distortion. This is true of all manufacturers. Zuiko Digital Lenses store data in the header portion of the digital file allowing for software-assisted correction of anomalies including pin cushion and barrel distortion.

Shoot wide open or stopped all the way down and achieve superior results over 35mm film based lenses. Zuiko Digital Specific Lenses are about three times the resolution of ordinary film based lenses.

Internet-Upgradeable Firmware

The Smart Lens Design allows users to shoot with the most current firmware versions of each particular E SLR System component. Update the camera system using:

  • Internet-Enabled Computer
  • Camera Connected via USB
  • Olympus Software; one Button Update
The firmware information is collected for the lens, flash, and body and updated accordingly - no tricky file downloading or installation procedure necessary.

Zuiko Digital 14-45mm and 40-150mm

Olympus Evolt E-330 Digital SLR

The Zuiko Digital 14-45mm f3.5 - 5.6 (equivalent to 28-90mm in 35mm photography) comes standard with the EVOLT E-330. Its 3.2x zoom covers the zoom range most frequently used in everyday photography, and with 12 elements in 10 groups and a weight of just 9.98 oz/285g (approx.) it offers users an extremely dynamic, portable everyday-use zoom.

A newly developed 'floating' mechanism is incorporated into the focusing system to ensure exceptionally smooth action across the entire focusing range. Close-ups as near as 15 in/38cm are possible throughout the zoom range. The lens also boasts a new multi-coating process, which minimizes ghosting and flaring as well as a reliable metal lens mount, which is designed for ruggedness that ensures confidence in any situation.

Olympus Evolt E-330 Digital SLR

The Zuiko Digital 40-150mm f3.5-4.5 (equivalent to 80-300mm in 35mm photography) features a 3.8x zoom capability that provides everything from mid-range zoom power to easy-to-use full-fledged zoom. With 13 elements in 10 groups and a weight of just 15.75 oz/450g (approx), the Zuiko Digital 40-150mm Lens is meant to go anywhere. In addition, the lens employs a f3.5-4.5 brightness making it ideal for achieving effects like background blurring and perspective compression, suitable for everything from portraits to sports scenes. As with the 14-45mm lens, the 40-150mm is also reinforced by a new multi-coating process as well as a new reliable metal lens mount.

Olympus Evolt E-330 Digital SLR

There are two additional Zuiko Digital lenses not listed on this chart, the 35mm f3.5 macro (70mm equiv) and the 50mm f2.0 macro (100mm equiv).

Live View Technology

Olympus Evolt E-330 Digital SLR

The E-330 is the first SLR camera in the world to feature Live View. Until now, such displays have been limited to a 30-second black-and-white view, or a view that displayed only the central portion of a frame. With the inclusion of two Live View Modes on the E-330, Olympus has become the first manufacturer in the world to offer Live View on a D-SLR camera.

Live View is made possible by incorporating two separate image sensors into the camera: a CCD sensor for Live View framing (used for Mode A Live View) that is mounted in the viewfinder's optical path, and a Live MOS Sensor for image capture (also used for Mode B Live View). This enables the system to offer an accurate Live View with a simple light path, something that cannot be achieved with roof-prism viewing systems.

Olympus Evolt E-330 Digital SLR

Mode A Full-Time Live View

In this mode, a dedicated Live View CCD mounted in the viewfinder's optical path is used to capture the viewfinder image and display it on the rear-mounted LCD monitor. The purpose of Mode A is to allow users to frame their subject easily while also enjoying SLR-class shooting response.

Features easy framing with 1:9 pixel interpolation to assure fast response for easy subject tracking. LCD image refresh speed is the same as when Live View is switched off (about 66~100ms). Displays image during first shutter release. Live View also possible during continuous shooting (with slight delay in image display). Because priority is given to framing, exposure values, exposure steps, and color values cannot be accurately displayed. (compatible with Monotone and Sepia modes). Field of view is 95% of viewfinder field of view (field of view: approx. 90%).

Olympus Evolt E-330 Digital SLR

Mode B Macro Live View

In this mode, the mirror is locked in the up position and the actual image from the Live MOS sensor is displayed on the LCD monitor. The purpose of this mode is to allow accurate focusing in any situation, and to provide a 100% field of view.

The field of view is 100% of viewfinder field of view for accurate framing. A designated area of the frame can be enlarged up to 10x (easy focus confirmation and adjustment). A variety of grid templates can be displayed. Operates with manual focusing only. Live View is disabled during continuous shooting.

7.5-Megapixel Live MOS Sensor

Olympus Evolt E-330 Digital SLR

The E-330's Live View functionality allows the user to be able to frame the subject extremely accurately, and the ability to freely enlarge any area of the frame. The imaging characteristics of a full-frame transfer CCD (FFT-CCD) type sensor makes them unsuitable for this purpose, so Olympus developed a new NMOS sensor that offers the dual advantages of a large photo-sensing surface area and simple construction.

Called the Live MOS Sensor, it offers high processing speed, high sensitivity, low noise, and low power consumption, as well as image quality that approaches that of FFT-CCD sensors. It is a new-generation NMOS sensor that was spawned by a high level of synergy between NMOS technology and the signal enhancement and other digital technologies in which Olympus has many years of experience.

The Live MOS Sensor offers image quality comparable to an FFT-CCD sensor with the low power requirements of a CMOS sensor, and is noteworthy for its high-quality imaging capabilities over an extended period of time. Simplified circuitry that reduces the distance from each photodiode to its corresponding on-chip microlens assures excellent sensitivity and image quality even when light strikes it at a high angle of incidence.

CCDs and other image sensors are sensitive to ultraviolet light that cannot be perceived by the human eye. In digital cameras, it is therefore necessary to mount a glass UV filter in front of the image sensor to prevent these UV rays from reaching the sensor. The E-330, however, uses a special hybrid filter that incorporates a glass element to absorb UV rays and a dichroic mirror element to reflect them. This achieves a much sharper filtering effect, and ensures superior color purity and fidelity.

The Live MOS Sensor takes advantage of the simplified circuit requirements and thinner layer structure of NMOS type sensors to offer a larger photosensitive surface area. In addition, circuit technology refinements were made to boost light utilization efficiency and improve image quality. By enlarging the photosensitive surface area and enabling it to capture light that was previously lost, it achieves both high sensitivity and superior image quality. In addition, a new low-noise photodiode signal amplification circuit further improves sensitivity.

Like the E-500, the E-330 allows saturation, contrast, and sharpness parameters to be adjusted via an easy-to-use Picture Mode selector. No special knowledge is required; users can simply choose Vivid, Natural, or Flat according to whether they want a print-ready image, or an image that preserves more of the original tones so that it can be processed later. (Each of the parameters can also be adjusted individually via the Picture Mode menu.)

The TruePic TURBO image processor has also been tuned to preserve the colors of nature and maximize the performance characteristics of the Live MOS Sensor. TruePic TURBO was originally developed to ensure natural color reproduction and rich tonal gradation, and it makes an ideal match for the Live MOS Sensor that is sure to please anyone who enjoys taking nature photos. Thanks to the Live View function, Live MOS Sensor, and TruePic TURBO image processing, it's easy for virtually anyone to take beautifully focused, pro-quality macro photos and other interesting shots from unusual angles.

Dust Reduction System

Dust on the image sensor has been an annoying and frustrating issue for all digital camera manufacturers. With film SLR, dust moves when advancing the film, however with a digital SLR, dust contamination occurs once dust settles on the image sensor. Some Image sensor dust contamination is mostly avoidable by carefully changing lenses. However, dust contamination can be still generated by the friction of the shutter, quick-return mirror or other moving parts inside the camera. The mechanism of lens focusing and mirror generates a light breeze inside the camera, resulting in dust contamination that can adhere to the image sensor. The size of the dust adhering to image sensor is approximately 0.1mm (100 microns) in diameter at the largest, but these invisible dust particles can degrade the image quality on every picture taken after the contamination occurs.

The E-330 uses an Olympus exclusive patented ultrasonic technology, the SuperSonic Wave Filter (SSWF), to reduce the effects of micro dust settling on the image sensor. Located between the shutter and the imager, the SSWF uses high-speed ultrasonic vibration to cause most types of dust to fall away from the image sensor so it will not appear in photographs. The filter vibrates at 35,000 times per second and is activated every time the camera powers on, or manually via a menu selection, to instantly remove the dust from in front of the image sensor.

In addition the SSWF works with the newly developed Dust Reduction System to significantly reduces dust problems. The Dust Reduction System achieves the solution to the following three issues:

  1. Preventing dust entry
    The Dust Reduction System prevents dust entry into the camera by hermetically sealing the space between SSWF and CCD sensor surface. The hermetically sealed space is achieved by setting rubber seal in between CCD and Low Pass Filter, and Low Pass Filter and SSWF.

  2. Preventing dust appearance in image
    The increased space between sensor surface and SSWF prevents dust from blocking the light causing a shadow to appear in an image.

  3. Ultrasonic dust reduction
    With the ultrasonic vibration, any dust that has adhered to the surface of SSWF is instantly removed. Removed dust and debris is captured on an adherent dust absorber at the bottom of the ultrasonic filter.
Additionally, the SSWF is supported hermetically by rubber seal so the ultrasonic vibration does not diminish or effect other camera parts. Applying 20kHz or more of frequency voltage to piezoelectric element activates the resonant vibration of the SSWF. This vibration is flexed vibration, making it possible to effectively eliminate the dust from the SSWF. The mechanism of E System's resonant vibration is the most efficient way of generating amplitude of ultrasonic vibration that eliminates dust particles.

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