Olympus E-330 SLR Review

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Olympus EVOLT E-330 Digital SLR

First Look posted 01/26/2006
Full review posted 5/8/2006

Click on the E-330 to take a QuickTime VR tour

The Olympus EVOLT E-330 is the world's first interchangeable lens digital SLR to offer a true "Live View" image on the LCD screen, in addition to the optical viewfinder. The design of a normal DSLR camera is such that the mirror remains down, blocking the image sensor, until the moment of exposure. This does not allow for the use of the LCD for framing as it has nothing to display. Olympus took the unique design of their E-300 and went a step farther including a preview CCD imager in its optical viewfinder. In addition, the E-330's LCD is "articulated" it can extend out from the camera body and swivel downward or upward so the camera can be held overhead to shoot over a crowd, or held at the hip or even placed on the ground - something that's not possible with a traditional SLR. And for critical work the B-mode function of the Live View system locks the mirror up and the LCD image is generated directly from the Live MOS image sensor itself.

The excellent image quality of the Olympus E-System takes a giant step forward with the EVOLT E-330. Newly developed specifically for this camera, the 7.5-megapixel Live MOS image sensor, with its high dynamic range, captures photos with accurate true colors, detail from edge-to-edge and lower noise. The TruePic TURBO Image Processor provides fast camera response, operation and processing speed for more responsive camera operation. This is done by closely integrating the image processor and hardware elements to eliminate unnecessary processing tasks, accelerating camera operations.

Olympus' Dust Reduction System produces spot-free photos with the exclusive Supersonic Wave Filter that uses ultrasonic technology to shake dust off the image sensor every time you turn the camera on. These spot-free photos liberate users from hours spent retouching images at the computer. The new EVOLT E-330, like all Olympus digital SLR cameras, is equipped with this exclusive user-friendly technology.

The E-330's large, 2.5-inch HyperCrystal LCD offers many times the contrast of conventional LCD monitors, so captured images can be beautifully displayed in vivid color on the screen with exceptional clarity. Because photos are for sharing, the LCD features a wide, 160- degree viewing angle on the vertical and horizontal axis, ensuring excellent visibility and beautiful image quality even when everyone huddles around the camera to see what you've created. The larger LCD also means the icons and text on the camera's menu display are large enough for easy viewing.

The E-330 outfit includes a compact, Zuiko Digital 14 - 45mm f3.5 - f5.6 Lens (equivalent to 28mm - 90mm in 35mm photography) that perfectly matches the imager so light strikes the sensor directly to ensure rich, accurate colors and edge-to-edge sharpness. Its 3.2x zoom covers the range most frequently used in ordinary photography and weighs just 10 ounces (285 grams) offering users an extremely dynamic, portable everyday-use zoom. Close-ups as near as 15 inches (38cm) are possible throughout the zoom range. Olympus offers a large selection of lenses designed for digital excellence, and they're all fully compatible with the E-330.

Everybody can shoot like a pro with the E-330. Select from one of the 31 Exposure Modes (Easy, Basic and Creative) that make it easy to get the results you want. The pre-programmed Scene Select modes to achieve the optimal results for: Night Scenes, Fireworks, Sunsets, Beach and Snow, Children, Landscape, and more. Every Scene Select mode provides a sample image and a description of what is happening to achieve the desired result. For example, choosing the Landscape setting reveals a sample of a landscape photo, and a text description of what the mode is displayed on the large, easy-to-read 2.5-inch LCD. The Creative Modes allow users to take more control of the E-500 for the ultimate in artistic expression. For example, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority and Manual Modes allow users to tweak all of the camera's settings just the way they want for any situation at hand.

Transferring images to the computer is easy with the Auto-Connect USB, software drivers aren't required (for most computers/operating systems). Images may also be viewed on a television using the video cable. When it comes time to print images just connect the camera's USB cable to any PictBridge-enabled printer, no need for a computer. The Olympus P-11 Digital Photo Printer is a perfect match for the E-330. Simply select the images displayed on the camera's LCD, press a button and the finished print is in your hand in under a minute.

EVOLT E-330 Features

  • World's first interchangeable lens SLR with live LCD preview
  • High performance 7.5-Megapixel Live MOS image sensor
  • SuperSonic Wave Filter for image sensor dust protection
  • Four-Thirds System lens mount for Zuiko Digital Specific lenses
  • 2.5" flexible HyperCrystal LCD monitor with 160° viewing angle
  • Program AE, Aperture Priority, Shutter-speed Priority, Manual and 31 Scene modes, including two for use underwater
  • sRGB or Adobe RGB color space selection
  • JPEG, TIFF and RAW file formats
  • Simultaneous capture of RAW + JPEG files
  • Metering modes: 49 point ESP, Center weighted, Spot (2%), Spot High Light and Spot Shadow
  • Exposure compensation ±5 steps EV in 1, 1/2 or 1/3 steps
  • 3-point (selectable) TTL Auto Focus
  • Auto popup multi-mode intelligent flash
  • Hot shoe for E System TTL flash units (FL20, FL36, FL50)
  • Capture 3fps up to 4 frames in SHQ
  • Capture 3fps in HQ or SQ up to the capacity of high speed CF card
  • Bracketing of Auto Exposure, Flash, MF and White Balance
  • ISO range 100-400 with boost from 400 to 1600
  • RGB histogram display for accurate color information per channel including overall luminance
  • 5-level Sharpening, Contrast and Saturation controls
  • USB connectivity and PictBridge direct-print compatible
  • xD-Picture Card and CompactFlash/Microdrive storage
  • High capacity Li-ion rechargeable battery and rapid charger
  • Optional high-quality underwater housing

The Olympus EVOLT E-330 Digital SLR will be available in the end of February 2006. It includes: The EVOLT E-330 Body with 14-45mm f3.5/5.6 Zuiko Digital Zoom Lens, USB Cable, Video Cable, Li-Ion Battery Pack (BLM-1), Li-Ion Battery Charger (BCM-1), Shoulder Strap, OLYMPUS Master Software CD-ROM, Manuals, Warranty card. The Estimated Street Price is $1099.99 USD.

Physical Views

Olympus EVOLT E-330 Digital SLR

Olympus EVOLT E-330 Digital SLR

Olympus EVOLT E-330 Digital SLROlympus EVOLT E-330 Digital SLR

Olympus EVOLT E-330 Digital SLR

Olympus EVOLT E-330 Digital SLR

Olympus EVOLT E-330 Digital SLR

The Olympus E-1, the Evolt E-330 and the Evolt E-300 for comparison

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Olympus EVOLT E-330 Specifications

Type Interchangeable lens digital SLR camera
Body Die-cast aluminum chassis, aluminum top cover, polycarbonate
Lens Mount Four-Thirds mount
Media xD-Picture Card, CompactFlash Card, Type I or II, Microdrive
FAT 16/32 compatible
Image Sensor
Type 4/3 type Live MOS
Size 17.3 mm (H) x 13.0 mm (V)
Number of Pixels 7.50 Megapixels (effective)
Aspect Ratio 4:3 (1.33)
Filter Array Primary color filter (RGB)
Dust Protection Fixed-type Low Pass Filter with Supersonic wave filter
Image Quality,
File Size
Recording Format JPEG (Exif 2.2), TIFF ver 6.0, RAW (12bit), RAW+JPEG
File Format DCF, DPOF compatible / Exif 2.2 compatible, PRINT Image Matching II compatible
Type Eye-level single-lens reflex viewfinder
Viewfield Coverage 95% centered horiz./vert.
Magnification Approx. 0.92x with 50mm lens set to infinity on -1 diopter
Eye Point Approx. 18mm
Diopter Adjustment Built-in, -3.0 to +1.0
Focusing Screen Fixed (Mat Screen with AF/Metering marks)
Mirror Quick-return half mirror
Viewfinder Information AF frame, AF confirmation mark, Exposure mode, Exposure compensation value, AE lock, Metering mode, Shutter speed, Aperture value, White balance, Flash
Depth of Field Preview Drive Mode Button (when Preview is registered)
Eye Cup Interchangeable type (EP-5/6), EP-5 supplied
Live View
A mode Full-time Live view
Uses CCD exclusively for viewfinder
Field of view approx. 92%
TTL auto-exposure
Automatic white balance
Auto focus
B mode Macro Live view
Uses Live MOS sensor for shooting
Field of view 100%
TTL auto-exposure
Automatic white balance
Manual focus
Type TTL phase difference detection system
Focus Modes Single / Continuous autofocus, Manual, S-AF + MF/ C-AF + MF
Detection Range EV 0 to 19 (ISO 100, temperature 20°C)
Focus Area 3 points
Focus Area Selection Auto, Manual
AF Assist Lamp Uses builtin flash or AF-assist lamps on Olympus external flashes
AF Lock Locked by first position of shutter button or OK button (customizable) (customizable)
Exposure Control
Light Metering System TTL full-aperture light metering by 49-zone multi-pattern sensing system
Metering Modes Digital ESP, Center-weighted average (60%), Spot (2%), Spot High Light and Spot Shadow
Detection Range ESP, Center-weighted average: EV 2 to 20, Spot: EV3 to 17
Exposure mode P: Program with Program Shift
S: Shutter Priority
A: Aperture Priority
M: Manual

Scene Program (Portrait, Macro, Landscape, Night Scene & Portrait, Sports)/ Scene Select (Portrait, Macro, Landscape, Night Scene, Sports, Landscape & Portrait, Night Scene & Portrait, Firework, Sunset, High-Key, Low-Key, Documents, Children, Beach & Snow, Candle)
+/- 5 steps EV in 1, 1/2 or 1/3 steps
Exposure Bracketing Selectable from 1, 2/3, 1/2 or 1/3 EV steps, 3 or 5 frames
Auto ISO (100 - 400)
Manual ISO 100-400 in 1/3EV or 1EV steps with Boost 400 - 1600
Type Computerized focal-plane shutter
Shutter Speed 1/4000 to 60 sec.
Bulb (up to 8 minutes)
X-Sync Speed Syncs at 1/180 sec., Super FP mode syncs up to 1/4000 sec. for fill flash
Shutter Release Soft-touch electromagnetic
Selftimer 12 or 2 sec.
Remote Control Wireless by optional RM-1
Drive System
Drive Modes Single, Sequential shooting
Sequential Shooting 3 frames per second
Max. Frames in
Sequential Shooting
RAW or TIFF: 4 frames
JPEG (HQ, SQ) up to full capacity with high speed media
White Balance System
Auto WB System Advanced detection system with CCD imager
Preset WB 7 Types (3000K - 7500K)
Custom Mode 1 setting
WB Compensation Adjustment -7 to +7 steps in each Auto/Preset setting
WB Bracketing 3 frames with +/- 4/8/12 MiReD steps (1 MiReD = 10° Kelvin)
Flash Control
Type TTL Auto FP, TTL Auto for Olympus dedicated flash
Built-in Flash Yes, Manual popup type
Flash Modes Auto, Red-eye reduction, Slow synchro, Fill-in for exclusive flash
X-Sync Speed X = 1/180 Sec. or less (FP= 1/30 sec to 1/4000 sec.) (up to 1/4000 sec with "Super FP" Flashes)
Intensity Control +/- 2 EV in 1, 1/2 or 1/3 EV steps for exclusive flash
Synchro Timing 1st Curtain Synchro / 2nd Curtain Slow Synchro ( Selectable )
Multi Flash Control Yes (control built-in and ext flash independently)
Color Space sRGB, Adobe RGB
Picture Mode Vivid, Natural, Flat, B&W, Sepia
Color Saturation 5 levels in each Vivid, Natural and Flat mode
Image Adjustment Sharpness: 5 levels in each Picture mode
Contrast: 5 levels in each Picture mode
Filter: Yellow, Orange, Red, Green, in B&W mode
Toning: Sepia, Blue, Red, Green in B&W mode
Gradation: 3 levels
Control Panel Information 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
LCD Monitor 2.5" HyperCrystal TFT color LCD (approx. 215,250 pixels). Viewfield coverage 100%. +/- 7 step brightness control
Playback Modes Single, Zoom (2/3/4/6/8/10/14x), Index (4, 9, 16, 25 frames), Slide show
Playback Information Histogram, High Light Point Warning, AF frame, Exposure Mode, Metering Mode, Shutter Speed, F-Stop, Compensation level, ISO, Color Space, WB Mode, Focal Length, Focus Area, File Type, Contrast Level, Sharpness Level
Erase/Protect Erase: Single / All / Selected
Protect: Single / Selected
Menu REC1, REC2, Play Back, Custom, Setup
Menu Languages English (default), German, French, Spanish, Japanese, Chinese, Korean
External Connectors Data I/O: USB 1.1 (MiniB)
Video Out: NTSC or PAL
Flash Sync: Hot shoe
Power Supply BLM-1 rechargeable Li-Ion battery pack and BCM-2 charger (included)
Box Contents EVOLT E-330 Body, USB Cable, Video Cable, Li-ion Battery Pack (BLM-1), Li-ion Battery Charger (BCM-1), Shoulder Strap, OLYMPUS Master ver 1.0 CD-ROM, Manuals, Warranty card, System chart
Operating Temperature / Humidity 32° - 104°F (0° - 40°C), 30 - 90% humidity
Size 140 x 87 x 72 mm / 5.5"w x 3.4"h x 2.8"d
Weight 550g / 1.2 lb. (without battery & memory card)

NOTE: These specifications are as represented by the manufacturer.

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