Full review posted for Olympus E-500 SLR|
(Wednesday, December 7, 2005 - 07:54 EST)
The Olympus E-500 is the third interchangeable-lens digital SLR developed by the company, and is easily their best one to date.
The E-500 digital SLR enters an increasingly crowded market, with aggressive price and feature competition among a number of SLR manufacturers, but with an eight-megapixel sensor, rugged build quality, an excellent user experience, and several unique features, it's a great choice. The Olympus E-500's combination of very extensive Scene modes with full-featured exposure and creative control suit it to situations where both novice and experienced shooters need to share the same camera, or where a novice wants a camera that they can grow into as their skills mature.
While easy enough for pure novices to use in its fully automatic "green zone," the E-500's more advanced exposure options will also be appealing to more experienced digital photographers, as it's arguably the most configurable camera anywhere close to its price class. The camera itself is priced quite competitively, but the bundled kit consisting of the camera body and Olympus 14-45mm and 40-150mm lenses make for a bargain that's just unbeatable in the current market. (This note is being written in late November, 2005)
The availability of high-quality, affordable lenses is important to any entry-level SLR, and this has been addressed both by Olympus themselves in the form of the two lenses just mentioned, as well as by third-party lens maker Sigma, who now has an extensive and growing line of Four Thirds-compatible lenses available.
The E-500's image quality is generally quite good, with pleasing color and image noise matching that of the competition at all but its highest ISO setting. If you're shopping for a digital SLR, and don't already own a bagful of Canon or Nikon lenses, the Olympus E-500 EVOLT deserves a very close look indeed.
It will be interesting to see how the E-500 fares in the market, but my prediction is that its going to be one of the hottest SLRs going, both in the upcoming holiday season and throughout 2006 as well. Highly recommended, and one of the standout bargains in the entire SLR field. Read our full Olympus E-500 review for all the details!