Olympus EVOLT E-300By: Shawn Barnett and Dave Etchells
8.0 megapixels, ZUIKO DIGITAL lens mount, digital SLR design, and loads of features!
(Next): Comparison with Nikon D70, Canon EOS Digital Rebel, and EOS 20D>>
Page 1:Intro and HighlightsReview First Posted: 11/08/2004, Updated: 03/12/2005
||8.0-megapixel resolution for 3,264 x 2,448 images.|
||Interchangeable lens mount fits full range of ZUIKO DIGITAL lenses.|
||Unique digital SLR design.|
||Full range of manual and automatic exposure control.|
|*||Top-mount hot-shoe for more powerful external flash.|
||Extensive image adjustment tools for creative results.|
EZ Print Link
Readers have requested free-formatted versions of our reviews (without the graphical accouterments of our page design), to make printing easier. We are accommodating this request with special copies of each review, formatted to allow the text flow to be dictated by the browser window. Click here for a print-optimized page.
|Free Photo Lessons|
The Olympus E-300, also known as the Olympus EVOLT is the latest entry in a line of digital SLRs based on the "Four Thirds" standard developed jointly by Olympus and Kodak, first announced in fall of 2002. The first Four Thirds camera was the Olympus E-1 SLR, aimed at the professional market, but the new Olympus E-300 brings the Four Thirds system down to a price range accessible to amateur and "enthusiast" shooters. The new model uses the same lenses and sensor format as the original E-1, but offers an impressive 8-megapixel resolution, and will ship with a new ZUIKO DIGITAL 14-45mm lens.
Where the E-1 was a pretty conventional looking digital SLR, the new Olympus E-300 EVOLT has a more boxy design, resulting from its use of a Porro-type viewfinder system that does away with the large pentaprism/mirror bulge on the camera's top. Many functions and features are the same as on the E-1, including the unique "Supersonic Wave" filter that literally shakes dust off of the sensor chip, addressing a common problem with digital SLRs.
We were impressed with the rugged construction of the new Olympus E-300, and its solid feature list. It offers good image quality, with high resolution and smooth tonality, and as of this writing is the lowest-priced 8 megapixel digital SLR on the market. (The just-announced Canon Digital Rebel XT will carry the same retail price, but Olympus has given notice of its pricing intentions, in the form of a $100 rebate that went into effect just as we were updating this review to full production status, dropping the E-300's price well below that of the new Rebel.) Read on for a full description of the Olympus E-300's features, operating modes, and a detailed analysis of its performance.
By Shawn Barnett
With the price of digital SLRs finally within reach, should you stick with the All-in-one digicam or move up to an SLR? Why buy a high-end digicam when digital SLRs are so close in price? Do digicams still have a purpose? What are the pros and cons? An avid photographer, I spent some time thinking about that myself. Come see what I discovered about digital SLRs versus all-in-one digicams.
- 8.0-megapixel (effective) CCD with Supersonic Wave Filter delivering image resolutions as high as 3,264 x 2,448 pixels.
- Digital SLR design and true optical viewfinder.
- 1.8-inch, color, Advanced Super View LCD display for image review.
- Lens mount accommodates full range of Olympus ZUIKO DIGITAL lenses.
- Manual and automatic focus modes, with adjustable AF area and Single-Shot and Continuous settings.
- Shutter speeds from 1/4,000 to 30 seconds, with a Bulb setting (8 minute limit).
- Program, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, and Manual exposure modes, plus 14 Scene modes.
- Spot, Center-Weighted, and Digital ESP metering systems.
- Auto Bracketing and Sequential Shooting capture modes.
- Adjustable White Balance with 11 settings, including a manual adjustment, Kelvin temperature range, and a bracketing option.
- Variable ISO setting, with ISO equivalents from 100 to 1,600 (800 and 1,600 available when enabled in menu).
- Contrast, Saturation, Sharpness, Monochrome, and Graduation image adjustments.
- Adobe RGB and sRGB color space options.
- Built-in sliding pop-up flash with six operating modes.
- Hot Shoe for attaching external flash units, compatible with Olympus' own line of dedicated flash units for better-integrated exposure control.
- JPEG, uncompressed TIFF, and RAW file formats.
- Images saved on CompactFlash cards and Microdrives (no card included; not compatible with xD cards).
- USB cable for fast connection to a computer. (USB auto-connect for driverless connection to Windows Me, XP and 2000, and Mac OS 8.6 or greater.)
- Video cable for connection to a television set.
- Optional remote control.
- Power from rechargeable lithium-ion battery pack (battery and charger included) or optional AC adapter.
- Software CD with Olympus' Camedia Master utility software (includes QuickTime and USB drivers).
- DPOF (Digital Print Order Format)/PictBridge compatibility and print settings.