Olympus E-510 Review

 
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Olympus EVOLT E-510 Performance


Timing and Performance

Very good to average speed for a consumer-oriented digital SLR.

Startup/Shutdown
Power on
to first shot
1.2 seconds
Time it takes for camera to turn on and take a shot.
Shutdown
1.1 seconds
How long it takes to shut down.
Buffer clearing time
8 seconds
(buffer clearing in RAW mode; 2 seconds in LF JPEG)
Worst case buffer clearing time. -- This is the delay after a set of shots before you can remove the card. Some cameras won't shut down until the buffer is cleared.
Mode switching
Play to Record,
first shot
0.2 second
Time until first shot is captured.
Record to play
1.9 seconds
Time to display a large/fine file immediately after capture.
Display
recorded image
0.2 second
Time to display a large/fine file already on the memory card.
Shutter response (Lag Time)
Full Autofocus Wide
(optical viewfinder)
0.36 second
Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, zoom lens at wide angle position.
Full Autofocus Tele
(optical viewfinder)
0.35 second
Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, zoom lens at telephoto position.
Full Autofocus Wide
(Live View)
0.84 second
Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, zoom lens wide, with Live View active.
Full Autofocus with Flash (Live View)
0.89 second
Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, zoom lens wide, with Live View and flash active.
Prefocused
(optical viewfinder)
0.091 second
Time to capture, after half-pressing and holding shutter button.
Prefocused
(Live View)
0.67 second
Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, zoom lens at mid-zoom position with Live View active.
Continuous AF
0.37 second
This mode usually shows no speed increase with our static subject; we have no way to measure performance with moving subjects.
Manual focus
0.35 second
For most cameras, shutter lag is less in manual focus than autofocus, but usually not as fast as when the camera is "prefocused".
Cycle time (shot to shot)
Single Shot mode
Large Fine JPEG
0.71 second
Time per shot, averaged over 15 shots.
Single Shot mode
640x480 JPEG
0.69 second
Time per shot, averaged over 16 shots.
Single Shot mode
RAW
0.59 second
Time per shot, averaged over 12 shots.
Early shutter
penalty?
No
Some cameras refuse to snap another shot if you release and press the shutter too quickly in Single Shot mode, making "No" the preferred answer
Continuous mode
Large Fine JPEG
0.32 second (3.09 frames per second);
2 seconds to clear
Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots.
Continuous mode
640x480 JPEG
0.32 second (3.10 frames per second);
1 second to clear
Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots.
Continuous mode
RAW
0.33 second (3.06 frames per second);
8 frames total;
8 seconds to clear
Time per shot, averaged over 8 shots.
Flash recycling
3.7 seconds
Flash at maximum output.
Download speed
Windows Computer, USB 2.0
5,086 KBytes/sec
Typical Values:
Less than 600=USB 1.1;
600-770=USB 2.0 Low;
Over 770=USB 2.0 High

Note: Buffer clearing times measured with a Kingston Ultimate 133x CF memory card. Slower cards will produce correspondingly slower clearing times. Slow cards may also limit length of bursts in continuous mode.

The E-510's performance is quite good here, though start-up and shut-down times are a little slow for an SLR, at just over a second. Full autofocus shutter lag using the optical viewfinder is about average at 0.36 second, but "prefocus" times (half-pressing and holding down the shutter button before the final exposure) are quite fast compared to other SLRs at 0.091 second. These times increase dramatically to 0.84 and 0.67 seconds respectively when Live View mode is used. Manual focus is usually faster than full AF on an SLR, but it's about the same with the E-510.

The unique aspect of the Olympus is its much-touted "Live View" mode, which opens the shutter and mirror, and uses the main sensor to produce a live viewfinder display. This is very unusual in an SLR, where you normally have to rely on the optical viewfinder to tell you what the camera is seeing. Unfortunately though, Live View mode brings with it much longer shutter lag times, more equivalent to those of a slow digicam than an SLR. This is because Live View mode requires the camera to close the shutter, drop the mirror, raise the mirror and fire the shutter when you're ready to take the picture. Because of this, even "prefocusing" in Live View mode still results in a relatively long shutter lag of 0.67 second.

Shot-to-shot cycle times are on the slow side of average for an SLR, at about 0.71 second for large/fine JPEGs and 0.59 second for RAW files, and the camera seems to capture about 15 frames at this rate. In Continuous-mode, speed is slightly above average at just over three frames/second, again with no apparent buffer limit, except when shooting RAW, when burst length was limited to eight shots in succession. Flash recycling time is fast at 3.7 seconds after a full-power shot. Connected to a computer, download speeds are very fast, avoiding the need for a separate card reader. Bottom line, the E-510 is quite responsive, ready for fast action shots at sporting events and children's birthday parties, if there is sufficient light for the autofocus to work well.

Battery and Storage Capacity

Battery
Excellent battery life without live view, unknown with live view mode.

Operating Mode Number of Shots
Live View off
650
Live View on
unknown

The Olympus E-510 uses a custom rechargeable lithium-ion battery for power, and a battery and charger are included with the camera. Even though runtime is very good without live preview, we recommend picking up a spare battery and keeping it freshly charged and on-hand for extended outings, or if live preview will be used often.

The table above shows the number of shots the camera is capable of (on a fully-charged rechargeable battery), based on CIPA battery-life and/or manufacturer standard test conditions.

(Interested readers can find an English translation of the CIPA DC-002 standards document here. (180K PDF document))

Storage
The Olympus E-510 stores its photos on Compact Flash and/or xD memory cards, and no card is included with the camera.

Image Capacity vs
Resolution/Quality
512 MB Memory Card
Fine Normal Basic RAW RAW
+ JPG
3648 x 2736
Images
(Avg size)
65
7.8 MB
94
5.4 MB
205
2.5 MB
29
17.2 MB
20
24.9 MB
Approx.
Compression
3.8:1 5.5:1 12:1 0.85:1 -
3200 x 2400
Images
(Avg size)
83
6.1 MB
119
4.3 MB
264
1.9 MB
- -
Approx.
Compression
3.7:1 5.4:1 12:1 - -
2560 x 1920
Images
(Avg size)
124
4.1 MB
208
2.5 MB
406
1.3 MB
- -
Approx.
Compression
3.6:1 6:1 11.7:1 - -
1600 x 1200
Images
(Avg size)
352
1.5 MB
511
1001 KB
991
517 KB
- -
Approx.
Compression
4:1 5.8:1 11:1 - -
1280 x 960
Images
(Avg size)
546
936 KB
793
646 KB
1441
355 KB
- -
Approx.
Compression
3.9:1 5.7:1 10.4:1 - -
1024 x 768
Images
(Avg size)
834
614 KB
1220
420 KB
2265
226 KB
- -
Approx.
Compression
3.8:1 5.6:1 10.4:1 - -
640 x 480
Images
(Avg size)
1982
258 KB
2840
180 KB
5000
102 KB
- -
Approx.
Compression
3.6:1 5.1:1
9:1
- -

The Olympus E-410's images are pretty large. We strongly recommend buying a large capacity Compact Flash or xD-Picture card, at least a 1GB one, preferably a 2GB one, to give yourself extra space for extended outings. (Check the shopping link above, cards are really cheap these days, so no reason to skimp.)

 

Olympus E-510

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