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Olympus EVOLT E-300

By: Shawn Barnett and Dave Etchells

8.0 megapixels, ZUIKO DIGITAL lens mount, digital SLR design, and loads of features!

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Page 1:Intro and Highlights

Review 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.


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Manufacturer Overview

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Similar Cameras
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Olympus EVOLT E-300, here are some similar models to consider:

Nikon D70
Canon Digital Rebel

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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.

High Points

Article: Digital SLR or All-in-one Digicam?
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.


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