Olympus E-20 Review
The E-20 is a progression from last years 4 megapixel E-10. The E-20 has all the same basic functionality, control layout, body design and lens. The lens remains the same as the E-20's 5 megapixel sensor is the same size as the 4 megapixel of last year. The E-20 now takes the place of Olympus's flagship digital camera, it has: a fixed ultra-bright F2.0 - F2.4 4x lens with a mechanically linked zoom ring, 5 megapixels of resolution, a professional 'locked control' system, a wide variety of manual control and a robust metal case. Competition this year however is a little tougher with Minolta's DiMAGE 7, Sony's DSC-F707 and the upcoming Nikon Coolpix 5000 entering the 5 megapixel fray.
Obviously with the E-20 being so similar to the E-10 I have used parts of the E-10 review as a template for producing this review, users who have previously read the E-10 review should still pay attention to the entire review as their are several subtle differences between the two cmeras.
Also note that with the introduction of the E-20 Olympus appear to have decided to name the NTSC and PAL output cameras specifically as E-20N and E-20P, these two camera models are IDENTICAL other than their video output.
January 2002 Update
Now we've got our hands on a full production E-20 it's time to go back through the review and update the relevant areas. This review now reflects results from a full production camera. Items updated:
- Checked: Timing, Low Light AF, Image Quality
- Re-shot: Size / Quality, Sharp / Contrast, White Balance, Chromatics Test
- Re-shot: Resolution Chart, Colour Patches
- Re-written: ISO / Noise comparison
- New page: Software
- New page: Compared To (Sony DSC-F707, Nikon Coolpix 5000)
- Updated: Compared To (Sony DSC-F707, Nikon Coolpix 5000, Minolta DiMAGE 7)
- Confirmed: Conclusion
- New Gallery
Olympus E-20 vs. E-10
The detailed list below is a combination of a comparison we found in an Olympus Japan FAQ and our own findings.
|Olympus E-20 (N/P)||Olympus E-10|
|Image formats||JPEG, TIFF, RAW|
|SmartMedia support||4, 8, 16, 32, 64 and 128 MB (3/3.3 V only)|
|Compact Flash support||Up to 320 MB for Type I / II *1|
|Microdrive support||Yes, newer 1 GB model||No|
|Sensor||2/3" CCD, Interlaced, Primary colour CFA||2/3" CCD, Interlaced, Primary colour CFA|
|Sensor pixels||5.2 megapixel||4.0 megapixel|
|Output pixels||4.9 megapixel||3.8 megapixel|
|Image sizes||2560 x 1920, 1792 x 1344 (PS), 1280 x 960, 1024 x 768, 640 x 480||2240 x 1680, 1600 x 1200, 1280 x 960, 1024 x 768, 640 x 480|
|JPEG levels||1/2.7, 1/4, 1/8|
|Metering||Digital ESP, Center weighted average, Spot|
|Exposure Modes||P, A, S, M|
|Exposure compen.||+/-3 EV in 0.3 EV steps|
|Shutter speeds (IS)||P/A/S: 2 - 1/640
M: Bulb, 60 - 1/640 sec
|P/A/S: 2 - 1/640
M: Bulb, 8 - 1/640 sec
|Shutter speeds (PS)||P/A/S: 2 - 1/4000
sec or 1/18000 sec
M: Bulb, 60 - 1/640 sec
|White balance||Auto, 7 presets, manual 'one touch' button|
|Lens||Olympus 4x, 35 -
140 mm (equiv.) F2.0 - F2.4
14 pieces in 11 groups
|Normal focus range||0.6 m - Infinity|
|Macro focus range||0.2 m - 0.6 m|
|Manual focus range||0.2 m - Infinity|
|Continuous mode||IS: 2.5 fps max 4
PS: 4.5 fps max 7 images
|3 fps max 4 images|
|Viewfinder||Optical TTL, 95% frame view *2,-3 to +1 dioptre adjustment|
|Playback magnification||3x, 4x||1.5x, 2x, 2.5x, 3x, 4x|
|LCD Monitor||Flip-out and angle up or down, 95% frame cover *2||100% frame cover|
|Noise reduction||Yes (dark frame subtraction)||No|
|Progressive scan||Yes, selectable mode||No|
|*1||Larger capacities worked but we had some compatibility problems with a 512 MB SanDisk card|
|*2||Olympus specification, our measurements showed less frame cover than this|
If you're new to digital photography you may wish to read the Digital Photography Glossary before diving into this article (it may help you understand some of the terms used).
Conclusion / Recommendation / Ratings are based on the opinion of the author.
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This article is Copyright 2001 Phil Askey and the review in part or in whole may NOT be reproduced in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from the author. For information on reproducing any part of this review (or any images) please contact: Phil Askey.