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Compared to...

As with the majority of our studio image quality comparisons we selected the nearest competition by category, specification, price and feature set. As per the previous page this means the Canon EOS 50D and Nikon D300, in addition, we're going to compare it to its older but more ruggedly built brother, the Olympus E-3. Just to satisfy our curisoity, we have also included a comparison with the Panasonic DMC-G1, which uses a similarly specified sensor.

Lenses used

For direct comparisons we always use sharp prime lenses stopped down, typically to F9 for 35 mm lenses and F6.3 for Four Thirds lenses. Here we have used the Canon EF 50 mm F1.4, Nikkor 50 mm F1.8 and Olympus Zuiko EF 50 mm F2 Macro.

Studio scene comparison (JPEG)

Before we start comparing the E-30 to anything, we're going to check whether its default settings are able to represent the camera's capability to their full extent. As we've done in previous reviews, we're going to compare the camera with its Noise Filter turned off, to see whether it yields any additional detail.

This is our standard studio scene comparison shot taken from exactly the same tripod position. Lighting: daylight simulation, >98% CRI. Crops are 100%. Ambient temperature was approximately 22°C (~72°F).

Olympus E-30 Noise Filter on vs Noise Filter off

Camera settings:

  • Olympus E-30: Olympus 50 mm F2.0 Macro lens, Aperture Priority, ISO 100
    JPEG Large/Super Fine, Manual WB, Default Parameters (Natural, NF Std), Self-Timer (with MLU)

  • Olympus E-30: Olympus 50 mm F2.0 Macro lens, Aperture Priority, ISO 100
    JPEG Large/Super Fine, Manual WB, Default Parameters (Natural, NF Off), Self-Timer (with MLU)
Olympus E-30
Olympus E-30 (NF Off)
7.0 MB JPEG (4032 x 3024)
7.3 MB JPEG (4032 x 3024)

Unlike several recent Olympus cameras, there is virtually no difference between the E-30's performance with Noise Filter turned on or off. This is a great step forward in that the camera's output is extremely close to its best at the default settings.

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