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Design

Just like the E-300 the E-330 continues the unique 'no viewfinder prism' look, however because it is slightly narrower and a little taller than the E-300 it does look a little less odd. Other design changes include the removal of the two-tone metal clad look around the top and flash and a better hand grip with softer rubber. At the back the changes are more significant, dominated by that large 2.5" tilting LCD monitor the button layout has been improved as has the rear grip portion.

Side by side

When we reviewed the E-300 we compared it to the Canon EOS 300D, which without it's viewfinder prism would be approximately the same size. Since then Canon has introduced the diminutive EOS 350D which does make the E-330 look a little on the large side. As you can see from the table below there's also a fairly significant weight difference between the E-330 and its 'lower end' sibling the E-500.

Camera
+ Lens equiv. FOV (kit)
Dimensions
(W x H x D)
Shooting weight
(battery, card, kit lens)
Canon EOS 350D
  28.8 - 88 mm equiv. (3x)
127 x 94 x 64 mm
(5.0 x 3.7 x 2.5 in)
724 g (1.6 lb)
Olympus E-500 EVOLT
  28 - 90 mm equiv. (3.2x)
130 x 95 x 66 mm
(5.1 x 3.7 x 2.6 in)
814 g (1.8 lb)
Nikon D50
  27 - 82.5 mm equiv. (3x)
133 x 102 x 76 mm
(5.2 x 4.0 x 3.0 in)
828 g (1.8 lb)
Olympus E-330 EVOLT
  28 - 90 mm equiv. (3.2x)
140 x 87 x 72 mm
(5.5 x 3.4 x 2.8 in)
906 g (2.0 lb)
Olympus E-300 EVOLT
  28 - 90 mm equiv. (3.2x)
147 x 85 x 64 mm
(5.8 x 3.4 x 2.5 in)
911 g (2.0 lb)
Konica Minolta Maxxum 5D
  27 - 105 mm equiv. (3.8x)
131 x 93 x 67 mm
(5.2 x 3.7 x 2.6 in)
918 g (2.0 lb)
Sony DSC-R1
  24 - 120 mm equiv. (5x)
139 x 97 x 168 mm
(5.5 x 3.8 x 6.6 in)
995 g (2.2 lb)

In your hand

I'm glad to see Olympus took notice of owners (and reviewers) comments and improved the hand grip, it's now deeper and better shaped with a softer rubber coating which actually makes the camera feel a whole lot more professional. The camera feels solid with no creaks or rattles.

LCD Monitor

The E-330 inherits the very nice 2.5" 215,250 pixel LCD monitor from the E-500, it's sharp and bright with a wide viewing angle. The protective Plexiglas screen over the LCD also has an anti-reflective coating (although I found that a little unavoidable 'nose grease' made the screen actually more difficult to see because it appeared lighter on this coating). Unlike the E-500 however the E-330's LCD is mounted on a flip-out tilting mechanism which enables it to be angled down, up and away from the rear of the body (through one axis).

However I have to be honest and say I found its layout to be less than intuitive, I had expected to be able to simply tilt the screen up towards me but to get it to this position you have to first tilt the screen down, then up on its second hinge (third image below), this also leaves the screen some distance away from the rear of the camera. It would perhaps have been more logical to have the hinge mechanism the other way around (vertically)? See this page for details of live view display on the LCD Monitor (and the issues).

Viewfinder

The E-330's optical porro finder uses four mirrors (one sideways swinging) to bend the light up from the lens and to the viewfinder eyepiece. This design allows Olympus to keep the dimensions of the camera down but as discussed leaves it looking unconventional. The viewfinder view is very small compared to other '35 mm based' digital SLR's, it's also slightly darker than the E-300 because of the semi-reflective mirror used to produce the A Mode live view. Like the E-500 the E-330's rubber eyecup can now be removed to allow the use of accessories.

Viewfinder view

Through the viewfinder you will see the center metering circle and three AF areas indicated. The center AF area is sensitive to both horizontal and vertical detail, the two outer areas to horizontal detail only. The selected / in-use AF area is indicated on a half-press of the shutter release by a red circle (LED-like). To the right of the focusing screen is an LCD status column with various items of information including metering mode, shutter speed, aperture, exposure compensation etc.

Viewfinder / Live View frame coverage

The viewfinder provides a 94% frame coverage, the small sensor used for 'A Mode' live view provides 92% frame coverage. The effect of this difference in frame coverage can be seen below, certainly in 'A Mode' live view it can lead to objects appearing in an image which you didn't notice when framing. (Of course 'B Mode' live vie provides 100% frame coverage).

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