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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. In this case the Olympus E-420 goes up against Nikon's compact ten megapixel D60 and the Canon EOS 450D (Rebel XSi) - a more expensive camera, and one with a couple more megapixels, but (until the EOS 1000D starts to ship), currently Canon's 'entry level' SLR. We have also included a comparison with the E-420's predecessor, the E-410.

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 Nikon 50 mm F1.8 (it's sharper than the F1.4 at F9), Olympus 50 mm F2.0 Macro, and Canon EF 50 mm F1.4.

Studio scene comparison (Noise filter on / off)

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-420 (default) vs. Olympus E-420 (NF Off)

Camera settings:

  • Olympus E-420: Olympus 50 mm F2.0 lens, Aperture Priority, ISO 100
    JPEG Large/SHQ, Manual WB, Default Parameters (Standard), Anti-shock 2 sec
Olympus E-420
Olympus E-420 (NF Off)
6,102 KB JPEG (3648 x 2736)
6,810 KB JPEG (3648 x 2736)

The crops above demonstrate that the Noise Filter setting makes little if any visible difference to the E-420's image output at base ISO. On the E-410, the E-420's predecessor, things were very different. The E-410 applied very heavy noise reduction and sharpening (to counteract the noise blurring) at default settings. In our review of the E-410 we found that best results could be achieved by switching the noise filter off and reducing sharpening to -2 (otherwise you'd end up with an oversharpened image).

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Total comments: 2

I have had this DSLR for almost a year, as it is my first one. It came with two lenses, and one of the lenses recently has been having problems focusing. I had bought it refurbished, so that could have been the problem. Other than that, I have loved it. It takes great pictures, and is nice and compact. I don't know how it works in its automatic settings, as I only use any camera in full manual mode. But for a first DSLR, I have loved it, and I would use an olympus any day.


I bought this oldie digital as a first experience vith digital cameras, even still use film mainly. So may it was a wrong decision, but I stay beside classic film photography. This camera slow, cheap and only manual mode able to firing promptly. I missed such a moments just because it wait so much before release the shutter. The lens as it is, so far from my zeiss with contax 35mm. Obviously nonsense to compare 66 rolleiflex images. There are lots of set up features, but practically takes long time to modify them, which disturb so much the picture taking. The CF card door a slim plastic door, very fragile. The viewfinder very small. All around this model are far away any real reflex cameras, it seems who design it just never take pictures with a proper camera. I can not recommend this camera, better to smash them all in the name of photography.

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Total comments: 2