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Performance

In everyday use, the E-620 is fast enough that you don't notice it taking time to do anything. This changes when the light levels drop and autofocus slows down (the camera won't shoot until it's achieved focus unless you turn the Release Priority on - then you'll get lots of quick, out of focus pictures). The only real delays you'll ever notice are if you use the Pin Hole Art Filter, which takes some 10 seconds to process.

Timings & File Sizes

Timing Notes: All times calculated as an average of three operations. Unless otherwise stated all timings were made on a 4032 x 3024 JPEG Fine (approx. 7,500 KB per image).

The media used for these tests was:

  • 4 GB SanDisk Extreme Ducati Edition CF card
Action
Details
Time, secs
(8 GB SanDisk)
Power Off to On *1   1.3
Power Off to Shot   0.9
Shot to shot time (JPEG)   0.6
Shot to shot time (RAW)   0.6
Shot to shot time (JPEG) *2 Live view 2.2
Shot to shot time (RAW) *2 Live view 2.2
Switch from live view   0.4
Power On to Off *3   1.

*1

This is the time from turning the switch to the 'On' position to the status display appearing on the LCD monitor (as soon as you would be able to verify camera settings).
As you can see from the 'Off to Shot' time this doesn't actually affect how quickly you can begin using the camera which is as good as instant.

*2 Live view black out when taking multiple shots. Occasionally it will take two shots without flipping the mirror back up and re-entering live view mode (taking around 0.3 seconds between shots), but more often it will raise the mirror and re-enter live view before taking another shot.

Continuous Drive mode

To test continuous mode the camera had the following settings: Manual Focus, Manual Exposure (1/500 sec, F4), ISO 200.

The tests carried out below measured the following results for JPEG and RAW:

  • Frame rate - Initial frame rate, this was always 3.3 fps (+/- 0.05 fps)
  • Number of frames - Number of frames in a burst
  • Buffer full rate - Frame rate if shutter release held down after burst (buffer full)
  • Write complete - How long after the last shot before the CF lamp goes out

Burst of JPEG Large/SuperFine images

Timing
4 GB SanDisk
Frame rate 3.3 fps
Number of frames 11
Buffer full rate 3.0 fps
Write complete 2.1 sec

Burst of RAW images

Timing
4 GB SanDisk
Frame rate 3.3 fps
Number of frames 6
Buffer full rate 1.7 fps
Write complete 3.2 sec

We tried a variety of memory cards and camera settings, including Gradation: Normal and JPEG Large/Fine but we couldn't get the advertised 4 frames per second from the camera. Even so, 3.3 frames per second is not bad, especially given that it can maintain a rate very close to that for extended periods.

USB transfer speed

To test the E-620's USB speed we transferred approximately 500 MB of images (mixed RAW and JPEG) from a SanDisk Extreme Ducati Edition 4 CF card (the same card used in the other test). When you connect the E-620 via a USB cable, you are given a series of connection options. 'Storage' mode just has the camera act as a card reader, though its transfer rate is nowhere near as good as our dedicated USB card reader. 'MTP' mode will only show you files that haven't been renamed but (on a Windows machine at least), it will also preview the ORF (RAW) files. The transfer rate is painful enough that we wouldn't bother.

Method
Transfer rate
Olympus E-620 USB 2.0 (Storage) 8.8 MB/sec
Olympus E-620 USB 2.0 (MTP) 4.4 MB/sec
SanDisk Extreme Ducati in USB 2.0 reader 23.6 MB/sec

Autofocus speed / accuracy

The E-620's AF system is quite a step forward from the previous entry-level Olympus cameras - it now offers seven AF points, compared to the three found on the E-420 and E-520. Five of these AF points are cross-type, meaning that they are sensitive in both the vertical and horizontal axis (it's pretty unusual for anything other than the center point to be cross-type in this level of camera)

There are two AF point selection modes - single point or all-points. If there's a point that you use most often, you can set this as your default, 'home position,' the Fn button can then be configured to jump to that home position.

Olympus has tried to offer a series of AF choices in live view mode and, although contrast detection (Imager AF), is faster than on previous cameras, it still introduces the kind of delay to the shooting process that will be unacceptable in most circumstances.

We have no complaints about the AF accuracy based on the 600-or-so real-world shots we've taken (Though I tend to use the center focus point, which isn't very challenging for the camera). Focus performance in low light is something of a weak point: it slows down (as you would expect) and can tend to hunt rather a lot. You have to flip the flash up to get any kind of AF assistance and it's of the strobing type that can be extremely distracting to live subjects.

Battery life

The E-620 uses the same BLS1 battery used in the E-4X0 series and the new E-P1 Micro Four Thirds interchangeable lens camera. According to the specs, the battery should be good for around 500 shots (according to the standard CIPA testing methodology which doesn't necessarily reflect real-world figures but does allow comparisons between cameras) which is usually enough for a day of shooting. No figures are given for the use of live view or the Art Filters, which appear to really sap battery life.

Image Stabilizer

The E-620 doesn't have the top-tier IS system we saw in the E-30 but Olympus is still confident enough to claim a 4-stop advantage for this IS system (though our tests have never shown an improvement on that scale).

The stabilization test

Twenty hand-held shots were taken of a static scene, half of those with stabilization, half without, the shutter speed was decreased by a stop and repeated (from 1/125 sec to 1/5 sec). The lens used was the Olympus 50 mm F2 (producing a 100 mm equiv. FOV), the test chart was 2.0 m away from the camera. to exaggerate the effect of camera shake the camera was only supported with one hand.

The resulting 120 images were then inspected and given a blur score from zero to three where zero represented a very blurred image and three a sharp image with no noticeable blur (see crop examples below). Obviously the amount of blur which is acceptable will depend on your personal taste and the final image size (for instance a '2: Soft' will still look fine as a 4x6 print or in a web gallery). Example crops from these four blur scores can be seen below.

0: Very blurred 1: Blurred
2: Soft 3: Sharp

Results (50 mm lens, 100 mm equiv.)

As you can see, there's a clear 2 stop advantage to the camera's IS system. While this isn't the best performance we've ever seen, it's enough to drastically increase the number of sharp, stable images you get. Unlike those rival systems that supply image-stabilized kit lenses with their cameras, the in-body IS in the E-620 will lend itself to any lens you choose to mount on the camera.

IS Test Results More Graphs
IS Off
IS On (Mode 1)
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