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Compared to...

Here we compare the E-620 to the cameras it is likely to sit alongside on the shelf when you wander to your local retailer. The obvious competitors are the Nikon D5000 and Canon 500D - both are upper-entry-level DSLRs with live view. Like the Olympus, the Nikon also offers a fold-out LCD to increase the utility of its live view system. However, both its obvious rivals also offer HD video, which the E-620 doesn't. In most other respects, their specifications are pretty well matched. The E-620 has a greater level of external control (or complexity, depending on how familiar you are with using a DSLR), is smaller, has built-in image stabilization and is less expensive.

The other camera we will consider is the Panasonic DMC-G1, the first large-sensor interchangeable lens camera to do away with a mirror. The result is a smaller (though still DSLR-shaped) camera with a fold out screen that behaves much more like a compact camera, with autofocus designed to be fast in live view. Crucially, it has the same sized sensor as the E-620.

The Sony A330 and A380 are also potential competitors to the E-620 with both offering flip-out screens and live view at very competitive prices. We haven't yet tested either of these cameras, however, so are unable to present the results. Both share Sony's interesting live view system that allows fast, phase detection autofocus, giving nearly as seamless and compact-like a performance as the G1. Meanwhile, Pentax does not currently offer a camera in this price range, instead offering the less expensive, entry-level K2000 (K-m) or the more sophisticated, more expensive K-7.

Camera Kit
price
Live
view
LCD Anti
Shake
Sensor
(effective pixels)
Olympus E-620 $650 Yes 2.7" / 230k pixels In-body 12.3 MP LiveMOS (2.0x crop)
Nikon D5000 $775 Yes 2.7" / 230k pixels Lens option 12.3 MP CMOS (1.5x crop)
Canon EOS 500D $825 Yes 3.0" / 920k pixels Lens option 15.1 MP CMOS (1.6x crop)
Panasonic DMC-G1 $670 Yes 3.0" / 460k pixels Lens option 12.1 MP CMOS (2.0x crop)
(Sony DSLR-A330) $650 Yes 2.7" / 230k pixels In-body 10.1 MP CCD (1.5x crop)
(Sony DSLR-A380) $850 Yes 2.7" / 230k pixels In-body 14.2 MP CCD (1.5x crop)

Now that DSLRs have been comparatively affordable for a couple of years, most manufacturers have started to consider the needs of users upgrading from entry-level DSLRs as well as those coming from compacts. As a result, the cameras in this group vary considerably in their design - some have compact camera-like interfaces with multiple buttons needing to be pressed to change each setting, while others have direct access buttons for the key shooting settings.

The implementations of live view also vary considerably, with the Sonys offering fast focusing but a low resolution preview, while the Olympus, Canon and Nikon offer high resolution, magnifyable live view with obstructively slow focus. The Panasonic sits apart from all of them - having been designed as a live view-only camera, it offers both fast focus and a high resolution preview.

Olympus E620 advantages

  • 7 point AF (with 5 cross-type sensors that can detect both vertical and horizontal detail)
  • In-body image stabilization (gives anti-shake with all lenses)
  • Smallest camera here
  • Range of metering modes including highlight and shadow spot metering
  • Least expensive camera here

Olympus E620 disadvantages

  • Smallest viewfinder in this group
  • Fewest AF points
  • No video capability

Note: Because we do not yet have one, we have been unable to compare the E-620 to the Sony A380, which would fit fairly well in this company.

 
Olympus E-620

Nikon D5000

Canon 500D
Price
(single lens kit)

US: $650 [check price]
UK: £560

US: $775 [check price]
UK: £620
US: $825 [check price]
UK: £600
Sensor • 17.3 x 13.0 mm LiveMOS
• 12.3 million effective pixels
• 13.1 million effective pixels
• 23.6 x 15.8 mm CMOS
• 12.3 million effective pixels
• 12.9 million effective pixels
• 22.3 x 14.9 mm CMOS
• 15.1 million effective pixels
• 15.5 million effective pixels
Dust reduction • Supersonic Wave Filter • Low pass filter vibration
• Airflow Control System
• Dust reference image
• Anti-dust materials
• Low pass filter vibration
• Dust reference image
Native image size 4032 x 3024
(4:3 ratio)
4288 x 2848
(3:2 ratio)
4752 x 3168
(3:2 ratio)
Video None • 720p24 • 1080p20
• 720p30
Lens support • 4/3 standard lens mount
• Olympus and third party 4/3
• Nikon F-mount
• Includes DX lenses
• AF only available with AF-S or AF-I lenses
Canon EF mount
• Including EF-S lenses
FOV crop 2.0x 1.5x 1.6x
Body shake reduction Yes No No
Live view Yes, Contrast detect (inc Face detection) or Phase detect AF Yes, Contrast detect (inc Face priority) or Phase detect AF Yes, Contrast detect (inc Face detection) or Phase detect AF
File formats • RAW (comp. lossless)
• JPEG (4 levels)
• RAW (compressed)
• JPEG (3 levels)
• RAW (comp. lossless 14-bit)
• JPEG (2 levels)
RAW+JPEG RAW + JPEG (any quality) RAW + JPEG (Any quality) RAW + JPEG (Fine)
Auto focus • 7 area TTL
• Range: -1 to +19 EV
• Contrast detect AF in live view
• 11 area TTL
• Cross-type at center
• Range: -1 to +19 EV
• Contrast detect AF in live view
• 9 area TTL
• Cross-type F2.8 at center
• Range: -0.5 to +18 EV
• Contrast detect AF in live view
AF illuminator Flash strobe, must be raised Built-in lamp Flash strobe, must be raised
Color space • sRGB
• Adobe RGB
• sRGB
• Adobe RGB
• sRGB
• Adobe RGB
Metering sensor • 49 zone sensor
• 1 - 20 EV working range
• 420 pixel RGB sensor
• 0 - 20 EV working range
• 35 pixel sensor
• 1 - 20 EV working range
Metering • Digital ESP
• Center-weighted average
• Spot
• Highlight based spot
• Shadow based spot

• 3D Color Matrix Metering II
• Center-weighted average
• Spot

• Evaluative
• Partial
• Center-weighted average
• 4% spot
Exp. comp. +/- 5.0 EV +/- 5.0 EV +/- 2.0 EV
EV steps 1/3, 1/2 or 1 EV 1/3 or 1/2 EV 1/3 or 1/2 EV
Sensitivity • ISO 100 - 3200

• ISO 200 - 3200
(with 100 and 6400 equiv)

• ISO 100 - 3200
(with 6400 and 12800 equiv)
Auto ISO Auto (100 - 1600) User definable maximum ISO and minimum shutter speed Auto (100-1600)
High- ISO NR Yes (4 levels) Yes (4 levels) Yes (4 levels)
Shutter speed • 60 - 1/4000 sec / Bulb
• 1/180 sec Flash sync
• 30 - 1/4000 sec / Bulb
• 1/200 sec Flash sync
• 30 - 1/4000 sec / Bulb
• 1/200 sec Flash sync
Continuous
shooting
• 4 fps
• Unlimited JPEG/HQ frames
• 5 RAW frames

• 4 fps
• 67 JPEG/Fine frames
• 11 RAW frames

• 3.4 fps
• 170 JPEG/Fine frames
• 9 RAW frames
White balance • Auto
• Eight presets
• Manual preset
• Kelvin temperature
• Fine tunable
• Auto
• Twelve presets
• Manual preset
• Fine tunable
• Auto
• Eight presets
• Manual preset
• Kelvin temperature
• Fine tunable
Embed comment No Comment set in-camera Owner name set via software
Flash Electronic release pop-up Electronic release pop-up Electronic release pop-up
Viewfinder • Pentamirror
• Eyepoint 16 mm
• Frame coverage 95%
• Magnification approx 0.96x
• Lumi-Micron Matte screen
• Pentamirror
• Eyepoint 18 mm
• Frame coverage 95%
• Magnification approx 0.78x
• B-type Bright View Clear Matte Mark V
• Pentamirror
• Eyepoint 18 mm
• Frame coverage 95%
• Magnification approx 0.87x
• Precision matte screen
LCD monitor • 2.7 " TFT LCD
• 230,000 dots
• Hinged/swivel

• 2.7 " TFT LCD
• 230,000 dots
• Hinged/swivel

• 3.0 " TFT LCD
• 920,000 dots
Mirror-lockup Yes, custom 1 - 30 sec No (exposure delay mode) Custom function
Other features • JPEG edit
• Shadow adjustment technology
• Wireless flash control
• RAW development
• In-camera retouching
• Active D-Lighting
• RAW Development
• Interval shooting
• Stop motion movies
• Multi-shot self-timer
• Image verification data
• Auto Lighting Optimizer
• Highlight Tone Priority
• Remote Live view shooting (via USB)
• Eye sensor
• DOF preview
Storage • Compact Flash card
• xD Picture card
SD/SDHC card SD/SDHC card
Battery PS-BLS1 (7.2 V, 1150 mAh) EN-EL9a (7.2 V, 1080 mAh) LP-E5 (7.4 V, 1050 mAh)
Battery status Battery life (3 stage) Battery life (3 stage) Battery life (3 stage)
USB USB 2.0 Hi-Speed USB 2.0 Hi-Speed
USB 2.0 Hi-Speed
Vertical grip HLD-5 (option) No BG-E5 (option)
Software • Olympus Master 2.0
• Olympus Studio 2.0 (trial)
• Nikon Transfer
• View NX
• Nikon Capture NX (trial)
• Canon DPP
• Canon PhotoStitch
• Canon ZoomBrowser EX
• EOS Utility (Remote Capt.)
Dimensions 130 x 94 x 60 mm
(5.1 x 3.7 x 2.4 in)
127 x 104 x 80 mm
(5.0 x 4.1 x 3.1 in)
129 x 98 x 62 mm
(5.1 x 3.9 x 2.4 in)
Weight (no batt) 475 g (1.0 lb) 560 g (1.2 lb) 480 g (1.1 lb)
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