Olympus E-520 review

Started Jan 14, 2010 | User reviews thread
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Pat Perrier New Member • Posts: 5
Olympus E-520 review

I have used this camera for six months now. I had bought it - at a very low price - to upgrade from my beloved E- 500, to get better image quality in high ISO and DR.
So, here is my assessment, comparing with the E 500:
- Construction is slightly cheaper
- The so called “hyper crystal” screen of the E 500 was more scratch resistant !

- I find the shutter noisy. Don’t hope to shoot discretely in concert hall with this camera, except if you are a fan of hard rock. The shutter of the E 500, which is not top level on this regard, is more pleasant and smooth (did I say “musical” ?)

- ISO scale setting is not incremental as it was on E 500 (possibility to set up sensitivity by 1/3 EV steps – some people think it is useless but I liked it very much. I agree that it was more useful with E-500, noise of which appears very quickly (400 ISO).

So, what is worthy with this camera? What about IQ? After all, it is the most important, isn’t it? Well, I can assert: the MOS sensor of the E-520 performs really better. Colours remain … Olympus like, i.e. beautiful! Out-of-the-box JPEGs look pretty natural (if you avoid “vivid” setting!) and need less post processing than JPEGs from E500.
As for DR and electronic noise, there is obviously a significant step forwards! 800 ISO A3 size are quite acceptable! Better than 400 ISO with E-500. Furthermore, noise spots are less chromatic and smaller. I have not really tested at 1600 ISO, but I practically never use it. So, on this point this camera meets my expectations.
The viewfinder (small due to the 4/3 sensor) looks a little brighter than on the previous Oly 4xx and 5xx cameras.
Some consumers complain that the pictures are not crisp enough, compared with E 510 for example. It’s a question of taste. They are slightly smoother, indeed, but I like. It’s more film like…and you can set up sharpness, anyway.

So, I wanted, above all, better IQ and stabilization (works very well indeed). And I am satisfied! But some above mentioned steps backward are a little bit frustrating.
I will not give appreciation about live view: I find it useless.

Last point: I use the “old” 14/45 zoom lens of my E 500 which I find much better than the 14/42 mm.

Olympus E-520 (EVOLT E-520)
10 megapixels • 2.7 screen • Four Thirds sensor
Announced: May 13, 2008
Pat Perrier's score
4.6
Average community score
4.5
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