Olympus E-20 review

Started Jul 17, 2004 | User reviews thread
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wayne Senior Member • Posts: 1,081
Olympus E-20 review

This is not my first or only digicam. I have used many DSLRs (own a DR, have
used 10D, D100, D70, SD-10) and have an 8700 for macro work. Bought the
E20 used (with Tcon-14B, Wcon-08B, FL-40 and many other items) and have
been putting it through it's paces. The ergonomics is better than any other
DSLR I have used, the f2.0-2.4 lens is much faster than the normal optics on
the interchangable lens DSLRs, and the 1/640 flash sync is very useful for
outdoor fill. It is solid, very easy to use, produces excellent images, pretty
much on par with the 6mp DSLRs - at least at the print sizes I use (up to
11x14). It is not for those who 'machine gun' their shots, so if that is you,
don't bother getting the E20. The 4 shot buffer, and my shooting style (from
the film days) is enough to keep up with my normal picture taking (I come
from a portrait and scenic background, so each shot is thought out first).
Since the buffer clears an image in less than 10 seconds, I can take that 5th
shot as soon as the 1st one clears. Shutter lag has been measured by reviewer
at 58ms, so that is pretty fast, so no issues here. The manual focusing works
better than any DSLR (I have not tried the full frame ones) I have used, and
the auto focus is fast under normal conditions (a little help is needed in the
dark). The optical viewfinder is superior to any EVF, and the manual zoom is
fast and crisp. Noise is very well controlled, and ISO 320 is useable even
without the noise reduction.

The layout of the controls is designed for the serious photographer -
something sorely lacking in almost every digicam I have used.
This is 'old' technology, so don't expect fancy menus and advanced in-camera
processing - it is a working photographers camera, one designed for real world
conditions (fixed lens = no dust on the image sensor).

If you enjoy the art of photography, this is the one for you. If you are a
techno-geek, look elsewhere. I would venture to guess that those who used
either a Leica or Rollei film camera, would find the E20 (or E10) to be their
match. For the beginner, the camera works fine in program mode, and the
beginner will not outgrow this camera anytime soon - perhaps one of the best
digital photography student cameras out there.

If you can find a good used one or a new one, grab it - with new ones under
$900 and excellent used ones at under $600 (or a complete setup under
$1000), you won't find a better camera for serious photography.


None so far.

Olympus E-20
5 megapixels • 1.8 screen • 35 – 140 mm (4×)
Announced: Sep 13, 2001
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