Olympus E-420 review
Solid little DSLR - Highly Recommended
I have owned a Minolta 800si (film 35mm), Mamiya c330f TLR and nikon coolpix 995 - the olympus e420 is my entry into the dSLR world...
Image quality > I have read a few reviews complaining that the AA filter is too heavy and images are soft. Admittedly I do not have a lot of experience with dSLRs, coming from the world of film and being out of photography for a while. But I have done some A4 prints on a EPSON R270 photo printer (premium semigloss paper) and I was astounded at the quality and level of detail - it equals/looks better than some of my past prints from some good iso 100 35mm films...
Noise - I have recently read some info on photozone.de which I have to agree with - when using ACR for RAW development noise is not an issue - up to iso 800 the noise is acceptable to me, specially if i simply tone down the colour noise - the luminance noise i can live with - looks a bit like film grain on high speed film. When using Olympus Studio the results are bad - it applies some automatic sharpening and this makes the noise worse.
HAndling - The super-panel is amazing - all important settings can be changed in an instant - much easier/better than my minolta slr was.
Size - The camera is quite small, but depending on the lens it's still very much an slr that takes up space in a bag and also people "notice" - so for candid photography where you want to be unnoticed it's difficult. I can recommend something like crumpler's smaller bags (pretty boy 3000) where the camera can be hidden and quickly taken out for a snap and then placed back in the bag - the camera draws attention when it's slinging around your neck. The grip is somewhat uncomfortable, but i got used to it.
Build quality is excellent - camera feels solid in all aspects.
Features is astounding considering it's an entry-level camera - I have come to the conclusion that maybe it's not entry level, it's just smaller Almost equal to my minolta 800si which was aimed much higher - only thing i miss is a flash sync for studio flashes
I really don't see a problem with the viewfinder being small, and i wear glasses fwiw
The only compaint i have at this stage maybe is the lens range available for 4/3 system. I love the idea of the open standard and that i can use the leica lenses etc. on my camera...but at this stage the selection of primes is somewhat wanting. For example a good inexpensive standard prime (25mm) would be great - but the only option is the pancake, which as i guage from reviews is averaged quality, no better than the standard zooms - obviously the lens quality has been compromised to make it as small as possible. And the other 25mm are expensive big beasts by sigma/leica...throughout the range though primes are lacking.