Conclusion - Pros

  • Excellent image quality, good resolution and detail, neutral colours
  • High quality 4x zoom lens, very fast and bright F2.0 - F2.4
  • Smooth lens controls, mechanical zoom ring is VERY welcome
  • Superb build quality, excellent "all metal" case, tactile feel to controls
  • Well designed, good ergonomics, comfortable and well balanced
  • All controls "locking" (require press and turn of dial to operate)
  • LCD live view as well as true TTL optical viewfinder
  • Excellent selection of manual control, good range of shutter speeds and apertures
  • Very fast reflexes, low lag and relatively good focus speeds
  • Flexible "re-programmable" JPEG size / quality settings
  • Good low light and long exposure performance
  • Wide dynamic range
  • Dual storage slots (support for both SmartMedia and CompactFlash)
  • Tilt-out LCD is useful and works well
  • Plenty of information on top LCD
  • Supplied lens hood
  • Time-lapse feature
  • Good connectivity: PC flash synch, wired remote, USB, AV, DC power
  • Good tripod mount, well located
  • Powerful pop-up flash
  • Flash hot-shoe
  • Manual focus (albeit fly-by-wire focus ring)
  • One-touch manual white balance
  • Wide range of preset white balances
  • Optional battery pack / portrait grip
  • Good battery life with a good set of NiMH's
  • RAW file format
  • SHQ JPEG mode (1/2.7) as-good-as TIFF quality
  • Control over internal algorithms: contrast, sharpening
  • AC Adapter / Charger included
  • Infrared remote control included

Conclusion - Cons

  • Stuck pixels (seems to be affecting quite a few E-10's)
  • Slow startup times
  • Slow image flush times
  • Slow image display and image magnification
  • Some chromatic aberrations (although not enough to worry)
  • Histogram display not automatic and not available in record mode review
  • Flat images / neutral colours may not be to everyone's tastes
  • Good continuous mode speed is let down by small 4 image buffer
  • Barrel distortion at full wide angle
  • Noise even at ISO 80 (though arguably not enough to cause problems)
  • Fastest shutter speed of 1/640 sec (may be a limitation for some)
  • Slightly aggressive sharpening algorithms
  • Poor resolution from LCD "live view" image, poorly designed status bar on LCD
  • Viewfinder let down by round eyepiece (causes vignetting) and lack of distinguishable focus screen (my eye could focus "through" the lens)
  • Supports CompactFlash Type II but doesn't support Microdrive (big let down)
  • Flash colour cast
  • Setup menu is in an obscure place
  • Histogram display in play mode is slow
  • Lack of immediate histogram display in record (image review)
  • Non-interchangeable lens (if that could be a problem to you)

Overall conclusion

Here's my rating of the Olympus E-10: (4 megapixel professional digital SLR)

Detail Rating (out of 10)
Construction 9
Features 9
Image quality 8
Lens / CCD combination 8
Ease of use 8
Value for money 9

Without a doubt the E-10 offers excellent value for money. Even with it's US$1,950 list price it's still a good US$1,500 cheaper than it's nearest "professional" rivals, yet it steps up and takes them on for overall image quality, build and features. The E-10 looks and feels like a professional tool, to a certain degree it also performs as one, probably only let down by it's slow "digital side", the processing, buffering and writing of images.

The camera isn't without a few problems but none of these are great cause for concern, nor reasons not to go for the E-10, my only current niggle is the experience of other E-10 buyers who have had stuck pixel and other QC problems (some are even on their second or third E-10 - which is why I could only give the camera a 9 for value for money, it was certainly getting close to a 10).

If some of the speed issues and the lack of an interchangeable lens aren't big issues to you and you don't already own bags of "one brand" equipment then the E-10 should certainly be near the top of your list. Value for money? You bet.

Highly Recommended

So which one should I buy? A question I get asked several times a day, and I wouldn't like to say. In a new addition to my reviews (after the amount of feedback I normally get) I've added a link to a specific forum in which you can discuss the review or ask me specific questions which I've not answered in these pages.

Good news! You can pre-order the Olympus E-10 online from our
approved affiliate retailer State Street Direct
and help support this site and future reviews!

Want to make sure you don't miss out on any future reviews?
Sign up for our free weekly newsletter!

Enter the 'Olympus SLR Talk' Discussion Forum