Olympus E-20 Review
The E-20 is a progression from last years 4 megapixel E-10. The E-20 has all the same basic functionality, control layout, body design and lens. The lens remains the same as the E-20's 5 megapixel sensor is the same size as the 4 megapixel of last year. The E-20 now takes the place of Olympus's flagship digital camera, it has: a fixed ultra-bright F2.0 - F2.4 4x lens with a mechanically linked zoom ring, 5 megapixels of resolution, a professional 'locked control' system, a wide variety of manual control and a robust metal case. Competition this year however is a little tougher with Minolta's DiMAGE 7, Sony's DSC-F707 and the upcoming Nikon Coolpix 5000 entering the 5 megapixel fray.
Obviously with the E-20 being so similar to the E-10 I have used parts of the E-10 review as a template for producing this review, users who have previously read the E-10 review should still pay attention to the entire review as their are several subtle differences between the two cmeras.
Also note that with the introduction of the E-20 Olympus appear to have decided to name the NTSC and PAL output cameras specifically as E-20N and E-20P, these two camera models are IDENTICAL other than their video output.
January 2002 Update
Now we've got our hands on a full production E-20 it's time to go back through the review and update the relevant areas. This review now reflects results from a full production camera. Items updated:
- Checked: Timing, Low Light AF, Image Quality
- Re-shot: Size / Quality, Sharp / Contrast, White Balance, Chromatics Test
- Re-shot: Resolution Chart, Colour Patches
- Re-written: ISO / Noise comparison
- New page: Software
- New page: Compared To (Sony DSC-F707, Nikon Coolpix 5000)
- Updated: Compared To (Sony DSC-F707, Nikon Coolpix 5000, Minolta DiMAGE 7)
- Confirmed: Conclusion
- New Gallery
Olympus E-20 vs. E-10
The detailed list below is a combination of a comparison we found in an Olympus Japan FAQ and our own findings.
|Olympus E-20 (N/P)||Olympus E-10|
|Image formats||JPEG, TIFF, RAW|
|SmartMedia support||4, 8, 16, 32, 64 and 128 MB (3/3.3 V only)|
|Compact Flash support||Up to 320 MB for Type I / II *1|
|Microdrive support||Yes, newer 1 GB model||No|
|Sensor||2/3" CCD, Interlaced, Primary colour CFA||2/3" CCD, Interlaced, Primary colour CFA|
|Sensor pixels||5.2 megapixel||4.0 megapixel|
|Output pixels||4.9 megapixel||3.8 megapixel|
|Image sizes||2560 x 1920, 1792 x 1344 (PS), 1280 x 960, 1024 x 768, 640 x 480||2240 x 1680, 1600 x 1200, 1280 x 960, 1024 x 768, 640 x 480|
|JPEG levels||1/2.7, 1/4, 1/8|
|Metering||Digital ESP, Center weighted average, Spot|
|Exposure Modes||P, A, S, M|
|Exposure compen.||+/-3 EV in 0.3 EV steps|
|Shutter speeds (IS)||P/A/S: 2 - 1/640
M: Bulb, 60 - 1/640 sec
|P/A/S: 2 - 1/640
M: Bulb, 8 - 1/640 sec
|Shutter speeds (PS)||P/A/S: 2 - 1/4000
sec or 1/18000 sec
M: Bulb, 60 - 1/640 sec
|White balance||Auto, 7 presets, manual 'one touch' button|
|Lens||Olympus 4x, 35 -
140 mm (equiv.) F2.0 - F2.4
14 pieces in 11 groups
|Normal focus range||0.6 m - Infinity|
|Macro focus range||0.2 m - 0.6 m|
|Manual focus range||0.2 m - Infinity|
|Continuous mode||IS: 2.5 fps max 4
PS: 4.5 fps max 7 images
|3 fps max 4 images|
|Viewfinder||Optical TTL, 95% frame view *2,-3 to +1 dioptre adjustment|
|Playback magnification||3x, 4x||1.5x, 2x, 2.5x, 3x, 4x|
|LCD Monitor||Flip-out and angle up or down, 95% frame cover *2||100% frame cover|
|Noise reduction||Yes (dark frame subtraction)||No|
|Progressive scan||Yes, selectable mode||No|
|*1||Larger capacities worked but we had some compatibility problems with a 512 MB SanDisk card|
|*2||Olympus specification, our measurements showed less frame cover than this|
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