Compared to...

Studio scene comparison (JPEG)

This is our standard studio scene comparison shot taken from exactly the same tripod position. Lighting: daylight simulation, >98% CRI. Crops are 100%. Ambient temperature was approximately 22°C (~72°F).

Olympus E-3 vs. Nikon D300

Camera settings:

  • Olympus E-3: Olympus 50 mm F2.0 Macro lens, Aperture Priority, ISO 100
    JPEG Large/HQ, Manual WB, Default Parameters (Natural), Self-Timer (with MLU)
  • Nikon D300: Nikkor 50 mm F1.8 lens, Aperture Priority, ISO 200
    JPEG Large/Fine, Manual WB, Default Parameters (Normal), Self-Timer (with exposure delay)
Olympus E-3
Nikon D300
4.5 MB JPEG (3648 x 2736)
4.4 MB JPEG (4288 x 2848)

The 12MP D300 has 100 or so more pixels vertically, which is inconsequential to say the least. Once again the differences here are very small; the D300's more conservative approach to image processing means that at a pixel level the E-3 looks a little sharper, but in terms of absolute detail there really isn't much in it, and what difference there is is just as likely to be down to the difference in lens quality as anything inherently 'better' or 'worse' about either camera (the Olympus 50mm F2 macro lens is one of the sharpest optics we've ever used).

Once again the deciding factor is the E-3's handling of highlights, which next to the D300 look harshly clipped (and if you look very close, show jagged artefacts). By comparison the D300's handling of tonal detail in highlights is far more subtle, with a gentle roll off as you approach clipping.