Olympus E-30 Review
Color reproduction provides a quick overview of the general look of images from the camera as well as an ability to compare this to other cameras. Here you can see a generated GretagMacbeth ColorChecker chart, place your mouse over any of the labels below it to see the color reproduction in that mode. Select a camera/setting combination from the 'Compared to' drop-down to comparative boxes inside each patch.
The E-30 produces a typical Olympus performance with bright, punchy colors that avoid looking over-saturated. Looking at the 1000's of real world images we took during the course of the review we felt that the E-30 was possibly producing slightly flatter, less immediately punchy results than the E-3 (or most other Olympus models). This test confirmed that there is a slight difference (certainly between the E-30 and the E-3), though most of this is down to the E-30 having a slightly more gentle tone curve and lower default contrast.
|Olympus E-30||Compare to:|
Artificial light White Balance
The E-30's white balance is generally very good in outdoor situations but is less sure-footed under artificial lighting, where the color fidelity drops dramatically (despite, like the E-3, having a dedicated White Balance sensor). The only way to get a truly neutral result is to switch to 'one touch' custom WB (which you'll need to assign to the Fn button), and use a neutral target to create your own preset.
|Incandescent - Auto WB
Red: 8.7%, Blue: -12.0%, Poor
|Incandescent - Incandescent preset WB
Red: 3.5%, Blue: -3.8%, Average
|Fluorescent - Auto WB
Red: 6.6%, Blue: -11.6%, Average
|Fluorescent - Cool White Fluorescent
Red: 6.9%, Blue: -5.6%, Average
No complaints here; with generally good metering (though we did occasionally see some overexposure at normal portrait distances) and good flash power output, the built-in flash works well. Our only complaint (occasional exposure issue aside) is that a camera at this level should have a 'proper' AF illuminator; using fit-inducing bursts of flash to illuminate a scene is a far from satisfactory solution.
|Built-in flash||Built-in flash|
Overall Image Quality / Specifics
It's rare for a modern digital SLR to give much cause for complaint, and the E-30 is no exception. Like all Olympus cameras it struggles at higher ISO settings, with noise a little higher than most of its competitors at anything over ISO 400 (though in its favor, you do at least get a truly honest 'noise filter off' option), but in every other respect the E-30 impressed.
The rather tight dynamic range we've complained about on many Olympus DSLRs (including the flagship E-3) has been improved noticeably, and the default JPEG tone curve delivers subtle highlight roll-off without harsh clipping and is far more forgiving of slight over exposure. That said, if anything the E-30 metering tends to be quite conservative, tending to underexpose a little, which ensures highlights are preserved.
Although you get the usual punchy color with deep blue skies and vibrant foliage we felt that the E-30 was producing slightly more subdued results than we're used to seeing from Olympus SLRs, with a slightly less immediate 'Olympus' look to them. The culprit appears to be a combination of marginally lower default saturation (a lot of what people call 'Olympus color' is simply a higher default saturation) and - more importantly - a gentler tone curve producing lower contrast at the default setting. The result is that compared to some Olympus models the E-30's output can look a little flat - something that's exacerbated by the conservative exposure and exaggerated by the shadow lifting effects of Auto Gradation. Two seconds of post-processing (Auto Contrast in Photoshop for example) will soon bring back the familiar punchiness for those that miss it.
This is, however, an approach we actually prefer. Olympus JPEGs have always been so well optimized that they rarely need anything doing to them, but the 'punchiness' also makes them rather difficult to post-process as there's very little 'headroom' to play with. It's easy to rack the contrast of a JPEG up in Photoshop; a helluva lot more difficult to turn it down. By turning the dial down a notch or two Olympus has produced JPEGs that can be fine-tuned in post processing without the need to shoot RAW 100% of the time (as usual with Olympus the JPEGs contain so much of what the sensor spits out that there's little advantage to shooting RAW if you get the white balance right).
Like the E3 we found the autofocus to be a bit twitchy when used in multi AF mode (it's a lot more robust when locked to the center point), and it can struggle to focus quickly in low light at longer focal lengths (despite the 'world's fastest AF' claims), but overall we had few serious focus, exposure or white balance issues when shooting under natural light.
- 19 Features
- 20 Software
- 21 Photographic tests (Noise)
- 22 Photographic tests (Noise)
- 23 Photographic tests (Noise)
- 24 Photographic tests (Dynamic Range)
- 25 Photographic tests
- 26 Compared to...
- 27 Compared to...(JPEG)
- 28 Compared to...(JPEG)
- 29 Compared to...(JPEG)
- 30 Compared to...(JPEG)
- 31 Compared to...(RAW)
- 32 Compared to...(High ISO)
- 33 Compared to...(Resolution)
- 34 Conclusion
- 35 Samples
|scrum break away by al booth|
from Sport competition
|Parking Deck by Olaf R|
from Your City - Parking Garage
|Communication Tech by alberto_b|
|With & without by OBellini|
from Empty - Full
ISOCELL comprises four sub-brands: Bright, Fast, Slim and Dual which are tailored to specific mobile device market demands.
The new store will be located at the Fotografiska center for contemporary photography in Stockhom, Sweden and carry the full range of Hasselblad products.
A recent vacation gave Richard a chance to think about the needs of travel photography – and how our reviews might recognize the perfect travel camera.
Need more evidence that 2017 is the year analog begins its comeback? Well, welcome another new film stock to the world.
The winners of the 10th annual iPhone Photography Awards have been announced, and they're striking.
If you were disappointed by reports that the Sony a9 struggles with adapted Canon glass, you might be able to take some comfort from Metabones' latest update.
Blackmagic Design has dropped the prices of its Video Assist external monitor/recorders for a limited time. Prices of the SD card-based recorders will be reduced in all markets, while supplies last.
Instagram has started testing a new feature called 'favorites' that enables users to share photos with only certain people. Only a small number of users have access to the feature at this time, though it may roll out to everyone in the future.
Lensbaby has announced the Velvet 85 F1.8 for interchangeable lens cameras. The lens is available in Canon, Nikon, Sony E, Sony A, Pentax K, Samsung NX, Fuji X and Micro 4/3 mounts.
It's the end of an era. Parent company Micron has announced that they are discontinuing the Lexar retail brand. This includes 'memory cards, USB flash drives, readers, and storage drives.'
Youthful trainspotter turned adult photographer, John Sanderson has traveled across the United States, documenting the country's railroads. But you won't find any trains in his pictures.
Sony's new CMOS sensor is backside-illuminated and offers an all-pixel global reset function which should drastically reduce rolling shutter effect when panning.
Shoulderpod has converted its offerings into a lego-like modular system by offering all individual parts of existing products separately, allowing users to build exactly the rig they need for a specific project or simply replace a damaged part.
Photographer Felix AAA has spent the past ten years touring the world with a variety of musicians, capturing behind the scenes shots and portraits. He talks about some of his favorite images on the FujiFilm Blog.
A roll of film discovered in an Argus C2 from an Oregon Goodwill turned out to contain some incredible images – and has been re-united with the original owner's family.
Nikon's 28mm F1.4E ED appears to roundly complete the company's updated lineup of fast, professional prime lenses. We've already seen some initial images from a Nikon ambassador, but we've worked through a gallery of our own, with a lens of our own over the past week. Take a look.
Google is holding a competition that could see your Pixel photos gracing millions of screens.
Nikon's 100th birthday party continues worldwide as a distributor in Italy organized a one-of-a-kind feat: assembling the world's largest 'human camera' from over a thousand volunteers.
Ricoh has dropped the price of its Theta SC 360 spherical camera by to $199, a reduction of roughly $50. The camera features two 12MP sensors and can record Full HD video in addition to stills.
Photojournalist Pete Souza served as the presidential photographer for both Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama. In an interview with fellow photographer Marcia Nighswander, he discusses several of his most noteworthy images.
Photographer Michael Wolf has been documenting the crowded conditions of Tokyo's subway trains since the 1990s. The photos have gone viral regularly in the years since he started the project, and he just published the final edition in the series.
The just-launched OnePlus 5 is getting a minor update that should improve camera function.
A Belgian camera shop is showing off an extremely rare, limited 'Rex Edition' Nikon D500. The cosmetic alterations were provided by a customer's German Shepherd Rex, who got ahold of the camera within a day of its purchase.
Adobe says that many of its users have been relying on SkyBox for VR editing and it therefore made sense to make the plug-ins available to all subscribers through Creative Cloud.
The Pictar grip provides a number of customizable physical controls for your iPhone camera, but at its price point we would like to see better materials and build quality.
Peak Design's 'consider every detail' approach shines in the Everyday Backpack. While expensive, it's one of the best options out there for a photographer who needs to pack a lot of stuff in addition to gear.
If you're thinking of using Canon's sports glass on the Sony a9, think again. The ultra-fast camera slows way down when you attach off-brand glass.
The Polish town of Katowice is not famed as an area of beauty, but as all photographers know, that doesn't mean that beauty can't be found if you look in the right places. Mariusz Pietranek used a drone to look down on the colorful sedimentation tanks at an ironworks.
New York Times video journalist Ben Solomon spent a harrowing three weeks accompanying Iraqi Major Sajjad al-Hour as he and his men fought to retake Mosul from I.S. forces.
The 3D VR camera launched through a crowdfunding campaign in 2015 goes on sale beginning June 26.