Olympus E-300 EVOLT Review
Conclusion - Pros
- Good resolution, almost as good as the more expensive Canon EOS 20D
- Good color, contrasty images with consumer-appeal 'punch' (can be adjusted)
- Noise free images at ISO 100
- Wide range of image parameter adjustment (color, tone, sharpness)
- Good automatic white balance, indoors better under fluorescent light than incandescent
- Kelvin white balance option, all white balance presets fine tunable
- Selectable color space (sRGB / Adobe RGB), although with a caveat (see cons)
- Effective long exposure noise reduction
- RAW mode provides the 'digital negative'
- Good kit lens, provides wide angle zoom (although some vignetting at telephoto)
- Indication of setting adjustments on viewfinder display (ISO etc.)
- Supersonic Wave Filter ensures no dust on sensor
- Excellent Compact Flash write performance (3 - 4 MB/sec with fast card)
- Customizable exposure steps (1/3, 1/2 or 1 EV)
- Good bright and detailed LCD monitor (although only 1.8")
- Fast startup time, although still not instant (Nikon D70 has set a benchmark)
- Supplied Olympus Master software is well designed, same-as-camera RAW conversion
- Customizable 'OK' button
- Powerful, lightweight Lithium-Ion battery
- Playback magnification up to 10x
- Orientation sensor
- Value for money
Conclusion - Cons
- Recommended sensitivity ISO 100 - 400, images at ISO 800 usable, ISO 1600 not really
- Demosaic artifacts on JPEG and Olympus Master processed RAW
- Images not per-pixel as 'crisp' as from other D-SLR's (image processing / low pass?)
- Moire artifacts can be detected in fine repeating detail
- Noise tends have the appearance of color mottle not 'film like' grain
- Metering bug sometimes left under-exposed images (isolated issue?)
- Auto focus provides just three focus points, although AF performance good
- Viewfinder slightly darker than E-1, seems smaller than EOS 300D / 20D
- Over-saturated Adobe RGB images
- Poor continuous shooting capability, small buffer
- No focus distance indicator on kit lens
- Flash must be raised for AF assist
- Potential to lose images if CF door is opened during write
- Only USB 1.1 (no USB 2.0 Hi-Speed?)
When Olympus first revealed the E-300 at Photokina last year it wasn't too much of a surprise, many of us had been expecting (wishing) them to introduce a 'consumer level' digital SLR with a Four Thirds system mount for some time. Indeed it was my opinion that Olympus should have started the whole Four Thirds system 'revolution' with a consumer level camera and lenses, but hey what would I know?. The E-300's pricing versus the competition is pretty keen, $999 for an eight megapixel digital SLR and a decent lens easily matches the Canon EOS 300D / Digital Rebel (which is 'only' six yes-megapixels-sell) , it undercuts the D70 and is some $500 cheaper than the nearest eight megapixel digital SLR (the Canon EOS 20D, although that is a more proficient piece of kit).
So overall we were pleasantly surprised to find out the E-300 had eight megapixels and a decent sound spec sheet. Then we saw the camera in the flesh, I'll be honest it's not the prettiest design. Olympus engineers have been 'clever' and produced a horizontal viewfinder so the camera is shorter, this has two effects, firstly it makes the camera look wider than it is and secondly it removes the resemblance to SLR's that most 'switchers' (those going from film SLR to digital SLR) are used to.
Good news though, in use the E-300 is all function, it's comfortable to hold and easy to understand it starts up in a couple of seconds, focuses quickly, has negligible shutter lag, writes images quickly and is overall quite a nice tool to shoot with. Yes the viewfinder seems a little small and perhaps a little darker than the E-1 but you get used to it, yes the body is plastic but you hardly notice that, yes there's only one command dial but who's counting? Lets not forget another unique Olympus feature, the Supersonic Wave Filter, a big name for a solution to a problem many D-SLR owners have to live with, dust on the sensor. It seems to work, we didn't experience any images with dust artifacts and haven't once needed to clean the E-300 (or our E-1).
Next we come to the reasons people buy digital SLR's, flexibility and speed. They buy because an SLR gives them the flexibility to chose lenses and be able to change the lens they use to suit a particular situation. The other area of expectation is the flexibility to use a range of ISO sensitivities ('film speeds') at will, to wander in to a church and switch up to ISO 1600 and shoot without worrying too much about image quality. Here's where the E-300 begins to falter, put simply the Kodak CCD doesn't seem to like being pushed to high sensitivities. It's fine between ISO 100 and 400 (although shadow noise can be a bit more than we'd like), at ISO 800 it's usable but noisy and to be honest ISO 1600 is pretty much no-go area unless you're posting lots of VGA images on the web (but then why would you need eight megapixels?).
The next effect on image quality is image processing, it's clear from what we've managed to achieve with RAW files from the E-300 that it's capturing more than the in-camera CPU is capable of extracting in that second or two it has to do all its work. We also had problems with the camera's metering system, not one camera but two full production camera's produced the same 'problem' (in our experience anyway) which lead to under-exposed images and use of exposure compensation where I wouldn't expect to need any.
So that's the negative stuff out of the way, on the positive side the camera demonstrates good resolution (really pretty close to the EOS 20D), can produce some excellent results especially when shooting RAW, has nice punchy color and tone balance, has a wide range of image processing parameters (so you can get what you prefer). Most importantly it works well as a photographic tool and doesn't hinder your progress in actually capturing a moment. All things taken into consideration, especially factoring value for money this camera deserves our Recommended rating. If you're a real stickler for image quality however you may wish to consider other cameras.
|Rocks at Dawn by phucthang|
from The Rock
|Sarlat, France by poppyjk|
from Your City - Dinertime!
|Double Eagle by herbymel|
|Great White Egret vs Lizard by jose garcia|
from Strong - Weak
We've reshot the Sony a9 in our studio. The short story: it's sharper! The long story... well you can read it all here.
The collection will be officially launched during the Europeana Transcribathon Campus Berlin 2017 crowdsourcing event which will be held on 22 and 23 June at the Berlin State Library.
Light gives us some insight into the preparations for the launch of the pre-order shipments of its much anticipated L16 multi-lens camera.
OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei has confirmed in a tweet that the second lens on the back of the OnePlus 5 uses a 1.6x optical zoom and that digital zoom is used to reach the claimed 2x zoom factor.
Fujifilm recently unveiled the second in its series of affordable cine lenses, the MK50-135mm T2.9. We got our hands on it for a couple days and took it for a spin.
Leica's first attempt at an M-series digital rangefinder was rough around the edges, but set a pattern for all of the cameras that came after it. In this week's Throwback Thursday, Barney remembers the M8.
No stranger to extreme situations, legendary climber and filmmaker Jimmy Chin talks to Outside Magazine about his career, and the challenge of filming Alex Honnold's rope-free solo climb of El Capitain.
A company backed by Android co-founder Andy Rubin is attempting to make video conferencing less terrible.
Rangefinder magazine asked five professional portrait and wedding photographers about posting on Instagram; no surprise, they got five different answers.
This captivating stop motion film was created by stripping away one layer of wood at a time. It's hard to look away.
It will enable users to simulate the presence of the sun, moon and Milky Way and see how they interact with an area's topography.
Since its introduction in November last year Instagram's live streaming feature has been used by millions, but videos could not be archived for watching at a later stage. A new update has now added the capability.
CopyTrack's study also found that the second most-stolen image is a woman wearing painted jeans. That's apparently a thing.
Forget expensive lenses with fancy coatings and special lens elements – photographer Robin de Puy took these portraits using just a water drop for a lens.
Adobe reports a record quarterly revenue of $1.77 billion for the second quarter fiscal year 2017 ended June 2, 2017.
Zeiss says its new lens is particularly suited for portrait photography but also a good all-rounder and can be used in video applications.
We present to you the top photos from the Kennel Club's 2017 Dog Photographer of the Year photo contest – take a look at 10 of the award-winning puppers.
In case you were looking for any more inspiration to go fly one.
Following a couple of successful Kickstarter campaigns, Videre 35mm's creator has re-tooled the camera with sturdier components and a simpler user assembly process.
The two hour long video covers everything an aspiring drone pilot needs to know.
This is what happens when a Canon 17-85mm F4-5.6 lens meets 60,000 PSI of water pressure. Spoiler Alert: the water jet always wins.
Andrew Harnik discusses the challenges – and rewarding moments – of a career making images for the Associated Press in his native DC.
The VMic Pro, VMic Recorder and VMic microphones are targeted at DSLR users who want to record high-quality audio.
While our full OnePlus 5 review is underway, we've put together a sample gallery with images that were taken with both the wide-angle and tele lens in a variety of lighting situations.
The OnePlus 5 main camera comes with a 1/2.8" 16MP Sony IMX 398 sensor and a fast F1.7 aperture. It is supported by a 2x tele-module featuring a 20MP 1/2.8" Sony IMX 350 sensor and F2.6 aperture.
In this video, Vincent Laforet explains why the RED 8K Weapon camera has mostly replaced his still cameras, and it's not all about resolution.
Dupe, Dupe Negative is not a pop song, and Newton's Rings are not NASA's next destination. If you've ever wondered what all that film terminology means, Kodak has you covered.
Fujifilm's X-A3 is the company's only offering to use a new 24MP sensor without their trademark X-Trans color filter array. We've had it out and about with a variety of lenses to see how it compares.
If you thought Nikon had the market cornered on expensive commemorative products, we've got news for you.
The simple drag-and-drop web app reveals the Lightroom edits applied to any JPEG, along with its associated EXIF data, provided that metadata is intact.