Olympus E-300 EVOLT Review
The E-300's battery compartment is accessed from the base of the hand grip, the compartment door opening by sliding a small latch downwards. Inside you will find the BLM-1 Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery as used in the E-1 and C-8080 Wide Zoom. The BLM-1 has a rated capacity of 1500 mAh at 7.2V (10.8 Wh) and is charged on the supplied BCM-2 charger (approx 1.5 hours for a full charge from flat).
Compact Flash Compartment
The Compact Flash compartment is located on the right side of the camera (from the back) and makes up part of the hand grip. The door hinge isn't spring loaded until you get it past the 90 degree point where it has a positive 'click' to hold it open. Inside is the Compact Flash Type II card slot which can accept Type I or Type II cards (including FAT32 cards).
Just like the E-1 (and some Canon digital SLR's) I'm concerned at the way the E-300 handles the opening of the CF compartment door. If you open it during a write process it cancels that write and empties the camera's buffer. Thus if you had taken a burst of images and accidentally opened the compartment door before the write process had completed you will lose images.
On the left side of the camera (from the rear) are the camera's three connectors, at the top USB 1.1 and A/V out, at the bottom DC-IN for the optional AC adapter. It's a pity Olympus couldn't offer Hi Speed USB 2.0 on the E-300.
On the bottom of the camera you'll find the metal tripod socket which is aligned exactly with the center line of the lens. The mount also appears to be in line with the focal plane (position of the imager).
Despite the extended appearance of the E-300's pop-up flash it sits at a fairly average 40 mm (1.6 in) above the top of the lens. The extra extension is required because most other SLR flash units sit on top of the camera's viewfinder prism. The built-in flash unit has a guide number of 11 and a maximum sync speed of 1/180 sec. In a low light situation with the flash raised the camera will strobe the flash to act as an assist lamp for the AF system (it must be raised manually to perform this function).
The E-300 has an 'E System' flash hot-shoe designed specifically for Olympus dedicated flash units, however it can also accept third party units (but sync contact only). Olympus 'E System' flash units communicate directly with the camera and support various features including zoom control, red-eye reduction and slow sync flash.
The E-300 has the new 4/3 lens mount created by Olympus and conforming to the Four Thirds Standard. This means that as well as accepting Olympus 4/3 lenses it can also accept third party lenses (such as the new Sigma 4/3 lenses). Visually the mirror appears to be smaller than that on the E-1 (perhaps because it's closer to the rear lens element?). The mirror itself is unusual in that it swings to the right during an exposure (the optical path to the viewfinder is to the right).
"Supersonic Wave Filter"
The "Supersonic Wave Filter" is a method of cleaning the CCD sensor which involves making it vibrate at a very high frequency, this vibration causes any dust or dirt to literally drop off the sensor surface and on to a sticky tape material (which apparently has been used in conventional SLR's for some time now). This built-in CCD cleaning takes place every time you power up the camera and can also be invoked from the camera menu. It's reassuring to see at least one manufacturer taking dust seriously and attempting to solve instead of avoiding the issue.
|SSWF filter is mounted in front of the CCD||Click for a video explanation (15 MB)|
Box Contents (Kit)
- Olympus E-300 digital SLR body
- 14 - 45 mm F3.5 - F5.6 lens
- BLM-1 Lithium-Ion battery
- BCM-2 battery charger
- Body cap
- Shoulder strap
- Video and USB cables
- CD-ROM's (inc. Olympus Master Editing Software)
- Manual, System chart, Warranty