Just before PMA in March 2007 Olympus lifted the curtain on two new Four-Thirds system compact digital SLRs, the E-410 (reviewed here in June) and this model, the E-510 (which is essentially a replacement for the well regarded E-500). Although the E-510 has much in common with its little brother, including an all-new (Matsushita) Live MOS Image Sensor that can provide Full Time Live-View on the LCD monitor and an updated TruePic image processor, it is a considerably more sophisticated tool with some important extra features. Key amongst these is a sensor-shift image stabilization system and more sophisticated external controls, though are also numerous minor feature differences too. Note that some of the text in this review (when describing identical functions) is repeated from the E-410 review.

Compared to E410 - key differences

Once you start to look under the hood there are actually a surprising number of differences between the E-410 and the E-510, even putting aside the obvious; the latter's CCD-shift image stabilization system and bulkier design (the E-510 has a true 'grip', something the E-410 does without). This is obviously a camera aimed far more squarely at the 'enthusiast' market than its kid brother, and it offers a far more sophisticated level of control and customization. Below is a far from exhaustive list of the key differences:

  • Larger and heavier
  • Sensor-shift Image Stabilization
  • Dedicated buttons for WB, ISO, Metering and AF mode
  • Dedicated AF area button
  • Customizable Fn button
  • Two 'MyMode' custom modes
  • Finer, customizable EV steps (1/3, 1/2 and 1 EV)
  • Wider range of custom settings and minor extra features (e.g. file naming options, customizable HQ mode, Auto ISO limit etc)
  • Very slightly different continuous shooting / buffering (6 raw frames vs 7 on the E-410)
  • Optional wireless remote control

Key feature comparison (vs E-500 EVOLT)

Of course the E-510 is actually the successor to the E-500 (and the E-300 before it), and although the headline changes are significant (new sensor/processor, live view, in-body stabilization), there are also a number of minor feature tweaks and improvements (in fact far too many to list here, so we'll stick with the basics).

  • New 10MP Live MOS sensor and TruePic III processor
  • CCD-shift image stabilization
  • The return of Live View
  • New kit lenses
  • Faster USB interface ('real' USB 2.0 speed)
  • All-new body shape
  • Wired remote option
  • Slightly higher continuous shooting frame rate and larger raw buffer
  • New high resolution LCD screen
  • Loss of some minor features (ISO step control, manual focus bracketing, time lapse, customizable display color scheme, TIFF)
  • A few new and/or improved features (true auto ISO with limit setting, noise filter)
Olympus E-510 EVOLT

Olympus E-500 EVOLT
Sensor • 4/3 type Live MOS sensor
• 17.3 x 13.0 mm active area
• 10.9 million total pixels
• 10.0 million effective pixels
• RGB (Primary) color filter array
• Fixed low pass filter (anti-alias filter)
• Kodak 4/3 Type CCD
• 8.0 million effective pixels
• Modified Hot Mirror (InfraRed filter)
Stabilization? Yes, CCD-shift No
Live View? Yes No
File Formats • RAW
• JPEG (EXIF 2.2) - three levels
• JPEG (EXIF 2.2) - three levels
Processor TruePic III TurPic TURBO
Continuous • 3.0 fps
• RAW: 6 frames maximum
• JPEG: Up to card capacity @ HQ 1/8 (with high speed media)
• 2.5 fps
• RAW: 4 frames
• JPEG: Unlimited with high speed card
My Mode? Yes (2) Yes
Flash • Auto electronic pop-up
• TTL auto / manual
• Guide no. 12
• Electronic release pop-up
• TTL auto / manual
• Guide no. 13
Scene modes • Portrait
• Landscape
• Landscape & Portrait
• Night Scene
• Night Scene & Portrait
• Children
• Sport
• High Key
• Low Key
• Digital Image Stabilization
• Macro
• Nature Macro
• Candle
• Sunset
• Fireworks
• Document
• Panorama (req. Olympus xD-Picture Card)
• Beach & Snow
• Underwater wide and macro
• Portrait
• Landscape
• Landscape & Portrait
• Night Scene
• Night Scene & Portrait
• Firework
• Sunset
• Macro
• Sports
• High Key
• Low key
• Document
• Beach & Snow
• Candle
• Children
MF Bracketing No Yes

• Eye-level TTL Optical Pentaprism
• Field of view 95%
• Magnification 0.92x with a 50mm lens and -1 dioptre
• Clip-fit eyecup

• Top mounted pentaprism
• 95% field of view
• 0.9x magnification
• Clip-fit eyecup
LCD monitor • 2.5" TFT LCD monitor (wide viewing angle, semi-transmissive)
• 230,000 pixels
• 100% frame coverage
• 2.5" TFT LCD monitor
• 215,250 pixels
• Wide viewing angle
USB speed 2.0 High Speed 2.0 Full Speed (i.e. USB 1.1 speed)
Dimensions 136 x 92 x 68 mm (5.4 x 3.6 x 2.7 in) 130 x 95 x 66 mm (5.1 x 3.7 x 2.6 in)
  • No battery 460 g (16.2 oz)
• With battery 535 g (18.9 oz)
• No battery: 435 g (15.3 oz)
• With battery: 479 g (16.9 oz)
Other • Auto ISO limit
• Noise Filter
• New kit lens
• ISO step options
• ISO 400+ must be enabled using 'ISO boost' option
• TIFF mode
• Control panel color options