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The Olympus E-520 is a refreshed version of Olympus's upper-entry-level camera, the E-510. As such it's a slightly bulked-up E-420 with image stabilization, which makes it one of the most feature-packed and customizable cameras available for under £500/$800. It loses some of its sibling's compact chic but offers a bigger, longer-lasting battery and a more familiar grip shape to those people familiar with contemporary DSLRs.

Its Four-Thirds sensor (2.43cm2) offers 10 million pixel output and a Live view system that has become commonplace since Olympus pioneered the idea a few years back. It's clearly a camera that comes from a company with a strong heritage of making products for photographers, with useful features such as highlight and shadow spot metering modes sitting alongside a plethora of beginner-friendly point-and-shoot modes.

The whole market has become a much more competitive place since the E-510 first hit the market in March 2007, so has the newest version done enough to stand out against the increasingly slick APS-C offerings?

New features (compared to the E-510)

  • Larger, 2.7" LCD display (versus 2.5" on the E-510)
  • Contrast detect autofocus (with select lenses)
  • Face detection in live view mode
  • Auto Gradation (Dynamic Range enhancement)
  • Faster continuous shooting speeds (3.5 vs 3.0 fps)
  • Wireless flash control (Up to three groups)
  • Additional Image Stabilization mode for panning

Note that some of the material in this review comes from the Olympus E-420, with which this camera has much in common.