Olympus E-520 Review
Color reproduction is a new addition to our in-depth reviews and 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.
As you can see the E-520's color reproduction isn't significantly different to the competitors'. The only difference comes from slightly different tone curves and saturation parameters, all of which can be modified by the user anyway.
|Olympus E-520||Compare to:|
Artificial light White Balance
The E-520's automatic white balance in artificial light is pretty unimpressive. As you can see there's a rather strong clear red/orange color cast in incandescent light. Fluorescent light results were no better and, despite offering three different fluorescent presets to match different tube types, the best preset still only produced average results. When white balance is crucial though you should revert to custom white balance. There is a misleadingly-named "one-touch" method of registering a manual white balance setting, but it's only available if it has been assigned to the 'Fn' button. Alternatively all the white balance presets are fine-tunable, to try to improve performance.
|Incandescent - Auto WB
Red: 7.0%, Blue: -10.1%, Average
|Incandescent - Incandescent preset WB
Red: 3.7%, Blue: -5.2%, Average
|Fluorescent - Auto WB
Red: 7.0%, Blue: -11.6%, Average
|Fluorescent - Fluorescent Day
Red: 6.4%, Blue: -5.5%, Average
When using the internal flash the E-520 tends to meter quite conservatively and images could do with a little positive flash exposure adjustment. The flash portrait in particular is a little dark, lending a slight tomato complexion to the subject.
|Built-in flash||Built-in flash|
Overall Image Quality/Specifics
There are three things that become apparent when looking in fine detail at the images from the E520 and most of them are only likely to be an issue in certain circumstances. In general, the images are very impressive and strike a pleasant balance between neutral, natural presentation and eye-catching technicolor. The three detrimental quirks are all issues that have been noticeable on previous Olympus models, though it's not clear whether they are a result of the cameras' smaller-than-average sensor or just the current sensor being used.
The first is the relatively soft output. On the E-510, the noise filter blurred some of the detail and then applied sharpening to produce a reasonably sharp final image. Turning down the noise filter and backing off the sharpening gave better results. Unfortunately, this can't be done on the E-520 - turning down the noise filter does little to improve sharpness. Despite being able to focus the camera to a very high degree of accuracy using magnified Live view and using one of the sharpest 50mm lenses on the market, our comparison shots simply cannot match the sharpness of its rivals. At sensible print sizes, this is not a difference that will be visible, but the more detail you initially capture, the more flexibility it gives you later - it's easier to blur away detail if you choose to, than to extrapolate detail that was never captured.
The second issue is the familiar complaint of limited dynamic range compared to its competitors. In JPEG, the E-520 has up to a stop less dynamic range than the Sony that currently leads this category of camera. The difference becomes even more stark when shooting RAW, since the Olympus has already squeezed just about all it can into its JPEGs. While several competing cameras will allow around another stop of usable detail to be teased out of the RAW files, the Olympus has little more left to give, potentially leaving it around 2 stops behind its peers. This will increase the likelihood of irretrievable highlight clipping (or noisy shadows in the event of under-exposing to prevent it).
Finally, there's the high-sensitivity performance that, irrespective of noise filter setting, shows more noise than any of its rivals. As soon as you use high ISO settings in low light (it's fine when used in good light to keep the shutter speeds up), it's impossible not to notice chroma noise starting to creep in, particuarly in dark areas of the image. At the highest sensitivity settings, particularly ISO 1600, we saw banding patterns appear when working in limited light. This is the image quality issue most likely to actually detract from your images, rather than only making a difference in direct comparisons.
|50% crop, roll mouse over to see pattern emphasized||ISO 800, F5.6, 1/100th sec|
The differences we're talking about are really rather subtle and the E-520 is capable of great things in the right hands. But, having used the E-520 and its peers both in and out of the studio, it's impossible to conclude that the Olympus is competing on an equal footing with the other cameras in its class.
- 18 Photographic tests (Noise)
- 19 Photographic tests (DR)
- 20 Photographic tests
- 21 Compared to
- 22 Compared to (JPEG)
- 23 Compared to (JPEG)
- 24 Compared to (JPEG)
- 25 Compared to (JPEG)
- 26 Compared to (RAW)
- 27 Compared to (RAW)
- 28 Compared to (RAW)
- 29 Compared to (RAW)
- 30 Compared to (Higher ISO)
- 31 Compared to (Resolution)
- 32 Conclusion
- 33 Samples
Aug 20, 2008
May 13, 2008
Aug 17, 2011
Aug 17, 2011
|Smile by Olymguy|
from Ultra Asian Indian Female Faces
|Space Shuttle Cockpit- by vbuhay|
from Aircraft Control Stick
The 3D VR camera launched through a crowdfunding campaign in 2015 goes on sale beginning June 26.
Noctilucent clouds, a crescent moon and Venus were visible in the pre-dawn sky over Budapest yesterday. Photographer György Soponyai captured NASA's astronomy picture of the day.
Squirming pets won't sit still for photos? A Kickstarter campaign is looking to help.
Find out how Chris Burkard shifted from editorial photography to his true passions: landscapes, conservation and, of course, surfing.
The updated EyeEm app scans your camera roll and picks images that are composed particularly well, have the best quality, or highest chance of selling on EyeEm Market.
It's three years old but still a solid option for a Micro Four Thirds shooter looking for a high-quality, fast, wide-angle prime. Take a look at how we got along with it.
Tamron has announced the longest all-in-one zoom lens currently available, the 18-400mm F3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD. Designed for Canon and Nikon crop-sensor cameras, the lens will be available in July.
When you're ready to step-up to full-frame from an entry-level or midrange camera, the choices can be overwhelming. Find out which models came out on top in our $1200-2000 enthusiast ILC roundup.
Just a guy wearing a VR headset, smashing invisible Goombas in Central Park.
NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter captured this gorgeous aerial photo of the Martian landscape. And if you look really close, you can actually see the Mars Curiosity rover in the very middle.
The city of Laguna Beach, California has provided some clarification around the kinds of photography permits it offers.
Later this year, a VR180 camera will be Joining Yi's Halo and 360 VR cameras, which will offer stereo 3D capture, yet be as easy to use and compact as a 2D camera.
Caltech researchers have developed an 'optical phased array' chip that uses time delays instead of a lens to focus the incoming light.
Pricing and shipping have finally been revealed for two highly anticipated lenses from Sigma, announced in February.
These macro photos of clouds of paint billowing through clear water might look like high-quality CGI, but they're real photographs. And photographer Alberto Seveso told us how they were made.
Facebook is testing a feature that prevents people from saving, sharing, or even taking a screenshot of your profile picture.
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 article, 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.