Photograghy News,Reviews

Friday, October 28, 2005

Olympus EVOLT E-500

Steve Digicams Reviews Olympus EVOLT E-500 and writes:

The Olympus EVOLT E-500 is a full-featured, 8-megapixel digital SLR camera that was designed to be used easily by photographers of any skill level. The E-500 is compact (approx. 5 x 3.7 x 2.6 inches), lightweight (15.3 oz.), durable and packed with Olympus innovations like an exclusive Dust Reduction System for spot-free photos, a TruePic TURBO Image Processor for fast response time, and a large 2.5-inch HyperCrystal LCD. Compatible with a wide range of Olympus Zuiko Digital Specific Lenses, the E-500 delivers the versatility and power that are the hallmarks of a performance SLR, but at an affordable $799USD price.

The E-500 uses a high-performance KODAK KAF-8300CE CCD imager for an impressive 8 million pixels of detail. With this amount of resolution photographers have the flexibility to make large prints with today's wide-carriage printers, or crop into an image to print only the part that is important to them. Moreover, the E-500's image sensor delivers improved dynamic range, low noise to capture fine image details in the highlight and shadow areas, as well as excellent color fidelity for brilliant colors. Additionally the anti-blooming technology on each pixel and the exclusive Olympus TruePic TURBO Image Processor helps to eliminate undesirable artifacts, stepping or jaggies, purple fringing or moiré in an image.

The E-500 has a big and bright 2.5-inch HyperCrystal LCD that offers many times the contrast of conventional LCD monitors, so captured images can be beautifully displayed in vivid color on the screen with exceptional clarity. Because photos are for sharing, this LCD features a wide, 160° viewing angle on the vertical and horizontal axis, ensuring excellent visibility and beautiful image quality even when everyone huddles around the camera to see what you’ve created. The larger LCD also means the icons and text on the camera’s menu display are enlarged for easier viewing.

The versatility of the Olympus E-System comes from delivering the largest selection of “Designed-for-Digital” lenses –more than any other manufacturer to date. Most other digital SLR cameras still use many traditional 35mm film lenses on digital bodies. But since those lenses are based on designs for film and not for pixels, they deliver insufficient light at the edges of a digital camera’s image sensor. This can result in reduced sharpness and color definition, particularly when shooting with large apertures and wide-angle lenses. The E-500 does not have this problem, because it accommodates the full line of interchangeable Zuiko Digital Lenses. The E-500 outfit includes a compact, Zuiko Digital 14 – 45mm Zoom Lens (equivalent to 28mm – 90mm in 35mm photography). Its 3.2x zoom covers the range most frequently used in ordinary photography and weighs just 10 ounces (285 grams) offering users an extremely dynamic, portable everyday-use zoom. Close-ups as near as 15 inches (38cm) are possible throughout the zoom range.

Everybody can shoot like a pro with the E-500. Select from one of the 25 Exposure Modes (Easy, Basic and Creative) that make it easy to get the results you want. The 15 pre-programmed Scene Select modes to achieve the optimal results for: Night Scenes, Fireworks, Sunsets, Beach and Snow, Children, Landscape, and more. Every Scene Select mode provides a sample image and a description of what is happening to achieve the desired result. For example, choosing the Landscape setting reveals a sample of a landscape photo, and a text description of what the mode is displayed on the large, easy-to-read 2.5-inch LCD. The Creative Modes allow users to take more control of the E-500 for the ultimate in artistic expression. For example, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority and Manual Modes allow users to tweak all of the camera’s settings just the way they want for any situation at hand.

Transferring images to the computer is easy with the Auto-Connect USB, software drivers aren't required (for most computers/operating systems). Images may also be viewed on a television using the video cable. When it comes time to print images just connects the camera's USB cable to any PictBridge-enabled printer, no need for a computer. The Olympus P-11 Digital Photo Printer is a perfect match for the E-500. Simply select the images displayed on the camera’s LCD, press a button and the finished print is in your hand in under a minute.

Dpreviews review Olympus EVOLT E-500 and says:

Classic Design

The Olympus E-500 has been designed with the user in mind. This means menus that make sense and buttons on the body that are easy to understand and operate, adding automatic settings for every imaginable situation and making the LCD big and bright enough so users can easily review all their shots.

A traditional penta-prism shape gives the camera an authentic and professional look and feel, the user-friendly controls and functions are easy to operate and the handgrip has been positioned so that the camera can easily be kept stable when shooting. The E-500 is ideal for numerous photographic situations, from capturing landscape vistas whilst mountaineering to documenting a city’s hustle and bustle.

Direct Button operation enables E-500 users to get to the settings they want without wading through endless menus or pushing arrow buttons excessively. Instead, most custom settings can be set by pressing one of the cameras eight direct key buttons for White Balance, Exposure Compensation, ISO, Flash Mode, Metering Mode, Auto Focus Mode, Auto Focus Frame and Recording Mode, and then turning a dial by thumb to customise the setting as desired. All settings are viewable at once on the camera’s control panel displayed on the LCD.

Skills Development

The E-500 includes 21 pre-defined scene modes, ranging from landscape to sunset to portrait, meaning it can be picked up and used straight away. However, as a photographer’s skills develop, the manual controls come into their own, enabling experimentation only limited by the photographer’s imagination. P/A/S/M modes come as standard.

To radically improve the metering capability a new 49 area AE sensor providing accurate exposure values for ESP metering is included. This uses a newly-developed evaluation algorithm. Conventional centre-weighted average and spot metering, high light and shadow basis spot metering and AE Lock functioning are also available too making the E-500 the ideal choice for any ambitious amateur or creative semi-pro wishing to develop their individual technique and style over time.

Image Quality

The E-500 provides outstanding image quality. An eight megapixel, Full Frame Transfer CCD offers a larger pixel area than an ordinary Interline Transfer CCD and as a result delivers images with a greater exposure latitude, more detail and less noise.

Dust is all around us and when swapping a lens on a digital single-lens reflex camera there’s a chance that a camera’s electro-statically charged image sensor will attract micro dust that can ruin photos. Olympus has developed a way for photographers to enjoy the freedom of using all the lenses of the Olympus E-System in the most challenging, dusty environments without compromising image quality. Every time the camera is turned on Olympus’ Supersonic Wave Filter, a patented ultrasonic technology that shakes at 35,000 vibrations a second to remove dust from in front of the camera sensor is activated. The spot-free photos that are produced liberate users from hours spent retouching photographs at the computer.

The camera is also equipped with a noise filter that can be turned on and off, as the photographer desires to minimise image noise at high ISO values.

Powerful Processor

The E-500 incorporates Olympus’ TruePic TURBO image processor to ensure images pack a punch with lifelike colour, resolution and contrast. TruePic TURBO also adds speed to picture taking. For fast burst rates, the processor uses the dedicated 64MB image buffer for up to 4 TIFF or RAW images at 2.5 frames-per-second. However, when using HQ JPEG images and extreme speed Compact Flash cards the number of frames a user is able to take is only lmited by the card size. For example, when using a SanDisk Extreme III CF card the camera can take around 4 minutes of continuous photography at 2 frames per second ! To further enhance the camera’s capabilities, two memory card slots, one for a CompactFlash and another for an xD memory card, are included.

Viewing The Results

Results can be viewed on the E-500’s 2½ inch, 215,250 pixel HyperCrystal LCD screen that offers many times the contrast of conventional LCD monitors. Views of recorded shots can be enlarged up to 14x to facilitate easy reviewing and the LCD also doubles as the camera’s easy-to-read status panel, giving clear and detailed information of the current settings in use.

Four Thirds

As the only completely digital system, based on the TIPA Award winning Four Thirds Standard, the Olympus E-System series of camera bodies, interchangeable lenses, external flash systems and other accessories provides professionals and serious amateurs alike with the excellence they demand. The new Olympus E-500 offers an affordable entry into the exciting world of SLR photography.


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