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Olympus E-520 Digital SLR Review

Olympus E-520 Digital SLR Review - In a sector of the market that's becoming more crowded than a west end pub, Olympus introduce yet another model to its Four Thirds system. Peter Bargh drinks in the atmosphere and checks out the latest talent to see if it's a luxurious cocktail or a pint of watered down ale.

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Category : Digital SLRs
Product : Olympus E-520
Price : £398
Rating :
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The Olympus E-520 is an upgrade of the E-510, a 10Mp Digital SLR aimed at enthusiast or the first time SLR user with a larger budget. The E-510 was awarded Best Digital SLR 2007-2008 by EISA (European Imaging and Sound Association) and the E-520 has the same easy to use options along with a few improvements over its predecessor and some advanced features borrowed from the pro-spec E3. Are these improvements enough to make you upgrade? Is the camera a better model than competitor options from the likes of Nikon and Canon? Is it worth waiting for an E-540 or whatever? All these and more will be answered here. So first let's look at the specifications of the Olympus E-520.

Olympus E-520 Digital SLR Olympus E-520 specification

  • Built-in image stabiliser for all lenses
  • Comfortable viewing with Autofocus Live View
  • Excellent dust reduction system
  • 100% D-SLR quality
  • Professional functions
  • 6.9cm / 2.7'' HyperCrystal II LCD
  • 10 Megapixel Live MOS sensor
  • 3.5fps with up to 8 images in RAW buffer
  • Built-In flash and wireless flash control
  • 32 shooting modes
  • Optional Underwater Case available
  • Key differences between Olympus E-520 and E-510

    *11.8million pixels on Live MOS (E-510 has 10.9m)
    *Three mode IS with Vertical + Horizontal, Vertical Only and Horizontal Only (Two on 510)
    *Color temperature on monitor with 15 levels
    *High-speed imager AF with 11 points
    *AF lock available with AFL button on Live View
    *Four Gradation settings (Auto Gradation
    *30min bulb option (8min on E-510)
    *Anti shock Mirror lock up
    *Fast flash sync Super FP: 1/4000sec
    *Face detection
    *49/100 frames lightbox in playback
    *Shadow adjustment and trimming in image editing mode

    Key advantages of E-520 over E-420

    *Built-in image stabiliser
    *Slightly larger with handgrip

    Face Detection for perfectly focused and exposed faces
  • Shadow Adjustment Technology
  • Four Thirds Standard
  • Compact and ergonomic design
  • Bracketing functions
  • ISO 100-1600
  • AF / AE lock functionality
  • Depth of field preview
  • Anti-shock (Mirror lock) function
  • One-touch white balance
  • Perfect image control
  • 100% field of view via LCD
  • TruePic III image processor
  • Detailed playback info screen with histogram
  • Hi-speed USB 2.0
The E-520 is in a tough arena, up against the likes of the Pentax K200d, Nikon D60, Canon 450D and Sony A200. With beginner modes, and focusing options this is a camera that could easily convert a compact user to the delights of the world of SLRs, while tempting the early adopters of Olympus digital SLRs to upgrade from their E300 and E20s etc. As it's an upgrade to the E-510, which recently won an EISA award, it's already favoured in the eyes of magazine journalists around Europe.

If Live View is important, that narrows down your choice, if lightweight is important that puts the E-520 in favour and if you're after great battery performance it's ahead there too. It will even take older OM lenses with an adaptor, so it's not being intimidated by Pentax or Nikon on that score.

I'm not convinced we will see an existing Canon owner switch brands, but if you are only lightly invested into a system it's highly possible. So, here's an enthusiast model with a few pro spec features thrown in and some compact camera tempting auto options to give it mass appeal.

Olympus E-520: Modes and features
Olympus E-520 front This second generation upgrade from the original E-500 brings you a mix of already proven features with some tweaks to add icing to the cake. Those who followed the recent E-410 to E-420 update will see similarity with some of the changes here, as Olympus have applied a similar strategy. The rear LCD screen has been enlarged slightly to 2.7in and features HyperCrystal II which makes it really easy to see even in bright light.. A subtle change for those with colour blindness is that body menus have changed from green to blue, while from a more cosmetic approach there's a more classy range of black buttons that were previously grey.

The Live MOS sensor has had a bit of a tweak to improve dynamic range as it did on the E-420. And, like the E-510 it features the same sensor shifting technology found on the E3, meaning you have body based image stabilisation, primarily used to help you get sharper shots with longer lenses or in lower light or wider lenses from very unstable shooting platforms.

The camera shares the same battery as the pro-spec E3 which promises one of the best performances in the E-520's price point.

Olympus have added Face detection and Perfect Shot Preview to make our life easier. These are arguably not features for those who're used to using SLRs and focusing zones will be bothered with, but for novelty factor Face detection is up there. The features are clearly there to attract those who're moving up from a compact camera who are used to such luxuries.

The E-520 sports an impressive 11 point contrast AF, but don't get too excited, it only works with Live View. When using the viewfinder it reverts to three point focus which can be set up to any one of the three points or to auto where the camera automatically selects the point based on subject position.

In Live View you can check depth-of-field preview as well as exposure compensation and white balance you can also see the effects of Face Detection and Shadow Adjustment Technology in real time as well as autofocus changes.

Olympus E-520 top plateThe top plate mode dial incorporates the on/off switch and contains the usual familiar of auto, program, shutter-priority, aperture-priority and manual modes along with portrait, landscape, macro, sports and night portrait program modes. There's also scene selection to choose from 20 different scenes. To take advantage of Underwater Wide and Underwater Macro, without writing off your camera, you'll need the optional PT-E05 underwater case which is waterproof to a depth of 40m.

You have the usual options to set a variety of metering and focusing modes found on almost every SLR but Olympus have a few unique options for experienced users. Spot meter with highlight or shadow being one. This was first introduced by Olympus on the 35mm OM4 and found its way onto the E3 (both pro spec machines) so it's good to see it on a lower priced model. Likewise an anti shake feature, where the mirror lifts at a preset time before the shot is taken - this is becoming a nostalgia trip - mirror lock was a featured included on several OM cameras. So one feature that hasn't appeared is a flash sync socket. You will need a wireless trigger or hot-shoe adaptor if you want to use studio flash.

Not so much a feature of this camera, but one benefit for Olympus in general is the lens range. In just four zooms Olympus can cover a stabilised zoom range from 9mm up to 300mm (18 to 600mm in 35mm terms). This range is covered using the 14-42mm and 40-150mm kit lenses and adding the soon to be released Zuiko Digital ED 9-18mm and 70-300mm the combined effort is a huge 33x zoom range. It's something Olympus are, quite rightly, very proud of.

Olympus E-520 sideThe downside is the Zuiko lens range is lacking in some areas, such as macro where you have just two options from Olympus compared with three from Nikon and Canon. It's the longer 180-200mm that's missing. There's also an absence of a shift lens that Canon and Nikon have, although it is possible to buy a converter and hunt down an old OM Zuiko 35mm. Anyone considering this camera would be unlikely be concerned about either of these omissions. And, as with most camera brands, their are third party options that can be considered to fill any gaps.

The bracketing mode can be set to adjust for not only exposure but focus or white balance too.
Images are stored on CompactFlash, but there's also an xD-Picture Card slot too, so you could shoot images and store in separate locations.

Like other Olympus models the E-520 has the Supersonic Wave Filter to shake dust off the sensor.

Olympus E-520: Build and handling
Olympus E-520 handlingWhile producing one of the smallest and lightest cameras in its class has the obvious benefits, it does feel plasticky. This won't matter to those moving from a compact where the extra size will already be something to get used to, but would possibly influence someone holding a variety of models in the camera shop.

Coming from a film background I prefer a substantial camera and this is far from that, but that's a similar story with the Canon EOS 450D - holding either of these alongside the Pentax K200D and you'll feel a difference in favour of the Pentax. I do prefer the E-520's handgrip though, which seems to have been shaped to fit a human hand, unlike the EOS 450D.

Olympus E-520 metal partsAreas that need to be metal are such as the tripod mount, lens mount and battery catch. I like the simple clip open memory card door rather than the locking one found on the likes of Pentax.

The E-520's body is festooned with mode buttons - they're everywhere - and it does take a while to get your head round the system. This is because Olympus have given us various methods of accessing the modes. And once you are familiar it's a really easy system to use, but be prepared to be scratching your head for a while. It really is worth sitting down with the manual for a few hours to get to grips.

Olympus E-520 menusI have always liked a front dial that I can adjust exposure with my index/shooting finger. It's absent on the E-520. You have just one dial at the back that is easy to adjust with your thumb but doesn't feel natural to me. What I do like is the incredible number of custom functions. You can assign modes to certain buttons making it easy, for example, to set focus lock or exposure lock together or independently.

There's even a depth-of-field button, although it did take me a while to find that! I reiterate you really do need to spend time with the instruction manual to make the most of this camera. And the manual is quite wordy. They try to mix technique in at the same time which, while being a nice idea, does make accessing help more time consuming than some manuals.

The LCD has a field of view that covers 100% of the frame when used in Live View so you can accurately frame shots to save you time in the computer cropping bits that you didn't see when shooting. 100% viewfinders are only found on expensive cameras so this is a useful second best.
Olympus E-520 LCDA big thing is made about viewing this high contrast Hyper Crystal II LCD, so we put it to the test. To the right is a shot taken of two cameras, LCD face up, on a window ledge. The Olympus is on the left, the Canon 450D to the right. Both have a preview of a chess board being displayed. The Canon is brighter, but any detail is lost in the reflection (lower section). This would be the case in bright light. The Olympus is easier to see and, as claimed, is higher definition.

Olympus E-520: Flash options

Olympus E-520 flash
Olympus E-520 no fill flash
Olympus E-520 Fill flash

For low-light shooting you can select the built-in flash which has a guide number of 12. Some SLRs stretch to 13 but there's hardly anything in it. At the end of the day it's a small flash that will give you a bit of fill in or exposure for close range shots, but if flash is your thing you need to add a detachable one to the hot shoe, and here Olympus have taken their system into the pro arena by having an optional wireless flash system, like the one on the E-3 where multiple flashes can be fired remotely. Third part options, from the likes of Metz, are also available.

The usual on/off, red eye reduction and auto modes are provided along with 1/4, 1/16 and 1/64 power reduction and the 1/180sec flash speed can be increased to 1/4000sec in Super FP mode with the FL-50R or FL-36R. You also have total control of exposure using flash bracketing or exposure compensation, and for fans of slow sync flash you have first and second curtain options.

The test shot on the right was taken to show the fill-in flash mode. Here it was set at 1/4 power and shows the balance is good, although I would have liked the metering to have coped better with the highlight areas. The camera was set on auto gradation so the whole system is maybe not as clever as Olympus suggest. In such situations you'd need to know to underexpose using the exposure compensation mode, but that defeats the object of the new advanced Shadow Adjustment Technology (SAT) features being bragged about.


Olympus E-520: Performance

Olympus E-520 SAT on auto

Olympus E-520 SAT set on auto

We've just mentioned SAT the first test was to see if that that worked effectively. I did two shots, one a fairly untaxing shot and the second a more challenging scene. The first (right) was on auto and is a portrait taken in bright sunlight I would hope that the camera would detect the high contrast and reduce this accordingly. As you can see it hasn't and the model's right side is deep shadow.

And if we then look at the harsh street scene below you will see that in auto it's done a much better job, ensuring there's detail in the pavement, but the shadow of the canopy of trees lacks tone. Switching to highkey has lifted detail in the building. Without reading the manual I would have hoped that if I had a problem (ie high key scene) the camera would compensate when set to high key. Quite the opposite it creates a high key scene. Similarly lowkey has darkened tones reducing the range of contrast.

I recall the Olympus E-3 doing a far better job in auto, so there's probably some lesser technology used here.

Olympus E-520 review SAT in auto Olympus E-520 review SAT in highkey mode Olympus E-520 review SAT in lowkey mode
Olympus E-520 SAT
set on auto
Olympus E-520 SAT
set to highkey

Olympus E-520 SAT
set to lowke
y

Olympus E-520 review exposure

I'm arguably being too unfair here, but the sales talk does suggest the E-520 will almost perform miracles with Shadow Adjustment Technology. The camera's metering without these expectations, however, is first rate. I rarely shoot on a camera and obtain 100% correct exposure, but here it did in everything I threw at it. The metering system coped with just about everything accurately. From backlit high contrast to low light interiors. And check out the shot to the right. Few cameras (including pro models) would get this shot better, where sun is reflecting off a highly reflective building. Normally this would be totally unusable. Here you can see detail in the shadow areas. Maybe SAT woke up!

Being able to shoot a sequence at 3.5fps with up to eight images in the RAW buffer is an improvement over the 3 frames of the E-510. The shutter sound is less whiny than the Canon 450D's.

When using Live View the focusing is sluggish, always going out of focus first before it settles. While it's an advance over those that focus before the Live View is activated it does slow you down. It's the same on all brands and no doubt this will be improved in the future, but early adopters often have to compromise to get new features. Having AF in Live View puts it one step above the competition, and if you're a macro photographer it has a very nifty feature that enlarges a pre-selected area of the scene by 7x or 10x to aid manual focus.

The Live View autofocusing may not be perfect, but being able to set up the custom function to focus manual with a 10x magnified screen on any part of the scene is brilliant feature. Check out the shot of the pen nib below. I've included a shot where autofocus was used and then a version where I've focused manually. Click on each image to see the full size version.

Olympus E-520 Live View MF1
Olympus E-520 Live View Autofocus
Olympus E-520 Live View MF
Olympus E-520 Live View manual focus

The E-520's conventional focus system is a different story, fast and very accurate. I pointed the lens at various subjects and it performed as well as higher spec cameras from Canon and Pentax. I tend to use the centre point for most photography so don't feel restricted to a larger number, but three focusing zones for a camera of this spec is stingy.

Olympus E-520 colour accuracy Olympus E-520 colour fringe
The Live MOS Sensor provides a very good accuracy of colours, tonal range and resolution
There's just a small amount of fringing of colours evident if you really magnify the image. Above left is a display of fruit under the shade of a canopy. There's good saturation and colour range displayed here. The shot to the right illustrates the fringing - if you open the full size version and magnify the dome's pillars to the left.

Image Stabiliastion (IS) is a feature that's on the E-510 and pro-spec E3. Being body based it means that any lens fitted to the camera can benefit. While most manufacturers with lens based IS systems concentrate on the telephoto end, you can shoot with ultra-wide on an Olympus. I spoke with one pro who shoots from the back of a motorbike and welcomed the IS system when the E3 was launched, as he uses wide-angles while shooting from the back of a moving bike.
To check to see if the camear can cope with four steps I shot a door across a corridor with and without IS and magnified a sign on the door. The results are below.

Olympus E-520 IS off Olympus E-520 IS off
Olympus E-520 IS on Olympus E-520 IS on
The door above was taken across a corridor with IS turned off using the 40-150mm set at 150mm (35mm equivalent of 300mm) The exposure with ISO100 was 1/8sec at f/5.6. The area indicated by the red outline is then shown to the right at 100% and it's very blurred as a result of handshake, even though I was determined to hold it solid. The shots below these were taken with IS switched on. The left hand side at 1/8sec and the right hand side at ISO200 to get a faster shutter speed of 1/15sec. This is almost five f/stops slower than the 1/300sec that is typically a safe speed to use on a lens of this magnification. So Just ike the E3 it's a thumbs up for Olympus' IS system!
Olympus E-520
Red and blue have been given a decent amount of boosting with the mono tones looking balanced. The skin tone is more pink than skin but isn't too shocking.
Olympus E-520 The colour of the skin and wall behind compared to the portrait shot shown below shows a red cast applied to warm the image.
Olympus E-520
The flash has worked quite well. It's not over exposed any areas, put some nice catchlights in the eyes and filled in the shadows found on the shot without flash.
Olympus E-520
A cooler tone to the Aperture-Priority shot. White balance on all portrait shots was set to daylight.
Olympus E-520
A miserable day reduces any kind of contrast so fringing would be minimal anyway, but none is showing on the white bars. Good detail in the foreground and the landscape mode has boosted the greens nicely. Landscape mode has set the aperture to f/4.
 

Deleting photos is a quick process, zooming in on pics equally fast and what is really impressive after using a Pentax for years is the speed you the image preview appears after a long exposure. One of the real benefit of the Live MOS sensor in my view

Olympus E-520: Noise tests
The E-520 has a sensitivity range of ISO 100-1600 with a custom function option to limit the auto setting where it decides what ISO to set. This is useful if you never want it to stray over, say, ISO400. In low light the camera will increase ISO to 400 and then open up the aperture or reduce the shutter speed to reach correct exposure. TruePic III image processor helps produce very impressive low noises shots as you can see here.

Olympus E-520
The ISO100 test.
Olympus E-520
The ISO200 test.
Olympus E-520
The ISO400 test.
Olympus E-520
The ISO800 test.
Olympus E-520
The ISO1600 test.

Olympus E-520: Verdict
First impressions are important, as that's where most of us make a decision in the camera shop. As soon as I picked up the camera I was on the wrong footing. Had someone forgot to add the meat to the flesh? The light weight sent out the wrong signal. Then I tried Live View and was instantly disappointed by the slow focusing speed. Yes it's one of the few that has AF in Live View but I couldn't help wanting something that didn't hunt around while using it. And to top it all I got confused with the menu system.

It took me a while to become familiar with the Olympus E3 and as I had't handled that for a while I'd forgotten the different system. So It's not going well. But then as I start to take photos, switch off Live View and get back to using the real camera I begin to see that there's a very impressive set of features housed in a mid-priced camera.

As the images start to build up on the memory card I'm seeing a very good metering system that delivers consistently accurate exposures, a budget lens that's razor sharp, and a collection of features that can adapt to any scene. Then as I go through the manual I start to get a feel for custom features, adapting the camera exactly to my needs and it starts to become clear that there's a beast in this featherlight package.

Then, back in the test lab, and playing with the Live View more, I start to see the incredible benefit of the MF system and magnification in Live View. I'm suddenly all ears, sorry eyes.

Image proceesing is superb, noise minimal, sharpness is good, exposures are 100% and the IS system is a lifesaver. Overall a very impressive piece of kit worthy of its price.

Olympus E-520: Plus points
Lightweight
10x magnification in Live View
Long lasting battery
LCD easy to view, even in bright light
Impressive low noise at ISO1600
Image stabilisation
Variety of custom functions

Olympus E-520: Minus points
No front exposure dial
AF slow in Live View
Menu not as intuitive as some

FEATURES

HANDLING

PERFORMANCE

OVERALL

The Olympus E-520 costs around £397.99 and is available from Warehouse Express here:

Olympus E-520 & 14-42mm

 

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Photographs taken using the Olympus Olympus E-520

Bogwoodenchanted lockWelsh Weather.hummingbirdsmilegarden implil greenyhummingbirdgarlic flowerslil rosesunflowertwo in onethe falls in Stockbridge NYhummingbirdhummingbird
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Comments


StrayCat e2
10 14.8k 2 Canada
27 May 2008 9:48PM
That's better Pete. I enjoyed reading this review, along with being pissed off that I already have the E-510 on order. Not really, I had time to look at both, and My original plan was to get the 510 now, and gradually get a few good quality glass, and maybe an E-3 in the future.

BTW, re your comments about lenses, Sigma make the 105mm macro and the 150mm HSM macro for the 4/3 system.
Denny

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Pete e2
13 18.4k 96 England
27 May 2008 10:31PM
Thanks Denny, it's a system I'm sure you'll be pleased with Smile

Yes I'm aware of other makes, that's why I added a line
And, as with most camera brands, their are third party options that can be considered to fill any gaps.
Paul Morgan e2
13 15.2k 6 England
27 May 2008 11:09PM
Pete this is one of the best review`s I`ve seen here, not with the camera but with the improved styling of the review itself, even all the pics can be enlarged Smile

I was planing on an E3 at some point, this might just fit me needs.
Pete e2
13 18.4k 96 England
27 May 2008 11:11PM
Thanks Paul, would a link to a few RAW files be useful too?
Paul Morgan e2
13 15.2k 6 England
28 May 2008 12:20AM
Yes they would Smile
MattGrayson 7 622 3 England
28 May 2008 9:34AM

Quote: even all the pics can be enlarged


Hey, all the pics on my reviews can be enlarged too!
Paul Morgan e2
13 15.2k 6 England
28 May 2008 6:04PM

Quote: Hey, all the pics on my reviews can be enlarged too

So they can Smile

Something else worth mentioning is the 4/3 IS system, this will work with almost any lens even those 30 odd years old.
28 May 2008 7:12PM
Pete, a couple of things on SAT-

First, there is no "high key" or "low key" SAT on the Olympus bodies. It's Gradation - high key, low key, normal and with the advent of the E-3 and forward, "auto". It is "auto" what is actually SAT. When the gradation is set to auto- "sat is on" and when it's not set to auto, it is off. I realize this is confusing and Olympus should have named it one thing.

The other thing is that high key/low key didn't meet your expectations because they are designed to do what they did, not what you were thinking.

Finally SAT does work well but it's in certain situations for the most part. Like the shot you got of the building with that highlight is one of those cases. And if you are using an automated exposure mode (P, A or S), enabling SAT makes the camera shoot about 1/3rd stop faster to preserve more highlights, and bring more details out of shadows, giving JPEGS about 1/2 to 2/3rd of a stop more dynamic range in those scenes with higher contrast situations.

This goes for the e-420 and also E-3 (I have owned an E-3, sold it and got the e-420. I like small cameras and like the e-420 interface better).
oneill 6 155 Ireland
29 May 2008 3:40PM
hello pete and matt your reviews have all ways been brill, your reviews are down to earth in laymans term,s plus now all photos can be in larged fantastic keep up the good work lads. i hope to have the new e.520 by mid june myself also thanks to raist3d for his imput . thanks lads
30 May 2008 8:29PM
Hello there,

I really liked your review. It is truly reviewed and fairly evaluated this amazing Olympus E-520. I am already owner of an E-510 and I am extremly happy of the image quality out of this camera. I am planing to upgrade mine to E-520 however it is not yet in the market , at lease here in Canada.
Oh... one thing that I noticed in your review , at the begging of your reviewed you mentionned the major difference between 520 and 510 but you did not mention the wireless flash capabilities on the 520 which wasn't included on 510.

Thank you
Paul Morgan e2
13 15.2k 6 England
1 Jun 2008 12:40PM
Forgot to mention the large versions of the ISO test do not open.
MattGrayson 7 622 3 England
2 Jun 2008 12:14AM

Quote: Forgot to mention the large versions of the ISO test do not open.

Um... I'll sort the links in the morning.... Smile
MattGrayson 7 622 3 England
2 Jun 2008 11:27AM
Done! Smile
Paul Morgan e2
13 15.2k 6 England
2 Jun 2008 11:11PM
Thanks
Paul Morgan e2
13 15.2k 6 England
2 Jun 2008 11:56PM
Pete I`m assuming this is built into the 520 as standared, on the 510 it was via a firmware update.
Pete e2
13 18.4k 96 England
3 Jun 2008 7:51AM
Yes focal length can be set manually on the LCD using the Exp compensation button and is automatic on certain Olympus lenses.
3 Jun 2008 2:10PM
Can someone let me know if E-520 is ready to be shipped in europe?? I am trying to buy one here in Canada but it seems it won't be availbale before the end of june.

Thanks for you help.
3 Jun 2008 2:13PM
Oh...BTW, forgot to ask if the new E-520 will be compatible with the new Compact flash from Lexar 16GB 300X.

I would like to buy it during the promotions before I get my E-520 but I am not sure if it will be recognized by E-520 as a 16GB Compact flash card, I presently own a 8GB Lexar on my E-510 and it works well.

Thanks in advance
MattGrayson 7 622 3 England
3 Jun 2008 2:17PM
I've emailed Olympus to find out for you. Smile
3 Jun 2008 5:49PM
Very nice review. Great job!

Here are some test images I took with my new toy this weekend.
Full size pictures are included (not modified - directly from camera)

Can also make and post some RAW images if needed.

btw, Live view auto focus and 11 point auto focus doesen't work with other than 14-42 kit lense Sad (only "near focus" is available with other lenses). Maybe new firmwares will fix that.
3 Jun 2008 5:52PM
Very nice review. Great job!

Here are some test images I took with my new toy this weekend.
Full size pictures are included (not modified - directly from camera)

Can also make and post some RAW images if needed.

btw, Live view auto focus and 11 point auto focus doesen't work with other than 14-42 kit lense (only "near focus" is available with other lenses). Maybe new firmwares will fix that.
3 Jun 2008 5:53PM
Very nice review. Great job!

Here are some test images I took with my new toy this weekend.
Full size pictures are included (not modified - directly from camera)
http://www.potopisi.si/e-520/
Can also make and post some RAW images if needed.

btw, Live view auto focus and 11 point auto focus doesen't work with other than 14-42 kit lense (only "near focus" is available with other lenses). Maybe new firmwares will fix that.
Pete e2
13 18.4k 96 England
3 Jun 2008 6:20PM

Quote:
Can also make and post some RAW images if needed.

Thanks Smile now you are a member you can upload pics to our gallery. And we have a download section where you could upload a good sample RAW file
porty2003 10 97 Scotland
4 Jun 2008 12:08PM
My Olympus 5060 uses BML1 batteries,of which I have two,so presumeably they will work on the E520 ?.
oneill 6 155 Ireland
4 Jun 2008 12:18PM
i rang olympus uk about [deepmind comm] on liveview outofocus and 11 point autofocus, the only lense,s that work are 14-42 40-150- plus 25mm pancake lens,olympus said hopefully new lense,s or firmware would be available at a later date, for the e520. hope this is of use to you.[ pat oneill ]
4 Jun 2008 10:06PM

Quote: My Olympus 5060 uses BML1 batteries,of which I have two,so presumeably they will work on the E520 ?.

O yes, they will work perfectly. You can also use any replacement for BLM-1 and those work even better. I'm using 2800 mAh replacement ones (original are 1500 mAh) and they last forever (more than 1000 shots). You can find those on ebay for about 6 or 7
porty2003 10 97 Scotland
5 Jun 2008 9:22AM

Quote: Quote:My Olympus 5060 uses BML1 batteries,of which I have two,so presumeably they will work on the E520 ?.O yes, they will work perfectly. You can also use any replacement for BLM-1 and those work even better. I'm using 2800 mAh replacement ones (original are 1500 mAh) and they last forever (more than 1000 shots). You can find those on ebay for about 6 or 7

Thank you for that.That seems 'nice' of Olympus to keep batteries the same thereby enabling use in multiple bodies and,of course,only one charger also.Or do other camera systems do this too!!.
MattGrayson 7 622 3 England
5 Jun 2008 9:59AM
Unfortunately no. Sony and Canon have both changed batteries in the past and Canon recently changed the card on DSLRs from CF to SD.
I can understand it if the battery is radically different and a new version would be incompatible with an older camera but this seems rarely the case. Smile
porty2003 10 97 Scotland
5 Jun 2008 10:43AM

Quote: Unfortunately no. Sony and Canon have both changed batteries in the past and Canon recently changed the card on DSLRs from CF to SD.
I can understand it if the battery is radically different and a new version would be incompatible with an older camera but this seems rarely the case.

Yes,making money on the 'peripherals' for no other reason than to make money [in a lot of cases].Such is life in the 21st Century where the individual is reminded constantly of how wastful we are and the damage we do to the planet [which is true] but business seldom does anything to cut down on wasteful practices [packaging for instance] unless public pressure/government forces their hand.
StrayCat e2
10 14.8k 2 Canada
11 Jun 2008 5:27AM
Lively comment section on this one.Wink
great review..

is it worth buying the 520 over the 510 keeping in mind the price of the dual lens kit for the 510 these days..

also, is there a significant difference in the image quality of the 2 ?
13 Jun 2008 10:34AM

Quote: is it worth buying the 520 over the 510 keeping in mind the price of the dual lens kit for the 510 these days..

also, is there a significant difference in the image quality of the 2 ?

It's not that easy to answer this question. I was owner of E-500, E-510, E-3 and now E-520. Differences between E-500 and E-510 were huge. I can't say that for E-510 and E-520.
Image quality is slightly better on E-520. The new sensor picks up more detail than older one. E-520 also behave better when you photograph contrast scene (if you have auto gradation turned on). New LCD is visible even in sunlight, old one is not. You must ask yourself what do you want to do with the camera. E-520 is better than E-510, but not that much. If you think some of the new features of E-520 can be useful to you, go for E-520.
oneill 6 155 Ireland
13 Jun 2008 6:25PM
[ deepmind] titikaka,, thanks for the images out of e 520 could you post some more please,,, portraits if possible. thanks again... pat..
oneill 6 155 Ireland
16 Jun 2008 9:21PM
thanks titikaka,,, new images are fantastic, please keep them coming,, pat.
cornz 6
17 Jun 2008 5:50PM

Quote: Quote:My Olympus 5060 uses BML1 batteries,of which I have two,so presumeably they will work on the E520 ?.O yes, they will work perfectly. You can also use any replacement for BLM-1 and those work even better. I'm using 2800 mAh replacement ones (original are 1500 mAh) and they last forever (more than 1000 shots). You can find those on ebay for about 6 or 7

cornz 6
17 Jun 2008 5:52PM

Quote: Quote:My Olympus 5060 uses BML1 batteries,of which I have two,so presumeably they will work on the E520 ?.O yes, they will work perfectly. You can also use any replacement for BLM-1 and those work even better. I'm using 2800 mAh replacement ones (original are 1500 mAh) and they last forever (more than 1000 shots). You can find those on ebay for about 6 or 7

Be aware that a lot of the batteries on Ebay are poor quality and could damage your camera. Several independant reviews have stated the Uniross or energizer brand are the best.
20 Jun 2008 11:36PM
I think this review is overly enthusiastic. The "SAT" feature that was praised is nothing but in-camera editing similar to the "Auto Smart Fix" in my Photoshop Elements which defuses the highlights and brightens the shadows and in the process it increases the noise in shadows and makes it visible even at ISO 100, besides using that feature slows the camera for about one minute between pictures. You can examine the shadow areas of the original file of the building with reflection to see what I'm talking about.
When it comes to the Dynamic Range, it might has been improved from the E-510 (I cannot be judge of that yet) but it still not in bar with other cameras of the same class.
It seems that Olympus tries to do quick fixes of faults caused by a small sensor that is not coping with advancements well and without addressing the roots of the problem.
21 Jun 2008 4:38PM
Guys, I'd like to take all the criticism I stated above of Olympus back. Yesterday I got the Canon XSi and didn't like it at all compared to my Oly E-510. Canon's images are soft by default and when I tweaked the settings in every way you can imagine, I still didn't get what I easily get with the 510. I read many positive reviews about the Canon therefore I decided to give it a try so I won't be missing on something good. That Canon kit lens is a genuine piece of garbage, to replace it with decent lens/s you have to spend a fortune. Even when I compared Canon's praised dynamic range with Oly's side by side images, shockingly I found that Oly's DR is way ahead. Canon users, you don't know what you're missing and camera reviewers such as CNET and others on camera manufacturers payroll...(you know yourselves out there) kiss my A..!
Pete e2
13 18.4k 96 England
21 Jun 2008 5:20PM
You can be sure the reviews we do are by photographers and If I say something I genuinely mean it!
oneill 6 155 Ireland
22 Jun 2008 3:04PM
pete and matt, you lads have my backing that when you both do your reviews and testings etc,,, that your results are as you see it,, not what the manufactures want you both to write.. as for your reviews on this site, ,you can only give the best advice as photographers with a [good] few years beteen you both,,, lol ,,, can give. it then up to us to make up our own minds.[ pat oneill.]
22 Jun 2008 6:17PM
Pete, two of the important things I missed mentioning about testing the Olympus and the Canon is that the Oly's in body IS is much more effective than the Canon's lens IS in every single shot I took. Olympus also rules when it comes to color deepness and saturation as well as accuracy without being overwhelming. Canon like Nikon tend to have reddish overcast. That Canon is going back to where it came from tomorrow.
oneill 6 155 Ireland
22 Jun 2008 10:40PM

Quote: [ deepmind] titikaka,, thanks for the images out of e 520 could you post some more please,,, portraits if possible. thanks again... pat..

porty2003 10 97 Scotland
2 Jul 2008 9:20AM
Would love to see some 'real life' images from 'real life' members,some landscapes with 'challenging' lighting.I admit that all the talk on some forums of reduced DR [campared to Can/Nik] has held me back from making a purchase.Absolutely everything else about the E520 would appear to be what I am after in a lightweight,low bulk camera/lens system.As an Ex OM10 & OM2N user [first two cameras I owned] I also have a 'soft spot' for Olympus!!!!
3 Jul 2008 7:53PM
For photos by Olympus E-510 check out this link: http://search.pbase.com/search?q=Olympus+E-510&b=Search+Photos&c=sp
4 Jul 2008 8:52PM
Great review, unfortunately it made me even more unsure what to do... I'm looking for a dSLR, and have been debating whether I should go with a Olympus e-520, Canon 450D or a 40D.
Will probably be shooting mostly portraits, family macro as well as some indoor activities (gymnastics etc.) without flash.

So if you have any opinions I would like to hear them.

Thanks
5 Jul 2008 4:42PM
I think any of those cameras you mentioned would do what you want. It depends on your budget. Generaly Canons are costly especially when trying to get a good lens for portraits. Olympus w/50mm macro can do wonders for half the price and weight.
11 Jul 2008 3:31AM
Well I got the E-520, and so far I am pleased. The autofocus is not a quick as the 40D (something that was expected), but it is still quick enough Smile I am still playing around with the camera though... but so far so good. I got it with the 14-42 and the 40-150 lenses (~$ 700) so I still think it was a better deal than the 40D.
eey0069 6 1
11 Jul 2008 8:31AM
Hey all,
I'm a newbie at ephotozine. I'm considering buying the E-520, but I don't know what to do about the lenses. How would you rate the 14-42mm + 40-150mm' combo in terms of image quality? Or, are there are any other affordable (on a comparative note) single lens alternatives (like Sigma) which offer about 10x of zoom, and are compatible with the four-thirds system? But then again, is there a significant drop in image quality w.r.t the combo pack that Olympus offers?
Hope I get can get some inputs so that I can order and start clicking- thanks! Smile
eey0069 6 1
11 Jul 2008 9:42AM
Hey all,
I'm a newbie at ephotozine. I'm considering buying the E-520, but I don't know what to do about the lenses. How would you rate the 14-42mm + 40-150mm' combo in terms of image quality? Or, are there are any other affordable (on a comparative note) single lens alternatives (like Sigma) which offer about 10x of zoom, and are compatible with the four-thirds system? But then again, is there a significant drop in image quality w.r.t the combo pack that Olympus offers?
Hope I get can get some inputs so that I can order and start clicking- thanks! Smile
oneill 6 155 Ireland
13 Jul 2008 1:35PM
ivar,, can you post some photos taken with the e520 please,,
14 Jul 2008 3:20PM
oneill, you can go to:
http://www.flickr.com/search/?q=Olympus+e-520&m=text
for sample photos.
eey0069 6 1
15 Jul 2008 7:07AM

Quote: Hey all,
I'm a newbie at ephotozine. I'm considering buying the E-520, but I don't know what to do about the lenses. How would you rate the 14-42mm + 40-150mm' combo in terms of image quality? Or, are there are any other affordable (on a comparative note) single lens alternatives (like Sigma) which offer about 10x of zoom, and are compatible with the four-thirds system? But then again, is there a significant drop in image quality w.r.t the combo pack that Olympus offers?
Hope I get can get some inputs so that I can order and start clicking- thanks!

Excuse me, can someone here please help/guide me?
15 Jul 2008 1:39PM
@eey0069: I am no expert, but as far as I can tell (I got both of the lenses you mention) they both works great. I do see that I get a more accurate focus (when using AF) at the maximum zoom level, which is perfectly normal I guess.

Don't see any drop in image quality either, between the two lenses, but again I just got this, so I have barely scrratched the surface... : )
15 Jul 2008 11:08PM
@eey0069: I am no expert, but as far as I can tell (I got both of the lenses you mention) they both works great. I do see that I get a more accurate focus (when using AF) at the maximum zoom level, which is perfectly normal I guess.

Don't see any drop in image quality either, between the two lenses, but again I just got this, so I have barely scrratched the surface... : )
eey0069 6 1
16 Jul 2008 8:19AM

Quote: @eey0069: I am no expert, but as far as I can tell (I got both of the lenses you mention) they both works great. I do see that I get a more accurate focus (when using AF) at the maximum zoom level, which is perfectly normal I guess.

Don't see any drop in image quality either, between the two lenses, but again I just got this, so I have barely scrratched the surface... : )

Thanks a lot, blumonkey. That was a start Smile
14 Aug 2008 7:27PM
Thank you for a very good and fair detailed appraisal of the Olympus E 520. I have the E 500 model and am loking to upgrade simply because of the image stabiliser, anything that improves none tripod operation to a fair degree is more than desireable, and this seems better than that. Thank again for the time you have taken to write and present this article.

Specie8472
Paullus 5 24 England
25 Oct 2008 3:37PM

Quote: I was owner of E-500, E-510, E-3 and now E-520. Differences between E-500 and E-510 were huge. I can't say that for E-510 and E-520.

Hello all.
This is my first post on ephotozine in response to Pete's review of this camera. I've been trawling the net for the past ten days reading everything I can find on the E520.
I bought an E500 two lens kit nearly two years ago after weeks of research and indecision. I've been generally happy with the camera but sometimes frustrated by unexpectedly blurred shots but that's probably just me not taking my time. Anyway I've decided now that it's time to upgrade. I really want to stay with the Evolt as I have both FL20 and FL36 flash units plus other items so I don't really want to sell my system and start again from scratch with another camera make. However after reading many other reviews I was becoming a little disenchanted and started looking at other brands. My brother has just bought a Sony Alpha A200 to boot. This is the most informative review I've read to date where the shortcomings were dealt with but not over emphasised. I know about the upgraded specifications and features but with regards to deepmind's comment above, I'd like some idea of is how much of an improvement I can expect with the E520 over my current E500 in actual use. Also has anyone seen a back to back comparison of the E520 and other makes of DSLR in the same price range?
More to the point is there another DSLR out there which is proven to be significantly better than the E520 in that price range because at the end of the day, like everyone else, I want the best my money can buy. If selling my current kit is the only way to achieve this then so be it.
A long first post I know and probably difficult to answer fully but thanks in advance.
16 Dec 2008 7:50PM
My E -520 is on its way from that great NY store we won't mention by name. I can hardly wait to get my hands on it. Thank you so much for this in -depth evaluation. I have owned an Olympus iS -3DLX for 15 years and it has served me well. When I made the decision to make the big jump to a serious digital camera, I read every Olympus review I could find as well as all the top-rated dSLR reviews of the top cameras listed by Consumer Reports. Your evaluation and others really pointed me to this camera and I don't think I will be disappointed.
16 Dec 2008 8:14PM
What flashes will work with the E-520? Any other flashes beside the Olympus E series flash? This flash will be used for inside for fill on candids and outdoors for fill. I have a nice Sunpak professional that I use for an older 35mm SLR but can be used for other slrs with the right cable. I am not familiar with DSLRs and assume 35mm SLR flash may not work with DSLRs. Would the flash work in manual mode. Help. I am not looking to spend a bundle - $200-300 range would be OK. Shane

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