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The new E-620 from Olympus could just well be the most perfect camera ever made. Matt Grayson gives his thoughts.
I was in the market for a DSLR in the higher entry level.
Canon was going to be my obvious choice purely for its holding amongst the brands and for the fact that my better half had a multitude of Canon/Canon fit lenses.
After perusing a few sites and comparing, it was clear to me that no other camera in this price range had the fantastic specification of the Olympus E-620. My past faith in the Olympus brand from 35mm days, comined with a long standing appreciation for its optical quality, made me take a serious look.
The overall size of the body is compact, thanks to FourThirds technology. It is packed with features and all are easily accessible via the busy, but neatly laid out back. I like the fact that you don't have to scroll through endless menu setting to access important features. Having said that, the menu is easy to navigate when it is needed.
I travel a lot and spend quite a lot of time walking around locations. My varied subject matter means that I tend to carry all my equipment with me. Weight is an important feature.
No problem with the body or the kit lenses. Having upgraded from a Finepix S100fs bridge camera, the E-620 is lighter and slightly more compact with either of the supplied kit lenses attached.
Lenses are sharp and responsive. Focus, via up to 7 selective cross-points, is quick and accurate. Shooting is around 3.7 frames per second so action is easy to capture.
The art/scene functions give you quite a few possible effects as well as the usual b&w and sepia. Custom settings are also available.
One of the main plus-points for me is the variangle screen. Having had a two-way tilt screen previously, I knew just how useful this feature would be.
Shooting over crowds, walls etc is made easy. Shooting from a low angle saves the knees or crawling on your belly. It was some months before Canon and Nikon put this feature on a similar bracket camera.
Panoramic images are simple, but an Olympus XD card must be used. Not an issue as a 1gb can be bought for a few pounds. Up to 10 images can then be stitched using the supplied software.
This camera has been with me through -20c temps and up to +35c. It has not failed me yet.
Metering is accurate too and there are various in-camera setting to overcome any problems with strong highlights, shadows and varying contrasts.
I have not found a significant issue with noise on ISO up to 800. Over that and it does become more apparent. The excellent in-camera anti shake does allow you to keep ISO quite low though.
There is inbuilt wireless trigger for shutter. A wireless remote being available for less than £10.
I would say that for its price range, the E-620 is one of the best spec'd cameras you could find.
Though it is now discontinued, it is still available new. There are not many good condition ones available on the second hand market.
Olympus have said that their future is now NOT with mirror/SLR cameras but have promised continued support for all models for the forseeable future.
No firmware updates have been required yet.
Range of features
Ease of access to important settings
Weight and size
Noise at over 800 ISO
Price quoted includes 14-42 and 40-80 kit lenses.
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