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Ilse Jurriën : July 24th 2006 - 09:00 CET

Olympus E-330 review

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OlympusOlympus E-330 review : The Olympus E300 digital SLR camera, introduced in 2004, strongly deviates from the traditional SLR camera design. When Olympus introduced the E500 one year later, people generally assumed Olympus had taken the path of least resistance by designing a "regular" SLR camera. However, nothing could be further from the truth; the Olympus E330 is the successor of the E300 and looks every bit as sassy, if not more. It wasn't until later that we found out the Olympus E-300 was meant to feature the specifications of the E330, had it not been for the fact that the technology was not yet ready. Now, however, the E330 shows us exactly what the engineers at Olympus have in store; the model boasts several cheeky features.
Olympus E-330 reviewOlympus E330 digital SLR - Live view
As the world’s first digital SLR camera to feature a continuous live view on its LCD, the Olympus E-330 arms photographers with shooting flexibility that was unheard of, until now. Thanks to the camera’s TTL optical porro design, this model could be fitted with two separate image sensors enabling two different live view modes. Mode A, for Full Time Live View framing, utilises a CCD mounted in the viewfinder’s optical path to return a 92% field of view and retains full AF functionality. Meanwhile, Mode B locks the mirror in the up position and uses the camera’s Live MOS sensor to enable a Macro Live View with a 100% field of view. This latter mode is especially helpful for visual focusing on macro subjects, providing the freedom of complete manual focus control which is additionally aided by the possibility to enlarge the selected section of the displayed image by 10x. In addition, two passport templates and various framing grids make composing shots easier.

Olympus E-330 reflex camera - Live MOS sensor
The Live MOS sensor is brand-new; the E300 still used a Kodak CCD image sensor. It is indeed quite surprising to see that the resolution of the Olympus E-330 has decreased slightly compared to that of the E300; it has gone from 8 to 7.5 million pixels. Something that is not often seen with the introduction of a new camera. However, the difference is marginal and therefore virtually negligible. Much more important is the fact that the amount of light metering methods has been extended. The camera now features the option to use a spot meter that is tuned to high or low lights, something we recognise from the old Olympus OM-4. This certainly does prove older techniques are far from passé.

Olympus E-330

Olympus E330 SLR camera - Multi-angle LCD display
Reaping maximum benefit from the dual live views, Olympus has equipped this model with a large, 2.5”/6.4cm multi-angle LCD. Users therefore not only profit from a continuous view of the subject clearly on the monitor, but can also adjust the screen angle for great ergonomic comfort in just about any shooting situation. In this way, even photos taken above the head or shot from the hip, for example, are sure to be framed correctly. Macro photographers will particularly appreciate the fact that they don’t need to contort themselves to look through the viewfinder during the framing process. Moreover, the LCD employs HyperCrystal technology, assuring extra-fast response times and providing viewing-angles of 160°.

Olympus E330 d-SLR camera review
A feature that has stayed is the Super Sonic Wave filter (SSWF), a mechanism to help reduce dust to a minimum. Upon starting up, a filter in front of the image sensor is shaken back and forth at high speed. As a result, the dust falls below, where it sticks to something that resembles adhesive tape. It has to be said this really does make a difference and saves you from having to deal with heaps of irritating dust. Yet another system that is quickly being copied; Sony have equipped their Sony Alpha 100 with a similar type of system. The Olympus E330 is a very interesting digital SLR camera. Not only for the actual user; this camera permits all of us a glimpse as to where the future of digital cameras might be headed. We had the opportunity to test the Olympus E330 in practise. The results can be read in the following Olympus E330 review.

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