|Olympus E-330 digital camera review : The Olympus E300 digital SLR camera, which was introduced in 2004, strongly deviated from the traditional SLR camera design. When Olympus introduced the Olympus 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 Olympus E330 shows us exactly what the engineers at Olympus have in store; the model boasts several cheeky features.
Olympus E330 D-SLR - Live view via LCD display
Naturally, the most striking asset of the camera is the live view. However, the Olympus E-330 is not the first SLR camera to offer live view; the Fujifilm S3 PRO provided the user with more or less the same option, albeit for a short while only. The Olympus E330 allows you to use live view on the monitor for a longer period of time. Moreover, the monitor can be tilted, which enables the photographer to capture his images from tricky, unnatural angles. To enable the use of live view, the housing features a second sensor. There are two ways to get an actual live view on the Olympus E330 DSLR. Standard, the light beam is bent to the optical viewfinder and a second CCD at the top of the camera. When using the Live View mode B, the so-called macro live view, the shutter opens and the mirror is flipped aside. Consequently, the light immediately hits the new Live MOS, whilst the view is black. Although the auto focus is available when working with the standard live view, it cannot be used in combination with the macro live view. The second SLR camera offering live view is the Panasonic Lumix L1. And no, it wasn't developed in cooperation with Olympus. This model will become available in 2006.
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 E330 SLR - Tilting LCD display
Major improvements have been made to the monitor on the back side of the camera, which has increased from 1.8 inch to a large format 2.5 inch. In addition, it can be flipped out, which we also see on the Olympus C-8080 Wide Zoom. The Olympus E-330 is the first digital SLR camera that features this type of monitor. We know people have often reacted rather disdainfully to live view and a tilting screen. In practice, however, these features often prove to be valuable assets. Live view enables more accurate framing and improved focussing. The tilting monitor is ideal when you need to take a high or low position to capture your image, as could be the case, for instance, when shooting macro images; you no longer need to lie flat on your stomach in the grass. It goes without saying that this feature can also be used from a more creative angle.
Olympus E-330 digital SLR - FourThirds system
Just as all other Olympus digital SLR cameras, the Olympus E330 uses the FourThirds system. This is in fact a unique system, fully compatible between brands that support it. Unfortunately these remain limited for now. With their Lumix L1, Panasonic are currently the only other brand to support the system. This does mean, however, that the Leica lenses also become available. Furthermore, the range of lenses by Olympus isn't exactly small either.
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 during a longer period of time. The results can be read in the following Olympus E330 digital SLR review.
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"The introduction of the Olympus E-330 digital SLR camera is very much welcomed and interesting for future development of new generations digital SLR cameras. The Live View mode is a very useful feature and the solution of Olympus is offering simply the best of both worlds. Olympus has invested a lot of their experiences into the new E-330 camera resulting in a rich featured entry-level digital SLR camera with a lot of innovative solutions. 7.5 Megapixels, multi-angle LCD display with Live View mode, and the incorporation of the Supersonic Wave Filter, eliminating the dust problem, are key features to give Olympus every tool necessary to turn the Olympus E-330 into a big success..."
Continue to read our Olympus E330 Evolt preview including product images and a comparison chart.
Also take a look at our Olympus E-330 underwater review with a Olympus PT-E02 underwater case at the Maldives