For a camera in this class, the Olympus E-500 digital reflex camera offers a remarkable amount of options and possibilities to the user. With this impressive array of features however, the camera still remains both accessible and easy to handle for even the least experienced photographer. The basic settings can be found without any trouble at all. As a separate LCD for the shooting data is not present, the user will have to gather these from the large display, which does offer a great deal of information. A disadvantage of this however, is that it will cost more power than a small LCD. On the other hand, I must admit that I can't really picture where such a second LCD should have been placed in any case.
Olympus E-500 digital SLR camera - SSWF
Every time the camera is switched on, the SSWF becomes active. I might have missed something, but it certainly seems to me that this function can not be switched off. Even though it is a good thing that the sensor is continually shaken clean, it does however require a bit of patience. It takes in fact almost two seconds in between switching the camera on and being able to capture your first shot; something I certainly don't expect of a D-SLR these days. The Olympus E-500 also has some minor issues when it comes to waking up after the sleep mode. You should count on one second before the camera is ready to use again.
Olympus E-500 - LCD monitor & Optical viewfinder
The LCD on the back of the camera offers immediate access to the most important settings. The camera can show both more and less information according to the user's own preference. In addition, the screen can also be switched off; a feature that saves a considerable amount of energy. The most important information is also shown in the viewfinder, the same goes for the battery load. The only thing that seems to be missing there is the sensitivity, which would truly complete all the required information. It has to be said however, that the viewfinder of the Olympus E-500 does remain a tad on the small side. This is of course partly due to the focal length multiplier of 2.0. It becomes tricky to focus correctly; the user has to resort to the auto focus.
Olympus E-500 D-SLR - Focussing
The Olympus E-500 has three focus areas, all of which can be found in the centre of the image. This means that you will often have to turn your camera around when your subject isn't placed in the centre. Focussing goes quickly. As I was unable to properly check the focus in the viewfinder, I did however sometimes wonder whether or not the camera was focussing. Judging from the sharp images, this does seem to have been the case. In low light an assistance illuminator for the auto focus can be activated. This will however require a folded in flash. A barrage of flashes will be fired. Subtle this is not!
Olympus E-500 - Release button and Buffer
The release pressure is very low. A picture is taken before you know it. Even the Canon EOS-1D Mark II N hardly responses any faster. I really did have to get used to this. The recorded images are quickly written on the memory card. The buffer with its four RAW or TIFF images is large enough, especially for a camera in this class. The same goes for the maximum image speed of approximately 2.5 images per second. Most users will be able to work the way they are used to.
Olympus E-500 D-SLR camera - Ergonomics
I am impressed with the camera's ergonomics. The Olympus E-500 d-SLR lies splendidly in your hand; an impressive feature for such a small camera! The buttons too are located in a way that makes them both accessible and easy to operate; a true relief after what I have seen in certain other cameras. In combination with the standard 14-45mm Zuiko Digital lens, the camera remains a very compact, well-balanced camera. It is a wonderful combination to carry with you at all times.
Olympus E-500 digital SLR - Information display
Another very pleasant feature to work with is the screen on the back of the camera. First of all, it shows a great amount of information. By pushing the OK button, a setting is very quickly and easily changed. Just use the mode dial to scroll to the desired setting, click OK once again - and you will have arrived at your setting. Once you have familiarised yourself with this process, you will only very rarely go back to scroll through the menu. Very clever and most user friendly indeed!