Olympus E-330 FourThirds digital SLR camera
At least Olympus cannot be accused of lacking creativity, something that is perfectly illustrated by the introduction of the Olympus E330 digital SLR. Not only does the Olympus E330 feature a bold and eccentric design, it is also filled to the brim with peculiarities. Peculiarities that allow us a glimpse into the possible future of digital cameras.
Olympus E-330 - Dust reduction system
Just look at the way Olympus deal with dust. Their method is still virtually unique, although it now seems to have been adopted by Sony. Nevertheless, it remains a charming and efficient way to put an end to all those irritating dust particles. A pity, however, that it costs too much time when starting up, and cannot be switched off. We do have to admit Sony's solution seems to surpass that of Olympus as far as speed is concerned. Unfortunately, we cannot report on the actual efficiency of this system, as it has not yet been fully tested in practice by the media and the consumer. Nonetheless, I still find the concept of the SSWF one of the best ways to reduce dust.
Olympus E330 d-SLR camera - Live view
Naturally, the main selling point of this camera is the live view. The way in which Olympus have integrated this feature in the Olympus E-330 truly is unique. Fortunately, the latest firmware will now also enable the photographer to use the auto focus in combination with the macro live view. Meeting this demand proves to be a particularly clever move by Olympus. The opinions on live view turn out to be somewhat mixed. On one hand it can be put to excellent use, such as when working in high or low positions, as well as to focus accurately when capturing macro images. On the other hand, it isn't exactly the goose with the golden eggs, especially not in the way it is used in this camera. The white balance cannot be used when working with live view, which proves a missed chance. Furthermore, the view is simply too dark, and not of much use when working in low-light conditions. The boost doesn't prove helpful; it only makes things look grainy and smudgy. In addition to this, the standard live view simply does not show enough of what is actually being photographed. Although the live view thus leaves plenty of room for improvement, I do have to admit I am charmed by the concept.
Olympus E-330 digital reflex - ISO values
The Olympus E330 offers plenty of settings to improve the image quality. A positive addition is the spot meter that can also be adjusted to high or low lights. We have nothing but praise for the amount of quality settings and formats. TIFF, however, is not likely to be used often. Unfortunately, the JPEG compression isn't the very best, which means it would be preferable to photograph in RAW. This enables you to get just that little extra from the camera, because it certainly is there. As far as noise is concerned, Olympus really do need to change a thing or two; the ISO 800 value on the Olympus E330 already shows too much noise compared to the current standards, whilst ISO 1600 is pretty much unusable. Another thing that should be reassessed is the way in which the user creates his own white balance. Whilst the E500 offered a perfect solution, such is not the case with the Olympus E330; the user needs to sacrifice an important button, which is strange, to say the very least.
Olympus E330 SLR camera - Conclusion
All in all, the feelings on the Olympus E330 are positively mixed. The image quality should be improved, and the same goes for certain other features such as the live view and the white balance setting. On the other hand, the Olympus E330 is simply a delightfully sassy camera that -in addition to offering a live view- provides the user with a great range of settings that would certainly befit a professional camera. It seems that Olympus use the Olympus E330 mainly to try out a variety of new things on the consumer. And something can always be said for that. A pity, however, that it comes with a slightly higher price-tag than the one attached to the E500. Nevertheless, the Olympus E330 is a more than excellent camera, albeit one with slightly eccentric whims. But let's be honest: doesn't that have its charms in a world where we already see too much of the same thing?
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Olympus E-330 - Required storage capacity
The Olympus E330 offers a resolution of 7.5 million pixels. Although this is slightly less than that of its predecessor, it certainly isn't significant. However, these types of resolutions do require quite a share of storage capacity. This doesn't limit itself to memory cards; larger hard disks would also prove handy. I would recommend a memory card with a minimum of 1GB for photographing. A RAW file already proves 12.9MB in size, whilst a TIFF is an astounding 21.6MB. This should make it clear why it's wiser to capture your images in RAW than in TIFF, especially when you want to achieve the maximum quality. JPEG offers the choice between several resolutions, each featuring four compression modes. The minimum compression is 1/2.7, which translates to a 5.7MB file when working with the maximum resolution. This is still quite a reasonable file, which easily suffices to produce large prints. The following table shows the amount of images that fit onto a 1GB card.
Considering 1GB of storage capacity:
RAW - 3136x2352 pixels - 12.9MB - 78 images
TIFF - 3136x2352 pixels - 21.6MB - 46 images
JPEG - SHQ 1/2.7 - 3136x2352 pixels - 5.7MB - 178 images
JPEG - HQ 1/4 - 3136x2352 pixels - 4.0MB - 256 images
JPEG - HQ 1/8 - 3136x2352 pixels - 1.8MB - 568 images
JPEG - HQ 1/12 - 3136x2352 pixels - 1.2MB - 852 images
JPEG - SQ 1/2.7 - 2560x1920 pixels - 4.0MB - 256 images
JPEG - SQ 1/4 - 2560x1920 pixels - 2.4MB - 426 images
JPEG - SQ 1/8 - 2560x1920 pixels - 1.2MB - 852 images
JPEG - SQ 1/12 - 2560x1920 pixels - 0.8MB - 1280 images
JPEG - SQ 1/2.7 - 1600x1200 pixels - 1.4MB - 730 images
JPEG - SQ 1/4 - 1600x1200 pixels - 0.9MB - 1136 images
JPEG - SQ 1/8 - 1600x1200 pixels - 0.5MB - 2048 images
JPEG - SQ 1/12 - 1600x1200 pixels - 0.3MB - 3412 images
JPEG - SQ 1/2.7 - 1280x960 pixels - 0.9MB - 1136 images
JPEG - SQ 1/4 - 1280x960 pixels - 0.6MB - 1706 images
JPEG - SQ 1/8 - 1280x960 pixels - 0.3MB - 3412 images
JPEG - SQ 1/12 - 1280x960 pixels - 0.2MB - 5120 images
JPEG - SQ 1/2.7 - 1024x768 pixels - 0.6MB - 1706 images
JPEG - SQ 1/4 - 1024x768 pixels - 0.4MB - 2560 images
JPEG - SQ 1/8 - 1024x768 pixels - 0.2MB - 5120 images
JPEG - SQ 1/12 - 1024x768 pixels - 0.1MB - 10240 images
JPEG - SQ 1/2.7 - 640x480 pixels - 0.2MB - 5120 images
JPEG - SQ 1/4 - 640x480 pixels - 0.2MB - 5120 images
JPEG - SQ 1/8 - 640x480 pixels - 0.1MB - 10240 images
JPEG - SQ 1/12 - 640x480 pixels - 0,1MB - 10240 images