Olympus E-500 digital SLR camera
When the Olympus E-300 first appeared in the market, many raised an eyebrow. Was this the camera that would truly make a mark for the FourThirds system? It wasn't. With the E-500 digital reflex Olympus gives it another shot, one that in my opinion is far more realistic than the last. First of all, because the Olympus E-500 eyes as a regular D-SLR. Photographers have proven to be significantly more conservative than the actual designers of the models. The Olympus E-500 is very well designed indeed. It is a wonderfully compact camera, in to which has obviously gone a considerable amount of thought. It lies nicely in your hand and is easily operated. The camera's ergonomics are truly superb, something you will immediately notice upon taking the camera in your hands for the first time. A genuine example for the other models!
Olympus E-500 - Many setting options
The available settings on the Olympus E-500 are without a doubt surprising. Some of these you would expect on a professional camera and certainly not on a cheaper D-SLR. It makes the E-500 d-SLR an especially attractive digital camera for a very broad and extended target group. If only Olympus had an exceptional professional camera, it would form the ideal combination for the professional photographer. Even with its size taken into regard, the E-500 certainly isn't a slow camera. The shutter release button reacts remarkably quickly,-perhaps one could even say a tad too fast-, the auto focus functions swiftly and accurately and the images are put on to the CompactFlash memory card in no time.
Olympus E-500 D-SLR camera - Image quality & ISO
Whereas the E-300 still received some comments as far as image quality was concerned, the Olympus E-500 has truly grown. A resolution of 8 Megapixels offers more than enough for most photographers. In addition, it should be said that they are beautiful and very useable pixels. Digital noise pretty much only plays a part at ISO 1600; even ISO 800 still perfectly suffices, an area where Olympus had failed me in the past. Credit where credit be due! Olympus deserve even more credit in fact, for their simple solution to create your own white balance. This is truly as easy as it gets! When working in artificial light it I would definitely recommend making your own white balance, especially when taking photos in JPEG. The colour reproduction is of good quality, as is the sharpness of the standard Zuiko Digital lens.
Olympus E-500 SLR camera - Small optical viewfinder
As we all know however, there is often a downside to even the nicest of things. In my opinion, the viewfinder of the Olympus E-500 is simply too small. Nikon has proven with the Nikon D200 that a small sensor doesn't necessarily mean a minimal viewfinder. It has to be said though, that the Olympus E-500 does offer a lot of information next to the matte glass. Where this is concerned, Olympus simply towers over its competition. I am also a little less pleased wit the start-up time. Yes, it is a great thing that the sensor is continually freed of dust, but the two second wait that is the result of this does eventually become a bore. It is something that can barely keep up with what is standard today.
Olympus E-500 recommended digital SLR camera
Overall, I can only conclude that with the E-500 Olympus has introduced a very strong product. For its price-range, it offers the user a remarkable amount of options: plenty of special functions, fantastic image quality and an ergonomically very well thought out design. Naturally, it has a few minor flaws but in my opinion it is one of the best cameras, if not the very best, in its class. Truly recommended!
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SanDisk Extreme III CF memory card
It is fair to say that by now we have all grown accustomed to 8 Megapixels in D-SLR cameras. They offer sufficiently large files for a beautiful enlargement. It does however require a considerable amount of space, especially when photographing in RAW. A RAW file is approximately 13.6MB in size. A TIFF no less than 24.5MB; it is thus a great thing that an 8 bits TIFF is. Where JPEG is concerned, the file size mainly depends on the compression used. The E-500 comes with four compression settings. At the maximum resolution a JPEG with a 1/2.7 x compression is approximately 5.4MB in size. In the lowest compression (1/12) this has gone down to 1.8MB. With such files it is more than recommendable to have sufficient capacity; in my opinion a 1GB memory card would thus be the absolute minimum. Better yet would be a 2GB memory card, in addition it would also be wise to pay a little extra attention to the speed of the card. CompactFlash cards from, for example, SanDisk; the SanDisk Extreme III CF, offers highly continuous and quick data processing, which is a feature that offers a distinct increase in speed for a camera such as the Olympus E500. The following table shows how many images fit on a 1GB memory card at various resolutions.
Considering 1GB of storage capacity:
RAW - 3264 x 2448 - 13.6MB - 74 images
TIFF - 3264 x 2448 - 24.5MB - 40 images
JPEG - SHQ - 3264 x 2448 - 1/2.7 - 6.4MB – 160 images
JPEG - HQ - 3264 x 2448 - 1/4 - 4.5MB - 226 images
JPEG - HQ - 3264 x 2448 - 1/8 - 2.5MB - 408 images
JPEG - HQ - 3264 x 2448 - 1/12 - 1.8MB - 568 images
JPEG - SQ - 3200 x 2400 - 1/2.7 - 6.2MB - 164 images
JPEG - SQ - 3200 x 2400 - 1/4 - 4.4MB - 232 images
JPEG - SQ - 3200 x 2400 - 1/8 - 2.4MB - 426 images
JPEG - SQ - 3200 x 2400 - 1/12 - 1.8MB – 568 images
JPEG - SQ - 2560 x 1920 - 1/2.7 - 3.7MB - 276 images
JPEG - SQ - 2560 x 1920 - 1/4 - 2.5MB - 408 images
JPEG - SQ - 2560 x 1920 - 1/8 - 1.3MB - 786 images
JPEG - SQ - 2560 x 1920 - 1/12 - 800KB - 1280 images
JPEG - SQ - 1600 x 1200 - 1/2.7 - 1.5MB - 682 images
JPEG - SQ - 1600 x 1200 - 1/4 - 1.0MB - 1024 images
JPEG - SQ - 1600 x 1200 - 1/8 - 500KB - 2048 images
JPEG - SQ - 1600 x 1200 - 1/12 - 400KB - 2560 images
JPEG - SQ - 1280 x 960 - 1/2.7 - 900KB - 1136 images
JPEG - SQ - 1280 x 960 - 1/4 - 600KB - 1706 images
JPEG - SQ - 1280 x 960 - 1/8 - 300KB - 3412 images
JPEG - SQ - 1280 x 960 - 1/12 - 200KB - 5120 images
JPEG - SQ - 1024 x 768 - 1/2.7 - 600KB - 1706 images
JPEG - SQ - 1024 x 768 - 1/4 - 400KB - 2560 images
JPEG - SQ - 1024 x 768 - 1/8 - 200KB - 5120 images
JPEG - SQ - 1024 x 768 - 1/12 - 200KB - 5120 images
JPEG - SQ - 640 x 480 - 1/2.7 - 300KB - 3412 images
JPEG - SQ - 640 x 480 - 1/4 - 200KB - 5120 images
JPEG - SQ - 640 x 480 - 1/8 - 100KB - 10240 images
JPEG - SQ - 640 x 480 - 1/12 - 100KB - 10240 images