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Small in size – powerful in creativity. The E-450 is the world's smallest digital SLR with built-in Art Filters. The three Art Filters – Pop Art, Pin Hole and Soft Focus – bring greater creativity and freestyle experimentation to the new E-450. The new camera also provides heavyweight technologies, including a 2.7-inch LCD and fast, consumer-friendly on-screen Autofocus, Face Detection, Shadow Adjustment Technology and Perfect Shot Preview to help you get the most out of the Live View experience.
Submitted by cgarrard a Professional
Date Reviewed: October 16, 2009
Strengths: As noted above
Weaknesses: As noted above
Delving into the four thirds mount gives you a totally different perspective on DSLR photography, as there are many advantages to this mount vs. other top manufacturers. Price, weight, features, size, optical quality, are all one step ahead of the competition (no matter where you look), and the e450 exaggerates and exemplifies these advantages wearing them like a crown.
The e450 is an updated model to the very popular e420 from Olympus. The main differences between the e450 and e420 aren't many but are here as follows: An improved LCD display with punchier output and better viewing angles, a new processing engine (TruePic III+), improved contrast detect auto focus during live view, improved buffer for continuous shooting, and the addition of 3 art filters that are quite useful and fun to use.
Otherwise the two cameras are very similar. The e450 was sold on QVC exclusively but kits can be found at other retailers too. In my case I purchased a factory refurbished kit that comes with a full 1 year warranty and by all measures is a brand new camera (less the Olympus box).
This camera is very compact, if you have SLR/DSLR experience with other brands it will shock you by its size and weight, in a very good way. Although the e450 lacks a standard grip it is by all standards very comfortable when you hold it properly, and sits very comfortable on the thumb and palm. The sheer size of this camera is a huge advantage but there are many more advantages than that.
1. Optical Quality- The kit lens is by far the best of any DSLR on the market due to the smaller sensor taking advantage of the sweet spot in the projected image circle, and the general high quality Zuiko glass that has an ED (extra low disbursement ) element to combat abberations (color fringing). Very sharp through all of the f/stops with hardly any perceivable distortion (some barrel at 35mm), but you'll get the sharpest images at f/5.6 to f/8. Small, light, good range, and sharp. Bravo!
2. Features Abound- The E450 has to be the most customizable and feature packed DSLR in the world for the size, and for its price. Customizable buttons, white balance options, fast user interface via "super control panel", internal processing options (raw or jpeg), live view that has contrast detect and phase detect autofocus (temp flip up of mirror), LCD with excellent viewing angles, expanded ev. adjustment range (-5 to +5), 3.5fps capture max, on and on...
3. Excellent JPegs right out of the camera that exhibit great color, good dynamic range (not great but good), detail, and gradation. Very pleasing results that will have most photographers leaving Raw alone.
4. Portability- A key advantage here, with an excellent 14-42mm kit lens (28 -84mm 35mm equivalent) the e450 is slightly larger than a large compact camera (say a G10 with lens extended fully), and for those who love to bring along camera gear on outdoor excursions I can think of no DSLR that is more compact or appropriate for the task. I can hardly feel it in my daypack/camelbak and holding it for long hikes on the neck is a breeze and quite frankly liberating in comparison to other DSLRS.
5. Optical Viewfinder- Quite decent and can be made to perform better with an Olympus 1.2x eyepiece magnifier for about $40.00 more. For its size and price, you won't find a better OVF available in any camera. It is much more functional than any compact viewfinder, and if you need to magnify for critical focus you can use live view and the 7x/10x live magnify feature.
6. Ergonomics and Build Quality- I was actually surprised to find that the e450 takes very little time to get used too with all the exterior button placements etc, every knob switch and button are logically placed with easy and quick to access (and often by feel alone). It is a very comfortable DSLR suprisingly, the small grip gives you just enough curves to hold it securely, and I recommend holding it like a large compact (two lower fingers curled underneath the body). The build quality surprised me too, pictures make the e450 look a bit plasticy and hollow, however, the e450 feels dense and sturdy. The body is made of fiber reinforced polycarbonate which is a step above most DSLR manufactures plastics material usage. It nearly feels as though it is made of metal. For its price, it is a very well built and comfortable camera.
Overall the e450 was a shock to me. I was looking for a small camera to pack with me on trail running trips or for an alternative to my large full frame DSLR gear when I want to go light but not sacrifice versatility or image quality. The e450 performs this task perfectly and does this all the while being an extremely fun camera to use.
I also purchased the 25mm f/2.8 Zuiko, and attach that to the e450 and you have a low light, near pocketable DSLR that has a versatile 50mm equivalent focal length. I think this lens best exemplifies the strengths of the e450 design. You'd have to hold one to really understand what I mean. When compared to other DSLRS, its simply amazing.
The e450 charmed me. I bring it with me now everywhere, and although it has some limitations (what camera doesn't?) the e450 will help you look beyond any of them because it has so many advantages. It is a versatile and complete photography tool designed by those who care about photographers needs. It won't win the best looking award contest, but I could care a rats ass less about marketing desires in design.
I want a camera to perform well, handle well, and be comfortable. Olympus apparently feels this way too, and I applaud them. Four Thirds has come a long way to catch up to the bigger APS-C sensor image quality and are so close in the race, there is no longer a viable reason that I can think of to ignore this mount as a primary or additional setup to your gear. It sits right in the middle of size and weight between compacts and other DSLRS and is worthy of a serious look.
Although the e450 doesn't have image stabilization you can get some lenses for it that do have it, and you tend to work around it. I think this is probably the biggest weakness of the e450 but I don't complain about it, theres just too much to like here. I think the sharpening in camera could be better as well so I back it off a bit in camera and do my sharpening in another program, if you don't do that sort of stuff, just set the camera to no more that +1 for sharpness and you should be pleased.
I have dubbed the e450 a nickname- The Might Mite. I think this truly defines the capabilities and size of the camera perfectly. See if you agree.
Duration Product Used: 11-20 years
Price Paid: $369.00
Purchased At: Cameta Camera
Similar Products Used: I've used nearly every brand of DSLR on the market, and I've used most large compact cameras as well. The list is just too long to put here. Just trust my advice, is my advice :).
Type of photography: Outdoor
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