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Olympus Evolt E-300 Digital SLRs
A 100% digital SLR camera that eliminates any photographic limitations. A powerful 8 megapixel CCD combines with interchangeable Zuiko digital lenses, the Olympus exclusive Supersonic Wave Filter and other cutting-edge technologies for world-class images. Advances in design make for a durable, portable, and responsive compact camera you can take and trust anywhere.
Submitted by chanceoc a Expert
Date Reviewed: January 24, 2006
Strengths: - Very good construction
- Very good lenses when purchased as a package
- Excellent image quality
- Good ergonomics
Weaknesses: - Display in the viewfinder is probably the worst thing - I didn't even notice it was there for a week.
- Accessories (i.e. flashes) are more expensive than competitors
- White balance more difficult to use than competitors
I read reviews on this product, and was impressed. At $510 for a 8 megapixal camera with 2 lenses, I decided to give it a shot. I am glad I did.
The camera can be purchased as a set with two Olympus Zuiko lenses (14-45 & 40-150). Both of these lenses are solid performers - much better than the packages available on most cameras. Please note with the Olympus 4/3 lense system, this equates to a 35 mm 28-300 range.
Olympus has had a chance to work out most bugs from its initial release via firmware. Many of the reviews of this camera are indeed valid; however, some of the minor early problems have been addressed.
The photo quality rivals that of any camera maker. Perhaps the thing that makes it stand out in the price range, is the build quality. The camera has a metal frame that is covered by a combination of rubber and high impact, textured material.
The metering on the camera is extremely accurate, and I am very satisfied with its AF speed and accuracy. Please note the recommendation to purchase this camera with the set of lenses, as the 4/3 lenses are considerably more expensive and not as available as some competitors (i.e. Nikon, Pentax and Canon) - which I own.
I believe this is the best camera deal out there as of this date, and suggest anyone give this camera a good look.
Duration Product Used: 21+ years
Price Paid: $510.00
Purchased At: Cameta Auctions (eba
Similar Products Used: Fujis S2 Pro
Nikon N90s (film camera)
Type of photography: Outdoor
Submitted by proshooter-62 a Professional
Date Reviewed: November 23, 2005
Strengths: Supersonic Wave Filter. If you've ever had to clean a CCD more than once a month, you don't need a cattle prod to get excited over this feature. I've already caught myself thinking, "time to clean the imager" until I remember which rig I'm prepping for work.
Out of the camera JPEGs can be adjusted to suit your own vision - whoops! Better repeat that for folks used to one-time performance testing with a colour chart. Sure, if you have time as a luxury then you can shoot RAW but if you're in a pinch you can go to JPEG and be happy. The Olympus engineers delivered a camera that delivers just the contrasty, punchy images that keep the cheques coming in the door - unless your client prefers more muted images, then you just make a menu adjustment and off you go again.
It looks like a rangefinder on steroids. The side-mounted mirror removes the pentaprism hump and so you have a sleek, inconspicuous, SLR.
Did I mention JPEG image control?? How about customizable white balances along with a 'one-touch' situation white balance.
I read some reviews that said the viewfinder was small and dark. I didn't find that to be the case as it remains bright enough that you can actually see what you're looking at.
Major functions have separate "quick buttons" on the back of the camera body so you don't have to drill through menus during a session. It's got an info screen that let's you see all of your settings, and change them, at a glance.
The kit lens(es). I posted the retail price of my E300 kit... but even in Canada I got it for much, much, less and with the 14-45/40-150 lens combo. And the Zuiko glass is razor-sharp - trust me on this: I shot Zuiko as an OM-1 user and their pro glass is on par with Nikon and Canon.
Oh!! And the thousands you'll save on the body can go directly into better glass.
(Yep. 8Mp is a nice figure but it's the LENSES that RESOLVE the light.)
Weaknesses: W-ell, it depends on your shooting style - but forget earning a living shooting sports. The camera does 3 frames and pauses. If you anticipate your peak action, you can probably get a couple of shots, but don't complain when this camera can't keep up. It's not an 8fps sports camera.
There's only one control dial so you have to switch between setting shutter and aperture in manual mode. This is no biggy for studio or setups, but it's a pain when using, say, a Vivitar 285 HV. And there's no PC-Synch cord so unless you use a transmitter, you'll be using another strobe as a trigger.
Oh! And if you buy the portrait grip... well, it's a dual-battery holder with a shutter release - that's it. No focus/exposure lock and no controls so you have to flip it over to make adjustments.
Only 3 AF points and the sensor is not protected from dirt or elements - in fact, the AF reflector sits right behind the mirror and looks to be mounted on a plastic arm. Similarly, the mirror also appears to be attached with plastic arms.
On the topic of those AF points, they're too close together (ha ha ha ha) for any serious thought on using anything but the center sensor - which of course means low-light AF performance leads to lens hunting.
The Auto WB really is questionable and the LCD preview has a reddish cast. You MUST use the histogram to judge exposure or you'll under-expose many shots.
Hey! This is a personal observation but the "manual focus" isn't what I'm used to - but then again, Canon pro glass feature manual focus overrides.
The wide kit lens. 14-45 F3.5 - F5.6 means don't expect much indoors unless you can go phojo-style and shoot close, short and wide.
And good luck finding four-thirds lenses. Even the kit lenses sell for $US200 on Ebay and the jury is still out on whether the format will be widely adopted, so ya might want to get an Oly adapter to use your existing lenses or bite the bullet for the good glass. Don't get me wrong here, the kit lenses are adequate for just about every situation - but you will love the quality of the Zuiko pro glass.
First off, I'm an award-winning editorial photographer testing the waters for a switch from Canon DSLRs to Olympus. I promised the rep I'd pick up a rig and see what it could do - and if I liked it, I'd sell my Canon gear and switch to Oly.
What swayed me from the E500 was the inavailability of a portrait grip. Although the E500 has undergone major revisions, the E300 is not a bad little rig for the money (US$600) with 8Mp four/thirds sensor and two (Freakin' TWO!!) adequate lenses. Major feature is Olympus optical ability for out-of-the-camera to press. Great features/phojo/portrait/studio camera and the Zuiko glass is excellent.
Hey, it's not marketed as a 'pro' rig but it makes pro images - and that's all that matters - especially switching over from Canon DSLRs!!
You get a lot of bang for your dollar for ANY shooter. There are enough menu options from a first-timer on up to those whose images are their living.
Yep. I like it. And I now have four Canon DSLRs, batts, and lenses for sale.
Duration Product Used: 21+ years
Price Paid: $1099.00
Purchased At: Carsand-Mosher
Similar Products Used: (Ha ha)
Kodak DCS 460
Kodak DCS 3C
Kodak DCS 520 / Canon D2000
Olympus E-10 (w/grip and LiPo batt)
Canon D30 (w/grip)
Canon D60 (w/grip)
Canon 10D (w/grip)
Canon 1D Mrk II
Type of photography: Other
Submitted by wthelenX27 a Expert
Date Reviewed: September 28, 2005
Strengths: Excellent color.
Sharp kit lens.
Weaknesses: No flash sync port. Hot shoe only.
Great camera. Easy to use right out of the box. Controls easy to use and well placed. Fast, accurate focusing.
Takes some time to set up for customization ( White Balance, Saturation etc. ) but well worth the effort to get your personal settings.
Fast picture write to card.
Large, easy to read menus.
Does everything that I need.
ISO noise above 800 is not an issue for me. I rarely used film at 1600 and have little use for the higher ISO in digital.
When I do use higher ISO I use Noise Ninja to clean it up.
Very long battery life. Over 600 pictures and I still had a charge left.
Price Paid: $799.00
Purchased At: CompUSA
Similar Products Used: Canon A1
Canon EOS 300D
Submitted by halfmac a Professional
Date Reviewed: August 24, 2005
Strengths: Dust Buster. Lenes. Quality Build. Color Reproduction. Mirror lock-up. Smaller telephoto lenses. Uses older lenses with adapters.
Weaknesses: High iso noise (not that bad, noise reduction software works)
Bought the camera for a trip because I needed a second camera to my D-Rebel. Wanted to try it out. After the trip I liked e300 better. It feels better in my hands. The colors out of the camera are the best I have seen from a DSLR. More options in the menus than other in this price range.
Price Paid: $859.00
Purchased At: Costco
Similar Products Used: Digital Rebel, Sony F707
Submitted by Bytesmiths a Professional
Date Reviewed: June 30, 2005
Strengths: Top notch glass, best-of-class macro and wide angle capabilities.
Weaknesses: Lack of PC socket for studio strobes. Lack of cable release, except via the optional grip. Lack of dedicated DOF control. Lack of short extension tubes for wide macro.
I've been a Zuiko fan for years, and have 21 OM Zuikos, mostly fast wides and macros. I've been holding out for a digital that was up to these lenses, and here it is! The E-300 is lightweight and relatively small. the 4/3rds System started out fairly small, but is building quickly with world-class lenses that currently better anything available for digital. The 7-14/4 alone is reason to buy this camera! Other dSLR makers have given access to loads of inferior (at least for digital) glass, especially for those of us who love wide angle.
Price Paid: $620.00
Purchased At: eBay
Similar Products Used: E-20n, D-600L, numerous OM bodies and lenses
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