Olympus E-30 Digital SLRs

Olympus E-30 Digital SLRs 


The E-30 is for photographers looking to turn ordinary moments into extraordinary masterpieces. Autofocus Live View with Multiple Exposure shooting lets you create artistic effects in-camera. Six Art Filters instantly give your images a variety of creative looks. Features like Face Detection, Shadow Adjustment Technology and In-body Image Stabilization ensure clear, crisp images in any shooting situation. It all adds up to a DSLR for photographers who want to express themselves more artistically.


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[Feb 10, 2010]


* Image quality
* Electronic spirit level
* the MOST effective sensor dust removal system in use today
* In-body Image Stabilization
* Flip-out, tilt and swivel LCD
* Bright viewfinder
* Ergonomics/build
* Takes Olympus legacy lenses (with adapter)


* No weather sealing (nice to have, but not a huge weakness for me)
* Pop-up flash blocked slightly with non-kit zoom lens
* No SD Card support in addition to CF
* No video (nice to have, but not a huge weakness for me)

For the advanced photographer, this camera really shines. I’ve had mine about 6 weeks and every time I use it I love it more. The ergonomics are great. For me, a woman with average sized hands with long fingers, this camera handles like a dream. Sure, it’s hefty, but I rather like that for its steadying effect. The build is solid and the finish speaks of high quality. Not toy-like or plasticky. Exactly what you’d expect in a camera of this caliber, but typical of all Olympus DSLRs regardless of price point. Olympus is well known for innovation and including new features even on entry-level cameras (in body IS, Live View, effective sensor dust removal etc). I wouldn't recommend the E-30 to a new photographer, but I would enthusiastically to one who has a few years under their belt and who wants a camera that is long on features, quality and durability.

Controls for the most basic functions like white balance, ISO, focus mode and depth-of-field preview are easily reached and utilized. The main method of operation is covered in two knurled selector wheels in front of and behind the shutter release. They scroll independently of each other to select settings or menu choices and can be highly customized. This covers a lot of territory which is better covered by professional reviewers, but here’s an example of what I mean; when you’re in Aperture Priority the front one can be assigned to change the aperture and the rear to +/- EV compensation or vice versa. It means I don’t have to take my eye off the viewfinder to make adjustments and these two selector wheels can be customized for almost every application they are used for. The viewfinder itself is bright and large covering a 98% view with built in diopter. Focusing my legacy glass is no longer painful as it was with a 1st-generation DSLR. Reading info displayed just below the inside view is a breeze, too.

The E-30 sports both a top LCD display and a rear display (Live View and photo review) so there is plenty of real estate for information. Let’s talk about that rear LCD for a sec – it not only flips out, but also swivels and tilts. No more squatting down in uncomfortable conditions to jam my eye against the viewfinder. How often do you have your camera at exactly head height on a tripod? How many times have you gotten wet and dirty squatting down to take pictures? Do your knees beg for mercy only an hour into your shoot? No more! Whether it’s on a tripod or handheld it makes Live View MUCH more usable (especially with manually focused legacy lenses). Macro shooters delight. I’ve even held it over my head to take pictures perfectly composed. Oh and the electronic spirit level ensures no more tippy horizons. Joy! Using the shadow/highlight indicator in playback mode is extremely useful for quickly seeing clipped highs or lows and there are many other information overlays to choose from.

The E-30’s 4/3rds sensor is vastly improved over early iterations. The dynamic range and detail handling are superb. I routinely shoot up to 800 ISO with excellent results. Color rendition is typically Olympus; rich and slightly saturated. Textures are crisp and well rendered. Noise reduction is good. The key is correct exposure. Larger sensor users decry the 4/3rds IQ at high ISO, but they don’t understand that it’s not the sensor’s ability to render as much as it depends on proper exposure. Underexposures are prone to noise while correct ones aren’t. It’s less forgiving than a larger sensor and thus takes more skill to get right the first time. In that respect it acts more like film used to.

In-body Image Stabilization works with system lenses or manual/legacy glass from any manufacturer with an adapter available. This is especially useful for me since because of the 2x sensor crop factor, most of my OM Zuiko telephotos become super-telephotos on this camera. Just set the mm length and you’re good to go. Who needs in-body Image Stabilization anyway, right?

Mostly though, I use this with the Zuiko Digital 12-60mm SWD f2.8-4 zoom lens. Due to revamped and improved technology in the lens, this is just about the fastest focusing DSLR combination available. The lens covers a 24mm to 120mm range in the old 35mm format which is perfect for 90% of what many photographers shoot all the time. As an outdoors/nature photographer it suits me down to the ground.

Customer Service

I have not had the pleasure of working with Olympus directly so cannot comment. From other reports though I hear it is excellent.

Similar Products Used:

A 1st generation Olympus DSLR - the E-300 which was my first digital camera after 20 years of using manual 35mm Olympus cameras and lenses.

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