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Olympus E-620 review

Ben Pitt
29 Dec 2009
Olympus E-620
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
540
inc VAT

Some interesting features, but image quality is a little disappointing at this price.

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Specifications

17.3x13mm 12.2-megapixel sensor, 3.0x zoom (28-84mm equivalent), 665g

Like all Olympus DSLRs, the S-620 uses the Four-Thirds lens system. These cameras have sensors that are a little smaller than the APS-C sensors in other consumer DSLRs. This can have a negative impact on image quality, and means the viewfinder is smaller too, but it also allows the camera and lens to be more compact. We're not sure how significant this benefit is - a few millimetres shaved off here and there isn't very noticeable. The E-620 is light for an SLR but not spectacularly so, although its fibreglass-reinforced plastic body feels tougher than most.

This is one of the pricier models in Olympus's consumer DSLR line-up, so it's fair to expect some impressive features. Image stabilisation is built into the camera body, so it will work with any lens. The articulated screen pivots at the side to allow self-portraits as well as shooting from above and below eye level. This is great for making the most of the live view mode. Even though the screen's 2.7in size and 230,000-dot resolution isn't the largest, we found the articulated design very useful. The live view image shows white balance and exposure settings, while a 10x digital magnification helps to achieve sharp manual focus. Video recording and HDMI are disappointingly absent, though.

The E-620 has more physical controls than Olympus's cheaper DSLRs, with dedicated buttons for AF point, white balance, ISO speed, metering and focus mode settings. Buttons are backlit, which is useful in dim or dramatic lighting conditions. The backlight is subtle enough not to be a distraction in normal use.

We rarely pay much attention to digital photo effects built into cameras, as it's nearly always better to apply these on a PC. However, Olympus's Art Filters are better than most. Soft Focus, Grainy Film and Pin Hole are particularly pleasing. Other unusual features include bracketing not just for exposure and white balance but also for flash power and ISO speed.

The E-620's continuous mode is meant to run at 4fps but managed only 3.3fps in our test, slowing to the speed of the CompactFlash card after just seven shots. Even so, that's reasonably competitive for the price. The camera took a while to switch on and shoot, though, at around 1.5 seconds, and autofocus was slow and unreliable in low light.

Image quality in bright light was generally excellent, but while details were sharp, subtle textures weren't as precise as from competing cameras. The Auto ISO mode had a lower limit of 200, which produced some evidence of noise in the shadows, even in brightly lit shots. The E-620 failed to compete at high ISO settings, producing more noise and less detail than entry-level SLRs from other manufacturers.

Disappointing low-light performance and the small viewfinder count against it, but the E-620's articulated screen, capable live view and multitude of unusual features and controls leave it with an average overall rating.

Basic Specifications

Rating***
CCD effective megapixels12.2 megapixels
CCD size17.3x13mm
Viewfinderoptical TTL
LCD screen size2.7in
LCD screen resolution230,000 pixels
Optical zoom3.0x
Zoom 35mm equivalent28-84mm
Image stabilisationoptical, sensor shift
Maximum image resolution4,288x2,848
Maximum movie resolutionN/A
Movie frame rate at max qualityN/A
File formatsJPEG, RAW

Physical

Memory slotCompactFlash, xD
Mermory suppliednone
Battery type7.2V 1,150mAh Li-ion
Battery Life (tested)500 shots
ConnectivityUSB, composite video
Body materialglassfibre-reinforced plastic
AccessoriesUSB and video cables, neck strap
Weight665g
Size94x130x60mm

Buying Information

Price£540
Supplierhttp://www.amazon.co.uk
Detailswww.olympus.co.uk

Camera Controls

Exposure modesprogram, shutter priority, aperture priority, manual
Shutter speed60 to 1/4,000 seconds
Aperture rangef/3.5-22 (wide), f/5.6-22 (tele)
ISO range (at full resolution)100 to 3200
Exposure compensation+/-5 EV
White balanceauto, 8 presets, custom, manual
Additional image controlscontrast, saturation, sharpness, dynamic range, colour space, noise reduction, aspect ratio
Manual focusYes
Closest macro focus25cm
Auto-focus modes7-point
Metering modesmulti, centre-weighted, centre, highlight priority, shadow priority, face detect
Flashauto, forced, suppressed, slow synchro, rear curtain, red-eye reduction
Drive modessingle, continuous, self-timer, remote, AE bracket, WB bracket, flash bracket, ISO bracket

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