The Olympus EVOLT E-330 has the image
quality and flexibility that advanced amateur
photographers desire in a digital SLR but seems
to be also targeting the beginner amateur photographers
who want to make the jump to a Digital SLR with
its Live View LCD and Scene Modes. It has 7.5
megapixel resolution on a 4/3 in. (17.3 x 13 mm)
Live MOS Sensor, and can be purchased body only
or with the 14-45mm (28-90mm, 35 mm equivalent)
f/3.5-5.6 Zuiko Digital Lens kit.
(28mm, 35mm equivalent)
(90mm, 35mm equivalent)
One of the advantage of a dSLR is the ability
to use interchangeable lenses suited for specific
jobs. The lens mount system used in the Olympus
E-330 is based on the Four
Thirds open standard which means that, besides
the Olympus Zuiko digital lenses created for the
EVOLT digital SLRs, you can also use other Four
Thirds lenses, such as the Sigma 4/3-System lenses.
Leica is also promising to design and manufacture
more 4/3-Systems lenses. Here is a list of compatible
Four Thirds lenses.
What is not visible outwardly but is another
exclusive feature of the Olympus E-330/Panasonic
L1 is the Dust Reduction System. With SLR cameras
that use interchangeable lenses, dust can enter
the camera and settle on the image sensor everytime
the lens is changed. A Supersonic Wave Filter
is positioned in front of the image sensor and
everytime the camera is switched on, this filter
generates supersonic vibrations at a rate of around
30,000 per second to shake off dust and other
particles from the sensor. The dust is collected
by a dust absorption section below the filter.
This ensures the quality of the images is not
compromised by dust on the image sensor.
45mm (90mm), Program, ESP+AF,
1/50 sec., F6.3, ISO 100
Sharpened in Photoshop Elements
The actual macro capability is a function of
the lens you use, and the included Zuiko lens
allows you to focus only as close as 38 cm (1.2
ft.). This does not allow us to cover a small
enough area for what we generally call "macro."
I find that I obtain my best macro results using
the lens set at maximum telephoto. If you are
into macro photography, check out the 50mm f/2.0
Macro Zuiko Digital Lens which allows you to move
in as close as 24 cm (9.45 in.) with a 35mm equivalent
of 100mm and a large F2.0 aperture.
As the above two pictures show, the auto white
balance (AWB) indoors under tungsten artificial
light tends toward the yellow. Fortunately, there
is One-Touch Manual WB that is easy to set and
provides excellent results. As expected, AWB works
well in natural light.
The Olympus EVOLT E-330 has 13 ISO settings going
from ISO 100 to ISO 400, plus the ability to "boost"
the ISO up to ISO 800 and ISO 1600. [The Olympus
E-300 had only 3 settings from 100 to 400, plus
800 and 1600.] The 100%
crops above (area delimited by the white square)
demonstrate the noise at the available ISO Speeds.
At ISO 100 to 400, noise is under control. Noise
is visibly present at boosted ISO 800 to ISO 1600
but are also quite usable though at the expense
I have not been able to find much CA in everyday
high-contrast shots, and where it is present it
is minimal. The corner delimited by the red square
at top right, and reproduced at 100% crop at bottom
right, shows minimal purple fringing. The highlights,
however, are blown.
29mm (58mm), Manual, ESP,
60 sec., F8, ISO 100
Manual WB (3000K), Self-timer 10 sec., Tripod
Noise Reduction ON
using the 14-45mm F3.5-5.6 lens
The Olympus EVOLT E-330 allows the use of a long
shutter speed of up to 60 sec. in Manual and Shutter-Priority
modes (plus up to 8 minutes Bulb in Manual mode),
therefore allowing night photography. Generally,
with CCD image sensors, noise usually becomes
more prominent at slow shutter speeds. When you
set Noise Reduction to ON in the menu [Menu -
Shooting Menu 1 - Noise Reduction - ON], the EVOLT
E-330 has special noise reduction algorithm that
automatically kicks in at shutter speeds at 4
sec. and longer and you'll notice a longer processing
time (approx. twice as long) before the next picture
can be taken.
To test this noise reduction algorithm, we decided
to take a low-light indoors shot. To obtain a
long exposure, I place Bamm-Bamm under my desk
where it's dark.
I experiment a bit to obtain the optimum exposure,
eventually settling on 60 sec. at F8. Even at
this long shutter speed, the EVOLT E-330's noise
reduction seems to be working great, producing
a nice smooth blurring effect of the background.
We find that the AF is very responsive and images
snap quickly into focus. The pop-up flash is used
as an AF Illuminator to aid in focusing, so pop
it up when it's dark and hard to obtain focus.
The strobed light from the flash is pretty strong,
so be careful not to blind your live subject(s).
Of course, if you do not intend to use flash,
set it to No Flash in the menu, and then you can
pop it up to simply function as an AF Illuminator.
The Olympus EVOLT E-330 allows you to save an
image in the RAW file format. It takes about 4
sec. to write a RAW image to memory card (I used
a regular 1GB CF card) and if you select to save
your image in both RAW and SHQ JPEG, it takes
about 6 sec. to save both to memory card. You
can specify the JPEG image quality you wish to
save together with your RAW image. Note that these
times do not include the extra write times you'll
experience if Noise Reduction kicks in.
At SHQ, a 7.5MP image is compressed down to anywhere
between 4MB and 5MB. A RAW image occupies about
The Olympus EVOLT E-330 does not incorporate
a live histogram. In Playback mode, press the
Info button repeatedly to view the histogram,
blinking highlights and blinking shadows.
We find the overall image quality of the Olympus
EVOLT E-330 up to ISO 400 to be excellent
with good details in the shadows and highlights.
The pictures in the Olympus EVOLT E-330 Photo
Gallery page provide a good sample of what
the camera is capable of. I have provided unprocessed
samples at 800x600 pixels (compressed to Quality
60/100 in Photoshop Elements) as well as the 3136x2352
pixels original size (click on the image for the
original version). Any of the 800x600 image that
is adjusted for levels and/or sharpened in Photoshop
has "_adjusted" appended to the file
name. Original images are never adjusted.
You can safely assume that most macro shots and
slow shutter speed shots required the use of a
I have defaulted the image size to 800x600 pixels.
For those who have their monitor resolution set
to 1024x728 pixels, everything should snugly fit
and you should not have to scroll to see the whole
image. If your monitor is set to 800x600 pixels
resolution, start the slide show and then scroll
to the right to position the image within your
screen width. Then, press F11 (if you are using
Internet Explorer) to switch to full screen mode,
and the image should fill your screen nicely.
Press F11 again at any time to switch your monitor
display back to normal mode.
To return to this page from the Photo Gallery,
click on the animated graphics of the camera.
Please open and download the original size version
only if you need to and only once
to your hard drive -- and save me some precious