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You are hereHome > Best Digital Cameras > Olympus EVOLT E-330 DSLR


Olympus EVOLT E-330 Review

Review Date: Oct 16, 2006

Category: Advanced Amateur - Prosumer

Olympus EVOLT E-330 with optional underwater housing
Olympus E-330 with optional underwater housing

Photoxels Editor's Choice 2006


Tuesday, September 26, 2006 - Here's what I receive in the box:

  • EVOLT E-330 dSLR w/Body Cap
  • No memory card [though I received a 1GB Team CF Card]
  • 14-45mm F3.5-5.6 Zuiko Digital Lens w/lens shade, lens cap and rear cap
  • Shoulder Strap
  • Li-Ion Battery BLM-1 7.2V 1500 mAh, Charger & Power Cord
  • Interface Cables: A/V; USB
  • Instruction Manuals: Advanced Manual; Quick Start Guide, System Chart
  • Software CDs: Olympus Master 1.1

The Olympus EVOLT E-330 feels comfortable and handling is superb, except perhaps for the left bottom front edge [viewed from the back] that keeps jabbing into the palm of my left hand; a slightly more rounded edge would be perfect. Otherwise, the main controls fall under your fingers and there is no fumbling for the controls. Press a control button and rotate the Control Dial with your thumb for fast settings change.

Operations are fast. Half-press the shutter release button and your subject instantly zips into focus. Compared to other DSLRs that use a pentaprism (instead of mirrors), the viewfinder is dark and small. But coming from a user who mostly uses compact consumer digital cameras [DSLRs are still too large and heavy for my taste], the porro mirror viewfinder looks positively big and welcomed compared to the tunnel vision on consumer digital cameras.

In my review kit, besides the camera, I also receive the 14-45mm F3.5-5.6 Zuiko Digital Lens. Due to the 2x crop factor, the lens provides a 35mm equivalent focal length of 28-90mm. One thing that I notice right away is the incredible shallow depth-of-field possible with the lens when using a large aperture and/or using the lens at the tele end of the focal length.

Though the major feature of the E-330 is the Live View LCD, at first I found myself using the viewfinder most of the time, as I guess most DSLR users do anyway; it's just the way you hold the camera with the right hand on the grip and the left hand under the lens that makes it natural to use the viewfinder. However, when I did have to crouch low for macro shots or to get a low angle, boy, was I mighty glad for the Live View LCD and the fact that it also tilts! It's the best of both worlds.

Overlay: Olympus E-330 and Panasonic L1
Mouseover image to see the Panasonic L1

Back when I did the E-300 review, I wrote the following:

"If you are used only to consumer digital cameras, you will miss a few things when you upgrade to a dSLR. For example, there is no live view on the LCD monitor -- it's strictly for Playback. For macro work, there is no swiveling LCD monitor, so you have to crouch down to your subject level peering thru the viewfinder."

Well, the E-330 has rectified both situations with its Live View tilting LCD!

The EVOLT E-330 in the hands

Consider what you get with the E-330:

- Excellent image quality with low noise up to ISO 400, with usable ISO 800

- Dust Reduction System

- Live View LCD when you really need to use it

- Tilting LCD for flexibility in composition

- Powerful built-in flash

Overall, the Olympus EVOLT E-330 is a very capable DSLR with lots of exposure flexibility -- it will take months to try them all -- and excellent image quality. The Live View LCD adds the practical and useful flexibility not available in any other DSLR (except the Panasonic L1 / Leica Digilux 3). If you're thinking of graduating from the world of point-and-shoot digicams but not too sure about it, the Olympus E-330 is not too big and not too heavy and may be the exact bridge digital camera you need to convince you to make the jump.

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