Olympus E-620

If you've been hankering after an Olympus E-30 but baulked at the price, don't despair ... just get the E-620 instead. It's a competent, capable digital SLR in the vein of its older sibling, but a lot smaller and cheaper.


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There's nothing like a bit of friendly competition to send camera companies scurrying back to the drawing board, but when that competition comes from within their own range, that's a completely different ball game altogether.

In this case, the showdown comes from Olympus' new E-620, which borrows most of the features that we only saw a few months back on the E-30. So, for a smaller body and a cheaper price, why wouldn't you choose the E-620? Read on for our full answer.

The E-620 comes as body only for AU$1299, in a single lens kit with a 14-42mm for AU$1399, or a double zoom kit with a 14-42mm and a 40-150mm for AU$1599.

Design

When it comes to the design of Olympus dSLRs, it really comes down to the old saying of "if you've seen one, you've seen them all". Nothing deviates much from the standard look and feel of other Olympus cameras. You get the same textured black plastics, and just like the E-30 (which we reviewed a little while ago), an articulating LCD screen at the back.

There is one nice new touch which will come in handy for those night owls though, and that's the illuminated buttons at the back of the camera. Far from being a novelty, they are actually quite useful, making shooting in dim situations much easier.

The control wheel, situated next to the main mode dial, is nice and intuitive to use and has a responsive feel. On the right side of the camera is the card slot housing a compact flash slot and an xD slot, whereas the battery is loaded from the base of the camera. The new viewfinder covers 95 per cent of the field of view, and is relatively bright.

The E-620 (right) is now king of the pack amongst the E-420 (left) and E-520 (middle).
(Credit: CBSi)

Features

Just like the E-30, the E-620 has a 12-megapixel sensor and a 2.7-inch free-angle LCD screen. It also borrows a lot of the other features like multiple exposure mode, variable aspect ratios, a quick 4 frames per second burst speed, and a 7-point autofocus.

Click the image to see our gallery of photos taken with the E-620. (Credit: CBSi)

In plain specifications alone, the E-30 has slightly better odds on all of them; it can shoot 5 frames per second instead of 4, has an 11-point autofocus system and can expose 4 frames rather than 2 in multiple exposure mode, but for the most part these cameras are remarkably similar — apart from their size, of course.

Speaking of that footprint, Olympus is touting the lightness in weight to the E-620, claiming it's the lightest dSLR on the market at 475g (with image stabilisation). They probably weren't banking on the recent announcement of the Sony Alpha A230, which weighs in at 450g and now holds the aforementioned title. In the Olympus range, technically the E-420 is the lightest at 380 grams but it doesn't have image stabilisation in the camera body.

The E-620 is not as diminutive as something like the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1, but it's not far off, and we have to remember that the G1 is not technically an SLR either. There's also no video mode, something which is sorely lacking on the Olympus range. The 230,000-dot LCD screen is nowhere near as good as what we've (almost) become accustomed to on slightly-better-than-entry-level dSLRs like Canon's 500D and Nikon's D5000.

As for the Art Filter functionality, there's not much more to add that hasn't already been said in our review of the E-30, and it's a shame that there aren't any additional settings (it's a direct port across from the older camera).

Performance and image quality

Even though we've gone on about how the E-620 feels much like an E-30 lite, the smaller camera does have some extra tricks up its sleeve. In everyday use it's a lot more nimble, starting up in just 0.9 seconds. It also feels more responsive in live view, with autofocus being better as well — as you may remember one of our gripes with the other camera was the sluggish response in live view mode.

Image quality is relatively consistent with what we saw on the previous version, though we did test the E-30 with a different lens. The E-620 renders colours beautifully, with punchy life-like quality and good tonality. In terms of noise, the camera copes really well up to about ISO 800 with some very smooth images even in low light. ISO 3200 delivers a perfectly acceptable shot for small prints and is a marked improvement on earlier Olympus dSLRs.

Click image to enlarge (Credit: CBSi)

One issue that presented a problem was the write time to xD cards, particularly when using art filters. Using compact flash instead does alleviate some of the write time, and we'd suggest steering clear of the proprietary format for most uses.

Conclusion

As much as we like the E-30, we can't help feeling that the E-620 is the one to get for most applications, unless you value the feel of a bigger camera. If you want most of the goodness of the E-30 for a lower price, definitely get the E-620.



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Rojer87
9
Rating
 

Rojer87 posted a review   

The Good:LCD, Backlit buttons, lenses...

The Bad:maybe Vew finder 95%

It's a great entry level camera, like Nikon D5000 or Cnanon 500D, but it's small, has an articulating LCD screen (270º!!!) and the best kit lenses.

Miki
10
Rating
 

Miki posted a review   

The Good:Kit lenses, size of both body camera and lenses

The Bad:Noise above ISO 1600 if you need big pictures

I love it!

how would you change your E-620?

Miki
10
Rating
 

Miki posted a review   

The Good:Kit lenses, size of both body camera and lenses

The Bad:Noise above ISO 1600 if you need big pictures

I love it!

how would you change your E-620?

 

hanz1440 posted a comment   

The Good:READ THE REVIEW

The Bad:MAGNESIUM BODY WOULD BE BETTER

Who wants a video mode in a still camera - get a video camera. Who needs a better LCD? I view my images on a computer and in print. On the camera the histogram is more important.As for XD cards - really - It has a CF card slot as well. Inteligent people would use the CF card and the xd would only be for emergencies. Take a good look at this camera - swivel LCD - multiple exposure - different aspect ratios - level gauge - inbuilt image stabalisation - the best ever dust reduction - 5 frames per minute continuous shooting - 12 meapixels - the best lens' on the market - a crop factor of 2x - 11 point af system - ability to adjust expose and shapness to your own preference - brilliant colour and photos. This is truely a brilliant camera. Out classes any mid range competition.

 

Hans posted a reply   

A "MAGNESIUM BODY" is MUCH more EXPENSIVE. If you want a MAGNESIUM BODY buy a 2000 dollar camera and don't go and complain here.
PS: A CF card? Those start a 30 dollars. Why couldn't they use the SD, or SDHC cards.

Nickodaddy
9
Rating
 

Nickodaddy posted a review   

The Good:Every possible adjustment, lenses, flash, jpeg quality, size.

The Bad:noise above ISO1600

Lenses unbeatable, espex 14-54 and 50-200, but kitlenses included. Ease of use of camera, size (OM?!), expandebility, build quality, jpeg + RAW, noise OK up to 1600, fast. A jewel.
Former Canon-photographer.

StuM
10
Rating
 

StuM posted a review   

The Good:Image stabilization
Dustbuster
Contrast Detect Live View
Swivel screen to make LV more useful
7 point AF with 5 crosstype
4 FPS
Small and light
In camera filters, aspect ratio crop and multiexposure
Improved viewfinder
DOF Preview
Wireless flash support
External battery grip available
Underwater housing available
Uses awesome Olympus Zuiko lenses

The Bad:No AF assist light

Looks to be the most feature rich camera ever in its price range.

peterb666
9
Rating
 

peterb666 posted a review   

The Good:Almost perfect compromise of size and funtion. Just about everything you could want in a compact package.

The Bad:LCD should be 3" and higer resolution and a movie mode would help the marketing. Olympus has a restricted range of lenses however a good selection of zooms.

Pricing for Australia hasn't been announced yet. Olympus's Web site shows 'TBA'. One of the major Australian retailers has the single lens kit listed for $1299.95 for April delivery.

SabeehaKazmi
9
Rating
 

SabeehaKazmi posted a review   

The Good:It is very expensive but must have

The Bad:unaffordable

I would like to have the E-620

droople
6
Rating
 

droople posted a review   

If you go to the specification page, the price is there AUD1799 body only, the same as E-30.

http://www.olympus.com.au/component/option,com_product/id,344/Itemid,69/task,spec/




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User Reviews / Comments  Olympus E-620

  • Rojer87

    Rojer87

    Rating9

    "It's a great entry level camera, like Nikon D5000 or Cnanon 500D, but it's small, has an articulating LCD screen (270º!!!) and the best kit lenses."

  • Miki

    Miki

    Rating10

    "I love it!

    how would you change your E-620?"

  • Miki

    Miki

    Rating10

    "I love it!

    how would you change your E-620?"

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