Olympus E-30 Review

Review Date: January 28th 2009
Author: Mark Goldstein

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Page 1
Introduction / Ease of Use
Page 2
Image Quality
Page 3
Sample Images
Page 4
Design
Page 5
Specifications
Page 6
Conclusion

Conclusion


Ratings (out of 5)
Design
4
Features
4.5
Ease-of-Use
4
Image Quality
4
Value for Money
4

The E-30 is a brave attempt by Olympus to offer something different in the mid-range DSLR market, with a strong emphasis on in-camera creative effects that actually prove to be fun to use. The Multiple Exposure mode in particular is a great example of making a traditional photographic technique easier. Sure, you can replicate most of the E-30's artistic filters on a computer, but there's something to be said for being able to do it instantly and even preview the effect before you press the shutter button. This creative strength is backed up by an almost pro-level suite of features which are easily on a par and in some cases better than the main competition, plus very quick auto-focusing when using both the traditional phase-detection system through the viewfinder and the contrast-detection system in Live View mode via the LCD screen.

Having said all of that, there are also a few areas where the Olympus E-30 doesn't quite make the grade. Image quality from the smaller 4/3rds sensor isn't as good as that from the APS-C competitors, with noise in particular an issue at relatively slow ISO speeds. The E-30 is also an initially intimidating camera to use, with a lot of external controls and in particular a convoluted menu system and info screen which could really do with an overhaul. Olympus haven't helped themselves or their users by burying some of the key options, such as the Level Gauge and Multiple Exposure setting, deep within the lengthy Custom menus. Finally, the recommended retail price isn't going to help steal away users from Canon and Nikon - at 850 / $1300 body only, it costs roughly about the same as a Canon 50D body or Nikon D90 with a kit lens, and is even approaching Olympus' own range-topping E-3 model.

So in conclusion, while the Olympus E-30 has a lot going for it, particularly for experienced users looking for something a little different, or prospective E-3 buyers who don't need the weather-sealing, it also has some notable downsides that ultimately prevent us from awarding it a higher rating. The E-30 is easy to recommend as an upgrade to existing owners of entry-level Olympus DSLRs like the E-420 and E-520, but it probably won't tempt people away from Canon and Nikon.

Page 1
Introduction / Ease of Use
Page 2
Image Quality
Page 3
Sample Images
Page 4
Design
Page 5
Specifications
Page 6
Conclusion

DIWAPhotographyBLOG is a member of the DIWA organisation. Our test results for the Olympus E-30 have been submitted to DIWA for comparison with test results for different samples of the same camera model supplied by other DIWA member sites.

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