Olympus E-510 Review

Review Date: August 6th 2007
Author: Gavin Stoker

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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

Image Quality

All of the sample images in this Review were taken using the 10 megapixel SHQ JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 6Mb.

Noise

There are 5 ISO settings available on the Olympus E-510 which you can select at any time if the camera is in the normal shooting mode. With the same combination of processor and sensor, unsurprisingly the clean bill of health awarded to shots taken on the E-410 at high(er) ISO's is also deserved by the Olympus E-510. Stick to ISO 800 and below in the main and there are no problems to report, while noise levels at ISO 1600 are more than acceptable. Here are some 100% crops which show the noise levels for each ISO setting:

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

 
 
   

Sharpening

Here are two 100% crops which have been Saved as Web - Quality 50 in Photoshop. The right-hand image has had some sharpening applied in Photoshop. The out-of-the camera images are just a little soft at the default sharpening setting. You can change the in-camera sharpening level to one of the 5 different preset levels if you don't like the default look.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)

   
   

Chromatic Aberrations

The Olympus E-510's 28-82mm kit lens handled chromatic aberrations excellently during the review, with very small levels of purple fringing mainly present around the edges of objects in high-contrast situations, as shown in the example below.

Example 1 (100% Crop)
Example 2 (100% Crop)
   

Flash

The flash settings on the Olympus E-510 are Auto, Red-eye reduction, Slow synchronization, Slow synchronization 2nd curtain, Fill-in, Slow synchronization with red-eye reduction and Off. These shots of a white coloured wall were taken at a distance of 1.5m.

Flash Off - Wide Angle (28mm)

Auto Flash - Wide Angle (28mm)

ISO 64
ISO 64
   

Flash Off - Telephoto (82mm)

Auto Flash - Telephoto (82mm)
ISO 64
ISO 64
   

And here are some portrait shots. The Auto setting caused a tiny amount of red-eye, which the Red-eye reduction mode successfully removed.

Auto

Auto (100% Crop)
   

Auto & Red-eye reduction

Auto & Red-eye reduction (100% Crop)
   

Night Shot

The Olympus E-510's maximum shutter speed is 60 seconds, which is excellent news if you're seriously interested in night photography. The shot below was taken using a shutter speed of 1/50 second, aperture of f/4 at ISO 1600. I've included a 100% Crop of the image to show what the quality is like.

Night Shot

Night Shot (100% Crop)
   

Overall Image Quality

With the same combination of processor and sensor, unsurprisingly the clean bill of health awarded to shots taken on the E-410 at high(er) ISO's is also deserved by the Olympus E-510. Stick to ISO 800 and below in the main and there are no problems to report, while noise levels at ISO 1600 are more than acceptable. Like its E-410 sibling however, you have to watch white balance on the E-510, particularly when shooting using filtered natural daylight rather than flash, which is want to give images a decidedly cool blue colour cast. So fire off a shot or two and set the white balance manually before taking a shot if you're planning on shooting a sequence. With colours in general slightly cool if left on the Olympus E-510's default setting, I preferred manually selecting the 'Vivid' picture mode option, which provides more flattering skin tones and boosts blue skies and green foliage. I must say that, for me, the results are in fact more true to life than the 'Natural' option. There is some pixel fringing visible between areas of marked contrast, but this would only be spotted if zooming in to actually look for evidence. Again, I found the Live View feature came into its own when setting up shots from otherwise awkward shooting positions such as lying on the ground to get that mouse eye view and utilising manual focus to make sure my intended subject was nicely crisp. This is undoubtedly a real boon and a great selling point for Olympus. Apart from those auto white balance issues then, the Olympus E-510 gets a remarkably clean bill of health when it comes to picture quality.

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-510 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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