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Olympus E-620 Digital SLR Camera Review
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Addie Bedford
(addiebedford) - MLife

Locale: Montana
Olympus E-620 Digital SLR Camera Review on 10/27/2009 14:58:19 MDT Print View

Companion forum thread to:

Olympus E-620 Digital SLR Camera Review

Darin Butler
(darinbu) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Filters? on 10/27/2009 21:10:50 MDT Print View

Can you easily get/use good filters with the lenses for this camera? I'm in love with circular polarizers.

/A .
(biointegra) - MLife

Locale: Puget Sound
Re: Olympus E-620 Digital SLR Camera Review on 10/27/2009 22:14:12 MDT Print View

If only the swiveling LCD would detach and extend via a cable or better yet, day.

Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Re: Filters? on 10/27/2009 22:40:35 MDT Print View

Hi Darin,

All Olympus 4/3 and other 4/3 system lenses take filters (well, nearly all). The 14-42, one lens featured in the article, takes 52mm filters, as does the kit 40-150. Oly's Web site gives full specs for each system lens, including filter diameter. Sadly (as I've discovered) accumulating a lot of lenses means gathering a lot of filters because there are a lot of different diameters with the system (true of literally every brand).



Correction--the Oly kit lenses take 58mm filters. I was thinking of (yet) another camera and having a little Nikon nostalgia--52mm used to be their typical filter.

Edited by halfturbo on 10/28/2009 13:38:25 MDT.

(mountainwalker) - MLife

Locale: SF Bay Area & New England
Great review; How do the Canon G11 and lighter SLRs like the Nikon D40 stack up? on 10/27/2009 23:11:46 MDT Print View

Thanks for a highly informative review and intro to the current camera landscape. I've only skimmed for now but looking forward to reading in full before catching zzzzz's tonight. To replace a Canon G5 I used to have which captured beautiful images considering the price, weight and size, I'm looking to pick up either a compact with a quality lens, image sensor and feature set such as the Canon G11, or a fairly light DSLR (if I remember correctly the Nikon D40 weighs 1 lb or a little less (which you can also buy very inexpensively nowadays).

How do the Canon G11, Nikon D40 and Nikon D90 stack up to the Olympus E-620?

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Great review; How do the Canon G11 and lighter SLRs like the Nikon D40 stack up? on 10/27/2009 23:31:47 MDT Print View

That would be a very interesting shootout - the G11 vs the e620. Is the extra weight, bulk and cost of the e620 worth whatever image improvement it has over the G11?

I suspect the answer would depend on the individual and his priorities. I am still agonising ...


Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: @Tarptent
Olympus E-620 Digital SLR Camera Review on 10/28/2009 00:00:37 MDT Print View

"Sadly (as I've discovered) accumulating a lot of lenses means gathering a lot of filters because there are a lot of different diameters with the system (true of literally every brand)."
Up to a point you can use step up and step down rings. So for example you could use 55mm filters on a lens that takes 52 or 49mm.
The first number on the ring is the one for the lens you want to use, so a 49-52 ring will allow 52mm filters on a 49mm lens.
(not practical for UV/Skylight but cost efficient for special effect filters)

Ross Williams
(xavi1337) - F

Locale: Korea
Canon s90 on 10/28/2009 05:13:38 MDT Print View

for those thinking of the G11, stop.
The Canon S90 has the same sensor in a much smaller and lighter package, with great controls, raw capture, basically everything the G11 can do. Did I mention it is cheaper too? Its lens is a very fast f/2.0-4.9, 28-105 35mm eq.

(mountainwalker) - MLife

Locale: SF Bay Area & New England
S90 half the weight on 10/28/2009 09:36:55 MDT Print View

Just noticed the S90 is half the weight of the G11! Is it really comparable in almost every way? Thanks for the heads up.

I wouldn't consider it a substitute for a DSLR + quality zoom or wide lens, but a lighter camera I'd take when I don't want to carry a DSLR + with the extra lenses, which may be pretty often.

I took images with my G5 that serious photographers were convinced I took with a DSLR. I was very impressed with the performance and only wished it was lighter and offered a bit more control.

What's the max size quality blowup print you can make with the S90 or G11?

What would be the max size for the E-620?

Edited by mountainwalker on 10/28/2009 09:37:58 MDT.

Gordon Towne
(gordontowne) - MLife

Locale: New England
Re: S90 half the weight on 10/28/2009 09:51:08 MDT Print View

At full resolution, the G11 or S90 could do 9x13 prints, while the E-620 could do 9x14 or so, if you're looking at high quality 300 ppi photo prints. Not a huge difference there.

One nice thing also about the G11 is that you do have the option of a viewfinder, which means that you can operate it without using the LCD. On longer trips this means that a single battery will last you much longer. The S90 on the other hand has no viewfinder, so on longer trips you need to factor in the additional weight of extra batteries.

John Koenig
(zencorvus) - F
Olympus E-620 Review on 10/28/2009 10:05:13 MDT Print View

One thing I didn't see mentioned in the review was this camera's macro capabilities. How well would it do on a closeup of that flower just outside my tent door?

William Wang
(billwang) - M

Locale: SF Bay Area
E-P1 in the field on 10/28/2009 10:29:49 MDT Print View

Hello all,

I just switched from a heavy canon full frame DSLR (5D) which accounted for nearly 20% of my load to a Olympus E-P1. I agree with the author that there are not yet many high quality lenses for micro 4/3 format. But I'm hoping that that changes.

Overall, coming from a full frame awesome optical viewfinder like on the Canon 5D, I think the E-P1 worked out pretty well. One unexpected advantage was for when I use a 10-stop neutral density filter to get long exposures such as this photo:

EP-1 with 10 stop ND filter

Normally this is very hard to compose since the optical viewfinder will be very dark. But I was able to compose the image using the electronic viewfinder and manual focus.

So far I think micro 4/3 looks very promising for my ultra light trips - which for me currently means about 16lbs w/o consumables.

Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Re: Olympus E-620 Review on 10/28/2009 10:48:26 MDT Print View

Hi John,

In any interchangable-lens camera like the E-620, macro capability (the ability to approach or achieve 1:1 subject to image ratio) is determined by the lens, not the camera itself. Oly offers macro lenses that can get you up to 1:1, and several of the 4/3 system zooms focus quite close as well, giving near-macro performance.

That said, the E-620 enhances macro shooting in three ways that a lot of dslrs do not: the articulated LCD panel allows you to place the camera in very odd positions and still compose and focus when the viewfinder is impossible to use; live view zoom allows precise focusing; in-camera image stabilization works with virtually any lens, including manual focus legacy lenses.



Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Re: S90 half the weight on 10/28/2009 10:57:08 MDT Print View

Hi Gordon,

I'm wondering where you come up with the print size comparison? Since the 4/3 sensor is *at a miniumum* four times the area of the largest compact digicam sensor, and since print size is ultimately limited by sensor performance so long as proper optics and technique are used, it would follow that one could safely double the print dimensions (increasing the area four times) with equivalent quality between the two. We cannot fall into the trap of pixel counting, as they are not equivalent across sensor formats.

(A consideration of viewing distance to the print must come into play at some point as well.)

FWIW I can get quite satisfactory 16x20 prints from 4/3.



Ryan Jordan
(ryan) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Greater Yellowstone
Problems with Small Sensors and Enlarged Prints on 10/28/2009 11:07:23 MDT Print View

The primary problem with small sensor cameras like the S90 or G11 is that you really can't print eye-popping images at full size. 9x13 prints coming from these cameras aren't the greatest, and there are noticeable differences in detail resolved when prints are printed at 240+ dpi between the compact camera and larger sensor cameras like the DP2, E-P1, or E-620.

More important to me is the color depth and dynamic range offered by a larger sensor. It gives you more latitude in post processing to deliver an image that expresses your creative vision. The extra information captured by the larger sensor also gives a sense of depth, or dimensionality, to the images, like a good chrome film. Small sensor cameras are notorious for their ability to deliver images that just ... look ... digital.

The final advantage I like for a larger sensor camera is the flexibility you have with wide aperture lenses that create narrow of depth of field. An f/2 lens on a small sensor camera cannot isolate the depth of field to the extent that an f/2 lens on a larger sensor camera can.

For example, if I use the Lumix 20mm f/1.7 lens on an Olympus E-P1, I can create a depth of field at f/1.7 that would only be equivalent to an 8mm lens (reasonable) at f/0.7 (unreasonable) on a camera with a sensor the size of the one in the S90. Clearly, that ain't gonna happen on a small sensor camera.

Alternatively, let's look at what the f/2 and 28mm (equivalent) wide lens of the S90 is equivalent to on the E-P1 (or E-620). f/2 on the S90 translates to abut f/4.8 on the E-P1.

So, be cautious about small sensor cameras touting "fast" and "wide" apertures, because they aren't as fast as you think when viewed in the standard context of 35mm photography.

Conclusion: larger sensors give you a lot more creative freedom than small sensors.

Stay tuned, as we are wrapping up our E-P1 review in a few weeks, and both the E-P1 and GF1 reviews will be published in the next several weeks at BPL.

Chris W
(simplespirit) - MLife

Locale: .
Re: Problems with Small Sensors and Enlarged Prints on 10/28/2009 11:35:00 MDT Print View

Re: prints, FWIW Ken Rockwell would disagree.

"As of 2009, resolution is nothing more than a sales pitch to get you to pay more. I've made great-looking 12x18" (30x50cm) prints from a three megapixel camera, and fantastic 20x30" (50x75cm) prints from a 6 MP Nikon D40 camera."

The 12x18s he mentions were shot with a Canon A70.

Of course, he's a pro photographer but that doesn't negate the fact you can get very good 12x18 prints from a small sensor camera. They definitely won't be as good as something shot from an SLR but it's still doable.

Edited by simplespirit on 10/28/2009 11:37:00 MDT.

Ryan Jordan
(ryan) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Greater Yellowstone
Print quality vs sensor size on 10/28/2009 12:50:56 MDT Print View

Chris, I would agree with you.

My point is that there is a difference between a very good print and an eye-popper.

Chris W
(simplespirit) - MLife

Locale: .
Re: Print quality vs sensor size on 10/28/2009 13:00:49 MDT Print View

I won't argue with that.

Gordon Towne
(gordontowne) - MLife

Locale: New England
Re: Re: S90 half the weight on 10/28/2009 13:44:11 MDT Print View

I would agree completely that resolution is not a determining factor in quality. I am glad to see that manufacturers are starting to abandon the megapixel wars to a certain degree. A few years ago I don't think you would have seen Canon lower the resolution on the G11 from its predecessor. It's great to see that they are focusing on actual quality by decreasing the pixel density, rather than the one-upsmanship that has largely dominated up to this point.

That is actually somewhat the point that I was trying to make, although looking back I should have been more clear. If you were looking at print size solely as a function of resolution, you wouldn't likely even see a difference in the higher pixel count.

Steve Nutting
(sjnutting) - F

Locale: Southwest Colorado
Great review on 10/28/2009 14:47:04 MDT Print View


Thanks for the great review. I had always noticed that it was hard to control depth of field with the compact cameras, but never understood the relationship between sensor size and the depth of field.

I have an 8MP E300 that I picked up used with a nice Sigma 50-200mm and the 18-44 Olympus lens. Before that I was using compact digital cameras with reasonable results.

I'm not quite at the point of upgrading my DSLR, so I think I'll wait until I can get one like the 620 with a good HD video mode too. If it is an Olympus and I can keep my existing lenses, all the better!