Olympus E30 Review
The Olympus E-30 is a single lens camera targeted to prosumers. What's a prosumer, you ask. Well, it's basically someone who's not a casual camera user, but not yet a professional photographer. It could be someone who's hobby is photography, or just someone who wants to produce high quality images for a casual audience. The E30 is one of the first prosumer cameras introduced by Olympus, but how does it fare?
For starters, the E30 is around $1000 (original price) for just the body, but you can choose to buy it with 3 different kit lens if you wish. One of the new lens that was introduced with this camera is the 14-54mm lens, which has contrast detection autofocusing, making it compatible with the live view.
When we first held the E-30 and played with the controls, we felt right at home. Olympus certainly created a very user friendly and easy to use camera here. Sure, there's a large number of buttons, but they made sure to place everything in intuitive places. If you're used to Canon/Nikon, we admit you got to get used to the layout, but you'll be surprised at how similar the layout is to other camera brands.
In terms of size and weight, the E-30 falls right in between. Most entry level DSLRs feel plasticky, and too small, and the high end cameras like the 5D Mark II feel way too bulky. The E-30 is just right.
Let's talk about the LCD screen - it's 2.7 inches with a 230,000 pixel resolution. You can tilt and rotate it so you can easily shoot in whatever angle you want. You can even adjust the LCD display, and disable/enable certain options. Olympus has 8 different aspect ratios available to choose from.
The live view system is pretty impressive and definitely an improvement from older Olympus cameras. We gave it a test drive, and overall it felt quick, responsive, and fast to focus. It earns high marks in our eyes.
So, what about image quality? We're glad to say it met all our expectations. We even took it out to take shots in cloudy weather to see how well it would perform, and we're happy with the way the E30 handles noise and retains detail. Colors were accurate and vibrant, and dynamic range was solid. In our macro test, we found virtually no noise.
We took a few night shots, and overall they looked quite pleasing. There was hardly any noise in low contrast placed - well.. a little, but not enough to make it glaring. Noise does creep up when going from ISO 100 to 400, but nothing major. It's only until you reach 800 that it becomes an issue. When you reach this ISO level, we recommend just shooting RAW (or messing around with the noise filter).
At 1600 and 3200, details started to degrade, and we don't recommend going up this high. So to summarize, images all look crisp, detailed and clean up to ISO 800. At 1600, details are still retained, but you'll see it'll start to soften. ISO 3200 and above is desperation mode.
All in all, we like the quality of our photos. As mentioned colors were accurate and vivid. Details were retained at ISO 800 and below, and perhaps 1600 is you stick with RAW. You may notice purple fringing in a few cases, but that's about it. Very good image quality.
Performance was solid, all around for the E30. Shutter lag is hardly noticeable when using either the viewfinder or live view. If you plan on utilizing a hydrid or AF sensor live view, expect to wait 1 second. Shot to shot time is pretty good, even if you use flash. We hardly ever filled the buffer.
Some cool things Olympus added to the E30 was the addition of art filters. The E30 definitely is made for those "creative" people that like to experiment with different filters and settings. They're fun for the most part, but you certainly shouldn't buy just for these filters.
If you prefer to lay back and let the camera do all the work for you, there's an auto mode. It'll take care of all the settings, so you can just use it like a regular point & shoot. But that's no fun, and definitely takes away the many merits of this camera. There's just so many things you can tweak and change here, such as the 9 different aspect ratios, the multiple exposures, the pitch/level indicator, as well as the usual stuff.
There's no movie mode unfortunately in the E30, so if that's high in your criteria, we suggest looking for another DSLR camera. We don't usually read manuals, but we hear from other customers that it could've been improved.
- 2.7 inch LCD screen with 230,000 pixels
- ISO ranges from 100 - 3200
- Built in Flash
- Face Detection
- Optical viewfinder
- Live View
- No video capture
- Solid image quality
- Solid performance
- Offers image stabilization
- Live view and LCD is impressive, its rotateable
- Well built
- Easy to hold
- Tends to clip highlights
- Might be expensive for some
- Viewfinder is a bit small for our taste
- Manual could be improved
- No HDMI port or video mode
The Olympus E-30 is certainly the first camera from Olympus targeted towards enthusiasts. It gets a lot of features right, and the kit lens is really better than the average kit lens Canon and Nikon offers. Image quality and performance are above average, and met our expectations.
That said, the price can be a bit steep for some people. But we've seen places that have it on sale on occasions such as Amazon. If it's not an issue with you, and you're not afraid of buying a DSLR that isn't from Canon or Nikon, we highly recommend the E30. We do recommend at least trying it out (holding it, playing with the settings, etc) before going out and buying it.
Rating: 4.4 out of 5
Where to Buy It:
Lowest Price: Amazon for $829.95.
Note: This is a 17% off Amazon coupon and one of the best deals for the Olympus E30.
If you're not ready to buy yet, bookmark this page so you can compare prices here and buy it for the lowest price when you are ready to buy this camera.
|Amazon||$829.95 (Cheapest Price)|
Prices last updated on: Sun, 19 Aug 2018 20:30:18 PDT