As for the banding issue on the E3, it is not a "red herring"...its well documented and acknowledged by Olympus...it occurs on the E4/510, E4/520 and E3.
Poor choice of words. Perhaps not a red herring, but I think it's blown out of proportion by some given that most people can't see it unless they are looking for it. I didn't even know about the banding issues until someone pointed it out to me.
However, the noise on the E620 jumps out as soon as you hit ISO200 especially in the shadows, which is unfortunate for a newer sensor. I am not sure if the same thing happens or not on the E30. Obviously, I am pixel peeping and if I keep the images of the E620 at 1024x768, I won't see any noise until ISO1600. But alas, I am a pixel peeper. That being said, I have been able to clean up the noise and still keep a decent amount of detail. It's just more work though.