Support Cameralabs by shopping at our partner stores or donating via Paypal
 






Follow my RSS feed at Camera Labs RSS Feed
 
  Latest camera reviews

Canon G1 X Mark II
Panasonic Lumix FZ1000
Panasonic TZ60 / ZS40
Sony RX100 III review
Sony A3000 review
Canon EOS 1200D T5
Sony WX350
Nikon P600
Sony Alpha A5000
Sony Cyber-shot HX400V
Panasonic Lumix GH4
Panasonic TS5 FT5
Sony Alpha A6000
Canon SX700 HS
Canon SX600 HS
Olympus TOUGH TG2
Nikon AW1
Nikon D3300
Fujifilm XT1
Olympus STYLUS 1
Sony Cyber-shot RX10
Olympus OMD EM1
Panasonic Lumix GM1
Nikon D610
Sony Alpha A7
Nikon D5300
Canon PowerShot A2500
Sony Alpha A7r
Canon ELPH 130 IXUS 140
Nikon COOLPIX P520
Nikon COOLPIX L820
Canon PowerShot S120
Panasonic Lumix GX7
Canon SX510 HS
Canon PowerShot G16
Fujifilm X20
Panasonic FZ70 / FZ72
Canon EOS 70D
Sony RX100 II
Canon ELPH 330 IXUS 255
Panasonic Lumix GF6
Fujifilm XM1
Olympus EP5
Panasonic Lumix LF1
Panasonic TZ35 / ZS25
Olympus XZ2
Sony HX300
Panasonic Lumix G6
Sony HX50V
Fujifilm X100S
Canon SX280 HS
Canon EOS SL1 / 100D
Panasonic TZ40 / ZS30
Nikon D7100
Nikon COOLPIX A
Fujifilm X-E1
Canon EOS 6D
Nikon D5200
Panasonic Lumix GH3
Canon PowerShot S110
Panasonic Lumix G5
Sony NEX-6
Panasonic Lumix FZ200
Canon PowerShot SX50 HS
Nikon COOLPIX P7700
Olympus E-PL5
Canon EOS M
Panasonic TS20 / FT20
Canon PowerShot G15
Nikon D600
Nikon COOLPIX L810
Canon PowerShot D20
Sony RX100
Panasonic Lumix LX7
Canon SX500 IS
Fujifilm HS30 EXR
Sony HX200V
Panasonic FZ60 / FZ62
Canon 520HS / 500HS
Canon 110HS / 125HS
Nikon D800
Canon EOS T4i / 650D
Canon PowerShot A3400
Panasonic ZS15 / TZ25
Olympus E-M5
Nikon D3200
Fujifilm X-Pro1
Canon PowerShot A2300
Canon SX240 / SX260
Samsung NX200
Sony Alpha SLT-A77
Canon EOS 5D Mark III
Panasonic ZS20 / TZ30
Canon PowerShot G1 X
Sony NEX-7
Panasonic GX1
Olympus E-PM1
Nikon V1
Sony NEX-5N
Canon EOS T3 / 1100D
Canon EOS 600D / T3i
Nikon D7000
Canon EOS 60D
Canon EOS 550D / T2i
Canon EOS 7D

All camera reviews
 
 
   
 
  Best Buys: our top models
   
  Best Canon lens
Best Nikon lens
Best Sony lens
Best budget DSLR
Best mid-range DSLR
Best semi-pro DSLR
Best point and shoot
Best superzoom
Best camera accessories
   
 



Camera Labs Forum

Any questions, comments or a great tip to share? Join my Camera forum and let everyone know!
   
 
  DSLR Tips



 
Support me by shopping at Amazon!
Olympus E-510 Gordon Laing, June 2007

More Features : Lenses and viewfinder / Screen and menus / Sensor and processing / Anti dust / Anti shake

Olympus E-510 screen

 
 
Olympus E-510 rear view

The Olympus E-510 is equipped with the same 2.5in / 230K pixel screen as the E-410, and like most budget DSLRs, it’s used to display all shooting information. As with other cameras, there’s pros and cons to this approach. One concern is these screens can be harder to read under bright conditions, but we didn’t experience any issues with the E-510 or E-410. One slightly annoying aspect is the screen doesn’t automatically switch off when you put your eye against the viewfinder, but a half-press of the shutter release will fix that.

Olympus E-510 main info Olympus E-510 main info resized
   

On the upside, you can pack a great deal of information onto a high resolution colour screen, and the E-510 (like the E-410) excels in this respect by displaying battery life, exposure mode, aperture, shutter, today’s date, an exposure compensation scale, ISO, White Balance, flash mode, colour, metering, AF and drive modes, along with the memory format in use, the quality setting and the number of photos remaining. By pressing the Info button, the screen reformats with smaller fonts to display even more – it’s an impressive degree of information to have at a glance.

Olympus E-510 Live View

One of the major selling-points of the Olympus E-510 is its Live View facility. First seen on the Olympus E-330, this allows you to use the main colour monitor for composition like a consumer compact. The implementation of Live View on the E-510 is identical to the E-410, although on the former you can also use it to see the effect of its built-in Image Stabilisation.

As with the E-410, Olympus has sensibly dropped the E-330’s choice of two Live View modes, and only implemented the more practical one here. Previously known as Mode-B, this uses the main sensor to deliver the live video feed, and on the E-510 provides 100% coverage, magnified manual focusing assistance (up to seven or ten times) and a live histogram option, along with the choice of three different graphical frame guides: an eight by six grid, measurement crosshairs, or a golden selection area.

     
Olympus E-510 live view main Olympus E-510 scale Olympus E-510 live histogram


Olympus E-510 frame assist
 

Live View is activated by a dedicated button on the back of the E-510. The E-510’s mirror will then flip up and a moment later you’ll be presented with a live view. Like the E-410, the screen refresh on our E-510 wasn’t as smooth as most consumer compacts, but it still looked good. You can then press the Info button to cycle through the various overlaid graphics described above; the desired framing guide can be selected from a menu.

Unfortunately the auto-focus system in a DSLR is bypassed with the mirror flipped-up, so in order to auto-focus in Live View mode the E-510 must temporarily drop its mirror, take a reading, then flip back up again to continue the video feed. You do this by pressing the AEL / AFL button near the viewfinder and we have a demonstration in our E-510 video tour. Alternatively if you’re happy with the composition, just press the shutter release button down and the E-510 will focus and take the shot in one go.

In practice the auto-focus process in Live View can be quite laborious, and the resulting noises will make anyone nearby think you’ve just taken a couple of shots. It’s certainly neither quick nor discreet, but the advantages of Live View are undeniable: we found the 100% coverage and alignment options invaluable at times, and despite what its detractors say, also found it quite usable when handheld or at high or low angles.


Olympus E-510 Menus

Olympus E-510 menu adjustment
 

The E-510 offers a variety of ways to adjust settings. Like many DSLRs, the four direction buttons on the back provide direct access to the White Balance, AF, Sensitivity and Metering menus. This would be adequate, but like its predecessor, the E-510 offers an alternative means of modifying a broad variety of settings without requiring dedicated buttons or delving into menus.

With the camera powered-up, press the OK button and you’ll see the ISO value is highlighted in yellow. You can then either turn the thumb-dial to adjust it, or press OK again to enter a dedicated menu showing the available options. Alternatively you can use the direction buttons to shift the yellow highlight to a different setting, such as White Balance or quality, upon which you can again either turn the dial to directly adjust it, or press the OK button to present the corresponding menu.

In practice this system works really well and it’s quick and easy to change a large number of settings. This is in fact the only approach offered by the E-410, and while we found it ultimately preferable, it’s good to see the E-510 also offers more traditional direct access to the most common settings using its four direction buttons.

Olympus E-510 menus
Free Shipping on ALL Products

Pressing the Menu button presents the E-510’s options arranged into five vertically-tabbed pages: two for recording, one for playback and two for setup. These pages offer alternative access to the dedicated adjustments described above, along with a number of additional options, several of which have been inherited from the E-500 and are not available on the E-410.

   
   
Olympus E-510 focus ring Olympus E-510 reset lens
   



For example in the first setup menu you’ll find the options which let you choose which direction the manual focusing ring should operate in, and whether you’d like the lens focus to reset itself to infinity when the camera powers down – see the previous features page for more details.


Olympus E-510 thumbnails 9
   
Olympus E-510 histogram
   
Olympus E-510 RGN histogram
   
   

During playback, turning the thumb-dial anti-clockwise zooms-in on the image by up to 14 times, while turning it clockwise presents ever-increasing numbers of thumbnails: first four, then nine, then 16 and even 25, followed by a calendar view of the current month showing a tiny photo thumbnail on the days you took a photo.



With an image filling the screen in playback, pressing the Info button cycles through RGB and brightness histograms, along with options to flash any clipped highlight or shadow areas. Like the E-410, the histograms look a little coarse compared to those on rival models (check out the Nikon D40x for example), but it’s still good to have a broad array of views and information at your fingertips.


The E-510 also offers a handy Light Box facility where the same section of two pictures can be compared on-screen side-by-side; this can be useful when judging exposure differences and bracketing results.

Finally, like the E-410, the new E-510 can use its orientation sensor to automatically rotate an image in playback so it always fills the screen. So if you have a portrait orientation shot, just turn the camera by 90 degrees to make it fill the screen during playback; this can take a brief moment to occur and we have a demonstration in our video tour.


Olympus E-510 features continued...

Lenses and viewfinder / Screen and menus / Sensor and processing / Anti dust / Anti shake

If you found this review useful, please support us by shopping below!
All words, images, videos and layout, copyright 2005-2014 Gordon Laing. May not be used without permission.

/ How we test / Best Cameras / Advertising / Camera reviews / Supporting Camera Labs