Olympus E-420

Olympus E-420 gallery

Landscape: 5.16MB, Program, 1/500, f7, ISO 100, at 25mm (equivalent to 50mm)

  This first shot was taken under bright Sunlight at the E-420’s lowest sensitivity, so represents ideal conditions.

We’d normally shoot this subject with a wider angle lens, but by stepping back we’ve managed to capture the desired field of view with the 25mm lens.

As you’d hope, there’s no noise in the crops at 100 ISO, and the 25mm lens delivers sharp results across the frame with minimal fringing.

It’s already looking superior to a typical kit zoom.


Landscape: 3.83MB, Program, 1/250, f5.6, ISO 100, at 25mm (equivalent to 50mm)

  Another shot taken under bright conditions at 100 ISO with the E-420 and 25mm pancake lens.

As before, the crops are very sharp and detailed. The high contrast boats could present a problem with other lenses, but there’s virtually no fringing here with the 25mm.

Again we needed to step back a little further to capture the desired field of view compared to a wide angle lens, but the 25mm is already proving surprisingly flexible as a general-purpose option.


Landscape: 4.55MB, Program, 1/500, f8, ISO 100, at 25mm (equivalent to 50mm)

    Our next shot was taken with the E-420 increased to 200 ISO and the focusing set to continuous.

Normally we’d zoom-in on the approaching boat, but this time, the shorter focal length of the 25mm meant we simply waited for the boat to get a little closer.

Again there’s a lot of detail in those crops and no noise or processing artefacts to worry about. You’d hope there wouldn’t be at 200 ISO, but that’s not a forgone conclusion these days.


Portrait: 4.40MB, Program, 1/180, f9, ISO 200, at 25mm (equivalent to 50mm)

  For this portrait shot we set the E-420 to Face Detection, although since the Fn key wasn’t defined for Face Detection, this shot does not use Shadow Adjustment Technology (SAT). We also forced the flash to fire.

Once again the E-420 and 25mm are delivering very sharp results, packed with detail.

This was taken in Program at f9, but by shooting in Aperture Priority at f2.8, the 25mm pancake can produce pleasing out-of-focus backgrounds.


Macro: 4.26MB, Program, 1/200, f5, ISO 400, at 25mm (equivalent to 50mm)

  For this macro shot we positioned the E-420 as close as the 25mm pancake lens could focus. The sensitivity was also increased here to 400 ISO.

The subject matter here can often be quite forgiving on higher sensitivities, but even so, the results here are very respectable. Again like the others so far, sharp, detailed and without any noise to worry about.

Of course you’d expect sharp results from a prime lens, but the 25mm is proving here how suitable it is over a typical kit zoom as a general purpose lens.


Indoor: 4.34MB, Program, 1/50, f2.8, ISO 400, at 25mm (equivalent to 50mm)

  Our first indoor low light shot was also taken at 400 ISO. Due to the low light, the E-420 has unsurprisingly opened the aperture of the 25mm to its maximum f2.8.

The E-420 doesn’t have anti-shake, but the f2.8 lens has allowed a relatively comfortable shutter speed of 1/50 at 400 ISO under these conditions.

The small depth-of-field at f2.8 though means only a small plane is in sharp focus, so you have to be careful.


Indoor: 4.57MB, Program, 1/30, f2.8, ISO 800, at 25mm (equivalent to 50mm)

  For this second indoor shot we increased the sensitivity to 800 ISO. Many cameras underexpose this shot and the E-420’s result is a little dark, but we haven’t applied any compensation.

As with the previous example, the absence of anti-shake isn’t that big an issue, as the f2.8 aperture of the 25mm lens has allowed a shutter of 1/30.

The boost to 800 ISO has of course seen an increase in noise, but there’s still plenty of detail in those crops and we’d be happy using the E-420 at 800 ISO – especially with the Noise Filter reduced from the default setting.


Indoor: 4.51MB, Program, 1/60, f2.8, ISO 1600, at 25mm (equivalent to 50mm)

  Our final shot was taken with the E-420’s sensitivity increased to its maximum 1600 ISO. As you’d expect noise levels are noticeably increased, but unlike many cameras the result hasn’t become overly smeared or de-saturated – in fact it’s not a bad result at all.

This kind of composition can benefit from the E-420’s Shadow Adjustment Technology, SAT, so to see a before and after comparison, see our Features page.

Overall the E-420 delivers clean, detailed results across its ISO range and the quality of the 25mm questions the need for a kit zoom.


The following images were taken with the Olympus E-420 fitted with the Zuiko Digital 25mm f2.8 lens. The E-420 was set to Large Fine JPEG quality, Auto White Balance, ESP metering and the Natural Picture Mode with Normal Graduation; Noise Reduction and the Noise Filter were set to their ON and STD settings respectively.

The individual exposure mode, file sizes, shutter speeds, aperture, ISO and lens focal length are listed for each image.

The crops are taken from the original files, reproduced at 100% and saved in Adobe Photoshop CS2 as JPEGs with the default Very High quality preset, while the resized images were made in Photoshop CS2 and saved with the default High quality preset.

The three crops are typically taken from far left, central and far right portions of each image.

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