Olympus E-510

Intro

The Olympus E-510 is a feature-packed 10 Megapixel DSLR based on the maturing Four Thirds standard. Announced alongside the tiny E-410 in March 2007, the new E-510 packs in a raft of features which include anti-dust, Live View, and built-in anti-shake facilities which work with any lens you attach; indeed it’s the very first Four Thirds DSLR to feature built-in stabilisation. It’s a powerful feature-set, and priced competitively against rival 10 Megapixel DSLRs.

The E-510 shares the same N-MOS sensor as the E-410, providing the Live View option which lets you compose with the main colour screen as an alternative to the traditional optical viewfinder. This is still a fairly unique feature to find on a DSLR and offers a number of benefits including 100% coverage and overlaid graphics including alignment grids and a live histogram.

Unlike the flat-fronted retro-styling of the E-410, the new E-510 looks much closer to its predecessor, the E-500, and features a decent-sized grip to hold onto. The control layout is also very similar, as are a number of advanced options in the menus including flash bracketing and the ability to switch the rotation of the manual focus ring – although the manual focus bracketing option of the E-500 has been removed.

In terms of features, the E-510 is easily one of the most impressive sounding DSLRs to date and it certainly ticks most boxes on the wish-lists of new buyers. The big question as always though is whether it delivers the goods in practice? Does the new anti-shake system provide the degree of compensation claimed? Is the anti-dust system still as effective as earlier Olympus models? And while technologically impressive, is Live View genuinely useful or little more than a novelty?

Click here for the Olympus E-510 video tour
 

We’ll answer all these questions and more in our Olympus E-510 full review, where we’ll directly compare it against the E-410 and the best-selling 10 Megapixel DSLR, Canon’s EOS 400D / Rebel XTi. We’ll also compare the features and operation to the earlier E-500 and see how the anti-shake feature measures-up. As always, for a demonstration of its key features, including seeing how the Live View and anti-shake facilities work in practice, check out our Olympus E-510 video tour.


Testing notes

We tested a production-level E-510 running firmware version 1.0 for both the body and lens. Following our convention of using default factory and best quality JPEG settings to test camera bodies unless otherwise stated, the E-510 was set SHQ image quality, Auto White Balance, Digital ESP Metering, Normal Graduation and its default Natural Picture Mode (using the default settings of zero for contrast, sharpness and saturation). The E-510’s Noise Reduction and Noise Filter options were set to their default ON and Standard settings respectively.

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