Price as Reviewed:£599.00
The Olympus E-620 combines a small, portable body with high-technology features – is it the definition of the Four Thirds Advantage?
Olympus’s ESP (Electro Selective Pattern) metering is very reliable in general use, and I find that it rarely needs to be overridden except in unusually challenging lighting conditions. These include any scene where an especially light or dark area makes up most of the image, and/or where a small subject is significantly brighter or darker than its background.
In this latter situation, spot metering is the best choice for accurate exposures, and Olympus’s highlight/shadow spot metering provides an added level of flexibility compared to the E-620’s competitors. This function is very useful, although I do worry that casual photographers or first-time buyers may not necessarily understand how and when to use it.
In essence, highlight/shadow spot metering works by adjusting a reading taken from a highlight/shadow area to ensure that this area isn’t burnt out or ‘blocked up’ in the final image. The same result can also be achieved using ordinary spot metering (with manual intervention to slightly increase/decrease the original reading).
Using ESP metering, I was impressed to see that very few of my pictures showed any significant loss of detail in highlight areas. Of those that do, the majority were taken at ISO 100. Having noticed the same effect on previous E-system DSLRs, I set up a few scenes and shot them at ISO 100 and then ISO 200, adjusting the exposure by 1EV to compensate. Those images taken at ISO 100 contain brighter highlights, in which detail is often lost (marked in red, above). This suggests that ISO 200 (or thereabouts) is the base ISO setting of the E-620.
- White Balance: Auto, custom (four settings), eight presets, colour temp 3,000-7,500K, amber-blue and green-magenta fine-tuning
- Shutter Type: Computerised focal-plane shutter
- Built-in Flash: Yes, pop-up unit GN 12m @ ISO 100
- Dioptre Adjustment: -3 to +1 dioptre
- Memory Card: CompactFlash, xD
- Viewfinder Type: Pentamirror
- LCD: 2.7in TFT (HyperCrystal III ) with 750,000 dots
- Output Size: 4032x3024 pixels
- Field of View: Approx 95%
- AF Points: Seven points selectable individually or automatically
- Sensor: High Speed Live MOS Four Thirds type (17.3x13mm)
- White Balance Bracket: Yes, over three images
- Focal Length Mag: 2x
- Max Flash Sync: 1/180sec normally or 1/4000sec with external flashgun in Super FP Mode
- Connectivity / Interface: USB 2.0 Hi-Speed
- Exposure Modes: Program with shift, aperture priority, shutter priority and manual
- Weight: 475g (without battery or card)
- Shutter Speeds: 60-1/4000sec in 1⁄3EV steps plus B
- File Format: Raw, JPEG, raw + JPEG simultaneously
- Power: Rechargeable Li-Ion battery BLS-1 (supplied)
- Drive Mode: Max 4fps until card full in Fine JPEG or six raw imagesLCD 2.7in TFT (HyperCrystal III ) with 750,000 dots
- Colour Space: Adobe RGB, sRGB
- Dimensions: 130x94x60mm
- Metering System: 49-zone ESP metering, centreweighted, spot (approx 2%) – normal, highlight and shadow
- Exposure Comp: ±5EV in 1⁄3, 1⁄2 or 1EV steps
- Compression: Three-stage JPEG
- Lens Mount: Four Thirds
- ISO: ISO 100-3200 (in 1⁄2, 1⁄3 or 1EV steps)
- DoF Preview: Yes (via Fn button)
- Focusing Modes: Manual, single AF, continuous AF, manual and AF in both single and continuous modes
- Tested as: Enthusiast DSLR