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?
In the past, one of the more glaring weaknesses of the Olympus E-system and other Four Thirds DSLRs from Panasonic, has been the relatively sluggish, unsophisticated autofocus. Last year’s E-3 was Olympus’s first stab at a DSLR with more than three AF points and the E-620’s seven-point AF derives from the same system. In addition, a highly flexible autofocus adjustment feature (borrowed from the E-30) allows every AF point of the E-620 to be fine-tuned for front or back focusing. It’s a level of control rare in a camera of this sort, but is the kind of function that may, in inexperienced hands, create more problems than it solves.
In use, I have found the autofocus system of the E-620 to be adequate in most situations, but it is not the equal of a camera like, say, the Nikon D90. Although seven AF points are definitely better than three, they are concentrated in quite a small area in the centre of the frame, which means that moving subjects don’t have to move very much to stray outside the coverage of the array. Unfortunately, too, the E-620’s AF displays the same characteristic ‘fidgeting’ as other Four Thirds cameras I have used – the AF gets almost all the way to the subject very quickly, then goes a little further, then settles on (most of the time) the appropriate point.
The AF rarely settles on the wrong point, except sometimes in low-contrast lighting, but it can take its time, on occasions, to find the right one. Interestingly, when one of Olympus’s excellent range of SWD lenses is mounted, the AF still displays the same jitteriness, but as everything happens much faster it’s less noticeable, which aids responsiveness. The difference in terms of handling between the 14-45mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens and the 12-60mm f/2.8-4 SWD optic, for example, is profound. It is a pity, therefore, that there are currently so few SWD lenses in Olympus’s line-up, and that they are so expensive. The 12-60mm is an ideal standard zoom for the Four Thirds system, but it costs more than £800, adding cost, as well as bulk and weight, to the package.
Normally, AF performance in Live View mode is worthy of little more than a cursory mention, since it is rarely particularly impressive. Not so with the Olympus E-620. This tiny camera comes into its own in Live View mode, thanks to a very impressive contrast-detection AF system.
- 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