The Olympus E-510 is a 10 megapixel Four Thirds DSLR camera oriented toward the prosumer market. Announced in March 2007 to succeed the E-500, it adds in-body image stabilization, a live preview function, and a new “Olympus Truepic III” processing chip that is claimed to provide faster performance. The E-510 uses Olympus’ patented Supersonic Wave Filter dust reduction system to shake dust from the sensor during startup and when requested by the user.
I’d say the E-510 with the 14-42 and 40-150 lenses would make an excellent starter camera for someone moving up from a digital P&S, especially if cost and size are issues.
This is a camera we would recommend to anyone who wants the image quality of a good SLR without having to think too much. It’s light weight will also appeal. And now that Panasonic/Leica is in the Four Thirds camp there should be some cheaper third party lenses coming onto the market. Olympus have fitted a CF card slot as well as their own xD slot, which makes sense because CF cards are cheaper and available everywhere.
The image stabilization system is surprisingly effective, the tiny kit lens remarkably good and the live view, though far from perfect, is actually very useful in the studio. It’s a well thought out and SLR that is small and light enough to carry with you all day long yet offers very stable handling due to an excellent grip and well balanced, mature design.
The E-510 does a good job at how it handles and how it produces nice images. There’s low image noise which is a real plus. There are a few issues with white balance and the body feels a little inexpensive. But, this is a fine DSLR with excellent performance.
The Olympus E-510 is arguably the most feature-packed DSLR in its class, ticking almost every box on the wish-lists of new DSLR buyers. You get 10 Megapixels in a relatively light and compact form factor, the option of one or two decent kit lenses, and the triple whammy of built-in anti-shake, anti-dust and Live View capabilities, not to mention easy access to a wide variety of settings. It’s certainly a compelling package, especially for the asking price.
The Olympus Evolt E-510 has quirky exposure and white-balance issues, but its Live View and Image Stabilization modes may make some photographers give this SLR a chance.
Overall, the E-510 and E-410 are compact and well designed, with the best image quality of any Olympus DSLR we’ve tested. The E-510 will appeal to more advanced photographers who want the IS, larger grip, and additional control buttons. The smaller, lighter E-410 is for those who want a compact DSLR at a lower price, as well as underwater shooters looking for an affordable waterproof system.
Probably the biggest selling point for the E-510 is its live view feature. While an improvement over the E-330, the technology still has a long way to go. Those of you moving up from a point-and-shoot camera should not expect the same live view quality as you have on your old camera. It’s not as crisp, bright, or fluid, and it can be difficult to see what’s on the screen both outdoors and in low light. Live view isn’t really for action shots either, as the autofocus is disabled when the feature is active. You can manually focus the lens (the AF can be activated for a little help), or you can just fully press the shutter release button and wait an additional second for the autofocusing process to take place. Therefore, I rarely found myself using live view when out and about. However, I did find live view useful when I was taking photos on a tripod. I could compose my photos the way I wanted, preview the white balance, and even digitally zoom in to make sure everything’s in focus (when in manual focus mode).
The Olympus E-510 is a good quality SLR with great controls and the added advantages of image stabilization and Live View. Though its Live View mode is not what it many will expect, introducing extreme shutter lag, it is quite useful on occasion, allowing you to get shots you couldn’t otherwise.
All in all, the Olympus E-510 is a very good D-SLR camera. It has a nice and solid build, good image quality and it is easy to use. In addition, the camera is fairly compact, it features Live View, and is part of the FourThirds System so that you can mount a large number of lenses.
The E-510 is probably the most feature-rich entry level DSLR available on the market today. Competition may be rife, but it seems that Olympus have succeeded with one of the most obvious (yet effective) selling points – it’s affordable. Not ‘cheap cheap’, but if you are looking to buy into the DSLR market and are looking for a camera with decent auto and manual modes whilst remaining portable and light, then there’s not much missing here.
Literally the bigger brother of the current E-410 DSLR, the E-510’s chief advantage is that any lens attached becomes immediately stabilised. The lack of this feature wasn’t a noticeable omission on the E-410, so whether you spend that extra £100 largely comes down to whether you prefer the E-510’s more rounded build and so more comfortable handling.
All in all, I don’t think any other camera has quite so many features at such a price. And that’s what makes the Olympus E-510 so great..this is a camera that will cuddle you until you get to know it well, and when you really know how to use it, it’ll do exactly what you ask of it. Oh, and the pictures look gorgeous, too.
The Olympus E-510 is a very capable digital SLR, offering terrific image quality, an extensive list of useful features and an automatic cure for a common dSLR annoyance – the dusty image sensor.
The E-510’s auto white balance is accurate even in difficult lighting. Colors are bright and hue accurate, but slightly oversaturated. Default contrast is slightly hard. Images shot at ISO 100 have extremely low noise levels – dependably very good to excellent images with decent shadow detail, acceptable highlight detail, and accurate (Caucasian) skin tones.
The E-510 is compact for a DSLR and crams in dust reduction, mechanical image stabilization, and a live-view LCD. However, its vastly improved image quality is what ultimately helps the Olympus EVOLT E-510 emerge as a contender in the sub-$1,000 DSLR bracket.
At the end of the day you get slightly more flexibility of operation and capture plus better ergonomics with the Olympus E-510, but there’s not a dramatic difference as regards the quality of output, with the same sensor and processor as found on the E-410 doing the lion’s share of the work. So if portability is your prime concern and you’re buying a DSLR mainly for travel and holidays, go for the E-410. If however a greater range of photographic control appeals, then the Olympus E-510 will suit you better, and for the last reason alone it gets individual scores slightly higher than its pared-down but still impressive sibling.
It’s not a gimmick – IS really does work and it’s a very worthwhile feature to include in your photographic armoury. And the Olympus E-510 moving sensor IS is competitive with the OIS served up by Leica’s 14-50mm standard zoom.
Official Olympus Resources
Olympus RAW codec for Vista
Where to Buy
First off, consider going to your local camera store (and I don’t necessarily mean Wolf Camera at the mall). By going to your local camera store, you’re supporting your community and you just might build a lasting relationship with people you can rely on when you need some help or answers. If you’re buying online, I recommend sticking with Amazon, B&H Photo or Adorama. These three vendors are reliable, trustworthy and generally have the best (legitimate) prices.
[tags]olympus, e-510, review, test, dslr, digital camera[/tags]