Evolt E-500

Evolt E-500

Feature-filled - and takes nice pics, too.


The eight-megapixel Olympus Evolt E-500 is a comfortable and reasonably light digital SLR camera with high-quality lenses that produce equally high-quality images, making it a top contender in its class.


The E-500's rubberized, slip-proof grip is perfectly sized - your nose has a nice resting place when you hold the camera to your eye. The camera remains rock-steady when rotated to shoot vertical images, and the tack-sharp Zuiko 14mm-to-45mm (28mm-to-90mm equivalent on a 35mm camera) f/3.5-to-f/5.6 digital lens has smooth-as-silk zooming.


The E-500's nice 2.5-inch LCD viewing screen makes it easy to view images and compare them side by side. The LCD also doubles as a status monitor, and the interface icons are easy for older eyes to read. You can pack plenty of ammo when you shoot, since there are two memory-card slots: a CompactFlash slot and an Olympus xD-Picture Card slot.


Be prepared for a slight tunnel effect when previewing pictures in the viewfinder - you'll feel a bit as if you're looking through a tube - but even four-eyed photographers can view the full image without the edges disappearing. For a bigger viewfinder image, just slip off the eyecup and replace it with an optional magnifying one ($49). Sequential shooting could be improved; you can only take four pictures at a time at a rate of 2.5 frames per second. You can still continue shooting normally while the buffer clears and then shoot another high-speed sequence, but four frames isn't enough, especially when shooting action scenes.


Shot-to-shot time is as fast as you can press the shutter release, and shutter lag (the time from when you press the release to the actual exposure) is virtually nil. Shutter-speed choices range from 1/4000 of a second to 8 minutes, and ISOs range from 100 to 1,600. The E-500 can shoot at several megapixel resolutions, and formats include JPEG, TIFF, RAW, and RAW+JPEG. The automatic sensor cleaner uses ultrasonic vibration to remove loose dust particles from the CCD each time you power up, so black specks won't appear on your image.


There are five scene settings on the mode dial: Portrait, Landscape, Macro, Sports, and Night Scene And Portrait. If you turn the dial to Scene, you can scroll through these choices plus ten more, each with descriptions and image examples displayed on the LCD monitor. You can also set the E-500 to Auto or Program and let it do most of the thinking for you. When you're ready to perform manual adjustments, Aperture priority, Shutter priority, and Manual exposure are at your command.


At low ISO settings, the E-500's picture quality is extraordinary, but when we pushed the ISO over 400, images tended to become noisy. At ISO 400, we were able to roll out 12-by-15-inch images on our Epson 2200 printer that showed great detail in both shadows and highlights, perfect color, and no noticeable noise. The camera's TV mode also yielded great output on a video projector that threw a four-by-five-foot image on a screen.


The bottom line. If you haven't accumulated a bunch of lenses that dictate buying another brand, the E-500 has all the features you'll ever need, plus some that its competitors don't have. The E-500 is a quality camera.


The Evolt E-500's standard lens yields razor-sharp detail. Meow!


COMPANY: Olympus
CONTACT: 888-553-4448, www.olympus.com
PRICE: $799.99 (with 14mm-to-45mm lens), $899.99 (with 14mm-to-45mm and 40mm-to-150mm lenses)
REQUIREMENTS: Mac OS 10.2 or later
Comfortable. Fast shot-to-shot times. Excellent lens quality. Accurate flesh tones.
Slightly small viewfinder. Memory card not included. Sequential shooting speed could be faster.





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Do not buy this camera! I've had it for 8 months and it has broken twice. BAD customer service!!!

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