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Its small body shoots big images.
Slackers might chuckle at the numbers in the Evolt E-420’s name, but this entry-level DSLR is as hard working as any competitor. Stocked with important features, including a live-view mode to frame shots on the 2.7-inch LCD screen and the full-manual controls we expect, the Evolt gives beginners a taste of advanced features. And the 10-megapixel pictures live up to these qualities. While not perfect—high ISO situations and busy backgrounds are a challenge—photo details are often stunning. Minor, persistent issues disappointed us, but the advanced features and sharp images make the Evolt a great value.
The Evolt’s boxy, small design keeps important buttons within reach. While our large hands were never completely comfortable holding it, we got used to the camera’s shape and control placement. Shooting in auto and manual modes, the LCD screen clearly shows exposure settings. The viewfinder also shows that data, so you can keep an eye on the scene at the same time.
The camera was speedy and responsive in our tests, turning on, focusing, and shooting a photo in about 1.5 seconds. We fired a rapid burst of 14 RAW photos in 10 seconds, recording to the CompactFlash or xD card. In regular shooting, the focus felt quick, and the Evolt was always ready to shoot. The live-view LCD mode even let us manually focus using the screen, instead of the autofocus-only option available on some competitors.
Close-up images looked fantastic. Set on the camera’s macro mode, photos of flowers showed subtle details we hadn’t noticed when composing the shot. Skin tones and colors looked strong in average daylight or with the flash, but bright days looked washed out, and flash-free indoor pictures skewed yellow. And background details, such as a tree’s leaves, often melded together in any light. While disappointing, these problems are common in the Evolt’s competitors as well.
But the Evolt has a few other design flaws. The viewfinder felt small, causing us to strain while composing photos. And the LCD stays lit while you adjust settings, even if your eye is next to the viewfinder. On bright days, this isn’t a problem, but especially indoors or at night, the constant glow of the screen interfered with our shot composition.The Evolt E-420 includes the features and quality we expect from an entry-level DSLR. While its quirks disappoint, it’s a great value for beginners