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The Olympus E-420 Camera Review

The Olympus E-420 Camera Review

olympus_E420 with Flash in the up position - Olympus E-420


I am not sure if it is official but when I did the Olympus E-420 camera review I was convinced that it must be the smallest entry level DSLR in the world. Featuring Olympus’ innovative Autofocus Live view that allows you to frame and focus your image using the 2.7 inch rear preview screen. Does this take it out of the DSLR category and into the compact range I’m not sure but it’s a very handy feature all the same.

Because it is so small it fits easily and comfortably into a pocket, small handbag or even your purse; and you won’t notice the weight as it weighs in at less than 14 ounces.

Olympus E-420 Face Detection.

Another very useful feature is the auto-face detection which delineates between the background and the subject(s) faces. This feature allows you to make sure that the subject doesn’t get lost in the image.

Shooting scenes with shadows can be tricky because of the extreme contrast between dark and bright areas. The Olympus E-420 addresses this challenge with Shadow Adjustment Technology that compensates for extreme contrast when shadow areas are underexposed and lack visible detail. This technology works automatically when using Face Detection Mode, Live View and in Scene Select Modes.

olympus-e420_multiview - Olympus E-420


As any good photographer will tell you shooting scenes that contain both highlights and shadows is a tricky balance of light against detail. If you expose for the highlights then you are going to lose detail in the shadow areas and likewise if you expose for the shadows then you will ‘blow out’ or over expose the highlight areas; a typical conundrum faced by landscape photographers when the sun is head on. Olympus has tackled this with their Shadow Adjustment feature which retains detail in the shadow areas. This feature works when the camera is using Face Detection Mode, Live View and Scene Select modes.

For more information on the subject of exposure I can recommend an excellent book, A Beginner’s Guide to Digital Photography (Professional Tips for an Entry Level Photographer) by R Chapman – that’s me by the way.

Olympus E-420 Dust Reduction.

A simple but very effective feature is the dust reduction system that utilises Olympus’ Supersonic Wave Filter™. This unique system uses vibration to shake dust onto an adhesive membrane every time the camera is activated.

Olympus E-420 Digital Image Stabilization

The E-420’s Digital Image Stabilization  which works in Scene Select mode, selects a higher ISO sensitivity which allows for faster shutter speeds so you can shoot sharp, crisp non-blurred images.

The Hyper HyperCrystal II™Crystal II™ Technology boosts the contrast to twice its normal setting and this results in a far better view when attempting to see the LCD in adverse lighting conditions, (such as bright sun); it also provides a broader range of colours and a wider angle of view enabling you to view it correctly at up to 176 degrees off-centre.

The Olympus E420 comes with a 10 megapixel Live-MOS image sensor that enables very detailed, well saturated and clear images. This high-resolution sensor captures all the detail needed to make large prints, up to A3. Even at high ISO settings the images will be of excellent quality.

Olympus_E420 rear view - Olympus E-420

This is a very neat feature that allows you to apply different effects directly in the LCD enabling you to see the outcome before taking the shot.

If you decide to venture into the arena of advanced lighting, the E-420 is ready to meet the challenge. The E-420 is compatible with the Olympus FL-50R and FL-36R wireless electronic flashes that are designed exclusively for digital photography. When these flashes are used in combination with the E-420, wireless multi-flash photography is possible.

If you decide to enter the domain of the external flash unit that works remotely from the camera you have access to two bespoke flash units in the Olympus FL-50R and FL-36R wireless electronic flash units, both of which have been designed specifically for digital photography.

The Olympus E-420’s TruePic III™ processor supplies enhanced saturation and image quality and is particular useful for portraits, and landscapes.

The Olympus E-420 has 18 Scene Select Modes that you can select. The 18 modes cover practically every common shooting scenario including:

  • Portrait
  • Fireworks
  • Sports
  • Landscape
  • Sunset

and many more.

The E420 is a pleasure to use, the ergonomically designed shape fits snuggly into your hand and is light enough to hold for long periods with discomfort; in addition it makes you look like you mean business.  The Olympus E-420 has a great pancake lens that reduces its bulk quite considerably.

Olympus E420 with 25mm Pancake lens - Olympus E-420


An extremely neat feature is the ability to transfer data from one card to another right inside the camera. As for cards the E420 will take the CompactFlash Type I & II, Microdrive’s, and xD-Picture Cards. I could have used this on many occasions, Canon are you listening?!

Olympus’ use the Zuiko Digital™ range of lenses and these provide edge-to-edge pixel-perfect clarity. Designed specifically for digital they work perfectly with the E420.

Check out this DSLR on Amazon - Olympus E-420

Pictures of the Olympus E-420

Before we get started; the images and button at the bottom of the screen are affiliate links to amazon; if you decide to buy the camera and use my link, it doesn't cost you anything extra but I do get a small percentage of your purchase for the "referral".


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