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Olympus EVOLT E-510 Digital Camera Hands On First Look
by Ben Stafford -  2/27/2007

In addition to the new compact EVOLT E-410 announced today, Olympus is also rolling out the EVOLT E-510. as a successor to the E-500 digital SLR. The E-510 is a 10 megapixel digital SLR that includes Olympus' Live View MOS sensor that lets you preview your images on the 2.5 inch LCD. It also features a new processor, the TruePic III and a sensor-shifting mechanical image stabilization system. The Olympus EVOLT E-510 will be available in three configurations: body only, a one lens kit, and two lens kit. The body-only price will be $799 when it starts shipping in June.

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If you've already read the E-410 announcement - this one will sound similar since the E-510 has very similar specs. It's just a bit larger and has mechanical image stabilization.. Everything else is pretty much the same.

Unlike the E-410 model that I got my hands on, the E-510 pre-production unit was non-functional. So, I can talk about how the camera felt in my hand, but everything else about the camera will have to wait until the reviews start rolling out.

Hands On Impressions

I consider the size of the E-510 to be a "standard" SLR size. It's larger than compact models, like the Nikon D40 and Canon Digital Rebel XTi, but it's also smaller than the more professional level SLRs that have vertical grips built-in, etc. Unlike the E-410, the E-510 has a prominent hand grip that I found to be very comfortable in my hand. Rubberized panels on the outside of the camera ensure a solid, non-slip grip and the grip filled up my hand nicely.

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The E-510 seems to be well built. The outer case of the body is plastic (over a metal frame), and it has a nice matte-black, textured finish. The battery compartment (accessible on the bottom of the camera) is separate from the memory media compartment (right side of the camera) which makes it easy to swap out memory media when you need to.

When I held the smaller E-410 camera, I though it felt a little unbalanced. However, with the E-510, the weight was more balanced, front to back.

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E-410 on left, E-510 on right (view large image)

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E-410 on left, E-510 on right (view large image)

If you've used the Olympus E-500, the E-510's controls are very similar. There are shortcut buttons to flash modes, drive modes, AF mode, metering mode, ISO, WB setting, exposure compensation and so on. A new button on the back of the E-510 activates the mechanical image stabilization.

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Features

The E-510 includes Olympus' Live View LCD. The screen measures 2.5 inches and has 230K pixels of resolution.

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The E-510's 10 megapixel resolution means that you have plenty of data to print very large prints or do a lot of cropping. The Live View MOS sensor sports low power consumption that prevents sensor heating and helps reduce noise.

The mechanical image stabilization system, along with digital image stabilization provides the tools need to counteract hand-shake and blur from subject movement. Since the mechanical stabilization system is in the camera body, you can use the E-510's image stabilization with all Four Thirds lenses. The IS system in the E-510 has two modes. One stabilizes in both horizontal and vertical directions and the second mode stabilizes only vertical movement - to allow horizontal panning.

To keep the sensor clean after repeated lens changes, the E-510 includes the Dust Reduction system seen on previous E-system cameras. The Supersonic Wave Filter uses ultrasonic vibrations to knock the dust off onto an adhesive membrane.

The E-510 gets a new processor, the TruePic III. Developed for Olympus E-Pro camera, the Truepic III offers faster speeds and better image quality than its predeccessors. Image write times to media are faster, start-up is faster, and connectivity is faster. As far as image quality, the TruePic III, according to the press materials allows for less noise, more detail, accurate color and smooth color transitions.

Along with the announcement of the two new digital SLRs (the E-410 and E-510) is the introduction of two new Four Thirds lenses. These lenses were announced outside of the US, along with the E-400, but this is the first time they' ve been announced in the US. The new lenses are the Zuiko Digital ED 14-42mm f3.5-f5.6 and Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm f4.0-5.6.


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E-510 with extended 40-150mm lens (view large image)

The E-510 is 5.35 in. x 3.6 in. x 2.67in. The body alone weighs 16.2 ounces.

The camera uses the Olympus BLM-1 lithium-ion rechargeable battery pack and can accept both CompactFlash and xD-Picture Card memory media. Battery life is an estimated 650 shots (using optical viewinder, 50% flash, CIPA standard).

olympus e-510
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As I mentioned previously, the E-510 will start shipping in June 2007. The body will be priced at $799. The one lens kit (camera and 14-42mm lens) will be priced at $899, and the two lens kit (camera, 14-42mm lens, 40-150mm lens) will be priced at $999.

Pictures

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olympus e-510
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olympus e-510
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Additional Specs