The creative tutorial home of image wrangler, Lesa Snider.

Olympus Evolt-330

July 19, 2006 by

For the last month, I've had the pleasure of toting around an Olympus Evolt-330: the world's first digital SLR with a live LCD preview screen. This means that instead of using the optical view finder, you can compose your shots directly from the screen.

The downside of this is that you lose a bit of image stability (that of pressing the camera body against your face), but the upside is that you can get shots you'd never be able to get otherwise (think over-the-head or below-the-knee).

Olympus sent me a variety of lenses and by far my favorite was the Macro lens. Oh. My. Gosh. I'll never look at weeds in the same way! I had an absolute ball with this camera and I invite you to gaze upon myriad images posted my Travel Blog in the Ann Arbor and Deal's Gap photo galleries.

I found the batter life to be very long, and I went up to three days without recharging it while carrying the camera with me shooting intermittently. I also spent a fare amount of that time using playback mode to delete images to free up more space on the 2 gig CF memory card.

For the most part, I left the camera on Program where it sets the ISO, white balance, and metering automatically, though an expert would be happier in manual mode where you can tweak every setting to your heart's content. I also enjoyed the ability to shoot in RAW + SQ mode where I had two images of every shot to choose from: one in RAW and another high quality JPEG. What a great way to visually test the benefits of shooting in RAW vs. JPEG.

I found shutter speed to be zippy and I really enjoyed the ability to hold the button down and fire off three shots in succession. If you forget your tripod, you can still get a stable shot using this technique (chances are one of the images won't be blurry).

A few quirks did occur, such as a couple of times after swapping lenses the camera refused to focus. When this happened I just powered the camera off, removed the lens and put it back on and everything worked fine. Admittedly, there is a firmware update that I have not installed so this may never happen to you.

The only downside was the bulkiness, but that's an evil inherent to *all* digital SLRs. There's just no way around carrying the equipment with you. Though the camera itself weighs 1.21 pounds, it's going to be heavy when you add several lenses to your pack.

For those of you jumping into the digital SLR realm, I highly recommend this camera. It's a great way to transition from point-and-shoot by having the abilit to use the screen to compose shots. Now all I have to do is save up the $980 to buy one!

Tune in two weeks from now to see how this camera fared shooting motion shots out at Barber Motorsports. Until then, happy shooting :)