The Olympus E-420 is the subject of a new review at DigitalCameraReview.
Here’s what they thought of the $600 10 megapixel entry level compact compact digital SLR:
“The Olympus E-420 is touted as the “world’s smallest digital SLR” and there is no doubt the camera is compact and light – mounting the 25mm lens and ready to shoot with a CF card onboard, my review unit weighed in at just under 18.5 ounces. As DCR.com editor David Rasnake mentioned in his First Thoughts piece on this camera, with the 25mm lens onboard in particular, the E-420 is approaching mid-size ultrazoom territory: 5 x 3.5 x 3.75 inches, versus the Canon S5 IS at 4.6 x 3.15 x 3.06 inches and about 18 ounces. To be fair to the Canon, it does pack a zoom lens featuring a 36-432mm focal length range, while the Olympus is stuck at an equivalent 50mm, but it’s still a fairly dramatic example of just how small a full-featured DSLR can be.
Make no mistake about it, the E-420 didn’t cut out features or performance on its way to being small. Typical DSLR manual controls and a full suite of automatic modes, a better-than-average continuous shooting rate, live view (if you insist), a generous monitor, on-par ISO performance, and good image and color quality all combine to make this a nice little camera for folks moving into the DSLR field or more seasoned users who want or need good performance in a compact body.
I personally found the camera a bit small for my hands, and the placement of the strap attachment eyelet and ring near the shutter button rubbed my middle finger the wrong way. The camera also had some difficulty acquiring focus in dim light on occasion – perhaps not out of the norm for entry level units, but annoying none the less. All in all, though, there’s not much to gripe about on this otherwise capable entry level unit.”
We think the area between point and shoot and fully featured DSLR is a tricky one: you can’t keep the larger camera in your pocket any more and if you want to make the most of it you need to spend a fortune on accessories.
We went with “get both”: a compact point and shoot that we take almost everywhere, and a fully featured DSLR that we use for portraits, special shots, and product/review photos for this site.