Olympus E-620 at a glance:

  • 12.3 million pixles
  • Self-cleaning Live-MOS sensor
  • Articulated 2.7in LCD screen
  • Art Filters
  • Built-in image stabilisation
  • Live View with face-detection AF
  • £599.99 (body-only list price)

Olympus E-620 – Introduction

The Four Thirds system, which debuted in 2003 with the innovative Olympus E-1, is still unique in being the only SLR system designed specifically for digital rather than film photography.

The theoretical advantages of such a system are obvious. A camera designed in this way will be optimised for the particular demands of the new medium, rather than simply being adapted from an older, film-based architecture. This is important because film and digital are entirely different media, both in how the images are captured and in the demands they place on lenses.

Designing a system ‘from the ground up’ should ensure that both optics and sensor are working together to deliver optimal image quality. The choice of a small sensor (the Four Thirds sensor measures 18×13.5mm compared to the full-frame 36x24mm) also means that theoretically both cameras and lenses can be made smaller in turn.

If the birth of the Four Thirds system six years ago was a great leap forward for digital photography, its adolescence has been rather difficult. Although the original E-1 was well received, and is still prized by loyal Four Thirds photographers today, some of the cameras that followed it onto the market lacked the same star quality. Those models that were genuinely compact, such as the E-410, tended to be compromised in other areas, such as primitive autofocus systems and cramped viewfinders, while the most technologically advanced of the range, such as the excellent new E-30 and flagship E-3, are barely any smaller than their APS-C and even full-frame equivalents.

The E-620, however, bucks this trend by combining both portability and usability with very advanced features, adapted from those put to use in its more expensive stablemates. Could this be the Four Thirds DSLR we’ve been waiting for all these years?

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