Image processing is handled by the Evolt's TruePic Turbo engine, but it doesn't contribute much to the E-330's mediocre burst capability (only up to four JPEG, RAW, or TIFF files at 3 fps).
The E-330's optical viewfinder is just like the E-300's, with three selectable AF zones and data display to the right of the image area. The TTL phase-difference detecting AF system is also similar, but we found it to be slightly more sensitive, with the ability to focus down to EV 0.
The Evolt E-330 delivers nearly the same Excellent resolution (1,705 lines average) as the E-300, despite a slightly lower pixel count (7.5MP effective, versus 8.2MP on the E-300). Color accuracy has improved dramatically to an Excellent rating (7.97 average Delta E).
Noise is also improved at higher ISOs; it doesn't reach Moderately Low until ISO 400. After that, noise reduction kicks in, holding noise down to Moderately Low even at ISO 1600, with about a 10 percent loss in resolution. (We also noticed a slightly higher dynamic range in the highest-quality JPEG images compared with the E-300, but this is not as obvious when you shoot in RAW or TIFF modes.)
The bottom line on this Evolt? It's a splendid improvement over the E-300 in terms of image quality and AF sensitivity. And for the few hundred dollars more than you'd spend on the older E-300 ($600, street) or the Canon EOS Digital Rebel XT ($750, street), you get the only DSLR capable of a live color preview -- and a big, swiveling LCD monitor to enjoy it on.
First DSLR to offer live color preview LCD.
Ultrasonic dust removal system on sensor.
Big, swiveling 2.5-inch LCD monitor.
Wimpy burst mode (4 frames at 3 fps).
3-zone AF not the most advanced for $$.
Battery life takes a hit in live mode.
OLYMPUS EVOLT E-330 Certified Test Results
Resolution: Excellent (1740Vx1780Hx1595D lines).
Color accuracy: Excellent (Avg. Delta E: 7.97).
Highlight/shadow detail: High.
Contrast: Normal; adjustable in 5 steps, except in Low or High Key modes.
Noise: Very Low at ISO 100, Low at ISO 200, Moderately Low at ISO 400-1600.
Image quality: Excellent from ISO 100to 200, Extremely High from ISO 400to 1600.
AF speed: Extremely Fast in bright light (EV 12 to 10) from 0.45 to 0.49 sec. Very Fast at EV 8. Fast in moderate light (EV 6 to 4), from 0.85 sec to 0.97 sec. Moderately Fast in low light (EV 2 to 1), from 1.05 to 1.07 sec. In very low light (EV 0), reaches its limit with a Slow rating at 1.57 sec.
Burst rate: In tests using a Kingston 4GB Ultimate 100X CF card, captured up to 4 Super High Quality JPEGs or RAW images at 3 fps and stored them all within 6 sec.
Viewfinder: The etched focusing screen (below) shows 4/3 ratio image area and 3 selectable AF zones with a cross type in center.
CIPA battery life rating: About 400 shots with rechargeable BLM-1 Li-ion battery. Live preview reduces to as few as 200 shots.
Size/weight (body only): 5.52x3.42x2.74-in., 1.37 lb with battery.
Viewfinder accuracy: 94% (Excellent).
Magnification: 0.89X (Excellent)
Street Price: $1,000.
For info: www.olympusamerica.com, 888-553-4448.
Podcast: Olympus Evolt E-330
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