Best Buy: Olympus EVOLT E-510
The mid-sized Olympus EVOLT E-510 hits the trifecta: It's the world's first D-SLR to combine supersonic-wave sensor cleaning, in-body image stabilization, and a "live view" system that turns its LCD into a viewfinder. The 10-megapixel model is about the same size as its eight-megapixel predecessor, the E-500, but is much improved in its comfortable handling and rounded good looks.
Like all Olympus D-SLRs, this one has a Four Thirds format image sensor. It's smaller than the APS-C-sized sensors found in other brands, but this allows comparable lenses to be made lighter and more compact. The smaller chip also gives the E-510 a higher FOV crop factor, 2X instead of the usual 1.5X or 1.6X. Unlike Olympus's E-330, which has a two-mode live view system that allows autofocus with the mirror down, the E-510 has just one live-view mode. Simply hit a button to raise its mirror and your subject appears on the LCD. This disables AF but lets you see real-time exposure and white balance changes, as well as a live histogram. The system is great for composing high- and low-angle shots, as well as for macro and studio work. Shooting with the small but serviceable optical viewfinder is still quicker. Though there are only three focus points, AF is super-swift, particularly in continuous mode. Aimed at serious users, the E-510 has lots of advanced features, our favorite being its LCD "super control panel." It's a brilliant alternative to hunting through a menu, offering one-finger access to 17 key settings with the four-way control pad.