Summary: When you are ready to take the leap to an SLR camera, an entry-level model is a wise choice. If you haven't already invested in lenses, the Four Thirds system that the Olympus E-300 uses will protect your lens investment for the future.
Conclusion: A good affordable choice for serious amateurs who want high-resolution images, lots of control, and access to a growing assortment of Four Thirds lenses. But be prepared for slightly slower-than-average performance and darker through-the-lens viewing than with other D-SLRs we've seen.
Pros: Well-built. 8-megapixel digital SLR for the price of an entry-level 6MP D-SLR. Possesses all important features and functions. Olympus's "sonic clean" capability keeps dust off the sensor.
Cons: Evolt's porroflex optical viewing system isn't as bright as a traditional pentaprism. AF Assist consists of annoying preflashes rather than a separate light. Image quality, while good, should be better for an 8MP camera. USB 1.1 is too slow for the large images that the Evolt creates.
Conclusion: When Olympus first revealed the E-300 at Photokina last year it wasn't too much of a surprise, many of us had been expecting (wishing) them to introduce a 'consumer level' digital SLR with a Four Thirds system mount for some time. Indeed it was my opinion that Olympus should have started the whole Four Thirds system 'revolution' with a consumer level camera and lenses, but hey what would I know?.
Pros: Good resolution, almost as good as the more expensive Canon EOS 20D, Good color, contrasty images with consumer-appeal 'punch' (can be adjusted), Noise free images at ISO 100, Wide range of image parameter adjustment (color, tone, sharpness), Good automatic white balance, indoors better under fluorescent light than incandescent, Kelvin white balance option, all white balance presets fine tunable, Selectable color space (sRGB / Adobe RGB), although with a caveat (see c...
Cons: Recommended sensitivity ISO 100 - 400, images at ISO 800 usable, ISO 1600 not really, Demosaic artifacts on JPEG and Olympus Master processed RAW, Images not per-pixel as 'crisp' as from other D-SLR's (image processing / low pass?), Moire artifacts can be detected in fine repeating detail, Noise tends have the appearance of color mottle not 'film like' grain, Metering bug sometimes left under-exposed images (isolated issue?), Auto focus provides just three focus point...
Summary: The metering issue notwithstanding, the E-300's image quality is very good, the kit lens is compact and lightweight and the camera packs in so much kit (+/-5 steps of exposure compensation is a very good example) it opens up rich tapestry of photography for those upgrading from compact digital cameras or swapping over from film.
Pros: Handling, sRGB and Adobe RGB capture, RAW+JPEG capture, Supersonic Wave (dust removal) Filter, customisable exposure steps, good noise reduction and helpful Olympus Master software.
Cons: Slow USB 1.1 connectivity, underexposure issues with localised highlights in a scene.
Summary: Judging by the number of reviews of this affordable
digital SLR, there is an enormous amount of interest
about the Olympus EVOLT E-300 . Featuring
8.0 megapixel resolution, a large 4/3 image sensor,
an exclusive Supersonic Wave Filter that eliminates
dust from the image sensor every time you turn
on the camera, easy-to-use scene modes, and compatibility
with the full line of Zuiko Digital Specific Lenses,
we can see why Olympus fans get very excited with
the EVOLT E-300.
Excerpt: The E-system, introduced by Olympus in 2003, reminds us of the Olympus of old: lean, daring and technically very clever. Driving the new system is the industry's ambition to reduce the size of the 35mm format, so that cameras can be smaller and lighter.
Excerpt: Physical Views Canon Digital Rebel and E-300 for size comparison Olympus E-300 and E-1 for comparison Differences Between the E-300 and E-1 E-300 E-1 Number of Pixels 4/3-type Full Frame Transfer CCD, 8 million pixels effective, Primary color filter (RGB) 4/3-type Full Frame Transfer CCD, 5 million pixels effective, Primary color filter (RGB) Adjustable Resolutions (Still Pictures) 3264 x 2448 (RAW/TIFF/SHQ/HQ) 3200 x 2400 (SQ) 2560 x 1920 (SQ) 1600 x 1200 (SQ) 1280 x...
Excerpt: The Olympus EVOLT E-300 (it's just
called the E-300 outside of the U.S.) is the first
consumer digital SLR to use the FourThirds system.
The FourThirds system (co-developed by Olympus, Fuji,
and Kodak) was first seen on the Olympus E-1, which
was released in 2003. The E-300 takes many of the same
features used on the E-1, removes a few manual controls,
slows things down a bit, and boosts the resolution
from five to eight million pixels.
Pros: Very good photo quality (but see issues below), Great deal for an 8MP D-SLR with a lens, Full manual controls, Robust performance, Many white balance options, including ability to set the color temperature, Solid low light focusing performance, No redeye, As with all D-SLRs, its expandable, RAW, RAW+JPEG, TIFF image formats supported, Dust removal system is awfully useful
Cons: Images seem a bit soft, with muddy details; high ISO performance not quite as good as competition, Very occasional vignetting from kit lens, No USB 2.0 High Speed, Burst mode, startup time a little slower than D70, Only three focus points
Excerpt: $1599 4 stars The E-300 is the Olympus entry into the sub $2000 digital single lens reflex market. It uses the Four Thirds technology of the E-1 and increases the resolution of the sensor from 5 megapixels to 8.
Pros: The E-300 is a curious looking camera because the viewfinder mirror is hinged to swing horizontally, which means there is no prism bump on top of the body. This design re-think has not resulted in reduced bulk, it has merely redistributed the weight and volume. It is still a large and heavy camera compared with Olympus film SLRs. And sadly the E-300 doesn’t accept OM lenses. The construction is reassuringly rugged and the controls are well placed and nicely damped. Th...
Cons: The E-300 is a curious looking camera because the viewfinder mirror is hinged to swing horizontally, which means there is no prism bump on top of the body. This design re-think has not resulted in reduced bulk, it has merely redistributed the weight and volume. It is still a large and heavy camera compared with Olympus film SLRs. And sadly the E-300 doesn’t accept OM lenses. The construction is reassuringly rugged and the controls are well placed and nicely damped. Th...
Summary: The Olympus E-300 achieves the difficult feat of offering a wealth of features, great ease of use and good image quality at a price point that would have been difficult to believe only a couple of years ago. £600 / $900 / €800 for an 8 megapixel digital SLR with a fairly reasonable standard zoom lens is a real bargain, being more capable than the Canon EOS 300D and cheaper than the Nikon D70, Pentax *ist DS and the new Canon EOS 350D.