|1. The 2.7-inch, free-angle LCD monitor makes odd-angle, live-view shooting easy. 2. Two memory card slots let you store images on CompactFlash or xD-Picture cards. 3. A new Level Gauge in both the LCD monitor and optical viewfinder shows when the camera is zeroed along both pitch (vertical) and roll (horizontal) axes.
ESTIMATED STREET PRICE: $899
When the E-30 was first introduced, it bridged the gap between the E-3 and the more consumer-focused E-520—it even beat out the E-3 in resolution, with 12.3 megapixels compared to the E-3’s 10.1 megapixels. The lineup has changed, with both the E-5 and lower-priced E-620 now matching the E-30’s resolution, but the E-30 remains in the line with some advantages over the E-620.
For example, it matches the new E-5’s shooting rate of 5 fps, compared to 4 fps with the E-620. It also features the 11-point AF system found in the E-5, while the E-620 has a 7-point system. Advantages like these, and an extra stop of sensor-shift stabilization (five stops vs. four), may make the difference for you in deciding between the E-30 and the newer E-620.
The E-30 introduced Olympus’ Creative Art Filters, with six of these effects built right in (Pop Art, Soft Focus, Pale & Light Color, Light Tone, Grainy Film and Pinhole Camera), a feature that lets you do some fun things with your photos computer-free. You can also easily make multiple exposures in-camera, layering up to four exposures in a single frame—add a full moon to a landscape, for example.
Like the E-5, you can calibrate your AF system for up to 20 different lenses. You also have Face Detection, which will track up to 8 faces and keep them sharp, a handy feature for shooting group portraits.
Another excellent feature to consider is Olympus Shadow Adjustment Technology. Blocked-up shadows without detail can ruin exposures—think backlit portrait—and finding the balance to save shadow details without blowing out highlights is always a challenge, and especially so when you’re trying to work quickly so you don’t miss the moment. Shadow Adjustment Technology adjusts the exposure in shadow areas to help retain detail while leaving the bright areas unaffected, and works automatically when shooting in Face Detection, Live View and Scene Select modes.