I do almost all of my shooting handheld, so I’m delighted to see more and more D-SLRs incorporate anti-shake systems. These detect camera shake and shift the image sensor to counter it. Image-stabilizer lenses are terrific and offer the advantage of letting you see the stabilizer’s effect in the viewfinder, but you get stabilization only with those specific lenses. Because it’s in the camera body, sensor-shift stabilization works with all lenses you can attach to the camera. The drawback is that you can’t see the effect in the viewfinder.
Enter the Olympus EVOLT E-510, which provides sensor-shift stabilization plus a live-view 2.5-inch LCD monitor that allows you to see the effect. And the E-510’s live-view mode is easy to use: Just press the live-view button, and the image appears live on the LCD monitor. To preview the effect of the image stabilizer, press the IS button while in live-view mode. Live view is especially handy for dim-light and long-lens shooting and for previewing exposure and white balance. Single-shot autofocusing works in live-view mode or you can focus manually. Alas, the E-510’s monitor doesn’t tilt like that of Olympus’s first live-view D-SLR, the E-330. Of course, you can also use the E-510’s eye-level reflex viewfinder to compose and focus, just as with any SLR. The SLR finder is ideal for action shots.
Like all Olympus D-SLRs, the E-510 features a built-in Supersonic Wave Filter that vibrates dust off the image sensor when you switch on the camera. This feature was introduced in the E-1, and it really works. I’ve found a dust spot on only one of more than 6,000 images shot with five different Olympus D-SLR models, despite numerous lens changes in harsh field conditions.
The Olympus EVOLT E-510 is a compact, interchangeable-lens D-SLR that packs a punch, with its combination of Zuiko Digital lenses, advanced features and live-view LCD
The E-510 also features 10-megapixel resolution, 18 Scene Modes (which automatically optimize the camera for shooting popular subjects, such as portraits, landscapes, close-ups, action, night scenes, sunsets, beach and snow, fireworks and more), 3 fps drive mode, slots for both CF and xD-Picture cards (you can record to only one card at a time), RAW+JPEG recording, 49-point ESP metering, three-point AF, handy, built-in TTL fill-flash and more.
Olympus offers 17 Zuiko Digital lenses for its D-SLRs, including zooms from a 7-14mm ƒ/4 to a 90-250mm ƒ/2.8 and fixed-focal-length lenses from an 8mm fish-eye to a 300mm ƒ/2.8; with the image sensor’s 2x crop factor, this provides focal lengths equivalent to 14-600mm on a 35mm SLR. As a Four Thirds System camera, the E-510 can use Four Thirds System lenses from other manufacturers, extending the long end to 800mm (equivalent to 1600mm on a 35mm SLR) with Sigma’s 300-800mm ƒ/5.6. There’s also a 1.4x converter and 25mm extension tube.
Estimated Street Price: $799; $899 (with a 14-42mm Zuiko lens).
Contact: Olympus, www.olympusamerica.com.