The Olympus EVOLT E-330 offers something a lot of people have been hoping for. Taking advantage of how far the price of image sensors has fallen, the E-330 features not one, but two sensors. The first is an NMOS sensor with a resolution of 7.5 megapixels, which is used for image capture. The second sensor is a CCD of unknown resolution, which is used to allow a live preview image on the camera’s LCD display. A couple of digital SLRs have offered live previews in the past, but these have come with strong limitations as to how long (and how) they could be used, making them essentially unuseable in the manner that most point-and-shoot digicam owners have become accustomed to. The E-330 solves this, and so the company has focused on optimising the LCD shooting experience, with a larger than average 2.5″ LCD display mounted on a tilting mechanism for easy viewing from a range of angles.
The E-330 also offers a range of other features shared with past Evolt models, including CompactFlash and xD-Picture card storage, dust reduction system, and more. The Olympus EVOLT E-330 goes on sale March 2006, with pricing planned to be US$1099.99, including a 14-45mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens.
E-330 User Report
by Shawn Barnett
As the market for digital SLRs gets more crowded, we can expect more and more attempts at product differentiation. Companies are always looking for that something extra to make their product stand out from the crowd of traditional products, whatever they be. No company has gone to greater lengths to be different in the SLR space than Olympus, though, and they’ve continued the trend in the E-330, delivering the first SLR with a live view.
2005’s EVOLT E-300 was quite a departure in SLR design, with a porromirror arranged on the side of the camera instead of a pentaprism mounted on top, and an onboard flash that could be used as fill in conjunction with a hot-shoe-mounted flash. It was interesting, though unattractive, and I didn’t see much value. When the Olympus E-500 came out in the Fall, I thought they’d abandoned the E-300 in favor of more conventional design. Though I’d been told that the E-300 series wouldn’t be going away, I thought that was just PR-speak for “We’ll continue selling them until we run out.” I assumed Olympus developed the excellent E-500 to take on the digital SLR market with a more traditional body, abandoning the more radical E-300 — especially given that the price on the E-300 had dropped so dramatically.