Olympus E-450 review

£428
Price when reviewed

We’ve been fans of the E-450’s body since we first saw it a little over a year ago, in the identical-looking E-420. Since then, it’s had a minor makeover, and now has an improved image processor among other things.

It’s a tempting-looking camera, not least because the 14-42mm Zuiko lens sounds perfect for those who want to take ultra wide-angle shots. Unfortunately, the numbers are too good to be true. The E-450 has Olympus’s Four Thirds standard sensor format and lens-mount, and hence has a crop factor of 2x. So in terms of 35mm film, the widest at which the E-450’s lens can shoot is 28mm; roughly the same as every other sub-£1,000 DSLR.

This isn’t the biggest disappointment, though. Since Olympus has had to crowd 12.3 million pixels on to a sensor with around 60% of the surface area of standard DSLRs, there’s more potential for image noise.

Despite this, our image tests turned out surprisingly well. Viewed up close, shots lost a little more detail in our ISO 1600 tests compared to test shots from the Canon 500D and Nikon D5000, but unless you crop heavily into your images and print them at large sizes, you’re unlikely to spot the difference. Our lower ISO tests also closely matched the output from other cameras. And the Olympus is fast: in continuous mode it shot nine frames in 2.3 seconds, at nearly 4fps.

Our complaints about the E-450 stem from its design. The grip around which your right hand curls is shallow, and we found it difficult to hold securely. The viewfinder feels cramped compared to other cameras, making it hard to use manual focus, although by way of compensation the 2.7in screen has a Live View mode.

Unusually, the E-450 has dual memory card slots and caters for both CompactFlash and xD-Picture cards – useful for those bridging the gap between an Olympus compact and a DSLR.

The E-450 takes good, clean images, but its design hasn’t aged well. Although other cameras have only a slight edge on it in terms of noise performance, it’s an edge nonetheless. And finally, the lack of image stabilisation, either in the lens or body, consigns the E-450 to the position of also-ran.

Details

Image quality 6

Basic specifications

Camera megapixel rating 10.0mp
Camera screen size 2.7in
Camera optical zoom range 3x
Camera maximum resolution 3,648 x 2,736

Weight and dimensions

Weight 610g
Dimensions 130 x 53 x 91mm (WDH)

Battery

Battery type included Lithium-ion
Battery life (CIPA standard) 500 shots
Charger included? yes

Other specifications

Built-in flash? yes
Aperture range f3.5 - f5.6
Camera minimum focus distance 0.25m
Shortest focal length (35mm equivalent) 28
Longest focal length (35mm equivalent) 84
Minimum (fastest) shutter speed 1/4,000
Bulb exposure mode? yes
RAW recording mode? yes
Exposure compensation range +/- 5EV
ISO range 100 - 1600
Selectable white balance settings? yes
Manual/user preset white balane? yes
Progam auto mode? yes
Shutter priority mode? yes
Aperture priority mode? yes
Fully auto mode? yes
Burst frame rate 3.5fps
Exposure bracketing? yes
White-balance bracketing? no
Memory-card type Compact Flash, xD
Viewfinder coverage 95%
LCD resolution 230k
Secondary LCD display? no
Video/TV output? yes
Body construction Plastic
Tripod mounting thread? yes
Data connector type Proprietary USB

Manual, software and accessories

Full printed manual? yes
Software supplied Olympus Master 2
Accessories supplied Shoulder strap, USB cable, video cable, lens hood

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