A great digital SLR camera for anyone who wants to make the leap from a compact camera.
- Live View mode works very well, good on-screen menu system, fast performance, more than 30 shots in high-speed burst mode, useful scene modes
- Optical viewfinder is uncomfortable to use, images displayed noticeable noise at ISO 400, no physical focus mode switch
Despite its noisy images, we recommend the E-30 for anyone who is considering making the leap from an advanced compact camera to a D-SLR. It’s an easy camera to use, and the Live View mode will make it a relatively smooth transition.
Price$ 1,899.00 (AUD)
Even though it’s billed as a mid-range digital SLR camera, the Olympus E-30 is one of the better models on the market for inexperienced users who are thinking of making the switch to a D-SLR but have been scared off by all the dials and buttons. In addition to being a fully customisable camera with buttons and dials for all of its exposure settings, the E-30 offers an easy-to-use on-screen menu, preset scene modes, face detection and the best implementation of Live View we've seen.
Olympus should know a thing or two about Live View, since it’s the company that pioneered the technology. In the Olympus E-30 it works like a charm. Its 2.7in LCD screen is crystal clear, there is no lag when you pan and tilt the camera, and, best of all, auto and manual focus functions work — and swiftly, too. In fact, we preferred using Live View to frame all of our test shots, mainly because the optical viewfinder in the E-30 is uncomfortable. It feels too small, and we could never get it entirely blur free, which made it hard to focus. We had a much better time using the Live View mode.
Of course, it’s hard to view the LCD screen while outdoors on a bright day, so you won’t be able to use Live View all the time. The LCD screen can pop open and flip to let you line up self-portraits or low- and high-angled shots. The LCD screen also comes in handy when you want to change settings; there is no need to wade through tabbed menu systems, as all the exposure information is presented on the screen and all you have to do is navigate to each setting using the 5-way controller on the back of the camera. It’s convenient to use this menu if you are new user who isn’t yet comfortable with all the manual controls located on the body itself.
The E-30 is approximately 14cm long and 9cm wide, and very comfortable to hold. It’s not as heavy as we expected, yet it feels solidly constructed. On the inside it has a 12.3-megapixel CMOS sensor with image stabilisation and anti-dust technology (which you can hear when you switch the camera off). It uses the Four Thirds lens mount, which was created by Olympus; in addition to using Olympus’ own lenses, you can find Four Thirds glass by Sigma and Leica. We used the Olympus DIGITAL 14-42mm 1:3.5-5.6 ED lens for our tests, which comes as part of the E-30 Single lens kit for $1899.
The images produced by this kit were quite good overall, with vibrant colours, plenty of detail and only slight lens distortion at the widest angle. Noise was an issue in many shots, however, especially those shot at ISO 400. It was mainly noticeable when scrutinising pictures at their full size, but in pictures with lots of dark areas, the noise became visible even when viewing them at 50 per cent of their full size. Flare from the sun was not handled well by the lens, as it manifested in rainbow streaks rather than a neat array of beams.
Using manual mode, we were able to set the correct exposure levels in dark and bright areas easily, and the aperture priority and shutter priority modes worked well, too. We also made good use of the art scene modes, which pick the exposure settings automatically and add a particular effect to your photos. For example, you can use a black and white film grain setting, a soft focus wedding setting, and a vignette setting. These all looked great, although some people didn’t like the fake-looking vignette pictures.
For focusing, the Olympus E-30 has manual and autofocus modes, as well as face detection. For precise focusing, you can select from 11 focus points on the screen, but you’ll probably need to read the manual to find out how to change these points, as it’s unintuitive. The camera did a good job of focusing fast and with the 14-42mm lens could focus as close as 8cm to subjects.
Even though images were a little too noisy for our liking and the optical viewfinder is poor, we can’t help but like the Olympus E-30 because it’s fun to use. Its Live View mode is very useful and its dials and buttons are all logically laid out; it’s a fast camera with a crisp shutter sound and a high-speed burst mode that is capable of capturing more than 30 frames before its buffer runs out. We do wish there was a switch for quickly shifting between manual and autofocus modes, as well as an easier way to change focal points, but these aren’t major issues once you learn how to use the camera.
We recommend the Olympus E-30 to anyone who is considering making the leap from an advanced compact camera to a D-SLR, as it’s an easy camera to use overall, and the Live View mode will make it a relatively smooth transition.
Join the PC World newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Samsung Galaxy S8 phone: full, in-depth review
- 2 Ryzen 5 vs Intel Core i5 CPU Australian review
- 3 Mass Effect Andromeda review: One for the fans
- 4 LG G6 phone: full, in-depth review
- 5 Samsung Galaxy A5 2017 phone: Full, in-depth review
Latest News Articles
- Boom: SanDisk just dropped the world's largest SD card
- Camera app makers tap into RAW power with iOS, and look forward to dual lenses
- Google Camera 3.2 lets you snap pictures while recording video
- CES 2016: Top 10 trends
- Sony α7S II aimed film-makers and low light photographers
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
- Samsung Galaxy S8 phone: full, in-depth review
- Ryzen 5 vs Intel Core i5 CPU Australian review
- Mass Effect Andromeda review: One for the fans
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- FTSenior Data Warehouse ConsultantNSW
- TPProject Support AnalystNSW
- FTPERMANENT Business AnalystsWA
- FTStorage EngineerSA
- FTCRM Technical Specialist (Oracle Eloqua)WA
- FTGraduate Technical ConsultantACT
- FTBusiness AnalystVIC
- FTBusiness AnalystNSW
- CCGIS DeveloperQLD
- FTMid-Level .NET DeveloperVIC
- FTTelecommunications Installation ManagerSA
- CCSecurity Specialist - NV1ACT
- FTIT/Digital Project ManagerNSW
- TPProject ManagerQLD
- FTPERMANENT Business AnalystsQLD
- FTC# DeveloperQLD
- TPProgram Manager - 12 month contractQLD
- FTHelpdesk SupportNSW
- FTOracle Database Administrator (DBA)SA
- FTNV1 Cleared Software Engineer (Mid level) - Defence Projects - North Ryde areaNSW
- FTICT Contract AnalystWA
- FTMobile Studio Lead/ Mobile UX LeadNSW
- FTHealthcare Application Integration SupportQLD
- CCNetwork EngineerQLD
- FTTester AnalystACT