Olympus E-300

  • Review
  • Specs
  • Images
  • User Reviews
  • Buy Now
Olympus E-300
  • Expert Rating

    2.50 / 5

Pros

  • 8 megapixel sensor, great image detail within its optimal shooting range.

Cons

  • Unacceptable noise levels when shooting at ISO 800 or higher, continuous shot mode superceded by competitors.

Bottom Line

The E-300 offers great quality and functionality when used under optimal conditions. However, its performance for action or low-light photography is completely substandard.

Would you buy this?

In order to keep the cost of the camera low, the E-300 trims fat in areas the average photographer won't notice. Even so, it manages to look and feel like a more expensive camera. Its solid body has an aluminium chassis covered in Olympus's trademark sturdy plastic.

Where most digital SLRs feature both a colour LCD for using the menus and image playback, and a monochrome LCD for displaying camera settings, the E-300 dispenses with the monochrome LCD altogether. Instead the colour LCD does double duty, using the larger screen real estate to show settings.

The E-300 is an 8 megapixel camera, using a Kodak sensor. We testing it using an f3.5 to f5.6, EZ 14 to 45mm zoom lens (28 to 90mm 35mm equivalent). Olympus has also introduced the EZ 40 to 150mm zoom lens (80 to 300mm 35mm equivalent), and in addition there's the range of Olympus 4/3 lenses which, while not as extensive as the offerings from Canon or Nikon, is growing.

The E-300 has an unusual profile for an SLR, with a flat top and the viewfinder offset to the side. This is the result of its unique mirror arrangement, which uses a sideways rather than upwards winging mirror to direct the light to the viewfinder.

A disadvantage of this is that the E-300's pop-up flash doesn't stand as high as the flash on some competing models. Potentially this will impact flash performance since it increases the likelihood of the lens casting shadows.

In terms of image quality, the E-300 does well within its optimal shooting range. The 8 megapixel sensor produced great images at ISO 100 and 200--lots of detail and with little evident noise. But at higher ISO ratings it could not produce the same kind of low-noise images seen from Canon and Nikon digital SLRs. Image noise at ISO 400 was evident but within tolerable limits, but once we hit ISO 800 the noise became unacceptable. If I had to choose between a 6 megapixel Canon 300D or the 8 megapixel E-300 when shooting at ISO 800 or 1600, I'm afraid I'd be leaving the Olympus in the bag.

The Olympus's other failing is its continuous shot speed. The camera will only shoot at 2.5 frames per second for up to four frames. By comparison, the Canon 350D has a continuous shot speed of 3fps up to 14 frames, while Nikon's D70 will shoot 3fps for up to 12 frames.

Essentially, the Olympus E-300 is a camera that will take great photos, but in a much narrower range of circumstances than price-competitive models. To stay in the game, Olympus needs to match these key performance advantages that Canon and Nikon enjoy.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

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.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

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.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

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.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

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.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

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!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

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.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?