Olympus E-300

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  • Unacceptable noise levels when shooting at ISO 800 or higher, continuous shot mode superceded by competitors.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

  • Price

    $ 1,199.00 (AUD)

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 newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Skywatcher Dobsonian 8″ Collapsible Telescope

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Whodunnit™ Duo-Scope MFL-007 Microscope Kit

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Logitech Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2 Bluetooth Speaker

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?