Olympus E-620 digital SLR turns your photos into art

Thanks to the Olympus E-620, taking photos just became a whole lot more fun

  • Ever dreamed of just sailing away on a beautiful yacht? We have. The softening effect works particularly well in the brightest areas of the photo to give it a dreamy effect. It was shot at f/11, 1/400th and ISO 200.

  • For a completely surreal result, you can bump up the ISO and use the built-in flash to highlight your scene. This one was taken at f/3.5, 1/60th ISO 400, and with the flash forced to fire.

  • Our favourite filter is soft focus, which can render your photos with a slightly dreamy appearance. In this photo, the ferry is pulling up to the dock in what looks to be a mist or fog. In reality, the sun was shining brilliantly and the air was crystal clear. The settings for this shot are f/22, 1/125th and ISO 200.

  • Again, the primary colours really shoot out at you here. Taken at f/5.6, 1/160th and ISO 200.

  • Without a doubt, the Art mode that will be most popular with users is Grainy Film. Olympus says that it scanned in real black and white film in order to copy the grain and make it the basis for this filter. The results are pleasing to the eye as the grain and contrast help to give photos a gritty overall look. For added effect, you can bump up the ISO to really bring out the white. This shot was taken with an aperture of f/3.5, a shutter speed of 1/25th of a second and an ISO speed of 800.

  • For vivid colours, you can use the Pop Art mode. This will add saturation to reds, blues, greens and yellows, and is particularly useful for shooting flowers. It does a good job of shooting landmarks on clear, bright days, too. Check out the clouds in this scene, which really pop out of the sky. It was shot at f/10, 1/640th and ISO 200. We also used Live View and angled the screen so that we could take it from an elevated angle.

  • This is perhaps the best example of Pop Art mode bringing out the primary colours in a scene. Also check out the saturation in the window reflections. This was shot at f/5.6, 1/160th and ISO 200.

  • Thanks to the Olympus E-620, taking photos just became a whole lot more fun. The company is touting its Art modes as a way for novice users to get interesting visual effects without having to use a photo editing program on their computer. The E-620 has six Art modes to choose from, including: pop art, soft focus, pale & light colour, light tone, grainy film, and pin hole. These Art modes made their debut in Olympus' advanced E30 digital SLR and have now trickled down to the more mainstream E-620. Although we were sceptical of the Art filters' usefulness, after playing around with them for an afternoon around Sydney harbour we think these modes can definitely be used if you want to spice up your photos, without making them look tacky. Furthermore, these photos also highlight the E-620's ability to capture clear photos and also show it to be a stellar performer in low light.

  • Textures are captured wonderfully by the film grain mode. In this photo, the filter really brings out the fine detail sandstone at the bottom of the frame. It was shot with settings of f/3.5, 1/20th and ISO 800. You can see that even with such a slow shutter speed, the image does not suffer from any blurriness due to shaking hands.

  • This photo was taken at f/5.6, 1/125th and with an ISO speed of 200. The angle was achieved thanks to the E620's swivel screen — you won't have to get down on your belly ever again!

  • Here is the same meal shot using the Soft Focus filter, using the same setting as the Pale & Colour filter (f/7.1, 1/160th and ISO 800).

  • A close up of the stone; just to get another look at the way the camera handles textures in this mode. This was also shot at f/3.5, 1/20th and ISO 800.

  • Soft Focus is designed to be used on people — it helps counter the effects of aging. When used on faces, it certainly does manage to get rid of lines and clear up blemishes to a certain extent, without making the photo look completely airbrushed. However, we think the soft focus filter also works well on inanimate objects, such as this stack of tables and chairs. The settings used here are f/7.1, 1/320th and ISO 200. We should point out that in Art mode, the E-620 will pick the best exposure setting automatically, but you can rotate the dial to manually select a different shutter speed or aperture. You are free to choose any ISO speed, or you can just leave it on auto.

  • The Pin Hole filter is the one to use if you want to add some vignetting to your photos and really bring out the central subject. It captured this meal brilliantly, highlighting its presentation as well as the succulent juices and sauce. Makes you hungry, doesn't it? It was taken indoors with an aperture of f/5.6, a shutter of 1/100th and an ISO speed of 500.

  • Pop Art is probably the only filter with which you can really overdo it; we really tried, but we think that even this shot looks pretty good with its oversaturated colours. It was shot at f/6.3, 1/250th and ISO 200.

  • The same subject was used to highlight the Pale & Colour filter, which tones down the image significantly. It's best used to capture pastel colours. This was shot at f/7.1, 1/160th and ISO 800.

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