Olympus E-510

  • Review
  • Specs
  • Images
  • User Reviews
  • Buy Now
Olympus E-510
  • Olympus E-510
  • Olympus E-510
  • Olympus E-510
  • Expert Rating

    3.75 / 5


  • Sensor-based stabilisation, live view, dust reduction, nice build


  • Slightly soft images, only three auto focus points

Bottom Line

If features like live view, image stabilisation and dust reduction appeal to you, then the Olympus E-510 might be just what you're looking for. While its pictures are a little on the soft side compared to competing models, they are perfectly adequate for most uses and the feature set is certainly enticing.

Would you buy this?

Olympus is a relatively new company to the SLR space, but it is fast gaining a reputation for differentiating themselves by packing unique technologies into its models. Its latest unit and flagship model in the consumer range, the E-510, is no exception. It offers live view and dust reduction along with a 10-megapixel sensor and sensor-based image stabilisation. While it may not quite offer the same image quality as some competing models, the feature set should attract some buyers.

Pictures captured by this model were fairly good, but not quite up to the standards of competing units from Canon and Nikon. They tended towards the soft side and while this isn't noticeable, in most prints if you're making big enlargements it may be problematic. Our Imatest testing software confirmed this, giving the E-510 a score of 1547 for sharpness, which is a little low, but understandable considering it also found 23.5 per cent under-sharpening.

Chromatic aberration wasn't an issue, with very little in the way of haloing; however, there was a fair amount of barrel distortion noticeable in our outdoor shots. Imatest gave a score of 0.68 per cent for chromatic aberration, which is a good result.

Image noise was kept under control, with an Imatest score of 0.54 per cent at ISO 100. As we increased the sensitivity the noise ramped up a little, but shots were still usable up to ISO 800 if you don't mind a little chroma noise. Colour response was impressive, with our shots containing rich, vivid hues. Although the E-510 did exhibit a tendency to blow-out highlights and lose detail in dark areas. A little tweaking of the exposure helped to some degree here, but it was still evident.

Speed wise it operated relatively well, with no obvious shutter or start-up lag. The burst mode captured a quick four frames per second. Auto focus times were fairly good under regular lights, but slowed down in dim scenarios.

Live view makes a return here, and will probably attract new photographers who are used to framing shots with the camera's LCD rather than viewfinder. Normal digital SLR technology doesn't allow for this, but Olympus' special LiveMOS sensor combined with their mirror system does. While it is nifty for those difficult up high or down low shots, the view isn't nearly as crisp as on a good compact camera, and we don't see it being used for most photography. Also note, it adds over a second of shutter lag while the camera auto focuses.

Meanwhile the dust reduction system also returns and it operates extremely well shaking the sensor free of dust every time you power the unit up. Similarly, the image stabilisation is adept at eliminating handshake and as it is sensor-based, it will work with any lens you attach to the E-510 body.

Features wise, most things you'd expect are there, including manual shooting modes as well as automatic and a few scene modes for newer users. We were a little disappointed by the three-point auto focus system and ISO sensitivity is capped at 1600, however, there is custom white balance along with full manual mode.

At times the controls are a little fiddly, as Olympus has apparently followed the 'more buttons is better' route. Nonetheless, after a little practice everything works well enough, and the intuitive on-screen display makes changing settings a breeze.

The design is impressive; despite being built mostly from plastic the E-510 feels sturdy. It follows the SLR standard of a chunky body with a jutting right grip and it sits comfortably in your hands.

Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

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.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?