The Olympus E-600 Digital SLR has an impressive list of features and an appealing price tag. With the same body design and major features as the E-620, the E-600 offers a 12.3 megapixel sensor, 2.7” swivel screen, 7 point auto focus, live view, 4fps continuous shooting, image stabilisation, dust protection sensor, and access to the high quality Olympus Zuiko lens range. Part of the Zuiko Digital range includes the excellent 35mm Macro lens, a lens and camera combination that are capable of stunning results. The Olympus E-600 is available for £421.
“Unleash your creativity with the super-compact, image-stabilized E-600 DSLR. It’s the DSLR that puts creative freedom in the palm of your hands. Three creative in-camera art filters and a swivel Live View 2.7” HyperCrystal III LCD offer creative freedom and endless shooting possibilities. The 12.3-megapixel Live MOS sensor and TruePic III+ image processor provide exceptional picture quality. With in-body Image Stabilization and small 16.76-ounce body, the E-600 is a camera that truly lets you shoot outside the frame.” – Olympus America
Olympus E-600 DSLR – Digital Camera Review
Review Date: 23/10/2010
Rating: Highly Recommended
Author: Joshua Waller
Specifications / Features:
12.3 Megapixel Live-MOS Sensor
7-point AF, Autofocus Live View
2.7″ swivel screen – rotates 270 degrees
5x/7x/10x Live View magnification
95% field-of-view optical viewfinder
In-Body Image Stabilization
Shadow Adjustment Technology
Olympus dust reduction system (SSWF)
Four frames per second continuous shooting
TruePic III+ Image Processor
Wireless flash control
Automatic Pixel Mapping
13 Scene-Select Modes including two underwater modes
Compact Flash, and xD-Picture Card memory cards support
HD Output: No
Red-Eye Reduction: Yes
ISO : Auto / 100 / 200 / 400 / 800 / 1600 / 3200
Modes / Scenes: Manual, S, A, P, Auto, Art: Pop, Soft, Pin Hole, Scenes: Children, High Key, Low Key, Digital Image Stabilisation, Nature Macro, Candle, Sunset, Documents, Panorama, Fireworks, Beach and Snow, Underwater Wide, Underwater Macro, Portrait, Landscape, Macro, Sport, Night Portrait
Histogram available: In playback and live-view
Exposure compensation: +/- 5 EV, 1, 1/2 or 1/3-stop increments
Exposure bracketing: 3 or 5 frames in 0.3, 0.5, 0.7, 1EV steps selectable
Manual WB: Yes, One-touch White Balance (Function button)
3 Art Filters – Pop Art, Soft Focus or Pin Hole filters. (vs 6 on the E-620)
Box Contents: Body, Li-ion battery BLS-1, Li-ion battery charger BCS-1, USB/Video Multi cable, Eye piece cover EPC-1, Shoulder strap, OLYMPUS Master CD-ROM, Instruction manual, 2yr Warranty card.
Battery life is rated at 500 shots according to CIPA testing standard, and my real world use found that I managed to take between 450 and 500 shots before the battery went flat.
Recommended accessories: I’d recommend at least an 8gb Compact Flash card, but if you intend to shoot RAW, you would be better off with a 16gb or 32gb Compact Flash Card. A Digital SLR case such as the Lowepro Topload Zoom Mini, or Lowepro 45AW (All Weather), a screen protector, and the Olympus ZUIKO DIGITAL 35mm 1:3.5 Macro Lens 😉
Speed: 4fps continuous shooting in JPEG mode until the card is full with flash off, or for 5 shots when shooting in RAW. Continuous shooting with the flash on, and shots slow down to 0.7 – 1.0 seconds between shots. Switch on time is a little slow, with the camera taking 3.3 seconds to switch on a take the first photo, due to the camera cleaning the sensor every time it is switched on. Focusing is quite quick, depending on the lens used and lighting conditions, and shutter response is instant. Playback is quick and the menus are quick to respond. Overall the camera is good at capturing “the moment” but as with all cameras featuring auto-focus, pre focusing the camera by half pressing the shutter release button, and then fully pressing it when you want to take the photo is the best was of making sure you get the moment. Using the optical viewfinder rather than live view is also the best way to get the quickest response from the camera, as the live view mode does seem to slow down focusing and shutter response.
Ease of Use / Menus: Personally I’ve become quite familiar with Olympus DSLR menus over the years, however, they can occasionally be a little daunting at first as there is a large amount of options and features available to customise. For beginners the camera can simply be left in AUTO mode or switched to one of the many scene modes, and then further options explored over time. Generally speaking, the Olympus provides fairly quick and easy access to the most commonly used settings thanks to the numerous camera buttons that are clearly labelled, so should become easier to use the more familiar you become with the camera.
Buttons / Ergonomics: The Olympus E-600 feels well built and sturdy in your hands, with a comfortable hand grip, and rubber thumb grip. The controls are easy to reach when holding the camera with two hands, as there are 4 buttons on the left that can only be easily pressed with the left hand, although you rarely need to use them. The camera has a Fn button that can be customised, and other buttons on the camera can be set to perform other features, for example the shooting mode button (High Speed, Self-Timer etc) can be set to change the ISO or other settings. You can also access all the main controls using the 4-way controller, and this too can be customised to change the focus area. Alternatively you can access even more controls through the back screen menu, or even set-up two “My Mode” options. The buttons are all clearly labelled, and feel well made, and overall it feels like a high quality camera, and feels more like a £600+ camera, than a “budget” <£400 camera. Video: The Olympus E-600 / E-620 does not feature a video mode, have a look at the Olympus PEN series or Olympus E-5 if you want video on an Olympus EVIL / DSLR.
Image Quality: Colour and detail are both very good, and photos look good straight from the camera, even when using JPEG. Colour saturation is good without being excessively saturated and skin colours are good. The E-600 has low noise at ISO100 – 800, and has a usable ISO1600 mode, which is better than previous Olympus models, although ISO3200 is best avoided due to excessive noise, as noise becomes intrusive and degrades image quality noticeably. Whilst the E-600 may not offer as impressive high ISO performance as Canon or Nikon alternatives, the E-600 in-camera image stabilisation helps makes up for this. (9/10)
The camera and features: The camera feels well-built with a reassuring weight and has a solid hand grip despite its relatively small size. The continuous shooting provides a decent 4fps, impressive at the time of release for a budget camera, and one of my favourite features is the “snick” sound of the shutter when using the camera in this mode. The rotating swivel screen, and live view modes are useful features particularly when you need to move the camera around to get the shot. The camera is versatile allowing the use of adapters to enable the use of original Olympus OM lenses, and others such as M42 (Pentax etc) lenses. (9/10)
Value for money: The E-600 offers excellent value for money, especially when bought with the 14-42mm kit lens (28-84mm equivalent), as the kit lens does not compromise on image quality unlike some manufacturer’s kit lenses. You can also find other Zuiko digital lenses, such as the 35mm Macro lens, that offer excellent performance. (9/10)
Conclusion: The E-600 provides nearly identical features as the E-620, minus infrared remote support, some art filters, backlit buttons, multi-exposure and aspect ratio, but with a noticeably cheaper price, although unfortunately less availability. Overall the E-600 is an impressive photographic tool with a wallet-friendly price, and is an enjoyable camera to use, producing excellent photos, with bright punchy colours, and excellent JPEG results straight from the camera.
Check for the latest prices on Amazon UK
What I Like:
– Excellent value for money
– Very good image quality
– Very good kit lens, and Zuiko Digital lenses
– 4fps shooting and (fairly) quiet shutter
– Built in image stabilisation and dust reduction
– Numerous customisation options / buttons
– One touch White Balance
– 2.7″ swivel screen
– Good build quality
What I Don’t like:
– Lacks focus assist lamp / LED (uses strobe flash instead)
– XD card slot, a better combination would be CF and SD