Olympus Evolt E520 10MP Digital SLR Camera with Image Stabilization (Body Only)
List Price: $399.99

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Product Description

Your life is full of priceless, fleeting moments that you want to keep just the way you see and feel them. Preserve each moment with the E-520. With the E-520's Live View, you can shoot your subject while viewing it on the LCD monitor, so it's just like shooting with a compact camera. In addition to phase-difference detection AF, the E-520 incorporates a high speed Imager AF that offers easy 11-point multi-area autofocusing with Live View simply by half-pressing the shutter button. Face Detection AF automatically detects up to 8 faces at a time and adjusts focus appropriately. Accurate composition is assured by the monitor's 100% field of view. The E-520 is equipped with a 2.7" HyperCrystal II LCD monitor with high-definition 230,000-dot resolution, improved contrast ratio, and enhanced color reproduction capability. While shooting with Live View, framing-assist patterns or a histogram can be displayed on the LCD monitor to improve your picture composition and check exposure condition. The E-520 incorporates a Live MOS sensor with 10-Megapixels, Olympus' original TruePic III image processing engine delivers improved imaging, gradation expression and color reproduction capabilities as well as minimized noise at high ISO setting. Olympus' highly acclaimed dust reduction system employs a Supersonic Wave Filter in front of the image sensor, which vibrates at such high speed and with such great power that it removes even the most stubborn dust; dust that cannot be removed by just shaking the image sensor or by discharging the static electricity. Weight - 475 grams (body only) Requires use of an Olympus Zuiko lens or compatible for use of camera

Features:
  • 10-megapixel CMOS sensor captures enough detail for photo-quality 18 x 24-inch prints
  • Lightweight ergonomic design; body only, lenses sold separately
  • Enhanced in-body Image Stabilization with Supersonic Wave Drive technology
  • Face Detection and Shadow Adjustment technologies; Perfect Shot Preview
  • Compatible with CompactFlash Type I and II, Microdrives, and xD-Picture Cards (not included)

Customer Reviews:

  • Why a DSLR
    When you have superzoom cams like the Panaonic FZ-28 with a zoom from 28-476mm for only $262 why would you go with a DSLR that will become obselete in a year?

    I have a system film Nikon but in the flux of e cameras it seems to be almost a throw away to me.

    Having said that I love Olympus products.................more info
  • E510 / E520 | Awesome - Gem of the mid level DSLR:
    Though I have E510. I actually tried and tested the E520 as well and picked E510 for the 2 kit lens deal and the extra features E520 has over E510 which I rarely care about. I thought to add my E510 review under this to give the readers a better idea about how the Olympus E510/E520 wins over the Canons XSi and Nikon D80 we tested. Hope this helps.

    Myself and a Canon lover Friend and a Nikon lover Cousin were hunting for DSLRs. We had Film SLRs and few Point & Shoot Digis. We don't want to spend $1500+ for the DSLR and was waiting for the price to come down. When it reached $1000 mark, we started hunting for it and tried out few DSLR models in-stores by carrying our own flash memories and took few sample shots at the same lighting, focal length, ISO, f-Stop and Shutter and narrowed down to most people(s) three choices - Olympus E510, Canon XSi and Nikon D80. I went with E-510 right on the spot after looking at the images on the digital PC monitor in just 4 week end hunting. The other two contemplated a while and my friend went with Canon XSi and my cousin chose D80 as he wanted to use his old Nikon lenses and gears.

    On a fine evening we got our stuffs ordered online. As soon we returned from work, we were excited to experiment our choices.

    Right out of the box results: (No tweaking)
    E-510 - Great Outdoor results with very good natural color processing well exposed. Indoor shots were good natural color tones with a bit dull and underexposed.
    XSi - Great Outdoor and Indoor results with very little pink tinted color processing with a good exposure.
    D80 - Great Outdoor results with little blue tinted color processing. Indoor results with very little blue tinted color processing with a good exposure.

    You can see the pink and blue tint obvious on the skin tone and on the white base subjects. We actually compared the images captured by these three with what we saw with bare eyes. We all observed this very little tone changes when tried out at stores and agreed upon the myth that "Every brand has it's own way and nothing is perfect". But still it's too early to decide which one is best.

    We tried it every evening as soon we come back and with little tweaking as suggested by the reviewers and professionals. In just 3 days - I made everyone to think that - I WON. Still those guys wanted to give a try because some times the results from Canon XSi and Nikon D80 will have the same color as E510 in long shots and when occasionally (say like one in 100 shots) E510 underexposes the skin tones will look greyish. We almost go as a group for all the functions/festivals and fill with flashes everywhere :)

    After 3 months of coutinuous use at the same places, here is our findings:

    Speed: XSi is better than E510 and D80. but thats for just 6-7 frequent shots. after that, the XSi will pop up with "BUSY" icon. It is famous and you can see the complaints in Amazon reviews. The other to will be steady through out the the session. no BUSY nothing.

    Color Tone: E510 is more natural across the lighting conditions. Indoor shots need to have exposure compensation set to either +0.3 or +0.7

    Indoor Photos: E510 is a bit dull and underexposed right out of the box but after a little tweaking it just blows the other two out of the window with very natural color tones and bright images. It actually chooses the right ISO required where as the Canon XSi always chooses ISO 400 when using flash I don't know why it is set like that.

    Dynamic Range: Though the pro reviewers say, D80 is more dynamic we haven't came across a situation to prove it. Under most common outdoors shooting, we all three got almost identical resluts and we liked the E510 processing much better than the other two.

    ISO:
    upto ISO 400, E510 is noise free. It get's a slight noise pushing in at ISO 800 and at ISO 1600 noise is obvious. Canon XSi is noise free till ISO 1600. Nikon D80 is noise free till ISO 800 and at ISO 1600 it introduces a little noise. It is worth to be noted that we haven't seen a situation that we need to use more than ISO 400 under normal indoor/outdoor common user needs. We actually forced the camera to use ISO 800 and ISO 1600 just to see the results where the camera picked ISO 400 by it's own when you leave it to the camera choise in ISO. This is actually a dark night shot on the river bank pointing the camera at the lighted buildings on the other side of the river and the situation is really dark.


    Auto Focus: E-510 locks on for sharp focus almost 99% of the time but hunts for focus at low light with too much flash strobes for 4-5 seconds drving you nuts. XSi is zippy but occasionally the focus is not properly locked. When you view on the camera display it looks fine but when blow up in the monitor, it's unfocused. Nikon D80 had the most mis focus. You can see these misfocus issues at both Amazon reviews and DPreview.

    Image Stabilization: E510 wins hands down. I took tack sharp pictures using 70-300 lens zoomed all the way at 300mm with shutter going down till 1/30. XSi's lens based stabilization is not that effective when we used it with 50-200mm lens zoomed to 200mm. It was effective till 1/40. Nikon we haven't tried it as we don't have IS lens. Not to mention the hefty price my friend paid for the Canon 50-200 IS lens while I paid just $240 for the 70-300 lens as I had an effective IS built into my E510 body.

    Fit and Feel: E510 wins again with more robust build quality. Nikon D80 is also built good but a bit bigger. XSi looks kind of plasticky and has an uncomfortable grip. E510 just lays in your hand so comfortable and is a joy to use.

    Value for Money:
    I paid $560 for the 2 kit lens. Sold my 40-150mm for $110 and bought the 70-300 for $240 making my kit to cost me $690. FL-36 flash costed me $150, totalled to $840.
    XSi costed my friend $869 with 18-55mm (Now it is around $500-$600), 70-300mm IS lens for $510. With no flash his kit is now $1379.
    Nikon D80 costed my cousin $910 with 18-135mm with no IS !!! He can't simply use his camera hand held as I am using it with my long zoom 300mm or as my friend using his XSi with his 200mm or in low light.
    Now...you decide which one gives you more dollar for dollar...XSi with 70-300mm auto focus is faster than the E510 with 70-300 mm at the very long end of the zoom. XSi with 300mm zoomed couldn't get sharp results all the time, less than 250mm is ideal for hand held. E510 has effective IS and works all the way till 300mm handheld but had focus hunt when used in a slight shadow area.

    Follow this link "http://www.wrotniak.net/photo/43/e510-sett.html" to tune up your E510 and enjoy the long journey of Digital photography. Good luck.

    Verdict:
    We also asked the rest of the people at home and our friends to see the pictures and pick which one looks better without telling them which one came from what camera. The end result is 80% of the images picked by the them who don't even know which camera produced it, picked E510's pictures.

    We all three agreed that E510 is the best all around DSLR in it's category and we just pay the hyped price for the Canon and Nikon just for the label which produces image quality that is equal to inferior than the low priced, light weight E510. Look no further, go for this little gem and you will be more pleased than the Canon and Nikon users.
    ...more info
  • 5-star camera amongst 5-star competition
    I've owned an E510 for over a year. Here are a few comments that might help you.

    The E520 adds face detection, a vertical panning IS (image stabilization) mode, and an improved sensor with better noise and dynamic range. Conventional wisdom is that it is not worth upgrading an E510, and further that it is worth looking at E510s on markdown if you can find a good deal. The E520, though, is certainly improved.

    There are no bad DSLRs any more. They are all really good, although within a given budget and dimension, designers have to prune certain features. Olympus' main feature is the four-thirds sensor - this is one of the smaller sensor footprints available, meaning that lens designs are slightly more compact, but small sensors generate more noise in low-light conditions.

    In good light, sensor noise is not a problem. For most consumer-level users, ISOs up to about 400 or even 800 are very good - but most consumers would notice the more grainy, washed out look at 1600. I would rate an ISO1600 shot as unacceptable at 8"x10" on the E510.

    The small light circle also makes the Olympus view finder smaller and darker. If you peer through, say, a budget Nikon, the view is noticeably larger and brighter.

    However, the E520 has image stabilization in the body, rather than the lenses. Lens stabilization is slightly better - it also works while you are framing up the shot - but obviously you pay for it in every lens. Many Canon/Nikon lenses do not have IS.

    Neither the E520 nor the kit lenses are weather sealed. Be careful in the rain or at the beach. Fortunately, the Olympus self-cleaning sensor is probably the best one out there. I have not had to clean my sensor yet.

    You will need an extra battery. The focusing in low light gets slow or fails completely as the battery runs down. I have a Duracell spare - it has been fine.

    If you are into HDR (and you WILL be), the E-520 offers only +-1 EV brackets. You will have to use a tripod and fiddle with exposure between each shot for other brackets.

    I recommend making a "lens plan" to decide whether to get the body only, or a 1 or 2 lens kit.

    Olympus is respected for the quality of the kit lenses. These lens (the 14-42 and 40-150) are extremely compact, with good image quality. They primarily give up speed, but they are well within the speed range of other brand's kit lenses. If you buy the kit lenses, you will look jealously at the 14-54, and the 12-60 "walking around" lenses - these are highly regarded but much more expensive. Except for the extra speed, most consumers will not notice the difference on a 5x4 print with these lenses over the kit lenses. With larger prints, or with low light, the more expensive glass is worth having.

    Overall, Olympus lenses are highly regarded, even by people who are not fans of the format. Expect to pay $200 to $600 for "Standard" grade, $600 to $1200 for "High Grade", and $1200 to $2000 for "Super High Grade" lenses. Olympus also offers a few obligatory $5000 monsters - these are well into purely-theoretical for an average user like myself.

    I added the 9-18 and 70-300 lenses to my 2 kit lenses, for roughly an extra $1000. This gives me coverage from 9 through 300. These are all Olympus "Standard" quality lenses, good image quality, but not weather sealed, and a bit slow.

    It is fair to say that the four-thirds system is a bit of a pariah in the camera world. There are a few pro's shooting with it, but you should be aware that Canon has over 60% of the market, and Nikon something like 15%. If you search B&H, you will find pages and pages of Canon lenses, but only 2 pages of Olympus. Many photographers will pointedly sniff at your 4:3 ratio pictures, instead of their "classic" 3:2 ratio. However, 4:3 is a better crop if you often print out 8x10 pictures instead of the small 5x3 or 6x4, and Walmart and many other developers offer a 5x4 size.

    I wish there were more lenses to choose from - yet I would still buy the ones I already bought. I wish the noise performance were better - but I have never really lost a shot because of it, and may add an E-30 body to my bag soon. I'm satisfied with the 4/3 format, and very happy with my camera.

    You should google up Wrotniak, four-thirds (on Wikipedia), or four-thirds forum for more information....more info
  • Great camera for a beginning DSLR user
    Prior to using this camera I shot a lot on a film SLR camera as well as a point and shoot camera. However as I began taking more and more photos for my blog I realized I wanted more features and the ability to use interchangeable lenses. I got this camera because it seemed like a good DSLR to grow into. It had a good range of features and was at a very affordable price point compared to the DSLR category as a whole. I also liked the reviews it got in Consumer Reports.

    I also liked that I could shoot in automatic mode now using the various settings and eventually use more in manual mode. So far it has lived up to my expectations. Even though I don't take advantage of all he features and am still learning I get my money's worth.

    Among the features I appreciate about the camera is all the different automatic settings. These are great if you're not comfortable with shooting in manual mode yet. That said, I've noticed that many point and shoot cameras have more modes. For example, a friend has a different Olympus model (point and shoot) that has a food mode. Given I am a food blogger it's one setting I WISH I had. However, you still do get quite a range of modes and they fit most of my needs well.

    I also like that as far as a DSLR goes, this one isn't too cumbersome. Yes, there are smaller ones on the market, especially with the micro four-thirds market, but this one is manageable. I can tuck it into a large purse or normal sized backpack without worrying about it. It's still large enough that I don't take it along to bars or parties much, however this would be true for me of most DSLR's on the market.

    Does it take better quality pictures with a point and shoot? Overall, my experience is that it does. I imagine that the picture quality would be even better for someone with more DSLR or general photography experience. Since I'm shooting primarily in automatic I'm not getting quite the results I hoped for and still have to tinker, but I attribute this to me not the camera. I don't think that for a novice it necessarily makes for better pictures but co-workers who are more experienced than me tell me the quality is superb. I'm hoping to get there some day. That said, I'm very satisfied with the quality I get for my skill level but it certainly won't make your photos look professional if your skills aren't (again, something I fault myself for NOT the camera).

    Overall this is a great camera. I've been very happy with the size, quality of pictures, and range of functions. I highly recommend it for a beginner who is looking to get a DSLR, but wants to start at an affordable price point....more info
  • Great Camera for the money
    I have a E410, E500 and now the E520 body. All of these are great cameras. The E520 has a very fast recycle rate on both the images and the flash. It is very easily used as point-and-shoot in auto mode and I can still get all of the effects that I could with a manual film camera. One point I will make very clear. If you buy this as a "kit" with lenses don't expect this performance. The lenses that come in most kits are cheap. Dont get me wrong, they work great in FULL SUN... ANYTHING other though you will likely have slow responses and blurry photos. Many times the camera just will not aquire. Buy good quality lenses and you will not be dissapointed!...more info
  • Olympus e520 is super
    After extensive research of beginning level DSLRs and finally waffling between the Canon eos Rebel XSi and the Olympus e520, I picked the Olympus for my first DSLR. I am extremely pleased. I have taken pictures under all sorts of circumstances and on different settings and am very pleased with the results. The Olympus is easy to use and can cover a range of situations. As of yet, I have not had any difficulties or problems. The camera arrived in just 3 days after ordering and was just as advertised. I'm having a ball!...more info
  • Great features
    I've used this camera for three or four months now and I'm very satisfied with it. I'm not giving it 5 stars only because I haven't compared it to similarly priced Nikon and Cannon models, but I know that although definitely not for the point-and-shoot crowd, this is a good camera for intermediate to professional caliber photographers on a budget. The biggest limitation would be the relatively small choice of lenses available, compared with the Nikon, Cannon, or Sony. Also, the live view feature, while sometimes useful, really slows down the focusing and processing speed, to the point that I usually don't use it. But it's still a nice feature to have. The built-in stabilizer is particularly useful, and only a couple of other cameras have it built in to the body like this one. I highly recommend forgoing the kit Olympus lenses and buy a good Sigma or higher end Olympus lens. I'm using the Sigma 18-50 f2.8 macro, and it's great. The kit 14-44 Zuiko is ok if you're only taking run-of-the-mill snapshots, but if that's what you're doing, why get a camera this sophisticated to begin with? I used the Zuiko for a few weeks, but after getting the Sigma (available for about $375, but well worth it) I have yet to put the Zuiko lens back on. ...more info
  • e520 vs, e510


    Although I ended up buying the e510, the reasons might be of interest to people considering the e520 since both are still on the market. To be sure, these cameras have much in common. They both rate excellent image quality, resolution, color accuracy, very low to low noise from ISO 100 to 1600, and very high shadow detail. In addition, they are both of similar shape and easy to hold and handle. Further, like all Olympus DSLRs they are sturdy and have a low frequency of repair rate.

    The e 520 improves on the e510 or adds the following features:
    1) slightly improved dynamic range,
    2) face detection,
    3) ability to fire an Olympus flash remotely and still use TTL (the e510 can do this only on manual)
    4) bigger LCD screen (2.7" vs. 2.5"),
    5) faster processor, and
    6) more scenes and profiles.

    However, the e510:
    1) is slightly smaller
    2) is slightly lighter,
    3) focuses a little faster, and
    4) can be had for less than $550 with 2 lenses.

    Size and weight were important in my decision because I take my cameras hiking and the added features of the e520 were not ones I considered deal breakers. However, it was the price of the 2 lens package that tipped me over the edge to buy the e510 as opposed to the e520.

    While these are both very good, sturdy cameras there are some annoyances they share.
    1. Both apparently have trouble focusing in low light. But, my experience says it has to be pretty dark for this to be a real problem.
    2. I was aware of the low light focus problem when I bought the camera and figured one can always switch to manual focus. But, the focus ring on the lens requires a lot of movement making straight manual focus less useful than I had hoped it would be. Fortunately, Olympus includes a mode where you can auto-focus and then touch up manually.
    3. Live view works but, compared to point and shoot cameras, is clunky and will never replace using the viewfinder, not that I want to. (I suspect this is true of all DSLR's with the possible exception of Sony and the cheapest camera they have with a Live View equivalent, the A300, costs more.) Live View is perhaps best reserved for macro shots.
    4. I'm not sure if this is true of the e520, but on the e510 Live View seems to drain the battery at a very rapid rate. I'd be surprised if I could get 60 Live View pictures from a battery charge. (I've never seen this mentioned in reviews and would be curious if anyone else has had this experience.) However, I do believe the claim of about 500 shots without Live View.

    I started photography using a 4 x 5 Speed Graflex (yes I know this dates me), graduated to a Canon film rangefinder, and Nikon film SLRs all the while doing my own darkroom work in B&W. I enjoyed the manual aspects of these early cameras I used and with my digital point and shoots cameras missed easy manual adjustments. I bought this camera so that it would be easier for me to be creative, that is, adjust ISO, f-stop, shutter speed, white balance, etc. And, compared to my Panasonic FZ5, the e510 is much easier to adjust, but still not as easy as my film cameras (not that I would give up digital photography or the digital darkroom). Magazine articles have noted that the menu system is complicated. I don't find this to be true, but then I'm used to Windows. In fact, I find most everything is easily accessible and, at most, just a few clicks away.

    As noted above, image quality is excellent. I have yet to try RAW because the SHQ JPEG's with minimal compression (1:2.7) are reputed to be as good as RAW. But, as with all cameras with high mp sensors, be prepared for large files; these SHQ images are 6 - 7 mb. Of course, if you want the image quality advantage of a DSLR large file size is inevitable.

    All in all I am happy with the e510. It is a good sturdy camera that produces excellent images. The lenses are lightweight and well matched to the camera. However, with advances in sensor design, I suspect that in the near future superzoom cameras such as the Panasonic FZ28 will provide image quality similar to today's DSLR without the price, bulk, or necessity to carry an extra lens. For folks who don't want to fuss with a camera or extra lenses but want a large range of lens focal lengths, superzooms might already be a better choice than a DSLR.

    ...more info
  • Exceptional Camera at an Unbeatable price
    If you're wanting to step-up from a point and shoot digital camera, but on the fence about a DSLR versus SLR-like camera, then you can purchase the Olympus E-520 with confidence. There is absolutely no other entry or mid-priced system on the market that has the feature set for the price that you can get the Olympus E-520 for. I carefully researched and compared systems that possessed the features important to my family: live view, image stabilization, optical/sensor quality, and finally, PRICE.

    Buy it now and you won't regret it. I'm using this camera in Iraq and am amazed at the quality of materials, the brightness of the rear LCD, and the ease of use. I replaced a destroyed Canon point and shoot and felt right at home with this system. The myriad of auto function and shooting modes ensures virtually idiot-proof quality photographs that you will be proud to share with family and friends.

    If you can't already tell, I highly recommend this camera. I'm even thinking of purchasing an Olympus E-420 for my wife to replace her aging point and shoot when I return from Iraq.
    ...more info
  • Amazing camera for the price
    I bought this camera in February for my photography class. I'm a returning college student and had an Canon XTI. I just wanted something that offered a little more bang for the buck and did I ever get that.
    This little dynamo is packed with so many features that it seems to be a smaller version of it's big brothers the E-3 and E-30. Live view is fantastic, although I don't use it often, as I prefer the view finder. it's a nice feature. Face dection and shadow adjustment are wonderful tools. The ISO goes up to 1600 and I've seen no loss of resolution. I purchased the 40-150mm lens, which I love. It allows me to get a little closer to that hummingbird or butterfly!
    I also have to mention the fantastic customer service I received recently. Olympus truly cares about their customers and it shows. They're knowledgeable about their product and remained on the phone with me for nearly an hour assisting me with my issue. The tech also went and got an E-520 so he could actually go into menus and settings with me on the phone to help me figure out what was wrong. The customer service makes this another great reason to own this camera.
    Do I recommend the E-520? Highly. A fun camera with fantastic features at a great price and world class customer service. How can you go wrong?!
    ...more info
  • Great price
    This is my first DSLR and I picked the E520 over Nikon and Canon models because it does everything and more at a much lower price. Camera works great and pictures are fantastic. The only complaint is the auto focus is slow in low light but I expected that and the manual focus is not as easy as my old SLR cameras. Overall I am very satisfied with the camera and after years of waiting I bought the E520 because I think its the best DSLR Under $600 and I paid much less. ...more info
  • Great buy, great deal, great camera!!!!
    I have done a long research before I decided to go ahead with this camera, I was thinking about Nikon, Canon (like most of us), Olympus (in the past I had p&s Camedia 4000 and it was excellent camera) and Pentax.
    Finally I decided to buy this one and I am so very happy with the buy!!!
    Photos are great and even if you are not advanced photographer you manage to take some good shots! It is easy to operate and relatively light....more info
  • EVOLT 520
    A GREAT CAMERA FOR THE AMATEUR IF SERIOUS ABOUT PHOTOGRAPHY, IT HAS AN AWFULLY LOT OF SETTINGS THAT CAN BE USED BUT TAKES A LOT OF STUDYING THE MANUAL TO MASTER ALL OF ITS POTENTIAL.
    I HAVE YET TO EXPERIMENT WITH CONTROLLING WHITE BALANCE AND BRACKETING BUT I'M GETTING THERE.
    THE PRICE GIVES MORE BANG FOR THE BUCK THAN THE MID-RANGE NIKON OR CANNON. ...more info
  • A superb entry level DSLR
    I looked at Canon XSI/XTI and Nikon 60D and decided to go with Olympus. And I am very happy with my decision.

    The body is light, the pictures are sharp. AF is very good. When I showed the pictures to my friends who owned Canon and Nikon, they kept asking me if I improved the pictures on photoshop or not. I told them no and they didn't believe me.

    The battery lasted very long. I took hundreds of pictures so far in the last month and I have only recharged my camera once.

    3.5 fps is pretty decent. The only minor complaint is that AF is a bit slow in low light situation, but it is no big deal for me.

    Overall, this is the best entry level DSLR in the market....more info
  • great camera
    I've never purchased anything but Olympus Cameras... I have three of them dating back to the 1980's. Every Camera has been an excellent camera as the E 520 has also has proven to be....more info