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Pre-production Olympus E-30 hands-on review

Have a look at the new Olympus E-30 via 29 pictures in our preview tour

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Welcome to our first hands-on preview of a pre-production Olympus E-30 DSLR, with the new Mark II Zuiko Digital 14-54mm f/2.8-3.5 standard zoom. Much of this article is pictorial and our 27 image captioned gallery (see below) is designed to give you a feel for the camera's design and controls, as well as providing a comparison with other Olympus E-System DSLRs.

This is a pre-production engineering sample. The body doesn't have a production serial number and the firmware version is 0.80. So there is no possibility to show sample images taken by the camera. The lens does have a production release firmware version of 1.0, and I was able to use the lens normally on a Micro Four Thirds Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1, via the Panasonic DMW-MA1 mount adapter.

The E-30 is a fair bit larger and heavier than the E-520, but most of the extra bulk accommodates a wealth of welcome new functionality.

 

I've already been asked about the weight, feel and handling of the E-30 compared to the E-3, for example, as well as the optical viewfinder. The E-30 handles very similarly to the E-3 in terms of size and weight, being slightly less heavy and tall. The similarity is concentrated when the E-3's HLD-4 grip is attached. Full marks for Olympus for a) providing a grip for the E-30 and, b) not going for a new design that is incompatible with any other.

The viewfinder will be a very welcome improvement compared to E-520 or E-420. It's large and bright; about the same size as the E-1's finder and only slightly smaller than that of the E-3, for example. The information display now lives under the frame, rather than to the right, which is the same arrangement as the E-1 and E-3.

E-1 owners can now see how the size of the E-30 compares with their cameras.

 

The pictures linked to below from our thumbnail gallery may well answer other questions you have to ask. We've only had the camera for 24 hours, so we will follow up with a closer look at the operational features of the camera in a subsequent article.



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