Olympus E-620 pre-production review

E-420-like form factor E-620 leap-frogs the E-520

In a surprise move, just prior to the big annual PMA trade show in Las Vegas next week, Olympus has unveiled an all new 12 megapixel E-System DSLR model, the E-620, that fits in between the E-520 and the new E-30, although it has more than a passing resemblance, in both appearance and, to an extent, size, to the baby of the range, the E-420. We have been evaluating the E-620 for the last couple of weeks and have a 29 image product gallery - see the thumbnails below.


Unlike the E-420, the E-620 has a newly developed compact form factor sensor-shift image stabiliser. On top of that, it has a 2.7 inch articulating LCD screen. The viewfinder has been re-engineered to be slightly larger in view and the info panel has been moved to below the finder view.

There are now 7 AF points, 5 horizontal and one each above and below the central point. A simplified form of lens focus calibration, first introduced with the E-30, has been implemented in the E-620. There is also an external white balance sensor like the E-3 and E-30. Another nice touch is the introduction of illuminated buttons for night use. Speaking of buttons, the E-620 has a similar level of external controls as the E-520, using slightly smaller buttons. The on/off switch is located in the same position as the E-420.

The E-620 has the appearance of a modified E-420 but has a deeper body to accommodate the articulating screen and the IS module. Weight is closer to an E-520 than an E-420, but still significantly smaller than lighter than an E-30. The E-620 has a hybrid of E-520 and E-420 grips. Its nowhere near as large as the E-520 grip, but considerably bigger than the E-420 grip, but does not extend beyond the plane of the lens mount. This should help the camera body to fit into tighter storage spaces without the lens fitted, compared to an E-520.

Play the movie to explore the E-620 menus

A most welcome bit of news is that the E-620 has a power/portrait mode grip option. Called the HLD-5, the grip looks compact, although it reproduces less controls than the E-3/E-30 HLD-4 grip. Incidentally, the E-620 uses the same compact PS-BLS1 battery as the E-420.

More features shared with the E-30 include a maximum ISO of 3200, Creative Art Filters, and a multiple exposure mode, and variable aspect ratio shooting. Auto Exposure bracketing is limited to three steps of up to 1EV, though. The specifications say a maximum shooting rate of 4 frames per second, though our pre production sample didn't shoot that fast. To simplify the menus, the complex nested 'wrench' or 'spanner' menus can be hidden from the top menu level.

A pictorial E-620 tour is below, just click on a thumbnail to see the bigger picture. We'll have more details on the E-620 later today.

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