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Leica Digilux 3 vs Olympus E-330

The Leica Digilux 3 and the Olympus Evolt E-330 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in September 2006 and January 2006. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with a Four Thirds sensor. Both cameras offer a resolution of 7.4 megapixels.

Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Leica Digilux 3 VS Olympus E-330
Leica Digilux 3 Olympus E-330
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Four Thirds lenses Four Thirds lenses
7.4 MP, Four Thirds Sensor 7.4 MP, Four Thirds Sensor
no Video no Video
ISO 100-1600 ISO 100-400 (100-1600)
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
2.5" LCD, 207k dots 2.5" LCD, 215k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Tilting screen (not touch-sensitive)
3 shutter flaps per second 3 shutter flaps per second
750 shots per battery charge750 shots per battery charge
146 x 87 x 77 mm, 606 g 140 x 87 x 72 mm, 637 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Leica Digilux 3 and the Olympus Evolt E-330? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison

The physical size and weight of the Leica Digilux 3 and the Olympus E-330 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Leica Digilux 3 vs Olympus E-330
Compare Digilux 3 versus E-330 top
Comparison Digilux 3 or E-330 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Olympus E-330 is somewhat smaller (4 percent) than the Leica Digilux 3. However, the E-330 is markedly heavier (5 percent) than the Digilux 3. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the Digilux 3 nor the E-330 are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. In this particular case, both cameras feature the same lens mount, so that they can use the same lenses. You can compare the optics available in the Four Thirds Lens Catalog.

The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, just click on the right or left arrow next to the camera that you would like to inspect. Alternatively, you can also use the CAM-parator to select your camera combination among a larger number of options.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Leica Digilux 3» 5.7 in 3.4 in 3.0 in 21.4 oz 750 n Sep 2006 1,499iLeica Digilux 3
 
Olympus E-330« 5.5 in 3.4 in 2.8 in 22.5 oz 750 n Jan 2006 999iOlympus E-330
 
Canon 30D« » 5.7 in 4.2 in 2.9 in 27.7 oz 750 n Feb 2006 1,399iCanon 30D
 
Canon XT« » 5.0 in 3.7 in 2.5 in 19.0 oz 400 n Feb 2005 899iCanon XT
 
Leica M8« » 5.5 in 3.1 in 1.5 in 20.8 oz .. n Sep 2006 5,499iLeica M8
 
Leica V-LUX 1« » 5.6 in 3.4 in 5.6 in 25.9 oz 360 n Sep 2006 849iLeica V-LUX 1
 
Olympus E-30« » 5.6 in 4.3 in 3.0 in 24.7 oz 750 n Nov 2008 1,299iOlympus E-30
 
Olympus E-500« » 5.1 in 3.7 in 2.6 in 16.9 oz 750 n Sep 2005 599iOlympus E-500
 
Olympus E-300« » 5.8 in 3.3 in 2.5 in 22.0 oz 750 n Sep 2004 799iOlympus E-300
 
Panasonic L10« » 5.3 in 3.8 in 3.1 in 19.6 oz 450 n Aug 2007 599iPanasonic L10
 
Panasonic L1« » 5.7 in 3.4 in 2.5 in 21.4 oz 750 n Feb 2006 999iPanasonic L1
Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The E-330 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 33 percent) than the Digilux 3, which puts it into a different market segment. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

 

Sensor comparison

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Both cameras under consideration feature a Four Thirds sensor and have a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 2.0. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the review cameras among the medium-sized sensor cameras that aim to strike a balance between image quality and portability. Both cameras feature a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 4:3.

Leica Digilux 3 and Olympus E-330 sensor measures

The two cameras under review do not only share the same sensor size, but also offer an identical resolution of 7.4 megapixels. This similarity in sensor specs implies that both the Digilux 3 and the E-330 have the same pixel density, as well as the same pixel size. It should, however, be noted that the Digilux 3 is a somewhat more recent model (by 7 months) than the E-330, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time.

The Leica Digilux 3 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 1600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Olympus Evolt E-330 are ISO 100 to ISO 400, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-1600.

Digilux 3 versus E-330 MP

For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
 
Leica Digilux 3 Four Thirds 7.4 3136 2352none........Leica Digilux 3
 
Olympus E-330 Four Thirds 7.4 3136 2352none........Olympus E-330
 
Canon 30D APS-C 8.2 3504 2336none21.510.873659Canon 30D
 
Canon XT APS-C 8.0 3456 2304none21.810.863760Canon XT
 
Leica M8 APS-H 10.4 3936 2630none21.111.366359Leica M8
 
Leica V-LUX 1 1/1.8 10.0 3648 2736480/30p........Leica V-LUX 1
 
Olympus E-30 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024none21.310.453055Olympus E-30
 
Olympus E-500 Four Thirds 8.0 3264 2448none........Olympus E-500
 
Olympus E-300 Four Thirds 8.0 3264 2448none........Olympus E-300
 
Panasonic L10 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.310.842955Panasonic L10
 
Panasonic L1 Four Thirds 7.4 3136 2352none........Panasonic L1
Both the Digilux 3 and the E-330 offer Live View, so that they make it possible to use the rear screen for framing. Both cameras are still-image focused and cannot record videos.
 

Feature comparison

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The Digilux 3 and the E-330 are similar in the sense that both have an optical viewfinder. The latter is useful for getting a clear image for framing even in brightly lit environments. The viewfinders of both cameras offer the same field of view (95%), but the viewfinder of the Digilux 3 has a higher magnification than the one of the E-330 (0.47x vs 0.465x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Leica Digilux 3 and Olympus E-330 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.

Core Features
  Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
 
Leica Digilux 3optical n 2.5 207 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Leica Digilux 3
 
Olympus E-330optical n 2.5 215 tilting n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Olympus E-330
 
Canon 30Doptical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 Y n Canon 30D
 
Canon XToptical n 1.8 115 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Canon XT
 
Leica M8optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/8000s 2.0 n n Leica M8
 
Leica V-LUX 1235 n 2.0 207 swivel n 1/2000s 2.0 Y Y Leica V-LUX 1
 
Olympus E-30optical Y 2.7 230 swivel n 1/8000s 5.0 Y Y Olympus E-30
 
Olympus E-500optical n 2.5 215 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n Olympus E-500
 
Olympus E-300optical n 1.8 134 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n Olympus E-300
 
Panasonic L10optical n 2.5 207 swivel n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Panasonic L10
 
Panasonic L1optical n 2.5 207 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Panasonic L1

The Digilux 3 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the E-330 uses Compact Flash or xD Picture cards. The E-330 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the Digilux 3 only has one slot.

 

Connectivity comparison

For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Leica Digilux 3 and Olympus Evolt E-330 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
Camera
Model
 
Leica Digilux 3Ystereomono--none2.0---Leica Digilux 3
 
Olympus E-330Ynonenone--none2.0---Olympus E-330
 
Canon 30DYnonenone--none2.0---Canon 30D
 
Canon XTYnonenone--none2.0---Canon XT
 
Leica M8Ynonenone--none2.0---Leica M8
 
Leica V-LUX 1Ymonomono--none2.0---Leica V-LUX 1
 
Olympus E-30Ynonenone--none2.0---Olympus E-30
 
Olympus E-500Ynonenone--none2.0---Olympus E-500
 
Olympus E-300Ynonenone--none2.0---Olympus E-300
 
Panasonic L10Ynonenone--none2.0---Panasonic L10
 
Panasonic L1Ynonenone--none2.0---Panasonic L1

Both the Digilux 3 and the E-330 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. Neither of the two has a direct successor, so they represent the end of the respective camera lines from Leica and Olympus. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Leica and Olympus websites.

Review summary

So how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Leica Digilux 3 or the Olympus E-330 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.

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Advantages of the Leica Digilux 3:

  • Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.47x vs 0.465x).
  • More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale price.
  • More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 7 months after the E-330).

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Arguments in favor of the Olympus Evolt E-330:

  • More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
  • Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (33 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in January 2006).

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the E-330 comes out slightly ahead of the Digilux 3 (4 : 3 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision on a new camera. A professional sports photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a street photog, and a person interested in family portraits has distinct needs from a landscape shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

Digilux 3 03:04 E-330

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Leica Digilux 3 and the Olympus E-330 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera listing whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.

In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the Digilux 3 or the E-330 perform in practice. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.

Expert reviews

This is where reviews by experts come in. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cam
era
  labs  
dp
re
  view  
e
photo
  zine  
ima
ging
resource
photo
graphy
  blog  
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Leica Digilux 3.......... Sep 2006 1,499iLeica Digilux 3
 
Olympus E-330..+o3.5/5.. Jan 2006 999iOlympus E-330
 
Canon 30D+ ++ +oo.. Feb 2006 1,399iCanon 30D
 
Canon XT80/100+ +oo.. Feb 2005 899iCanon XT
 
Leica M8..+ +...... Sep 2006 5,499iLeica M8
 
Leica V-LUX 1.......... Sep 2006 849iLeica V-LUX 1
 
Olympus E-30..71/1004.5/5..4/5 Nov 2008 1,299iOlympus E-30
 
Olympus E-50076/100+ +...... Sep 2005 599iOlympus E-500
 
Olympus E-300..+oo4.5/5 Sep 2004 799iOlympus E-300
 
Panasonic L1085/100+3.5/5o4/5 Aug 2007 599iPanasonic L10
 
Panasonic L185/100+..o3.5/5 Feb 2006 999iPanasonic L1
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

Leica Digilux 3:
Check Ebay offers
Olympus E-330:
Check Ebay offers

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.

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    Specifications: Leica Digilux 3 vs Olympus E-330

    Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.

    Camera Specifications
    Camera Model Leica Digilux 3 Olympus E-330
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Four Thirds lenses Four Thirds lenses
    Launch Date September 2006 January 2006
    Launch Price USD 1499 USD 999
    Sensor Specs Leica Digilux 3 Olympus E-330
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format Four Thirds Sensor Four Thirds Sensor
    Sensor Size 17.3 x 13.0 mm 17.3 x 13.0 mm
    Sensor Area 224.9 mm2 224.9 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 21.6 mm 21.6 mm
    Crop Factor 2.0x 2.0x
    Sensor Resolution 7.4 Megapixels 7.4 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 3136 x 2352 pixels 3136 x 2352 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 5.51 μm 5.51 μm
    Pixel Density 3.28 MP/cm2 3.28 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video no Video
    ISO Setting 100-1600 ISO 100-400 ISO
    ISO Boost no Enhancement 100-1600 ISO
    Screen Specs Leica Digilux 3 Olympus E-330
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95% 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.47x 0.465x
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 2.5 inch 2.5 inch
    LCD Resolution 207k dots 215k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Tilting screen
    Shooting Specs Leica Digilux 3 Olympus E-330
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 3 shutter flaps/s 3 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards CF or XD cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Dual card slots
    Connectivity Specs Leica Digilux 3 Olympus E-330
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI no HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Leica Digilux 3 Olympus E-330
    Battery Type BP-DC3 BLM-1
    Battery Life (CIPA)750 shots per charge750 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 146 x 87 x 77 mm
    (5.7 x 3.4 x 3.0 in)
    140 x 87 x 72 mm
    (5.5 x 3.4 x 2.8 in)
    Camera Weight 606 g (21.4 oz) 637 g (22.5 oz)

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