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Olympus E-1 vs E-300

The Olympus E-1 and the Olympus Evolt E-300 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in June 2003 and September 2004. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with a Four Thirds sensor. The E-1 has a resolution of 4.9 megapixels, whereas the E-300 provides 8 MP.

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

Headline Specifications
Olympus E-1   Olympus E-300
Olympus E-1 Olympus E-300
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Four Thirds lenses Four Thirds lenses
4.9 MP, Four Thirds Sensor 8 MP, Four Thirds Sensor
no Video no Video
ISO 100-800 (100-3200) ISO 100-400 (100-1600)
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
1.8" LCD, 134k dots 1.8" LCD, 134k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
3 shutter flaps per second 2.5 shutter flaps per second
Weathersealed bodyNot weather sealed
750 shots per battery charge750 shots per battery charge
141 x 104 x 81 mm, 738 g 147 x 85 x 64 mm, 624 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Olympus E-1 and the Olympus Evolt E-300? 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: Olympus E-1 vs E-300

The physical size and weight of the Olympus E-1 and the Olympus E-300 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Olympus E-1 vs Olympus E-300
Compare E-1 versus E-300 top
Comparison E-1 or E-300 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Olympus E-300 is notably smaller (15 percent) than the Olympus E-1. Moreover, the E-300 is markedly lighter (15 percent) than the E-1. It is worth mentioning in this context that the E-1 is splash and dust resistant, while the E-300 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.

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 table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, just use the right or left arrows in the table to switch to the respective camera. Alternatively, you can also navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from the full list of cameras there.

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)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Olympus E-1» 141 mm 104 mm 81 mm 738 g 750 Y Jun 2003 1,699- i Olympus E-1
 
Olympus E-300« 147 mm 85 mm 64 mm 624 g 750 n Sep 2004 799- i Olympus E-300
 
Canon 6D Mark II« » 144 mm 111 mm 75 mm 765 g 1200 Y Jun 2017 1,999 i i Canon 6D Mark II
 
Canon 7D« » 148 mm 111 mm 74 mm 860 g 800 Y Sep 2009 1,699- i Canon 7D
 
Canon 350D« » 127 mm 94 mm 64 mm 540 g 400 n Feb 2005 899- i Canon 350D
 
Leica Digilux 3« » 146 mm 87 mm 77 mm 606 g 750 n Sep 2006 1,499- i Leica Digilux 3
 
Nikon D500« » 147 mm 115 mm 81 mm 860 g 1240 Y Jan 2016 1,999 i i Nikon D500
 
Nikon D610« » 141 mm 113 mm 82 mm 850 g 900 Y Oct 2013 1,999 i i Nikon D610
 
Nikon D7000« » 132 mm 105 mm 77 mm 780 g 1050 Y Sep 2010 1,499- i Nikon D7000
 
Olympus E-5« » 142 mm 117 mm 75 mm 873 g 750 Y Sep 2010 1,699- i Olympus E-5
 
Olympus E-3« » 142 mm 116 mm 75 mm 876 g 750 Y Oct 2007 1,699- i Olympus E-3
 
Olympus E-330« » 140 mm 87 mm 72 mm 637 g 750 n Jan 2006 999- i Olympus E-330
 
Olympus E-500« » 130 mm 95 mm 66 mm 479 g 750 n Sep 2005 599- i Olympus E-500
 
Panasonic L1« » 146 mm 87 mm 64 mm 606 g 750 n Feb 2006 999- i Panasonic L1
Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. 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-300 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 53 percent) than the E-1, 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: Olympus E-1 vs E-300

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have 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 tend to be more expensive and 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.

Olympus E-1 and Olympus E-300 sensor measures

While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the E-300 offers a higher resolution of 8 megapixels, compared with 4.9 MP of the E-1. This megapixels advantage translates into a 28 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the E-300 has a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 5.30μm versus 6.78μm for the E-1). However, it should be noted that the E-300 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 3 months) than the E-1, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that at least partly compensate for the smaller pixel size.

The resolution advantage of the Olympus E-300 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the E-300 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 16.3 x 12.2 inch or 41.5 x 31.1 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 13.1 x 9.8 inch or 33.2 x 24.9 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 10.9 x 8.2 inch or 27.6 x 20.7 cm. The corresponding values for the Olympus E-1 are 12.8 x 9.6 inch or 32.5 x 24.4 cm for good quality, 10.2 x 7.7 inch or 26 x 19.5 cm for very good quality, and 8.5 x 6.4 inch or 21.7 x 16.3 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Olympus E-1 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 800, which can be extended to ISO 100-3200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Olympus Evolt E-300 are ISO 100 to ISO 400, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-1600.

E-1 versus E-300 MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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 following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
 
Olympus E-1» Four Thirds 4.9 2560 1920-----Olympus E-1
 
Olympus E-300« Four Thirds 8.0 3264 2448-----Olympus E-300
 
Canon 6D Mark II« » Full Frame 26.0 6240 41601080/60p24.411.9286285Canon 6D Mark II
 
Canon 7D« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.011.785466Canon 7D
 
Canon 350D« » APS-C 8.0 3456 2304-21.810.863760Canon 350D
 
Leica Digilux 3« » Four Thirds 7.4 3136 2352-----Leica Digilux 3
 
Nikon D500« » APS-C 20.7 5568 37124K/30p24.014.0132483Nikon D500
 
Nikon D610« » Full Frame 24.2 6016 40161080/30p25.114.4292594Nikon D610
 
Nikon D7000« » APS-C 16.1 4928 326410800/24p23.513.9116780Nikon D7000
 
Olympus E-5« » Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024720/30p21.610.551956Olympus E-5
 
Olympus E-3« » Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736-21.610.557156Olympus E-3
 
Olympus E-330« » Four Thirds 7.4 3136 2352-----Olympus E-330
 
Olympus E-500« » Four Thirds 8.0 3264 2448-----Olympus E-500
 
Panasonic L1« » Four Thirds 7.4 3136 2352-----Panasonic L1
Neither the E-1 nor the E-300 offer Live View, so that they cannot project the live image that the sensor receives onto the rear screen. Moreover, both cameras are still-image focused and cannot record videos.
 

Feature comparison: Olympus E-1 vs E-300

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The E-1 and the E-300 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 viewfinder in the E-1 offers a wider field of view (100%) than the one in the E-300 (95%), so that a larger proportion of the captured image is visible in the finder. On the other hand, the viewfinder of the E-300 has a higher magnification (0.5x vs 0.48x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Olympus E-1 and Olympus E-300 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.

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
 
Olympus E-1»optical Y 1.8 134 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 n n Olympus E-1
 
Olympus E-300«optical n 1.8 134 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n Olympus E-300
 
Canon 6D Mark II« »optical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 6.5 n n Canon 6D Mark II
 
Canon 7D« »optical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 1/8000s 8.0 Y n Canon 7D
 
Canon 350D« »optical n 1.8 115 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Canon 350D
 
Leica Digilux 3« »optical n 2.5 207 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Leica Digilux 3
 
Nikon D500« »optical Y 3.2 2359 tilting Y 1/8000s 10.0 n n Nikon D500
 
Nikon D610« »optical Y 3.2 921 fixed n 1/4000s 6.0 Y n Nikon D610
 
Nikon D7000« »optical Y 3.0 921 fixed n 1/8000s 6.0 Y n Nikon D7000
 
Olympus E-5« »optical Y 3.0 920 swivel n 1/8000s 5.0 Y Y Olympus E-5
 
Olympus E-3« »optical Y 2.5 230 swivel n 1/8000s 5.0 Y Y Olympus E-3
 
Olympus E-330« »optical n 2.5 215 tilting n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Olympus E-330
 
Olympus E-500« »optical n 2.5 215 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n Olympus E-500
 
Panasonic L1« »optical n 2.5 207 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Panasonic L1

One feature that is present on the E-1, but is missing on the E-300 is a top-level LCD. While being, of course, smaller than the rear screen, the control panel conveys some of the essential shooting information and can be convenient for quick and easy settings verification.

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the E-1 and the E-300 write their files to Compact Flash or xD Picture cards. Both cameras feature dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails.

 

Connectivity comparison: Olympus E-1 vs E-300

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 Olympus E-1 and Olympus Evolt E-300 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
Type
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
Camera
Model
 
Olympus E-1»Y-----2.0---Olympus E-1
 
Olympus E-300«Y-----2.0---Olympus E-300
 
Canon 6D Mark II« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0YYYCanon 6D Mark II
 
Canon 7D« »Ymono-Y-mini2.0---Canon 7D
 
Canon 350D« »Y-----2.0---Canon 350D
 
Leica Digilux 3« »Ystereomono---2.0---Leica Digilux 3
 
Nikon D500« »YstereomonoYYmini3.0YYYNikon D500
 
Nikon D610« »YmonomonoYYmini2.0---Nikon D610
 
Nikon D7000« »YmonomonoY-mini2.0---Nikon D7000
 
Olympus E-5« »Ystereo---mini2.0---Olympus E-5
 
Olympus E-3« »Y-----2.0---Olympus E-3
 
Olympus E-330« »Y-----2.0---Olympus E-330
 
Olympus E-500« »Y-----2.0---Olympus E-500
 
Panasonic L1« »Y-----2.0---Panasonic L1

Studio photographers will appreciate that the Olympus E-1 (unlike the E-300) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.

Both the E-1 and the E-300 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The E-1 was replaced by the Olympus E-3, while the E-300 was followed by the Olympus E-330. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Olympus website.


Review summary: Olympus E-1 vs E-300

So what is the bottom line? Is there a clear favorite between the Olympus E-1 and the Olympus E-300? Which camera is better? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.


Advantages of the Olympus E-1:

  • More complete view: Has a viewfinder with a larger field of view (100% vs 95%).
  • Easier setting verification: Features an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (3 vs 2.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
  • Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in June 2003).


Reasons to prefer the Olympus Evolt E-300:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (8 vs 4.9MP), which boosts linear resolution by 28%.
  • Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.5x vs 0.48x).
  • More compact: Is smaller (147x85mm vs 141x104mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 114g or 15 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (53 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Was introduced somewhat (1 year and 3 months) more recently.

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the E-300 comes out slightly ahead of the E-1 (7 : 6 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding 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.

E-1 06:07 E-300

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Olympus E-1 and the Olympus E-300 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 specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the E-1 or the E-300. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable.

Expert reviews: Olympus E-1 vs E-300

This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. 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
cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Olympus E-1»-+oo- Jun 2003 1,699- i Olympus E-1
 
Olympus E-300«-+oo4.5/5 Sep 2004 799- i Olympus E-300
 
Canon 6D Mark II« »+80/1004.5/54/54/5 Jun 2017 1,999 i i Canon 6D Mark II
 
Canon 7D« »+ +84/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Sep 2009 1,699- i Canon 7D
 
Canon 350D« »80/100+ +oo- Feb 2005 899- i Canon 350D
 
Leica Digilux 3« »----- Sep 2006 1,499- i Leica Digilux 3
 
Nikon D500« »+ +91/1004.5/55/55/5 Jan 2016 1,999 i i Nikon D500
 
Nikon D610« »+ +87/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Oct 2013 1,999 i i Nikon D610
 
Nikon D7000« »-80/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Sep 2010 1,499- i Nikon D7000
 
Olympus E-5« »-75/1004/5-4.5/5 Sep 2010 1,699- i Olympus E-5
 
Olympus E-3« »88/100+ +oo4/5 Oct 2007 1,699- i Olympus E-3
 
Olympus E-330« »-+o3.5/5- Jan 2006 999- i Olympus E-330
 
Olympus E-500« »76/100+ +--- Sep 2005 599- i Olympus E-500
 
Panasonic L1« »85/100+-o3.5/5 Feb 2006 999- i Panasonic L1
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (-) not available.

The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

Olympus E-1:
Check Ebay offers
Olympus E-300:
Check Ebay offers

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.

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    Specifications: Olympus E-1 vs Olympus E-300

    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 Olympus E-1 Olympus E-300
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Four Thirds lenses Four Thirds lenses
    Launch Date June 2003 September 2004
    Launch Price USD 1699 USD 799
    Sensor Specs Olympus E-1 Olympus E-300
    Sensor Technology CCD 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 4.9 Megapixels 8 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 2560 x 1920 pixels 3264 x 2448 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 6.78 μm 5.30 μm
    Pixel Density 2.19 MP/cm2 3.55 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video no Video
    ISO Setting 100-800 ISO 100-400 ISO
    ISO Boost 100-3200 ISO 100-1600 ISO
    Image Processor TruePic TruePic
    Screen Specs Olympus E-1 Olympus E-300
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100% 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.48x 0.5x
    Top-Level Screen Control Panel no Top Display
    Rear LCD Size 1.8 inch 1.8 inch
    LCD Resolution 134k dots 134k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Olympus E-1 Olympus E-300
    Autofocus System Phase-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 3 shutter flaps/s 2.5 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium CF or XD cards CF or XD cards
    Second Storage Option Dual card slots Dual card slots
    Connectivity Specs Olympus E-1 Olympus E-300
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    Studio Flash PC Sync socket no PC Sync
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI no HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Olympus E-1 Olympus E-300
    Environmental SealingWeathersealed bodyNot weather sealed
    Battery Type BLM-1 power pack BLM-1 power pack
    Battery Life (CIPA)750 shots per charge750 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 141 x 104 x 81 mm
    (5.6 x 4.1 x 3.2 in)
    147 x 85 x 64 mm
    (5.8 x 3.3 x 2.5 in)
    Camera Weight 738 g (26.0 oz) 624 g (22.0 oz)

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