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Olympus E-3 vs E-620

The Olympus E-3 and the Olympus E-620 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in October 2007 and February 2009. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with a Four Thirds sensor. The E-3 has a resolution of 10 megapixels, whereas the E-620 provides 12.2 MP.

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

Headline Specifications
Olympus E-3   Olympus E-620
Olympus E-3 Olympus E-620
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Four Thirds lenses Four Thirds lenses
10 MP, Four Thirds Sensor 12.2 MP, Four Thirds Sensor
no Video no Video
ISO 100-3200 ISO 100-3200
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
2.5" LCD, 230k dots 2.7" LCD, 230k dots
Swivel screen (not touch-sensitive) Swivel screen (not touch-sensitive)
5 shutter flaps per second 4 shutter flaps per second
In-body stabilizationIn-body stabilization
Weathersealed bodyNot weather sealed
750 shots per battery charge500 shots per battery charge
142 x 116 x 75 mm, 876 g 130 x 94 x 60 mm, 521 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Olympus E-3 and the Olympus E-620? 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-3 vs E-620

The physical size and weight of the Olympus E-3 and the Olympus E-620 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 width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Olympus E-3 vs Olympus E-620
Compare E-3 versus E-620 top
Comparison E-3 or E-620 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Olympus E-620 is notably smaller (26 percent) than the Olympus E-3. Moreover, the E-620 is substantially lighter (41 percent) than the E-3. It is worth mentioning in this context that the E-3 is splash and dust resistant, while the E-620 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.

Concerning battery life, the E-3 gets 750 shots out of its BLM-1 battery, while the E-620 can take 500 images on a single charge of its BLS-1 power pack.

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)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Olympus E-3» 5.6 in 4.6 in 3.0 in 30.9 oz 750 Y Oct 2007 1,699- i Olympus E-3
 
Olympus E-620« 5.1 in 3.7 in 2.4 in 18.4 oz 500 n Feb 2009 699- i Olympus E-620
 
Nikon D300« » 5.8 in 4.5 in 2.9 in 32.6 oz 1000 Y Aug 2007 1,799- i Nikon D300
 
Olympus E-5« » 5.6 in 4.6 in 3.0 in 30.8 oz 750 Y Sep 2010 1,699- i Olympus E-5
 
Olympus E-600« » 5.1 in 3.7 in 2.4 in 18.9 oz 500 n Aug 2009 449- i Olympus E-600
 
Olympus E-30« » 5.6 in 4.3 in 3.0 in 24.7 oz 750 n Nov 2008 1,299- i Olympus E-30
 
Olympus E-420« » 5.1 in 3.6 in 2.1 in 15.5 oz 500 n Mar 2008 599- i Olympus E-420
 
Olympus E-520« » 5.4 in 3.6 in 2.7 in 18.9 oz 750 n May 2008 699- i Olympus E-520
 
Olympus E-410« » 5.1 in 3.6 in 2.1 in 15.3 oz 500 n Mar 2007 699- i Olympus E-410
 
Olympus E-510« » 5.4 in 3.6 in 2.7 in 19.0 oz 750 n Mar 2007 799- i Olympus E-510
 
Olympus E-1« » 5.6 in 4.1 in 3.2 in 26.0 oz 750 Y Jun 2003 1,699- i Olympus E-1
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 manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The E-620 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 59 percent) than the E-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: Olympus E-3 vs E-620

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units in a sensor of the same technological generation. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its 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.

Technology-wise, the E-620 uses a more advanced image processing engine (TruePic III+) than the E-3 (TruePic III), with benefits for noise reduction, color accuracy, and processing speed.

Olympus E-3 and Olympus E-620 sensor measures

While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the E-620 offers a higher resolution of 12.2 megapixels, compared with 10 MP of the E-3. This megapixels advantage translates into a 11 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the E-620 has a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 4.29μm versus 4.74μm for the E-3). However, it should be noted that the E-620 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 4 months) than the E-3, 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-620 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the E-620 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 20.2 x 15.1 inch or 51.2 x 38.4 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 16.1 x 12.1 inch or 41 x 30.7 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 13.4 x 10.1 inch or 34.1 x 25.6 cm. The corresponding values for the Olympus E-3 are 18.2 x 13.7 inch or 46.3 x 34.7 cm for good quality, 14.6 x 10.9 inch or 37.1 x 27.8 cm for very good quality, and 12.2 x 9.1 inch or 30.9 x 23.2 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Olympus E-3 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 3200. The Olympus E-620 offers exactly the same ISO settings.

E-3 versus E-620 MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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 Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar imaging performance. 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
 
Olympus E-3» Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736-21.610.557156Olympus E-3
 
Olympus E-620« Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024-21.310.353655Olympus E-620
 
Nikon D300« » APS-C 12.2 4288 2848-22.112.067967Nikon D300
 
Olympus E-5« » Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024720/30p21.610.551956Olympus E-5
 
Olympus E-600« » Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024-21.510.354155Olympus E-600
 
Olympus E-30« » Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024-21.310.453055Olympus E-30
 
Olympus E-420« » Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736-21.510.452756Olympus E-420
 
Olympus E-520« » Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736-21.410.454855Olympus E-520
 
Olympus E-410« » Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736-21.110.049451Olympus E-410
 
Olympus E-510« » Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736-21.210.044252Olympus E-510
 
Olympus E-1« » Four Thirds 4.9 2560 1920-----Olympus E-1
Both the E-3 and the E-620 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: Olympus E-3 vs E-620

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The E-3 and the E-620 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-3 offers a wider field of view (100%) than the one in the E-620 (95%), so that a larger proportion of the captured image is visible in the finder. In addition, the viewfinder of the E-3 has a higher magnification (0.575x vs 0.48x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Olympus E-3, the Olympus E-620, and comparable 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-3»optical Y 2.5 230 swivel n 1/8000s 5.0 Y Y Olympus E-3
 
Olympus E-620«optical n 2.7 230 swivel n 1/4000s 4.0 Y Y Olympus E-620
 
Nikon D300« »optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 1/8000s 6.0 Y n Nikon D300
 
Olympus E-5« »optical Y 3.0 920 swivel n 1/8000s 5.0 Y Y Olympus E-5
 
Olympus E-600« »optical n 2.7 230 swivel n 1/4000s 4.0 Y Y Olympus E-600
 
Olympus E-30« »optical Y 2.7 230 swivel n 1/8000s 5.0 Y Y Olympus E-30
 
Olympus E-420« »optical n 2.7 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.5 Y n Olympus E-420
 
Olympus E-520« »optical n 2.7 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.5 Y Y Olympus E-520
 
Olympus E-410« »optical n 2.5 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Olympus E-410
 
Olympus E-510« »optical n 2.5 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y Y Olympus E-510
 
Olympus E-1« »optical Y 1.8 134 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 n n Olympus E-1

One feature that is present on the E-3, but is missing on the E-620 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.

Both cameras have an articulated rear screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This feature will be particularly appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies.

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the E-3 and the E-620 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-3 vs E-620

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-3 and Olympus E-620 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-3»Y-----2.0---Olympus E-3
 
Olympus E-620«Y-----2.0---Olympus E-620
 
Nikon D300« »Y----mini2.0---Nikon D300
 
Olympus E-5« »Ystereo---mini2.0---Olympus E-5
 
Olympus E-600« »Y-----2.0---Olympus E-600
 
Olympus E-30« »Y-----2.0---Olympus E-30
 
Olympus E-420« »Y-----2.0---Olympus E-420
 
Olympus E-520« »Y-----2.0---Olympus E-520
 
Olympus E-410« »Y-----2.0---Olympus E-410
 
Olympus E-510« »Y-----2.0---Olympus E-510
 
Olympus E-1« »Y-----2.0---Olympus E-1

Studio photographers will appreciate that the Olympus E-3 (unlike the E-620) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.

Both the E-3 and the E-620 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The E-3 was replaced by the Olympus E-5, while the E-620 was followed by the Olympus E-600. 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-3 vs E-620

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is there a clear favorite between the Olympus E-3 and the Olympus E-620? Which camera is better? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.


Reasons to prefer the Olympus E-3:

  • More complete view: Has a viewfinder with a larger field of view (100% vs 95%).
  • Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.575x vs 0.48x).
  • Easier setting verification: Features an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 4 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (750 versus 500) on a single battery charge.
  • 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 October 2007).


Arguments in favor of the Olympus E-620:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (12.2 vs 10MP), which boosts linear resolution by 11%.
  • Better jpgs: Has a more modern image processing engine (TruePic III+ vs TruePic III).
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (2.7" vs 2.5") for image review and settings control.
  • More compact: Is smaller (130x94mm vs 142x116mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 355g or 41 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (59 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Was introduced somewhat (1 year and 4 months) more recently.

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the E-3 emerges as the winner of the contest (9 : 7 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision. A professional wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

E-3 09:07 E-620

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Olympus E-3 and the Olympus E-620 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 technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the E-3 or the E-620 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: Olympus E-3 vs E-620

This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera 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-3»88/100+ +oo4/5 Oct 2007 1,699- i Olympus E-3
 
Olympus E-620«88/10072/1004.5/5o5/5 Feb 2009 699- i Olympus E-620
 
Nikon D300« »+ ++ +5/5o4.5/5 Aug 2007 1,799- i Nikon D300
 
Olympus E-5« »-75/1004/5-4.5/5 Sep 2010 1,699- i Olympus E-5
 
Olympus E-600« »----4.5/5 Aug 2009 449- i Olympus E-600
 
Olympus E-30« »-71/1004.5/5-4/5 Nov 2008 1,299- i Olympus E-30
 
Olympus E-420« »85/100+ +4/5o4.5/5 Mar 2008 599- i Olympus E-420
 
Olympus E-520« »87/100+ +4.5/54/54.5/5 May 2008 699- i Olympus E-520
 
Olympus E-410« »86/100+ +4/5o4.5/5 Mar 2007 699- i Olympus E-410
 
Olympus E-510« »89/100+ +3.5/5o4.5/5 Mar 2007 799- i Olympus E-510
 
Olympus E-1« »-+oo- Jun 2003 1,699- i Olympus E-1
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (-) not available.

The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

Olympus E-3:
Check Ebay offers
Olympus E-620:
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 your choice using the following search menu. 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-3 vs Olympus E-620

    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-3 Olympus E-620
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Four Thirds lenses Four Thirds lenses
    Launch Date October 2007 February 2009
    Launch Price USD 1699 USD 699
    Sensor Specs Olympus E-3 Olympus E-620
    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 10 Megapixels 12.2 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 3648 x 2736 pixels 4032 x 3024 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 4.74 μm 4.29 μm
    Pixel Density 4.44 MP/cm2 5.42 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video no Video
    ISO Setting 100-3200 ISO 100-3200 ISO
    Image Processor TruePic III TruePic III+
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 56 55
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 21.6 21.3
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 10.5 10.3
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 571 536
    Screen Specs Olympus E-3 Olympus E-620
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100% 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.575x 0.48x
    Top-Level Screen Control Panel no Top Display
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 2.5 inch 2.7 inch
    LCD Resolution 230k dots 230k dots
    LCD Attachment Swivel screen Swivel screen
    Shooting Specs Olympus E-3 Olympus E-620
    Autofocus System Phase-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 5 shutter flaps/s 4 shutter flaps/s
    Image StabilizationIn-body stabilizationIn-body stabilization
    Fill Flash Build-in 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-3 Olympus E-620
    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-3 Olympus E-620
    Environmental SealingWeathersealed bodyNot weather sealed
    Battery Type BLM-1 power pack BLS-1 power pack
    Battery Life (CIPA)750 shots per charge500 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 142 x 116 x 75 mm
    (5.6 x 4.6 x 3.0 in)
    130 x 94 x 60 mm
    (5.1 x 3.7 x 2.4 in)
    Camera Weight 876 g (30.9 oz) 521 g (18.4 oz)

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