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Olympus E-300 Comparison Review

The Olympus Evolt E-300 is a DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) camera that was announced in September 2004 and is equipped with a Four Thirds sensor. It offers a resolution of 8 megapixel.

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The Olympus E-300 has a Camera Elo of 1297. This rating puts the E-300 below average of all digital single lens reflex cameras. In terms of its sensor size category (Four Thirds cameras), the E-300 also ranks below average. – Well, the Olympus E-300 is more than 14 years old, and there have been many other good digital cameras released since 2004.

Headline Specifications
Olympus E-300
Digital single lens reflex
Four Thirds lenses
8 MP, Four Thirds Sensor
no Video
ISO 100-400 (100-1600)
Optical viewfinder
1.8" LCD, 134k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
2.5 shutter flaps per second
750 shots per battery charge
147 x 85 x 64 mm, 624 g


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Read on to find out more about the camera's size, sensor, features, reception by expert reviewers, and how it compares to other digital cameras.

Body comparison with a credit card

The physical dimensions of the Olympus E-300 relative to a credit card are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are presented. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Olympus E-300 vs credit card front
E-300 versus credit card top view
E-300 and credit card rear side

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the Olympus E-300 alongside a set of comparators. If you want to review a camera pair side-by-side, just select a right-side comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible comparisons 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-300 147 mm 85 mm 64 mm 624 g 750 n Sep 2004 799- i Olympus E-300
 
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
 
Olympus E-620« » 130 mm 94 mm 60 mm 521 g 500 n Feb 2009 699- i Olympus E-620
 
Olympus E-520« » 136 mm 92 mm 68 mm 535 g 750 n May 2008 699- i Olympus E-520
 
Olympus E-410« » 130 mm 91 mm 53 mm 435 g 500 n Mar 2007 699- i Olympus E-410
 
Olympus E-510« » 136 mm 92 mm 68 mm 538 g 750 n Mar 2007 799- i Olympus E-510
 
Olympus E-330« » 140 mm 87 mm 72 mm 637 g 750 n Jan 2006 999- i Olympus E-330
 
Olympus E-400« » 130 mm 91 mm 53 mm 435 g 500 n Sep 2006 699- i Olympus E-400
 
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 listed prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The Olympus E-300 was launched in the US market at a price of $799. 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.

Olympus E-300:
Check Ebay offers

Sensor comparison with a 35mm slide

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. 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 associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.

The Olympus E-300 features a Four Thirds sensor and has a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 2.0. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the Olympus E-300 among the medium-sized sensor cameras that aim to strike a balance between image quality and portability.

Olympus E-300 sensor measures

For most 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 table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar 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-300 Four Thirds 8.0 3264 2448-----Olympus E-300
 
Canon 350D« » APS-C 8.0 3456 2304-21.810.863760Canon 350D
 
Leica Digilux 3« » Four Thirds 7.4 3136 2352-----Leica Digilux 3
 
Olympus E-620« » Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024-21.310.353655Olympus E-620
 
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-330« » Four Thirds 7.4 3136 2352-----Olympus E-330
 
Olympus E-400« » Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736-----Olympus E-400
 
Olympus E-500« » Four Thirds 8.0 3264 2448-----Olympus E-500
 
Panasonic L1« » Four Thirds 7.4 3136 2352-----Panasonic L1

It should be noted that unlike many modern cameras, the E-300 does not provide the possibility to capture videos.

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the E-300 has an optical viewfinder that provides a field of view of 95% and a magnification of 0.5x. The tables below summarize some of the other core capabilities of the 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-300optical n 1.8 134 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n Olympus E-300
 
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
 
Olympus E-620« »optical n 2.7 230 swivel n 1/4000s 4.0 Y Y Olympus E-620
 
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-330« »optical n 2.5 215 tilting n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Olympus E-330
 
Olympus E-400« »optical n 2.5 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Olympus E-400
 
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 convenient feature of the E-300 is the presence of an on-board flash. While this built-in flash is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light to brighten deep shadow areas.

 

Connection 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 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-300Y-----2.0---Olympus E-300
 
Canon 350D« »Y-----2.0---Canon 350D
 
Leica Digilux 3« »Ystereomono---2.0---Leica Digilux 3
 
Olympus E-620« »Y-----2.0---Olympus E-620
 
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-330« »Y-----2.0---Olympus E-330
 
Olympus E-400« »Y-----2.0---Olympus E-400
 
Olympus E-500« »Y-----2.0---Olympus E-500
 
Panasonic L1« »Y-----2.0---Panasonic L1
 

Expert reviews

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 E-300 handle or perform in practice. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate. This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The adjacent table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog).

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-300-+oo4.5/5 Sep 2004 799- i Olympus E-300
 
Canon 350D« »80/100+ +oo- Feb 2005 899- i Canon 350D
 
Leica Digilux 3« »----- Sep 2006 1,499- i Leica Digilux 3
 
Olympus E-620« »88/10072/1004.5/5o5/5 Feb 2009 699- i Olympus E-620
 
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-330« »-+o3.5/5- Jan 2006 999- i Olympus E-330
 
Olympus E-400« »85/100-4/5-4/5 Sep 2006 699- i Olympus E-400
 
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.

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

Olympus E-300 FAQ

Below are some additional questions and answers concerning some particular features of the E-300.

What type of imaging sensor is used in the E-300?

The camera is build around a CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensor.

Which image processing chip is used to convert the raw signal into an image file and perform noise reduction and image sharpening?

Olympus equipped the E-300 with the TruePic image processor.

What is the ISO sensitivity range of the E-300?

The camera has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 400.

What is the life expectancy of the shutter in the Olympus Evolt E-300?

Olympus does not publish a shutter rating for the E-300. Yet, shutters in comparable cameras from other manufacturers are said to be good for at least 100 000 actuations. It should be noted, though, that this number represents a Mean Time before Failure. The shutter might fail earlier, or it might last longer. Anyway, in order to exhaust an expected shutter life of 100 000 shots over, say, three years, one would have to take about 100 pictures each and every day.

Does the Olympus E-300 feature an autofocus assist light?

Yes, the camera has a lamp built-in that can illuminate the subject and improve autofocus in low-light settings.

What is the fastest shutter speed that can be used with flash?

The E-300's flash sync speed is 1/180 sec.

Which battery does the E-300 use?

The camera gets its power from the BLM-1 (here at amazon), which is a rechargeable Lithium-Ion power pack.

Is there a vertical grip available for the E-300?

Yes, Olympus offers the HLD-3 as an optional accessory to facilitate shooting in portrait orientation and to provide additional battery power.

Camera to camera comparisons

In case you are interested in seeing how this camera compares to another one, just make your choice using the following search menu. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.

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    Specifications Summary
    Camera Model Olympus E-300
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Four Thirds lenses
    Launch Date September 2004
    Launch Price USD 799
    Sensor Specs
    Sensor Technology CMOS
    Sensor Format Four Thirds Sensor
    Sensor Size 17.3 x 13.0 mm
    Sensor Area 224.9 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 21.6 mm
    Crop Factor 2.0x
    Sensor Resolution 8 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 3264 x 2448 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 5.30 μm
    Pixel Density 3.55 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video
    ISO Setting 100-400 ISO
    ISO Boost 100-1600 ISO
    Image Processor TruePic
    Screen Specs
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.5x
    Rear LCD Size 1.8 inch
    LCD Resolution 134k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs
    Autofocus System Phase-detect AF
    Manual Focusing AidNo Peaking Feature
    Maximum Shutter Speed 1/4000s
    Continuous Shooting 2.5 shutter flaps/s
    Shutter Life Expectancy100 000 actuations
    Silent Shootingno E-Shutter
    Time Lapse Photographyno Intervalometer
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium CF or XD cards
    Second Storage Option Dual card slots
    Connectivity Specs
    External Flash Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi
    Body Specs
    Battery Type BLM-1 power pack
    Battery Life (CIPA)750 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 147 x 85 x 64 mm
    (5.8 x 3.3 x 2.5 in)
    Camera Weight 624 g (22.0 oz)

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