Olympus E-330 vs E-420
The Olympus Evolt E-330 and the Olympus E-420 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in January 2006 and March 2008. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with a Four Thirds sensor. The E-330 has a resolution of 7.4 megapixels, whereas the E-420 provides 10 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|Olympus E-330||Olympus E-420|
|Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Four Thirds lenses||Four Thirds lenses|
|7.4 MP, Four Thirds Sensor||10 MP, Four Thirds Sensor|
|no Video||no Video|
|ISO 100-400 (100 - 1,600)||ISO 100-1,600|
|Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|2.5 LCD, 215k dots||2.7 LCD, 215k dots|
|Tilting screen (no touchscreen)||Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|3 shutter flaps per second||3.5 shutter flaps per second|
|750 shots per battery charge||500 shots per battery charge|
|140 x 87 x 72 mm, 637 g||130 x 91 x 53 mm, 440 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Olympus Evolt E-330 and the Olympus E-420? 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.
The physical size and weight of the Olympus E-330 and the Olympus E-420 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.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Olympus E-420 is somewhat smaller (3 percent) than the Olympus E-330. Moreover, the E-420 is markedly lighter (31 percent) than the E-330. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the E-330 nor the E-420 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 following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. 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.
|Olympus E-330||140 mm||87 mm||72 mm||637 g||750||n||Jan 2006||999|
|Olympus E-420||130 mm||91 mm||53 mm||440 g||500||n||Mar 2008||599|
|Canon 350D||127 mm||94 mm||64 mm||540 g||400||n||Feb 2005||899|
|Leica Digilux 3||146 mm||87 mm||77 mm||606 g||750||n||Sep 2006||1,499|
|Nikon D80||132 mm||103 mm||77 mm||668 g||600||n||Aug 2006||999|
|Olympus E-450||130 mm||91 mm||53 mm||440 g||500||n||Mar 2009||499|
|Olympus E-620||130 mm||94 mm||60 mm||521 g||500||n||Feb 2009||699|
|Olympus E-520||136 mm||92 mm||68 mm||535 g||750||n||May 2008||699|
|Olympus E-410||130 mm||91 mm||53 mm||435 g||500||n||Mar 2007||699|
|Olympus E-510||136 mm||92 mm||68 mm||538 g||750||n||Mar 2007||799|
|Olympus E-400||130 mm||91 mm||53 mm||435 g||500||n||Sep 2006||699|
|Olympus E-500||130 mm||95 mm||66 mm||479 g||750||n||Sep 2005||599|
|Olympus E-300||147 mm||85 mm||64 mm||624 g||750||n||Sep 2004||799|
|Panasonic L10||135 mm||96 mm||78 mm||556 g||450||n||Aug 2007||599|
|Panasonic L1||146 mm||87 mm||64 mm||606 g||750||n||Feb 2006||999|
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.
(1) Number of images that can be taken on a full battery charge according to the CIPA-standard; (2) Official announcement.
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-420 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 40 percent) than the E-330, 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.
The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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 associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies 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-420 uses a more advanced image processing engine (TruePic III) than the E-330 (TruePic), with benefits for noise reduction, color accuracy, and processing speed.
While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the E-420 offers a higher resolution of 10 megapixels, compared with 7.4 MP of the E-330. This megapixels advantage translates into a 16 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the E-420 has a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 4.74μm versus 5.51μm for the E-330). However, it should be noted that the E-420 is much more recent (by 2 years and 1 month) than the E-330, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that compensate for the smaller pixel size.
The resolution advantage of the Olympus E-420 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the E-420 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 18.2 x 13.7 inches or 46.3 x 34.7 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 14.6 x 10.9 inches or 37.1 x 27.8 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 12.2 x 9.1 inches or 30.9 x 23.2 cm. The corresponding values for the Olympus E-330 are 15.7 x 11.8 inches or 39.8 x 29.9 cm for good quality, 12.5 x 9.4 inches or 31.9 x 23.9 cm for very good quality, and 10.5 x 7.8 inches or 26.6 x 19.9 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Olympus Evolt E-330 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 400, which can be extended to ISO 100-1600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Olympus E-420 are ISO 100 to ISO 1600 (no boost).
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 table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
|Olympus E-330||Four Thirds||7.4||3136||2352||none||..||..||..||..|
|Olympus E-420||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.5||10.4||527||56|
|Leica Digilux 3||Four Thirds||7.4||3136||2352||none||..||..||..||..|
|Olympus E-450||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.5||10.5||512||56|
|Olympus E-620||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||none||21.3||10.3||536||55|
|Olympus E-520||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.4||10.4||548||55|
|Olympus E-410||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.1||10.0||494||51|
|Olympus E-510||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.2||10.0||442||52|
|Olympus E-400||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||..||..||..||..|
|Olympus E-500||Four Thirds||8.0||3264||2448||none||..||..||..||..|
|Olympus E-300||Four Thirds||8.0||3264||2448||none||..||..||..||..|
|Panasonic L10||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.3||10.8||429||55|
|Panasonic L1||Four Thirds||7.4||3136||2352||none||..||..||..||..|
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The E-330 and the E-420 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 E-330 has a higher magnification than the one of the E-420 (0.47x vs 0.46x), 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-330, the Olympus E-420, and comparable cameras.
|Leica Digilux 3||optical||n||2.5||207||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the E-330 and the E-420 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.
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-330 and Olympus E-420 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
|Leica Digilux 3||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
Both the E-330 and the E-420 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 Olympus. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Olympus website.
So how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Olympus E-330 or the Olympus E-420 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Arguments in favor of the Olympus Evolt E-330:
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.47x vs 0.46x).
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (750 versus 500) on a single battery charge.
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in January 2006).
Reasons to prefer the Olympus E-420:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (10 vs 7.4MP), which boosts linear resolution by 16%.
- Better jpgs: Has a more modern image processing engine (TruePic III vs TruePic).
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (2.7" vs 2.5") for image review and settings control.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (3.5 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 197g or 31 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (40 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 2 years and 1 month of technical progress since the E-330 launch.
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the E-420 emerges as the winner of the match-up (7 : 4 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 wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Olympus E-330 and the Olympus E-420 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-330 or the E-420. 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.
This is where reviews by experts come in. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular 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.
|Olympus E-330||..||+||o||3.5/5||..||Jan 2006||999|
|Olympus E-420||85/100||+ +||4/5||o||4.5/5||Mar 2008||599|
|Canon 350D||80/100||+ +||o||o||..||Feb 2005||899|
|Leica Digilux 3||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2006||1,499|
|Nikon D80||+||+ +||o||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2006||999|
|Olympus E-450||..||..||4/5||..||4/5||Mar 2009||499|
|Olympus E-620||88/100||72/100||4.5/5||o||5/5||Feb 2009||699|
|Olympus E-520||87/100||+ +||4.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||May 2008||699|
|Olympus E-410||86/100||+ +||4/5||o||4.5/5||Mar 2007||699|
|Olympus E-510||89/100||+ +||3.5/5||o||4.5/5||Mar 2007||799|
|Olympus E-400||85/100||..||4/5||..||4/5||Sep 2006||699|
|Olympus E-500||76/100||+ +||..||..||..||Sep 2005||599|
|Olympus E-300||..||+||o||o||4.5/5||Sep 2004||799|
|Panasonic L10||85/100||+||3.5/5||o||4/5||Aug 2007||599|
|Panasonic L1||85/100||+||..||o||3.5/5||Feb 2006||999|
|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. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.
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 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.
- Canon 100D vs Olympus E-330
- Canon 1Ds Mark III vs Olympus E-330
- Canon 550D vs Olympus E-330
- Canon D30 vs Olympus E-330
- Canon M100 vs Olympus E-420
- Fujifilm X-Pro2 vs Olympus E-420
- Kodak AZ901 vs Olympus E-330
- Kodak AZ901 vs Olympus E-420
- Nikon D750 vs Olympus E-330
- Nikon D850 vs Olympus E-420
- Olympus E-330 vs Sony RX10 II
- Olympus E-420 vs Sony A900
Specifications: Olympus E-330 vs Olympus E-420
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 Model||Olympus E-330||Olympus E-420|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Four Thirds lenses||Four Thirds lenses|
|Launch Date||January 2006||March 2008|
|Launch Price||USD 999||USD 599|
|Sensor Specs||Olympus E-330||Olympus E-420|
|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|
|Sensor Resolution||7.4 Megapixels||10 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||3136 x 2352 pixels||3648 x 2736 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||5.51 μm||4.74 μm|
|Pixel Density||3.28 MP/cm2||4.44 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||no Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 400 ISO||100 - 1,600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 1,600 ISO||no Enhancement|
|Image Processor||TruePic||TruePic III|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||56|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||21.5|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||10.4|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||527|
|Screen Specs||Olympus E-330||Olympus E-420|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%||95%|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||2.5inch||2.7inch|
|LCD Resolution||215k dots||215k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Olympus E-330||Olympus E-420|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||3 shutter flaps/s||3.5 shutter flaps/s|
|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-330||Olympus E-420|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||no HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Olympus E-330||Olympus E-420|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||750 shots per charge||500 shots per charge|
140 x 87 x 72 mm
(5.5 x 3.4 x 2.8 in)
130 x 91 x 53 mm
(5.1 x 3.6 x 2.1 in)
|Camera Weight||637 g (22.5 oz)||440 g (15.5 oz)|
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