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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.

Headline Specifications
Olympus E-330   Olympus E-420
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 (100-1600) ISO 100-1600
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 charge500 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.

Body comparison: Olympus E-330 vs E-420

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.

Size Olympus E-330 vs Olympus E-420
Compare E-330 versus E-420 top
Comparison E-330 or E-420 rear

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.

Concerning battery life, the E-330 gets 750 shots out of its BLM-1 battery, while the E-420 can take 500 images on a single charge of its BLS-1 power pack.

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.

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-330» 140 mm 87 mm 72 mm 637 g 750 n Jan 2006 999- i Olympus E-330
 
Olympus E-420« 130 mm 91 mm 53 mm 440 g 500 n Mar 2008 599- i Olympus E-420
 
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 D80« » 132 mm 103 mm 77 mm 668 g 600 n Aug 2006 999- i Nikon D80
 
Olympus E-450« » 130 mm 91 mm 53 mm 440 g 500 n Mar 2009 499- i Olympus E-450
 
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-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
 
Olympus E-300« » 147 mm 85 mm 64 mm 624 g 750 n Sep 2004 799- i Olympus E-300
 
Panasonic L10« » 135 mm 96 mm 78 mm 556 g 450 n Aug 2007 599- i Panasonic L10
 
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 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.

 

Sensor comparison: Olympus E-330 vs E-420

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.

Olympus E-330 and Olympus E-420 sensor measures

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 inch or 46.3 x 34.7 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 14.6 x 10.9 inch or 37.1 x 27.8 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 12.2 x 9.1 inch or 30.9 x 23.2 cm. The corresponding values for the Olympus E-330 are 15.7 x 11.8 inch or 39.8 x 29.9 cm for good quality, 12.5 x 9.4 inch or 31.9 x 23.9 cm for very good quality, and 10.5 x 7.8 inch 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).

E-330 versus E-420 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 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-330» Four Thirds 7.4 3136 2352-----Olympus E-330
 
Olympus E-420« Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736-21.510.452756Olympus E-420
 
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 D80« » APS-C 10.0 3872 2592-22.111.252461Nikon D80
 
Olympus E-450« » Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736-21.510.551256Olympus E-450
 
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-400« » Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736-----Olympus E-400
 
Olympus E-500« » Four Thirds 8.0 3264 2448-----Olympus E-500
 
Olympus E-300« » Four Thirds 8.0 3264 2448-----Olympus E-300
 
Panasonic L10« » Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736-21.310.842955Panasonic L10
 
Panasonic L1« » Four Thirds 7.4 3136 2352-----Panasonic L1
Both the E-330 and the E-420 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-330 vs E-420

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 (0.465x 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.

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-330»optical n 2.5 215 tilting n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Olympus E-330
 
Olympus E-420«optical n 2.7 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.5 Y n Olympus E-420
 
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 D80« »optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Nikon D80
 
Olympus E-450« »optical n 2.7 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.5 Y n Olympus E-450
 
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-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
 
Olympus E-300« »optical n 1.8 134 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n Olympus E-300
 
Panasonic L10« »optical n 2.5 207 swivel n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Panasonic L10
 
Panasonic L1« »optical n 2.5 207 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Panasonic L1

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.

 

Connectivity comparison: Olympus E-330 vs E-420

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.

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-330»Y-----2.0---Olympus E-330
 
Olympus E-420«Y-----2.0---Olympus E-420
 
Canon 350D« »Y-----2.0---Canon 350D
 
Leica Digilux 3« »Ystereomono---2.0---Leica Digilux 3
 
Nikon D80« »Y-----2.0---Nikon D80
 
Olympus E-450« »Y-----2.0---Olympus E-450
 
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-400« »Y-----2.0---Olympus E-400
 
Olympus E-500« »Y-----2.0---Olympus E-500
 
Olympus E-300« »Y-----2.0---Olympus E-300
 
Panasonic L10« »Y-----2.0---Panasonic L10
 
Panasonic L1« »Y-----2.0---Panasonic L1

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.


Review summary: Olympus E-330 vs E-420

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 (0.465x 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.

E-330 04:07 E-420

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.

Expert reviews: Olympus E-330 vs E-420

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.

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-330»-+o3.5/5- Jan 2006 999- i Olympus E-330
 
Olympus E-420«85/100+ +4/5o4.5/5 Mar 2008 599- i Olympus E-420
 
Canon 350D« »80/100+ +oo- Feb 2005 899- i Canon 350D
 
Leica Digilux 3« »----- Sep 2006 1,499- i Leica Digilux 3
 
Nikon D80« »++ +o4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2006 999- i Nikon D80
 
Olympus E-450« »--4/5-4/5 Mar 2009 499- i Olympus E-450
 
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-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
 
Olympus E-300« »-+oo4.5/5 Sep 2004 799- i Olympus E-300
 
Panasonic L10« »85/100+3.5/5o4/5 Aug 2007 599- i Panasonic L10
 
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. 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.

Olympus E-330:
Check Ebay offers
Olympus E-420:
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 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-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 Specifications
    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 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 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 100-1600 ISO
    ISO Boost 100-1600 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%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.465x 0.46x
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 2.5 inch 2.7 inch
    LCD Resolution 215k dots 215k dots
    LCD Attachment Tilting screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Olympus E-330 Olympus E-420
    Autofocus 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
    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 Olympus E-330 Olympus E-420
    Battery Type BLM-1 power pack BLS-1 power pack
    Battery Life (CIPA)750 shots per charge500 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 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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