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Olympus E-330 vs E-500

The Olympus Evolt E-330 and the Olympus Evolt E-500 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in January 2006 and September 2005. 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-500 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-330   Olympus E-500
Olympus E-330 Olympus E-500
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Four Thirds lenses Four Thirds lenses
7.4 MP, Four Thirds Sensor 8 MP, Four Thirds Sensor
no Video no Video
ISO 100-400 (100-1600) ISO 100-400 (100-1600)
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
2.5" LCD, 215k dots 2.5" LCD, 215k dots
Tilting screen (no touchscreen) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
3 shutter flaps per second 2.5 shutter flaps per second
750 shots per battery charge750 shots per battery charge
140 x 87 x 72 mm, 637 g 130 x 95 x 66 mm, 479 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Olympus Evolt E-330 and the Olympus Evolt E-500? 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-500

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Olympus E-330 and the Olympus E-500 is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Olympus E-330 vs Olympus E-500
Compare E-330 versus E-500 top
Comparison E-330 or E-500 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Olympus E-500 is somewhat larger (1 percent) than the Olympus E-330. However, the E-500 is markedly lighter (25 percent) than the E-330. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the E-330 nor the E-500 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 table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, just select a new right or left 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 camera 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-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
 
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-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-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.

Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. 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-500 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 40 percent) than the E-330, which puts it into a different market segment. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. 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.

 

Sensor comparison: Olympus E-330 vs E-500

The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors 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. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better 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-330 and Olympus E-500 sensor measures

While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the E-500 offers a slightly higher resolution of 8 megapixels, compared with 7.4 MP of the E-330. This megapixels advantage translates into a 4 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the E-500 has a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 5.30μm versus 5.51μm for the E-330). Moreover, it should be noted, that the E-330 is a somewhat more recent model (by 4 months) than the E-500, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of individual pixels.

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 Olympus Evolt E-500 offers exactly the same ISO settings.

E-330 versus E-500 MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. 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-500« Four Thirds 8.0 3264 2448-----Olympus E-500
 
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-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-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
The E-330 offers Live View, so that it can project the live image that the sensor receives onto the rear screen for framing. The E-500 lacks this capability. Both cameras are still-image focused and cannot record videos.
 

Feature comparison: Olympus E-330 vs E-500

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The E-330 and the E-500 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-500 (0.465x vs 0.45x), 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-500, 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-500«optical n 2.5 215 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n Olympus E-500
 
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-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-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-500 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-500

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 Evolt E-500 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-500«Y-----2.0---Olympus E-500
 
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-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-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-500 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The E-500 was replaced by the Olympus E-510, while the E-330 does not have a direct successor. 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-500

So how do things add up? Is the Olympus E-330 better than the Olympus E-500 or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.


Reasons to prefer the Olympus Evolt E-330:

  • Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.465x vs 0.45x).
  • More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (3 vs 2.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 4 months after the E-500).


Arguments in favor of the Olympus Evolt E-500:

  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 158g or 25 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (40 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in September 2005).

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the E-330 comes out slightly ahead of the E-500 (4 : 3 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 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-330 04:03 E-500

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Olympus E-330 and the Olympus E-500 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 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-330 or the E-500 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.

Expert reviews: Olympus E-330 vs E-500

This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. 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-500«76/100+ +--- Sep 2005 599- i Olympus E-500
 
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-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-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.

The above review scores should be interpreted 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. 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-330:
Check Ebay offers
Olympus E-500:
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 a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.

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    Specifications: Olympus E-330 vs Olympus E-500

    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-500
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Four Thirds lenses Four Thirds lenses
    Launch Date January 2006 September 2005
    Launch Price USD 999 USD 599
    Sensor Specs Olympus E-330 Olympus E-500
    Sensor Technology CMOS CCD
    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 8 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 3136 x 2352 pixels 3264 x 2448 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 5.51 μm 5.30 μm
    Pixel Density 3.28 MP/cm2 3.55 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video no Video
    ISO Setting 100-400 ISO 100-400 ISO
    ISO Boost 100-1600 ISO 100-1600 ISO
    Image Processor TruePic TruePic
    Screen Specs Olympus E-330 Olympus E-500
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95% 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.465x 0.45x
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 2.5 inch 2.5 inch
    LCD Resolution 215k dots 215k dots
    LCD Attachment Tilting screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Olympus E-330 Olympus E-500
    Autofocus System Phase-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 3 shutter flaps/s 2.5 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-500
    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-500
    Battery Type BLM-1 power pack BLM-1 power pack
    Battery Life (CIPA)750 shots per charge750 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 140 x 87 x 72 mm
    (5.5 x 3.4 x 2.8 in)
    130 x 95 x 66 mm
    (5.1 x 3.7 x 2.6 in)
    Camera Weight 637 g (22.5 oz) 479 g (16.9 oz)

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