Olympus E-330 versus Olympus E-510
The Olympus Evolt E-330 and the Olympus E-510 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in January 2006 and March 2007. 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 megapixel, whereas the E-510 provides 10 MP. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their size, their sensors, their features, and their reception by expert reviewers.
Body comparison: Olympus E-330 vs Olympus E-510
The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Olympus E-330 and the Olympus E-510. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter. You can also use the toggle button to switch to a percentage comparison if you prefer that the measures are being expressed in relative terms (in this case, the camera on the left – the E-330 – represents the basis or 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Olympus E-510 is somewhat larger (3 percent) than the Olympus E-330. However, the E-510 is markedly lighter (16 percent) than the E-330. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the E-330 nor the E-510 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 find an overview of suitable optics 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|
|Olympus E-330»||5.5 in||3.4 in||2.8 in||22.5 oz||750||n||Jan 2006||999||-|
|Olympus E-510«||5.4 in||3.6 in||2.7 in||19.0 oz||750||n||Mar 2007||799||-|
|Canon XT« »||5.0 in||3.7 in||2.5 in||19.0 oz||400||n||Feb 2005||899||-|
|Leica Digilux 3« »||5.7 in||3.4 in||3.0 in||21.4 oz||750||n||Sep 2006||1,499||-|
|Nikon D80« »||5.2 in||4.1 in||3.0 in||23.6 oz||600||n||Aug 2006||999||-|
|Olympus E-620« »||5.1 in||3.7 in||2.4 in||18.4 oz||500||n||Feb 2009||699||-|
|Olympus E-520« »||5.4 in||3.6 in||2.7 in||18.9 oz||750||n||May 2008||699||-|
|Olympus E-410« »||5.1 in||3.6 in||2.1 in||15.3 oz||500||n||Mar 2007||699||-|
|Olympus E-400« »||5.1 in||3.6 in||2.1 in||15.3 oz||500||n||Sep 2006||699||-|
|Olympus E-500« »||5.1 in||3.7 in||2.6 in||16.9 oz||750||n||Sep 2005||599||-|
|Olympus E-300« »||5.8 in||3.3 in||2.5 in||22.0 oz||750||n||Sep 2004||799||-|
|Panasonic L10« »||5.3 in||3.8 in||3.1 in||19.6 oz||450||n||Aug 2007||599||-|
|Panasonic L1« »||5.7 in||3.4 in||2.5 in||21.4 oz||750||n||Feb 2006||999||-|
The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The E-510 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 20 percent) than the E-330, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. 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 Olympus E-510
The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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. 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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to 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.
While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the E-510 offers a higher resolution of 10 megapixel, compared with 7.4 MP of the E-330. This megapixel advantage translates into a 16 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the E-510 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-510 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 1 month) than the E-330, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that at least partly compensate for the smaller pixel size.
For most cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). 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||-||-||-||-||-|
|Olympus E-510«||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||-||21.2||10.0||442||52|
|Canon XT« »||APS-C||8.0||3456||2304||-||21.8||10.8||637||60|
|Leica Digilux 3« »||Four Thirds||7.4||3136||2352||-||-||-||-||-|
|Nikon D80« »||APS-C||10.0||3872||2592||-||22.1||11.2||524||61|
|Olympus E-620« »||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||-||21.3||10.3||536||55|
|Olympus E-520« »||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||-||21.4||10.4||548||55|
|Olympus E-410« »||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||-||21.1||10.0||494||51|
|Olympus E-400« »||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||-||-||-||-||-|
|Olympus E-500« »||Four Thirds||8.0||3264||2448||-||-||-||-||-|
|Olympus E-300« »||Four Thirds||8.0||3264||2448||-||-||-||-||-|
|Panasonic L10« »||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||-||21.3||10.8||429||55|
|Panasonic L1« »||Four Thirds||7.4||3136||2352||-||-||-||-||-|
Feature comparison: Olympus E-330 vs Olympus E-510
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The E-330 and the E-510 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 following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Olympus E-330, the Olympus E-510, and comparable cameras. If you need more detail on the specs, you can find comprehensive listings, for example, in the dpreview camera hub.
|Canon XT« »||optical||n||1.8||115||fixed||n||4000||3.0||Y||n|
|Leica Digilux 3« »||optical||n||2.5||207||fixed||n||4000||3.0||Y||n|
|Nikon D80« »||optical||n||2.5||230||fixed||n||4000||3.0||Y||n|
|Olympus E-620« »||optical||n||2.7||230||swivel||n||4000||4.0||Y||Y|
|Olympus E-520« »||optical||n||2.7||215||fixed||n||4000||3.5||Y||Y|
|Olympus E-410« »||optical||n||2.5||215||fixed||n||4000||3.0||Y||n|
|Olympus E-400« »||optical||n||2.5||215||fixed||n||4000||3.0||Y||n|
|Olympus E-500« »||optical||n||2.5||215||fixed||n||4000||2.5||Y||n|
|Olympus E-300« »||optical||n||1.8||134||fixed||n||4000||2.5||Y||n|
|Panasonic L10« »||optical||n||2.5||207||swivel||n||4000||3.0||Y||n|
|Panasonic L1« »||optical||n||2.5||207||fixed||n||4000||3.0||Y||n|
Both the E-330 and the E-510 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The E-510 was replaced by the Olympus E-520, while the E-330 does not have a direct successor.
Review summary: Olympus E-330 vs Olympus E-510
So what is the bottom line? Is there a clear favorite between the Olympus E-330 and the Olympus E-510? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Arguments in favor of the Olympus Evolt E-330:
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in January 2006).
Reasons to prefer the Olympus E-510:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (10 vs 7.4MP), which boosts linear resolution by 16%.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 99g or 16 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology build-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- More affordable: Was released into a lower priced segment (20 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Was introduced somewhat (1 year and 1 month) more recently.
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the E-510 emerges as the winner of the match-up (5 : 2 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision on a new camera.
In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the handling experience and imaging performance when actually working with the E-330 or the E-510. 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 where reviews by experts come in. The following table reports the overall rankings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). The detailed reviews can be accessed by clicking on the site logo in the table header.
|Olympus E-330»||-||Rec||rev||3.5/5||-||Jan 2006||999||-|
|Olympus E-510«||89/100||HiRec||3.5/5||rev||4.5/5||Mar 2007||799||-|
|Canon XT« »||80/100||HiRec||rev||rev||-||Feb 2005||899||-|
|Leica Digilux 3« »||-||-||-||-||-||Sep 2006||1,499||-|
|Nikon D80« »||Rec||HiRec||rev||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2006||999||-|
|Olympus E-620« »||88/100||72/100||4.5/5||rev||5/5||Feb 2009||699||-|
|Olympus E-520« »||87/100||HiRec||4.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||May 2008||699||-|
|Olympus E-410« »||86/100||HiRec||4/5||rev||4.5/5||Mar 2007||699||-|
|Olympus E-400« »||85/100||-||4/5||-||4/5||Sep 2006||699||-|
|Olympus E-500« »||76/100||HiRec||-||-||-||Sep 2005||599||-|
|Olympus E-300« »||-||Rec||rev||rev||4.5/5||Sep 2004||799||-|
|Panasonic L10« »||85/100||Rec||3.5/5||rev||4/5||Aug 2007||599||-|
|Panasonic L1« »||85/100||Rec||-||rev||3.5/5||Feb 2006||999||-|
The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings are only valid when refering to cameras in the same category and of the same age. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, 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.
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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 a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting. If you cannot find the camera you are interested in, kindly get in touch, and I will try to add information on that model to the database.
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