Olympus E-400 versus Olympus E-330
The Olympus E-400 and the Olympus Evolt E-330 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in September 2006 and January 2006. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with a Four Thirds sensor. The E-400 has a resolution of 10 megapixel, whereas the E-330 provides 7.4 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-400 vs Olympus E-330
The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Olympus E-400 and the Olympus E-330. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are presented. All size 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-400 – represents 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-330 is somewhat larger (3 percent) than the Olympus E-400. Moreover, the E-330 is substantially heavier (46 percent) than the E-400. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the E-400 nor the E-330 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-400»||5.1 in||3.6 in||2.1 in||15.3 oz||500||n||Sep 2006||699||-|
|Olympus E-330«||5.5 in||3.4 in||2.8 in||22.5 oz||750||n||Jan 2006||999||-|
|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 D40X« »||4.9 in||3.7 in||2.5 in||18.4 oz||520||n||Mar 2007||729||-|
|Olympus E-620« »||5.1 in||3.7 in||2.4 in||18.4 oz||500||n||Feb 2009||699||-|
|Olympus E-450« »||5.1 in||3.6 in||2.1 in||15.5 oz||500||n||Mar 2009||499||-|
|Olympus E-420« »||5.1 in||3.6 in||2.1 in||15.5 oz||500||n||Mar 2008||599||-|
|Olympus E-410« »||5.1 in||3.6 in||2.1 in||15.3 oz||500||n||Mar 2007||699||-|
|Olympus E-510« »||5.4 in||3.6 in||2.7 in||19.0 oz||750||n||Mar 2007||799||-|
|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-400 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 30 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-400 vs Olympus E-330
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. 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 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-400 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-400 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). In this context, it should be noted, however, that the E-400 is a somewhat more recent model (by 7 months) 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 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 adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
|Olympus E-400»||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||-||-||-||-||-|
|Olympus E-330«||Four Thirds||7.4||3136||2352||-||-||-||-||-|
|Canon XT« »||APS-C||8.0||3456||2304||-||21.8||10.8||637||60|
|Leica Digilux 3« »||Four Thirds||7.4||3136||2352||-||-||-||-||-|
|Nikon D40X« »||APS-C||10.0||3872||2592||-||22.4||11.4||516||63|
|Olympus E-620« »||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||-||21.3||10.3||536||55|
|Olympus E-450« »||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||-||21.5||10.5||512||56|
|Olympus E-420« »||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||-||21.5||10.4||527||56|
|Olympus E-410« »||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||-||21.1||10.0||494||51|
|Olympus E-510« »||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||-||21.2||10.0||442||52|
|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-400 vs Olympus E-330
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The E-400 and the E-330 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 table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Olympus E-400 and Olympus E-330 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras. The full specs-sheets can be found in the camera manual or, 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 D40X« »||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-450« »||optical||n||2.7||215||fixed||n||4000||3.5||Y||n|
|Olympus E-420« »||optical||n||2.7||215||fixed||n||4000||3.5||Y||n|
|Olympus E-410« »||optical||n||2.5||215||fixed||n||4000||3.0||Y||n|
|Olympus E-510« »||optical||n||2.5||215||fixed||n||4000||3.0||Y||Y|
|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-400 and the E-330 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The E-400 was replaced by the Olympus E-410, while the E-330 does not have a direct successor.
Review summary: Olympus E-400 vs Olympus E-330
So what conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Olympus E-400 or the Olympus E-330 – has the upper hand? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Advantages of the Olympus E-400:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (10 vs 7.4MP) with a 16% higher linear resolution.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 202g or 32 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (30 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 7 months after the E-330).
Reasons to prefer the Olympus Evolt E-330:
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (750 versus 500) out of a single battery charge.
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in January 2006).
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the E-400 comes out slightly ahead of the E-330 (4 : 3 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera.
In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras is instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the E-400 or the E-330 handle or perform in practice. 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 table below summarizes the assessments of some of the best known camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). The full reviews are available by clicking on the site logo in the table header.
|Olympus E-400»||85/100||-||4/5||-||4/5||Sep 2006||699||-|
|Olympus E-330«||-||Rec||rev||3.5/5||-||Jan 2006||999||-|
|Canon XT« »||80/100||HiRec||rev||rev||-||Feb 2005||899||-|
|Leica Digilux 3« »||-||-||-||-||-||Sep 2006||1,499||-|
|Nikon D40X« »||79/100||HiRec||4/5||rev||4/5||Mar 2007||729||-|
|Olympus E-620« »||88/100||72/100||4.5/5||rev||5/5||Feb 2009||699||-|
|Olympus E-450« »||-||-||4/5||-||4/5||Mar 2009||499||-|
|Olympus E-420« »||85/100||HiRec||4/5||rev||4.5/5||Mar 2008||599||-|
|Olympus E-410« »||86/100||HiRec||4/5||rev||4.5/5||Mar 2007||699||-|
|Olympus E-510« »||89/100||HiRec||3.5/5||rev||4.5/5||Mar 2007||799||-|
|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 review scores listed above should be treated 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 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.
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