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Olympus E-400 vs E-510

The Olympus E-400 and the Olympus E-510 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in September 2006 and March 2007. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with a Four Thirds sensor. Both cameras offer a resolution of 10 megapixels.

Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Olympus E-400   Olympus E-510
Olympus E-400 Olympus E-510
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Four Thirds lenses Four Thirds lenses
10 MP, Four Thirds Sensor 10 MP, Four Thirds Sensor
no Video no Video
ISO 100-1600 ISO 100-1600
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
2.5" LCD, 215k dots 2.5" LCD, 215k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
3 shutter flaps per second 3 shutter flaps per second
Lens stabilization onlyIn-body stabilization
500 shots per battery charge750 shots per battery charge
130 x 91 x 53 mm, 435 g 136 x 92 x 68 mm, 538 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Olympus E-400 and the Olympus E-510? 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-400 vs E-510

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Olympus E-400 and the Olympus E-510 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 measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Olympus E-400 vs Olympus E-510
Compare E-400 versus E-510 top
Comparison E-400 or E-510 rear

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 notably larger (6 percent) than the Olympus E-400. Moreover, the E-510 is markedly heavier (24 percent) than the E-400. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the E-400 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 compare the optics available in the Four Thirds Lens Catalog.

Concerning battery life, the E-400 gets 500 shots out of its BLS-1 battery, while the E-510 can take 750 images on a single charge of its BLM-1 power pack.

The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, just use the right or left arrows in the table to switch to the respective camera. Alternatively, you can also navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from the full list of cameras 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-400» 5.1 in 3.6 in 2.1 in 15.3 oz 500 n Sep 2006 699- i Olympus E-400
 
Olympus E-510« 5.4 in 3.6 in 2.7 in 19.0 oz 750 n Mar 2007 799- i Olympus E-510
 
Nikon D40X« » 4.9 in 3.7 in 2.5 in 18.4 oz 520 n Mar 2007 729- i Nikon D40X
 
Olympus E-P3« » 4.8 in 2.7 in 1.3 in 13.0 oz 330 n Jun 2011 799- i Olympus E-P3
 
Olympus E-PL2« » 4.5 in 2.8 in 1.7 in 12.8 oz 280 n Jan 2011 599- i Olympus E-PL2
 
Olympus E-450« » 5.1 in 3.6 in 2.1 in 15.5 oz 500 n Mar 2009 499- i Olympus E-450
 
Olympus E-620« » 5.1 in 3.7 in 2.4 in 18.4 oz 500 n Feb 2009 699- i Olympus E-620
 
Olympus E-420« » 5.1 in 3.6 in 2.1 in 15.5 oz 500 n Mar 2008 599- i Olympus E-420
 
Olympus E-520« » 5.4 in 3.6 in 2.7 in 18.9 oz 750 n May 2008 699- i Olympus E-520
 
Olympus E-410« » 5.1 in 3.6 in 2.1 in 15.3 oz 500 n Mar 2007 699- i Olympus E-410
 
Olympus E-500« » 5.1 in 3.7 in 2.6 in 16.9 oz 750 n Sep 2005 599- i Olympus E-500
 
Panasonic L10« » 5.3 in 3.8 in 3.1 in 19.6 oz 450 n Aug 2007 599- i Panasonic L10
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 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 somewhat lower price (by 13 percent) than the E-510, 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.

 

Sensor comparison: Olympus E-400 vs E-510

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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 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-510 uses a more advanced image processing engine (TruePic III) than the E-400 (TruePic), with benefits for noise reduction, color accuracy, and processing speed.

Olympus E-400 and Olympus E-510 sensor measures

The two cameras under review do not only share the same sensor size, but also offer an identical resolution of 10 megapixels. This similarity in sensor specs implies that both the E-400 and the E-510 have the same pixel density, as well as the same pixel size. It should, however, be noted that the E-510 is a somewhat more recent model (by 5 months) than the E-400, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time.

The Olympus E-400 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 1600. The Olympus E-510 offers exactly the same ISO settings.

E-400 versus E-510 MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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-400» Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736-----Olympus E-400
 
Olympus E-510« Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736-21.210.044252Olympus E-510
 
Nikon D40X« » APS-C 10.0 3872 2592-22.411.451663Nikon D40X
 
Olympus E-P3« » Four Thirds 12.2 4032 30241080/60i20.810.153651Olympus E-P3
 
Olympus E-PL2« » Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024720/30p21.410.257355Olympus E-PL2
 
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-420« » Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736-21.510.452756Olympus E-420
 
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-500« » Four Thirds 8.0 3264 2448-----Olympus E-500
 
Panasonic L10« » Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736-21.310.842955Panasonic L10
The E-510 offers Live View, so that it can project the live image that the sensor receives onto the rear screen for framing. The E-400 lacks this capability. Both cameras are still-image focused and cannot record videos.
 

Feature comparison: Olympus E-400 vs E-510

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The E-400 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 viewfinders of both cameras offer the same field of view (95%), as well as the same magnification (0.46x). The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Olympus E-400, the Olympus E-510, 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-400»optical n 2.5 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Olympus E-400
 
Olympus E-510«optical n 2.5 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y Y Olympus E-510
 
Nikon D40X« »optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Nikon D40X
 
Olympus E-P3« »- n 3.0 614 fixed Y 1/4000s 3.0 Y Y Olympus E-P3
 
Olympus E-PL2« »- n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y Y Olympus E-PL2
 
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-420« »optical n 2.7 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.5 Y n Olympus E-420
 
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-500« »optical n 2.5 215 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n Olympus E-500
 
Panasonic L10« »optical n 2.5 207 swivel n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Panasonic L10

One feature that differentiates the E-510 and the E-400 is in-body image stabilization (IBIS). The E-510 reduces the risk of handshake-induced blur with all attached lenses, while the E-400 has to rely on optical image stabilization in OIS-equipped lenses to achieve the same effect.

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the E-400 and the E-510 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-400 vs E-510

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 E-400 and Olympus E-510 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-400»Y-----2.0---Olympus E-400
 
Olympus E-510«Y-----2.0---Olympus E-510
 
Nikon D40X« »Y-----2.0---Nikon D40X
 
Olympus E-P3« »Ystereo---mini2.0---Olympus E-P3
 
Olympus E-PL2« »Ystereo---mini2.0---Olympus E-PL2
 
Olympus E-450« »Y-----2.0---Olympus E-450
 
Olympus E-620« »Y-----2.0---Olympus E-620
 
Olympus E-420« »Y-----2.0---Olympus E-420
 
Olympus E-520« »Y-----2.0---Olympus E-520
 
Olympus E-410« »Y-----2.0---Olympus E-410
 
Olympus E-500« »Y-----2.0---Olympus E-500
 
Panasonic L10« »Y-----2.0---Panasonic L10

Both the E-400 and the E-510 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The E-400 was replaced by the Olympus E-410, while the E-510 was followed by the Olympus E-520. 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-400 vs E-510

So what is the bottom line? Is there a clear favorite between the Olympus E-400 and the Olympus E-510? Which camera is better? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.


Reasons to prefer the Olympus E-400:

  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 103g or 19 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced segment (13 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in September 2006).


Arguments in favor of the Olympus E-510:

  • Better jpgs: Has a more modern image processing engine (TruePic III vs TruePic).
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (750 versus 500) out of a single battery charge.
  • Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
  • More modern: Was introduced somewhat (5 months) more recently.

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the E-510 comes out slightly ahead of the E-400 (4 : 3 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. 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-400 03:04 E-510

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Olympus E-400 and the Olympus E-510 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 says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the E-400 and the E-510 in practical situations. 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-400 vs E-510

This is where reviews by experts come in. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major 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-400»85/100-4/5-4/5 Sep 2006 699- i Olympus E-400
 
Olympus E-510«89/100+ +3.5/5o4.5/5 Mar 2007 799- i Olympus E-510
 
Nikon D40X« »79/100+ +4/5o4/5 Mar 2007 729- i Nikon D40X
 
Olympus E-P3« »83/10074/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2011 799- i Olympus E-P3
 
Olympus E-PL2« »83/10071/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jan 2011 599- i Olympus E-PL2
 
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-420« »85/100+ +4/5o4.5/5 Mar 2008 599- i Olympus E-420
 
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-500« »76/100+ +--- Sep 2005 599- i Olympus E-500
 
Panasonic L10« »85/100+3.5/5o4/5 Aug 2007 599- i Panasonic L10
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (-) not available.

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

Olympus E-400:
Check Ebay offers
Olympus E-510:
Check Ebay offers

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just make your choice using the following search menu. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.

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    Specifications: Olympus E-400 vs Olympus E-510

    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-400 Olympus E-510
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Four Thirds lenses Four Thirds lenses
    Launch Date September 2006 March 2007
    Launch Price USD 699 USD 799
    Sensor Specs Olympus E-400 Olympus E-510
    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 10 Megapixels 10 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 3648 x 2736 pixels 3648 x 2736 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 4.74 μm 4.74 μm
    Pixel Density 4.44 MP/cm2 4.44 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video no Video
    ISO Setting 100-1600 ISO 100-1600 ISO
    Image Processor TruePic TruePic III
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) .. 52
    DXO Color Depth (bits) .. 21.2
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) .. 10.0
    DXO Low Light (ISO) .. 442
    Screen Specs Olympus E-400 Olympus E-510
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95% 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.46x 0.46x
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 2.5 inch 2.5 inch
    LCD Resolution 215k dots 215k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Olympus E-400 Olympus E-510
    Autofocus System Phase-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 3 shutter flaps/s 3 shutter flaps/s
    Image StabilizationLens stabilization onlyIn-body stabilization
    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-400 Olympus E-510
    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-400 Olympus E-510
    Battery Type BLS-1 power pack BLM-1 power pack
    Battery Life (CIPA)500 shots per charge750 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 130 x 91 x 53 mm
    (5.1 x 3.6 x 2.1 in)
    136 x 92 x 68 mm
    (5.4 x 3.6 x 2.7 in)
    Camera Weight 435 g (15.3 oz) 538 g (19.0 oz)

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