[Note: The E-600 is no longer sold by Olympus, but the very similar E-620 model has taken its place. The E-620 has a few additional features, but on the whole the differences are minor.]
The 12.3-megapixel E-600 from Olympus is aimed at photographers wanting a light and portable digital SLR camera. It coms in a kit with a 14mm to 42mm lens and a 40mm to 150mm lens. You also get lightning-fast, 7-point twin auto-focus system; three-mode, in-body anti-shake, courtesy of a sensor shift mechanism; and protection for the Live Mos chip when changing lenses, in the shape of the dust-busting Supersonic Wave Filter system.
Looking and handling like a traditional SLR, in about 1.5 seconds you’re ready to start shooting, with the rear LCD (which flips out and rotates through 270 degrees) providing an overview of currently selected shooting settings. Our only grumble about the case is that it could have done with a slightly larger, rounder grip. This smacks of corner-cutting to reduce bulk, as do the smaller-than-average backplate buttons. However, these are well labelled and thoughtfully laid out.
While it’s disappointing that the E-600 has only three Art Filter effects (Pop Art, Pinhole, and Soft Focus), the filters are visually arresting three—and, like any effects, they work best when used sparingly.
The light sensitivity range runs from ISO 100 to ISO 3200. There’s nothing unusual about that, but what is surprising is the fact that users can fine-tune their options, courtesy of 15 incremental steps between the lowest and highest ISO options.
The E-600 writes photos to either CompactFlash or XD Picture Cards. There are slots for both, and you can transfer files between them.
Images display impressive edge-to-edge sharpness and even exposure. Perhaps inevitably, pixel fringing is evident in high-contrast scenarios, but it’s hidden much better than we’d normally expect at this price.
Macworld’s buying advice
Overall, with the E-600, you’re getting a mid-range model at an entry-level price. The kit has two lenses, which makes it an even better deal. The fold-out and swivel LCD gives the E-600 an edge over other SLRs, as does built-in image stabilization and smaller-than-average form factor.