Olympus’ E-330, an upgrade of the company’s previous E-300 model, is unique among mid-range digital SLR cameras for two reasons: first, it’s the only digital SLR currently available that allows you to use its LCD screen as a viewfinder, and second, it’s the first time we’ve seen an upgrade that offers a lower pixel count than its predecessor – though the slight difference in pixel count won’t affect the image quality.
With a 7.5-megapixel sensor (as opposed to the E-300’s 8-megapixel sensor), the E-330 boasts an improved, slightly smaller body design, and enhancements to a number of features. In addition to functioning as a viewfinder, the LCD screen can be folded away from the camera for easier waist-level, or over-the-head shooting.
While the lower pixel count is not significant enough to impact image quality, the vari-angle LCD viewfinder will appeal to macro shooters and product photographers, both of whom will benefit from not having to crane their necks to look through a viewfinder.
The Evolt E-330’s image quality is good, offering fine detail and sharpness. As with many Olympus cameras, the E-330’s factory settings add a big contrast and saturation boost to your images.
Other nice improvements to the E-330 include a slightly faster burst rate of three frames per second; the ability to adjust ISO sensitivity in 1/3 stop increments; support for both CompactFlash and xD Picture Card storage; and an effective in-camera noise filter for high-ISO shooting.
The camera’s interface is decent, providing relatively speedy access to essential controls. And the E-330 continues to include Olympus’ excellent automatic sensor-cleaning mechanism.
The Olympus Evolt E-330 is a good camera, but its standout feature - the LCD veiwfinder - is not that useful for most photographers. Both the Nikon D50 and the Canon EOS Digital Rebel XT offer better image quality and a broader assortment of lenses. But if you absolutely need a camera with interchangeable lenses and an LCD viewfinder, the E-330 is a solid choice.