Olympus E-420 review
Features: Page 2
New AF Modes
The E-420's main upgrade over its predecessor, the E-410, is that its live view system incorporates two new autofocusing modes. The E-410 (and also the E-3) have just one option – sensor AF – which used phase detection in between a temporary mirror blackout to achieve autofocusing. This has been carried over here, and is joined by an Imager AF mode, the default setting which uses contrast detection working off the main sensor, and a Hybrid AF mode which combines both phase and contrast detection.
The former focuses in real time, with the mirror staying put until the shot has been taken. This happens automatically once the camera senses it has focused correctly, though at default, compatibility is only offered with three Zuiko lenses – one of which being the kit lens. Those with existing lenses needn’t worry about this, as a firmware update may be downloaded to provide support for additional lenses. The second mode, Hybrid AF, is said to be a touch slower than the Imager mode alone, but is compatible with all Zuiko lenses straight ‘out of the box’. The live view may be magnified by a factor of either 7x or 10x, to aid focusing and to check detail, with the effects of altering exposure and image stabilisation settings also visible in real time.
Live view and captured images are displayed on a 2.7in LCD screen, featuring the second generation of Olympus’s HyperCrystal technology. With a 230,000-pixel resolution, this is the same as that of the models these cameras replace, though the physical size of the screens now puts them in line with many other entry-level DSLRs such as the Sony A200 and Pentax K200D. An impressive viewing angle of 176° off centre is claimed, as is 100% coverage of the scene.