The 10-megapixel Olympus E-420 is a purposely compact DSLR that features Live View and Shadow Adjustment technology.
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Olympus has stuck with the same metering system seen in the predecessors; a 49-zone multi-pattern system offering evaluative, centre-weighted and spot options. In addition, the shadow and highlight spot metering options first seen on the OM series of Olympus’s film bodies are also available, allowing for more accurate metering in particularly dark or light conditions.
Dynamic Range Controls
The E-420 features Auto and PASM exposure options as well as 18 scene modes and sensitivity-based image stabilisation. Alongside this, Olympus has added Shadow Adjustment Technology, which is claimed to optimise the dynamic range, capturing highlight and shadow details more effectively. This can be set to Auto, with Normal, High Key and Low Key options also available.
There are eight white balance presets, plus an Auto mode and a manual ‘shoot a white object for reference’ setting. Colour temperature may also be adjusted over the Kelvin scale, which ranges from 2000K to 14000K.
With the TruePic III processor seen in the last few Olympus DSLRs, the E-420 manages to shoot JPEGs up to the capacity of the card and up to eight Raw images at a constant pace, though burst speed sees a slight increase now at 3.5fps. Lacking the 11-point biaxial AF system of the E-3, no claims are made of world’s-fastest focusing, with focusing limited to three horizontally arranged points. This expands to 11 points when used in conjunction with live view in Imager AF mode.
Sensitivity may be adjusted in full-stop increments over a range of ISO 100-1600. This is augmented by both a long-exposure noise reduction option and a high-ISO noise filter, with the latter’s intensity adjustable over three levels.