Is the Olympus E-450 just a minor refresh or a feature-filled model worth considering? What Digital Camera reviews the latest entry-level DSLR in the Four Thirds system.
Olympus E-450 design
The E-450’s body is virtually identical to that of the previous E-420, which itself was the same as the E-410 before it. The only differences come with the model’s name on its front, and the addition of the Art Filters option on the mode dial, but everything else right down to the dimensions and weight is the same.
The body is constructed from glassfibre-reinforced plastic, with rubbered paneling on both the grip and thumb rest. The top plate plays host to a standard mode and command dials, with buttons for direct access to exposure compensation, drive modes and for activating the camera’s built-in flash, while the rear features the standard arrangement of buttons lined along the left-hand side of the LCD with a four way menu pad on the other. Sadly, none of the buttons are backlit as on the E-620, to help when shooting in darker conditions, though such an exclusion is understandable on an entry-level body.
Given the similarity between the two, the E-450 shares both its advantages and foibles with those of the E-420. In line with the Four Thirds philosophy it’s an extremely compact and lightweight body, though this miniturisation affects its ergonomics to a point where it can ocassionally be fiddly to use. It’s a shame that the two strap eyelets on the model’s front have remained in the same position as they were previously, as the one on the side of the grip digs into your middle finger when the camera is held, although on such a small body it’s hard to think where else they would have made any better sense.
It’s not all bad, though. While the long-standing menu interface is, unfortunately, still very much an eyesore, the functionality of the Super Control Panel is hard to fault. This facilitates the easy changing of almost all key settings, from white balance and sensitivity to Shadow Adjustment and what memory card you wish to use, while a specific function may be assigned to both the drive mode and left menu pad (Func) buttons on the camera’s body.