The 10-megapixel Olympus E-520 is the bigger brother of the E-420. The primary difference between the two is that the E-520 benefits from in-camera image stabilisation technology.
Housing & Handling
The E-520 is housed in a glass-reinforced plastic construction which keeps overall weight down and gives the camera a solid feeling. It lacks the splashproofing of the E-3 though.
For the most part the camera handles well, with its buttons giving good travel and a satisfying click when depressed. Unlike the front-mounted intrusive strap eyelets of the Olympus E-420, the two straplets on the E-520 are positioned on the edges of the top-plate, enabling easier access to the camera’s main controls.
The addition of a grip results in the camera acquainting with the shooting hand much better, with the benefit stretching beyond just general handling, given the three extra buttons accessible by the thumb on the rear. Together with the extra weight of the E-520, this gets round the imbalancing problems of the smaller and more lightweight Olympus E-420. Even with the beast of a lens that is the Zuiko 7-14mm f/4, the E-520 feels perfectly balanced to both shoot with and carry around.
Advantages over E-420
The E-520 therefore trumps its smaller sibliing in many ways, though there is one problem you notice as soon as you turn the camera on. The right selection wheel is both in front of and annoyingly close to the power switch, meaning that your thumb must first hurdle over the wheel to power up the camera. There seems to be no obvious reason as to why the Olympus E-420’s ‘flick-to-the-left’ design couldn’t have been implemented here. Even so, we would go as far as saying that the E-520 provides superb handling; it’s a well weighted camera and the grip fits the hand perfectly, while both thumb rest and shutter release fall easily to the hand.