back to article Olympus E-420 digital SLR

Many of us want the slimmest, lightest, most portable camera we can afford. No surprise, then, that Olympus is making a lot of noise about the E-420, claimed to be the “world’s most compact DSLR”. The E-420 is certainly a tiddler when compared with most other DSLRs on the market, measuring 129.5 x 91 x 53mm and weighing just …


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  1. Craig Wallace

    be careful where you buy from

    I bought this camera last year, and a great camera it is too. I don't remember the details but we did have one problem in sourcing it. It seems that Currys, PC World, etc., do not sell it with the 'correct' lens pack, they ave swapped it for some other, inferior, lens (or two, can't remember if it's both). Strangely, Argos had the camera with the right lenses so I bought from there. So, make sure and do your research before buying.

  2. David Gosnell

    Re: I bought this camera last year

    I doubt it, given that it was only announced in March 2008.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Cathedral

    Is it Peterborough?

  4. CrackedButter
    Thumb Down

    Questionable review

    Of course you're going to struggle with the difference in image quality. The Four/Thirds standard isn't supposed to be anything about that. Just going to the Four/Thirds website would have stated as such. Its about having an digital camera system with no legacy from film cameras which are smaller and capable than the bigger bodies and lenses from Canon or Nikon. Hence the x2 magnification in all the Olympus bodies from the pro to the consumer range, it allows for smaller lens designs. Perfect for travelers and those with weak wrists.

    I also fail to see how you can so easily brush off the issue of size. I bought this camera because I wanted something smaller but also something with interchangeable lenses, how does a P&S even compare? This is coming from an owner of a Canon 5D. I can wear this camera under my jacket like a point and shoot but with a 24-120 equivalent lens strapped on its front and I can keep an external flash in my breast pocket. How convenient is that? DSLR's don't have to be big, heavy, loud and proud.

  5. greg Eden

    4:3 is dead

    All modern LCDs are 16:10, we no longer need 4:3 format. The old 3:2 format equals 15:10 and fits rather nicely.

    Mr Olympus - time to drop the four thirds it is a lame duck.

  6. Charles Fraser-Hopewell

    @ 4:3 is dead

    Your comment about widescreen ratios makes sense, however, 4:3 fits nicely onto traditional photographic paper sizes, such as 5x4, 10x8, etc, with little cropping. This was the reason that the 6x7cm medium format negative was (and still is) regarded as "ideal format" when producing printed material.

  7. CrackedButter
    Thumb Down

    @ Eden

    There is this program called 'Photoshop', it is really good as it has this feature called the crop tool and what it allows you to do is...

    Ratio's don't matter really anyway with or without the crop tool and I can guarantee that newspapers, websites, books, flyers, billboards and they don't care either. Printed media comes in all sorts of formats and sizes.

    All P&S are in 4:3 ratio as well and not just from Olympus/Panasonic, even Canon and Nikon use that ratio for their P&S's, I don't know why but there you are. What was the point of your comment again?

  8. greg Eden

    4:3 is dead

    Charles, traditional photo paper is 3:2 (6"x4") thus no cropping is required.

    CrackedButter, while all p&s are 4:3 most DSLRs are 3:2 which is the traditional photo aspect ratio. My point is the 3:2 used by Nikkon, Canon, Pentax etc in their DSLRs makes much more sense in 2008. Walk into any computer shop, all the monitors are 16:10, all new laptops are 16:10 even EeePCs.

    DSLRs are supposed to be a cut above p&s compacts, Olympus/Panasonic would be better off going back to 3:2 or developing a 16:9 or 16:10 system.

    4:3 is DEAD.

  9. Charles Fraser-Hopewell

    @ Greg Eden

    Sorry, but you're wrong.

    The Traditional photopaper sizes (5x4, 10x8, 16x12, etc) have always been based around the ratio of the 5x4in (quarterplate) format, it wasn't until Oskar Barnack decided to stick 35mm movie film, sideways, in his new Leica camera that the 3:2 format was born. It is that which has been continued in current DSLRs.

  10. greg Eden
    Jobs Halo

    4:3 is dead

    Charles, we are getting off the point here, and I think our definitions of "traditional" vary. I had two film SLRs prior to going digital and they were both Pentax and 3:2. Most modern glossy paper and picture frames are 3:2.

    The point of my original post is that the 4/3s consortium are flogging a dead horse. My photos are displayed electronically, I have not printed in years. TVs are widescreen, computers are widescreen and 3:2 is close to widescreen with only small black bands on each edge, whereas 4:3 displayed on a 16:9 TV only uses 83% of the available screen area. I use a Pentax K200D and am very pleased Pentax choose to stick with the 3:2 format.

  11. CrackedButter


    Well done on not addressing my point about the other media types out there besides the blessed LCD monitor. Btw, your last post illustrates that 4/3rds isn't for YOU as you've admitted you don't print anything.

  12. greg Eden

    4:3 is dead

    CrackedButter, yes, me and 500 million of my nearest friends.

    The overwhelming majority of photos are printed on 6"x4" paper = 3:2

    If you have a 3:2 camera you do not need to use Photoshop or Irfanview to adjust every shot - they just fit. The scary part is that most people who put their photos in for printing do not even realise that there has been a slice automatically removed from the top and bottom to make them fit.

    Professional photographers who submit photos to newspapers etc will use a professional grade camera, not a 4/3s Olympus.

    The market will decide the winner, I would not buy shares in 4:3 DSLRs.

  13. CrackedButter


    I'm not making any points about printing paper, I'm suggesting that image ratios don't amount to much if they get cropped anyway or if you're printing you select 'image to fit paper size' in whatever software you happen to use. Oh and not all pictures submitted to news desks are by professionals, there are citizen journalists who photographed the July bombings with simple camera phones remember?

    Ratios, image quality all take second place to context and composition.

    I also know and I saw (along with my 500 million friends :)) some Olympus cameras at the Olympics from Professional photographers (citing one example). The E3 is one hell of a professional camera. Everything isn't Canon and Nikon you know. If you go higher up into digital medium format territory, you'll find 6x4.5 and 6x6 sensors being used which don't conform to your hallowed 3:2 aspect ratio.

    Just accept that Olympus is doing fine without you or your 500 million friends with their 4:3 ratio okay? I can't say I care too much about ratios since I shoot using both of them along with 6x6.

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