Olympus E-450

The '420 Repeating a Grade

My other articles related to the Olympus E-System cameras.

The Olympus E-450, announced on the last day of March, 2009, was sort of a surprise. The E-30 reached the store shelves just last January; then the E-620 was announced (available on some markets, but not in the States yet, as of this writing), and now this.

With the E-620 loaded with features like no other camera in this price class, and with Olympus being a rather small manufacturer, some of us expected the 6xx line to replace the less expensive E-4xx (and E-5xx) models. Not so: it looks like at least the E-4xx is going to stay around, taking care of the lowest price bracket.

The E-420 and its successor, E-450, are externally identical, down to minute details — with one exception, see the next comparison. (These and all following images by Olympus.)
Here you can see the sole difference: another layout of the mode dial, with Art/Scn replacing the former Scene slot.
The back side is identical in both models (just ignore the open socket compartment in the first picture).

The E-450 is almost exactly the same camera as its predecessor, the E-420. The only obvious difference in specs compared to the previous model is the presence of three "Art Filters": Pop Art, Soft Focus, and Pin Hole [sic!], software effects applied to the image at the stage of raw-to-RGB conversion.

This is a feature some users will play with at the beginning, showing off to their mothers, only to forget about it in a few weeks. Well, if it helps Olympus to sell more cameras, good for them; the main impact this camera may have on the market is to make the E-420 available at ridiculously low close-out prices.

The Olympus press release mentions three other changed features in the E-450, as compared to its predecessor:

  • Larger buffer, capable of holding eight raw images (as compared to six in the E-420).
  • The image processor is referred to as TruePic III+ (as opposed to TruePic III). This is probably a "whatever we have now, we call it TruePic III+" naming convention.
  • Brighter LCD screen (a claim made with every new model).

I am not going to list all features and specs of the new (?) camera here; just refer to my Generation of 2008 article, keeping in mind the minor changes listed above.

Interestingly, specification sheets on Olympus sites (like, for example, here, verified on April 13, 2009) still list a 6-frame buffer and no plus in the processor name.

The E-420 itself was, in turn, an incremental (if slightly more significant) update to the E-410 of 2007, a very attractive camera, delivering most pleasing images and offering a very impressive (especially for this price class) array of tweaks and adjustments. I would expect the image quality from the new model to be at least as good (with possible minor improvements due to tweaks in the processing pipeline), therefore I will not hesitate to recommend the E-450 to anyone in need of a compact and lightweight, yet capable, SLR — not just to beginners.

If you need a tilt/swivel monitor (a great boon for those who actually use the Live View), or image stabilization, then the E-620 is your game; otherwise the E-450 (or a close-out E-420, see above) will be a good choice at a significantly lower price.


My other articles related to the Olympus E-System cameras.

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Posted 2009/04/13 Copyright © 2009 by J. Andrzej Wrotniak