Review The E-500, announced in September 2005, was the third E-series digital SLR from Olympus; the fourth, the E-330, was announced in January 2006. The E-500 offers eight megapixel resolution and employs a 'FourThirds' mount which can accommodate an increasing range of lenses...
Unlike the older E-300 and the latest E-330 models, the E-500 is a conventionally-styled digital SLR with a control layout which closely resembles Canon's EOS 350D Digital Rebel XT. Indeed, sporting the same resolution and roughly the same dimensions, this is clearly the model Olympus sees as its closest rival.
While the Canon remains one of the best budget digital SLRs around, the E-500 has several advantages, including a unique anti-dust system which actually shakes foreign particles from the sensor's filter every time the camera powers-up. It also boasts a large, detailed 2.5in monitor, an impressive degree of control for a budget model and a great value twin lens bundle.
So far so good, but the budget digital SLR market is currently one of the most competitive around with some superb cameras fighting it out. Does the E-500 have what it takes to compete?
Measuring 10 x 9.5 x 6.6cm, it's roughly the same size and shape as Canon's EOS-350D / Digital Rebel XT, although the grip's a little wider and feels slightly more professional, with a thin rubber coating. There's also more space between it and the lens barrel for your finger tips. The body's built from fibre-reinforced polycarbonate and feels slightly more solid than several of its budget rivals - there's certainly no creaks to worry about.
The control layout borrows a great deal from the 350D/Digital Rebel XT, with many buttons and dials in pretty much the same places.
The upper right surface of the body houses the main command dial, sporting the usual Auto, Program, Manual, Aperture and Shutter Priority modes, along with a Scene option which allows you to choose between 14 presets; the five most common scene presets can alternatively be accessed directly from the command dial. Exposures from 1/4000 to 60 seconds and an eight-minute Bulb are available, while the flash sync is at up to 1/180. Like the Canon, the power switch is fitted around the right side of the command dial.