Olympus E-520 dSLR: Image stabilization, on-the-fly white balance adjustment


By July you’ll have another (mid-range) digital SLR to choose from, the Olympus E-520. Improvements from the E-510, released last year, are incremental at best, focusing on “extras” rather than core photographic technologies. It’s a speed bump, to put it in Mac terms.

New (or better) this time around, according to the carefully worded press release: improved in-body image stabilization; automatic face detection; something that makes photographing shadows more realistic (not underexposing dark areas, then); and a mode that lets you tweak the white balance of a photo before committing it to memory. That last one, I imagine, would be wonderfully helpful. I can’t remember how many photos I took last year for a class that I had to tinker with in Photoshop because the “auto” white balance wasn’t so hot. One indoor photo shoot in particular was godawful. Stupid mixed florescent/tungsten lighting situations.

Other than that, yeah, it’s an mid-range dSLR, which is the type you should be looking for if you have any amount of photography experience. These new features—the better image stabilization and white balance adjustment—show that Olympus hopes to get consumers hooked on SLRs. Look for it July for $600 without lens, or $700 with 14-42mm lens.