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Take the tour and master the camera!
Welcome to the fourth in the Guided Tour series, an Adorama exclusive, where we take you on in-depth looks at today's most popular cameras. We explain all of the buttons, modes, and special functions of specific cameras in detail, and offer hints and tips--and over 65 photos--to help you really get to know this camera.
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The E-330's controls are logically clustered around the grip, all within easy reach of the thumb and forefinger.
The control dial is divided into more advanced options (M, S, A) and modes geared towards less experienced users. Let's look at each, starting counterclockwise with M.
M: Manual exposure. For those of us weaned on manual SLRs, this function should feel familiar. It lets you control aperture and shutter speed by turning the thumbwheel. To adjust the shutter speed, simply turn the thumbwheel. To adjust aperture, turn the thumbwheel while simultaneously pressing the "+/-" button with your index finger. The active setting is highlighted in orange at the top of the LCD screen.
S: Shutter Priority Auto exposure. Change the shutter speed by twirling the thumb dial. Shutter speed is highlighted in orange on LCD screen. Over- or underexposure is indicated by blinking aperture setting.
Tip: Use S mode when capturing action or showing a sense of motion is more important than controlling focus depth.
A: Aperture Priority Auto exposure. Change the aperture by twirling the thumb dial. The camera will automatically set shutter speeds to get accurate exposure. Aperture setting is highlighted in orange on the LCD screen. Over- or underexposure is indicated by a blinking shutter speed.
Tip: Use this when you want to control depth of field. Choose your aperture, focus, and then check depth by pressing the depth-of-field preview button.
P: Program Auto exposure: This is the point-and-shoot setting. Choose this setting and the camera will deliver perfectly acceptable images in most cases. If you're a beginner, you can choose this mode first, and start shooting. (Come back soon and learn about the more advanced features that give you creative control so you can grow. For now, just go out and have fun with your new camera!)
Continuing counterclockwise, there are icons for portraits, landscapes, close-ups, sports, and portraits at night or in dark rooms. The camera will choose ideal exposures (in most cases) when shooting the indicated subject.
The E-330's 20 Scene settings enable point-and-shooters to take better pictures in specific, challenging light. More experienced photographers may also enjoy the convenience of the settings.
The scene modes are: Portrait, Landscape, Landscape + Portrait, Night Scene, Night + Portrait, Children, Sport, High Key, Low Key, D Image Stabilization, Macro, Nature Macro, Candle, Sunset, Fireworks, Documents, Panorama, Beach & Snow, Underwater Wide, Underwater Macro.
Each scene mode is accompanied by an on-screen guide. Here they are...
In front of the Control Dial (but right behind the shutter release) is the +/- Exposure control button. Press it down with your forefinger and move the small dial behind the Control Dial with your thumb to adjust exposure compensation. This is your only exposure control option when you're in P mode.
A small button with a lightning bolt and "Up" pops up the built-in flash; the dedicated hot shoe offers TTL flash operation for external flash units, such as the Olympus FL-20, which is designed specifically for the EVOLT series.
Now, let's look at the camera's very interesting back.
Live View: One of this camera's unique (for now) features is the Live View. Although seeing a live image on an LCD is commonplace on compact and EVF digital cameras, this is the first time it's appeared on an SLR.
One of the reasons SLRs lacked a live view is that when you look through the viewfinder, your eye blocks any light from coming in through it and interfering with the picture. And since most people shoot with their eyes on the viewfinder, this hasn't been a problem. But in order to see the live image on the LCD screen, you have to take your eye away from the finder, letting light in. This light bounces around inside the camera, causes fogging,and basically can ruin your picture if it's strong enough.
Olympus's solution? A simple eyepiece shutter. Flip it down using the switch to the right of the viewfinder. In some circumstances, the live view image will show you the difference quite dramatically.
To enable Live View, press the narrow "Live View A/B" button, and use the thumbwheel to choose option A (Live view, block viewfinder with shutter) or B (Live view with mirror locked in up position, manual focusing only). Then press the circular button with the monitor icon once to show an information screen, and a second time to go to the live view.
You can use live view with or without exposure information superimposed by pressing the Info button on the bottom left of the LCD screen. In either case, a metering and focus target will be superimposed with thin lines over the center of the image. With info on you can see exposure mode, exposure setting, ISO, burst, focus, quality, card, metering pattern, and number of exposures left in the card.
Continuing down the right side of the camera back, the AFL/AEL (Autofocus/Autoexposure lock) switch lets you lock in focus and expsoure then recompose. In preview mode, press this button to protect stored images so they can't be accidentally deleted.
The Drive button controls frame rate (single or sequential), 12- or 2-second self-timer, and remote control operation for the optional remote (available in this kit). When tethered to a PictBridge-compatible printer, this doubles as the print button.
A cluster of four buttons in a circle surrounding an OK button control key settings. They are (clockwise from top): WB (white balance), AF (autofocus), ISO, and Metering.
As with many other buttons, the functions controlled by these buttons can also be accessed by navigating through menus. But navigating menus with this camera can be cumbersome; the buttons are easier. In all cases, simply press the button, then use the thumbwheel to scroll through the options. Hit the center "OK" button to activate. Consider these buttons shortcuts.
The WB button lets choose the white balance setting. Watch the box on the left side of the LCD screen and you'll see the different WB choices--Auto, daylight, shade, cloudy/twilight/sunset, tungsten, three fluorescent options (white, neutral white, daylight), flash, custom (all indicated by icons) and one-touch white balance mode. For the last mode, simply point the camera at a piece of white paper and hit the "Drive" button.
When using the metering control, there are three "Spot" options, Spot, S-HI, and SH. S-HI is for metering subjects surrounded by lots of light (high-key). It shifts the camera into overexposure to compensate for the exccess light. SH is for metering subjects in subdued light (low key) and controls shadows by underexposing the scene.
Among the five autofocus options is a mode that lets you shoot AF but manually override it, S+AF+MF. A variation is C+AF+MF, which lets you do this while continuous AF is activated. It's worth experimenting to see which option best fits your shooting style.
The ISO setting, by default, is limited in range to ISO 100-400, but it can go as high as 1600 (albeit with minor performance slowdowns. How do you unlock the higher settings? Choose Menu > Tools 1 > ISO boost > ON.
Dominating the back of the camera is the extendable LCD screen. To move it, pull it out with your thumb an index fingers from the upper sides. It will tilt down and out, about 45 degrees. To face it up, simply lift it from the bottom. You can choose a 45-degree angle, or 90 degree one so it's perpendicular to the camera's back, facing up.
Tip: Use the tilt-down position when shooting with camera over your head, like shooting over a crowd; the other positions are for looking down into the camera--which can come in very useful when shooting kids or macro subjects.
For wedding and event photographers, flash exposure compensation may be one of the most useful tools on the 30D. To operate the flash exposure compesation half of this button, press the button and twirl the thumb dial, and check the amount of compensation you've chosen in the LCD finder. This feature lets you increase or reduce flash output of either the pop-up flash or EX-series Speedlite.
On the left side of the viewfinder is a small diopter adjustment wheel. The first time you use the camera, set your lens on autofocus and focus on a contrasty nearby subject. Then turn the wheel until the subject is sharpest. Change it only if you are an eyeglass wearer and change your perscription.
Now let's look at the left side of the camera back.
The four control buttons on the left of the LCD screen are, from the top: Image Preview, which accesses images stored on the CompactFlash or xD card; Trash lets you delete images or empty the entire card; Menu (we'll look at menu items in detail shortly); Info, which brings seven different ways of looking at images stored on the memory card, and details about current camera settings when in shooting mode.
Tip: Get to know the Info screens in image preview mode! They are: blank (image only), basic info (card, image quality, shot number); more info (add image dimensions in pixels, compression ratio); 4-color histogram plus extended exposure info, and blinking black-out of overexposed areas; image with overall histogram superimposed over it; image with overexposed highlights shown in blinking black; image with underexposed shadows in blinking white. Use the feedback from these screens to fine-tune your lighting and exposure settings.
Turn the camera and you'll see a single USB port behind a rubber door on the left side. On the right side, in the handle, open a hard plastic door to access the card slot. The camera has two--one for Compact Flash cards, one for xD cards. The battery compartment is located under the handle. Sorry, no flash PC socket.
Tip: Downloading images directly from camera to computer may be convenient, but it's not especially fast. Consider buying a FireWire CompactFlash card reader--they are not very expensive, but can download a gigabyte's worth of image files in less than a minute. USB takes longer.
A note about this camera's modes and menus: There are over 70 different modes--each offering two or more choices. Most of these modes are very useful. Indeed, you may even find a feature hidden among the many items that you make you wonder how you ever lived without them!
Unfortunately, there are also more than a dozen items that are redundant, duplicating either button functions in menus, or identical menu items that appear in two places. And, some of the more advanced customization modes require the user to perform complex series of steps and sequences that can get convoluted and interfere with the creative process of taking pictures. The deeper one goes into the features, the more confusing it gets.
One of the objects of this part of this particular Guided Tour is to make it clear which options are the most efficiently placed and require the fewer button presses. And if a mode is particularly confusing, I'll point this out and steer you clear of it. Let's hope that Olympus, in a future firmware upgrade, will streamline the menu structure to make it more intuitive and less redundant.
Modes and menus
The camera's menus are divided into five sections: Camera 1 and 2, Preview, and Tools 1 and 2.
Card Setup, which really should be under "Tools," lets you erase all images on a memory card, or reformat it. Format is used to reformat your CF card (a bit of redundancy here?). Doing this will erase all the card's contents, so do this only if you have already backed up all of your images.
Tip: Do not erase images from your card by deleting them on your computer; instead, erase them in camera by reformatting your card.
Custom Reset Setting clears all the custom functions and camera settings that you may have forgotten about. Use this if you want to quickly return to the camera's default settings. You can also choose Reset 1 or Reset 2, which let you override the current settings and take you back to a preferred set of non-default settings--a useful feature. To do this, you need to "register" settings as either "reset 1" or "reset 2". Page 104 in the manual has an extensive list of functions that can be customized and then saved as a reset 1 or reset 2 option.
Tip: For example, let's say you want to save black-and-white with a yellow filter in sepia tone as Reset 1, and refer to it as your black-and-white mode. Go into Picture Mode (described next), and choose the appropriate settings for Monotone. Then, go to Custom Reset, hit "Reset 1" then "Set" and you're done. Now you can go back to regular color settings, but whenever you want to shoot black-and-white, simply hit Custom Set > Reset1 > OK, and you're back in your black-and-white mode again.
Picture Mode is very helpfull--it lets you control the color intensity of your images--or lack thereof. Vivid produces intense, exaggerated colors, similar to those produced by popular print film. Natural produces more neutral colors, while Muted results in more subdued (but not monochromatic) color. Within each of these settings are controls that let you fine-tune contrast, sharpness, and color saturation.
But for photographers who remember spending their evenings in the darkroom, the Monotone setting (which most photographers would refer to either as "monochrome" or "black & white") is quite intriguing. Not only will it give you a normal black-and-white image (and yes you can control contrast and sharpness here, too), but it will also emulate the effect of typical color (contrast control) filters. Yellow has the effect of a yellow filter on black-and-white film, adding a touch of contrast to clouds against a blue sky; Orange darkens the sky and foliage a bit more, while Red creates a strong contrast between warm-hued (yellow to red) subjects, which get lighter and cool-hued subjects (green and blue), which get darker. Green goes the other way, lightening greens and blues while darkening reds, oranges and yellows.
Tip: Try Green when shooting a portrait to emphasize the subject's lips, and try Red with a polarizing filter to get incredibly dramatic, almost-black, Ansel Adams-like skies.
Scroll past Monotone to the Pic Tone menu, which gives an overall color cast to your black-and-white image. You can set for a neutral reproduction, or Sepia for an old-fashioned look. There are also Blue, Purple, and Green settings which are worth exploring.
Gradation may come in handy for studio photographers who do low-key/hi-key photography. Hi Key (H) is designed to give proper exposure for portraits shot against light backgrounds, compensating for the fact that the background could mislead the meter. Low Key (L) does the same for photos that are meant to have large areas in deep shadow.
Image Quality controls the number of pixels and compression ratio of your image. You can choose from RAW or JPEG, and HQ (full-sized images with copression ratios from 1/4 to 1/12), SQ (all other sizes, from 2560x1920 pixels down to VGA quality (640x480), and compression rates from 1/2.7 to 1/12)
EV Compensation lets you adjust exposure up to two stops in either direction, in 1/3-stop increments.
Note: The EV compensation button atop the camera is faster and easier to get to when you need to adjust exposure quickly.
Noise Reduction reduces the digital artifacts (noise) that are especially visible in dark areas of images that need long exposures. The camera uses internal software to process the image, resulting in a cleaner look.
Note: Noise reduction is applied after the picture is taken, so apparent write speed is slowed down significantly. Wait until the "busy" icon goes off in the viewfinder before taking more pictures.
White Balance (WB) can be adjusted and fine-tuned manually, or set to automatic, via this control or by using the WB button on the camera--another redundancy. The clever one-touch white balance quickly sets your camera: photograph a piece of white paper, filling the viewfinder with it, then hold down the Drive button and hit OK. Now you're ready to shoot.
Tip: If there are no white subjects in an image, it's better to choose a specific white balance setting than to leave it on auto WB.
ISO: Out of the box, the camera lets you choose between ISO 100-400, which is limiting. Turn on ISO Boost (Tools 1 > ISO Boost > On) so you have the option of ISOs 400-1600 as well. No reason not to activate this right away. This function can be more easily accessed via the ISO button on the camera.
Metering: There are five metering modes: Digital ESP, which measures light levels in 49 separate areas of the image to determine the right exposure; center-weighted averaging, which assumes average lighting between the subject and its background and is probably the best general-shooting mode; spot metering, which is especially useful when the background light is very strong (either very light or very dark), and highlight and shadow control spot metering, which are similar to the hi-key and low-key modes described earlier. Metering can be more easily accessed via the metering mode button on the camera.
Flash Mode provides the various standard flash options, including auto, red-eye reduction, flash-off, flash on, slow flash (with and without anti-red-eye) and 1/4, 1/16, and 1/64 flash output.
Flash output adjustment lets you fine-tune flash exposure as it relates to your subject and the ambient light in a scene. While Night Portrait does this too, Flash output adjustment lets you adjust the flash output up to 2 stops in either direction, in 1/3-stop increments. Use this in concert with exposure compensation and you can have full control over the ratio of flash illumination to ambient light.
Drive/remote/delay is another way to access the drive mode and control the remote control and self-timer. It's redundant--see our tip.
Tip: Use the button on the back of the camera, rather than this mode, for fastest access to these features.
AF mode controls the camera's many focus modes. S-AF is a single-shooting mode, appropriate for still subjects; C-AF allows for continuous shooting, better for action shots; manual focus lets you control focus by turning the focus ring on the lens. You can combine either of the AF modes with manual focus--let the camera focus initially, then fine-tune focus by turning the focus ring. You can also access this function via the AEL/AFL button on the camera.
AF Frame Selection (indicated by three squares in a line) lets you choose to focus on whatever's closest (the default), an object on the left, an object on the right, or an object in the center of the frame. Use the four-way toggle controls to choose the focus target.
WB BKT (White Balance Braketing) lets you take three pictures, varying the white balance in each shot, either along the red-blue axis, or the green-magenta axis. You are allowed to choose which direction. This is a useful tool if there's mixed lighting and you're not sure which WB choice will work best.
AE BKT (Autoexposure Bracketing) also lets you take three frames--one overexposed, one exposed as metered, one underexposed--and you can vary how far apart each exposure is. This can be done as single shots or in rapid-fire sequence.
FL BKT (Flash Bracketing) also shoots three frames, changing the amount of light emitted by the flash for each shot. This works with both the built-in and external flash units, such as the Olympus FL-50, FL-36, FL-20, RF-11, and TF-22.
MF BKT (manual focus bracketing) shoots three to seven frames, changing the focal point slightly in each frame. Since it can be difficult to precisely verify manual focus with the E-330, this can come in very handy.
Tip: When using this setting, keep the camera mounted on a tripod, and make sure your subject doesn't move.
Anti-Shock is meant to reduce vibration caused by the movement of the mirror mechanism that occurs every time you take a picture. Basically it delays the shutter from going off until 1-30 seconds (you choose how long) after the mirror goes up. This give the camera time to "settle" after the motion of the mirror, thereby reducing the chance of blur caused by mirror action.
Tip: Again, use this when the camera's on a tripod and motion must be kept to an absolute minimum, such as when doing macrophotography.
Slideshow lets you play back images, changing images every five seconds. You can see one, four, nine, 16, or 25 images at a time.
Tip: Multiple-image slideshows work best when the camera is tethered to a TV set, via the video cable that is included with the camera.
Auto rotate turns your vertical images so you don't need to flip the camera to view it. To rotate manually, simply press the exposure compensation button while in preview mode.
Edit lets you make changes to images you've already taken and store them as new images. In-camera fixes are: convert image to black-and-white; create a sepia-toned image; reduce redeye; change color saturation; reduce image size (in pixels). The options will vary depending on which format image you are working with.
Tip: JPEG and TIFF files can be edited and printed with no modifications, but RAW files must be converted into JPEG files in order to be printed from the camera.
Print Order works with DPOF compatible printers (Digital Print Order Format) and labs so you can select images that you want printed and tag them with quantity and print size information that is automatically transferred to the lab. If you are interested in this feature, see page 121 and beyond in the manual.
Copy lets you copy images from the Compact Flash card to the xD picture card, and vice versa. Display the images you want to copy, press OK, then press the print icon to copy. It is only active when both cards are in their slots.
ISO Step lets you change ISO increments. You can choose the default, 1/3-steps, or full steps.
ISO Boost overrides the default ISO range (100-400) so you can shoot at ISOs up to 1600. The downside to using this setting is that shooting times are slightly longer.
ISO Limit lets you set the maximum ISO so any auto setting won't go above that speed.
EV Step lets you change EV setting increments. The default is 1/3 steps, but you can choose 1/2 steps or full steps as alternatives.
All WB +/- lets you apply the same compensation value to all white balance modes at once, in either the red-blue or green-magenta axis.
HQ sets the compression rate of full-resolution images. The default is 1/4, which is the least compression, or 1/8 and 1/12, which is the highest compression.
Tip: Remember that the more compression, the smaller the image file but the more chances for digital artifacts, which adversely affect image quality.
SQ lets you set lower resolution, and like HQ is a redundancy--it's exactly the same setting as the Quality settings in the Camera 2 menu. Use the Camera 2 setting--it requires fewer button presses to get to it.
Manual Flash is another redundant setting. You can get to this faster by going to Camera 2 > Flash Mode.
Flash adjust + EV Compensation is also redundant--you can get to Flash adjust via the Camera 2 menu; use it at the same time as the exposure compensation button and it will work just the same, only easier.
X-Sync Speed adjusts the shutter speed used while shooting flash between 1/60 and 1/180 sec, in 1/3-step increments.
Tip: When shooting flash in bright sunlight, use the fastest shutter speed. Use the slower speed in subdued light.
Live View Boost brightens the monitor when shooting in subdued light. The preview display may appear grainer, but this won't affect the image itself.
Dial changes the control dial's default settings, and works in concert with the My Mode Setup, explained below.
AEL/AFL sets the AEL button to do autofocus or metering operations instead of pressing the shutter release halfway down. Details are in the manual, page 106-107. AEL/AFL Memo locks the settings.
AEL Metering lets you choose the metering pattern using the AEL (autoexposure lock) button.
Quick Erase, when activated, lets you delete the picture you just took using the trashcan icon.
RAW+JPEG Erase lets you control whether you erase just the JPEG, just the RAW, or both images when you erase an image that was shot as RAW+JPEG.
Sequential Shooting/Remote Control/Self-Timer button function lets you customize this button so you can quickly access the following: One-touch white balance, test picture (explained below), My Mode, and Preview function.
My Mode Setup sounds like something useful and promises quick access to custom settings, but the manual is so obtuse in its description of it that the learning curve simply is too steep. If you are familiar with the My Mode functions on compact Olympus digital cameras, beware that this My Mode is much more confusing. Better: Use Reset 1 or 2 Custom Reset settings (in the Camera 1 menu) instead.
Focus Ring changes the focusing ring's focus direction from clockwise to counterclockwise.
AF Illuminator activates the built-in flash, having it illuminate a low-light scene so the focusing mechanism can find its target.
Reset Lens lets you change the lens so it focuses to infinity each time the camera's power is turned off.
As a default, the E-330 won't let you take a picture while the camera's focusing or the flash is recharging. Release Priority S and Release Priority C let you override this feature when the camera's in S-AF and C-AF modes, respectively.
Frame Assist provides ruled lines to help you compose images. They are "Passport" modes, which superimpose a head-and-shoulders portrait outline over the image, and grids and scales. You need to work with the A/B live preview settings to access these overlays.
The Date/Day setting controls the meta data field that travels with your image and indicates the time and date it was taken. Set this when you get your camera--then forget about it (unless you change time zones).
CF/xD lets you choose the CF or xD card when both cards are in their respective slots. This option is disabled if only one card is loaded.
File Name assigns each image its own number. These are sequential, but can be reset to 0 if you want. Continuous is the best setting for most users because as the images are loaded onto a computer, there would be no overlap of image numbers which might lead to older images being overwritten by newer ones if the camera's on auto reset.
Monitor brightness has five levels to help you avoid eyestrain when looking at images in different light. Pump it up to full brightness if you're in direct sunlight, but if you're viewing in darkened rooms you may want to dim the finder.
Language lets you change the default language (English) to either French, Spanish, or Portugese (at least in the U.S. version).
Video Out: The default here is the US standard NTSC; PAL is available for other countries.
Beep turns audible camera warnings on or off.
Record View lets you check the image right after shooting. You can set it to appear on screen for 1 to 20 seconds.
Sleep turns the camera off after a period of inactivity. You can change it from 1 minute to 3, 5, or 10 minutes, although we're not sure how this differs from the 4H Timer feature.
Button Timer lets you control how long a relevant menu appears on screen when you press a specific button on the camera's body.
Screen lets you choose to not display the start-up screen every time the camera is turned on.
CTL Panel Color lets you adjust the background color on the monitor when displaying menus.
Priority Set changes the starting position of the cursor when in the All Erase and Format screens.
USB mode controls the connection between the camera and a computer, portable storage device, or printer.
The Color Space setting is mainly for commercial printing purposes. Leave it alone unless you anticipate that your photos will be published in a book or magazine.
Shading Comp. compensates for vignetting, which is the darkening of the corners of an image due to the limits of a lens, so the brightness of the image is consistent.
Tip: This can come in handy when you are using wide-angle lenses, which are more prone to vignetting.
Pixel Mapping is a diagnostic tool that lets the camera check and adjust the CCD's image recording and processing functions. Olympus recomends using this only once a year, and to do this function with a lens cap on the lens.
Cleaning Mode is used to clear dust particles off the sensor. If you're seeing light grey circles on your images, you've got dust, and it's time to clean your sensor. Make sure your battery is fully charged before you do this (the camera won't let you start if there's insufficient juice).
Tip: Most dust lands on a sensor while you're changing lenses. To reduce this, hold the camera facing down whenever you change the lens.
Underwater mode lets you replace the Sport and Night Portrait modes on the mode dial with Underwater macro and Underwater Wide modes. Of course, you'll need an underwater housing if you wish to take advantage of this--the E330 is not waterproof!
Firmware: Sometimes, the manufacturer will provide a firmware update that addresses a camera malfunction or adds new functions or improves performance. Check the Adorama News Desk archives Firmware Updates category to see if there have been recent updates for this camera.
That's it for our guided tour. If you've gotten this far and carefully followed along with your camera, you have mastered your Olympus Evolt E-330's controls. Now, go out and take lots of great pictures...and if you need some help getting ideas or learning about exposure and composition, be sure to visit the Adorama Academy.
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