Olympus E-10 Camera Review

This is the second camera I ever owned. Lets take a trip down memory lane and see what this old timer was all about,

My previous camera, the Sony FD91 served me well for two years. But it was an early days piece of technology. The limits of the 200 kilobyte files on floppy disks increasingly became an annoyance as I became more adept at photography. At every turn I got confronted by a lack of quality and the pictures were really hard to work with. For my volunteer work at the local radio station (which was still in its infancy) I was taking pictures in extremely varied conditions, and especially in dark venues the pictures became unusable. The search was on for something new.

In 2001 the market for semi-professional digital cameras was very tiny. There were basically three other options: The Nikon D1, Canon EOS-D30 and the Fujifilm S1 Pro. All of these were very expensive and very professional cameras. Between those and the Point and shoots there was only the Olympus E10.

A few of the benefits of the E10 for me were:

Cards

The E-10 gave me a choice of two storage types: Microdrive (a harddisk based forefather of the compact flash card) and Smartmedia cards; the forefather of the SD card. Because of pricing concerns, I went with Smartmedia.

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Here’s a few of the cards I used. The maximum size was 128mb, no bigger cards were ever made. You can see I started lower, and as I shot more, my needs for bigger cards increased. Smartmedia cards were light and relatively robust, although after repeated use the contacts would start to deteriorate. The plastic was also very flexible, making it easy to bend them out of shape, making it harder to insert them in a camera.

Accessories

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Surprisingly, for the amount of power the camera consumed, in it’s standard configuration it drew it’s power from 4 AA batteries. With normal batteries this would last me about 20 pictures. So I quickly invested in the battery grip. The grip would give the feeling of unlimited power, as well as giving a sturdier grip on the camera, making it easier to hold. Later I also acquired the flashgun and a telephoto extender. The flash gun got a lot of use, and was on par with competitors as far as quality was concerned. The extender got very little use from me. It seemed like a good idea for sports, but with sports I really quickly ran in to the limits of the camera.

Limits

After two years of use, the limits of the camera became unbearable. It quickly became outdated compared to newer offerings on the market, and in this day and age that actually meant revolutionary performance gains as opposed to the more incremental innovations you see in camera’s now. For example, the sensor had an ISO range from 80-320, but even 80 was unbearable noisy. It would also take three seconds or more seconds to power up the camera, and it could take a maximum of 2 images per second. It’s low light performance was still quite poor. So you see it coming already, in 2003 I upgraded to a new camera. The new workhorse would be the Nikon D100.

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