The Olympus E-520: A Comprehensive Review of a Top-Ranked DSLR Camera

Looking for a reliable and high-powered DSLR camera? Look no further than the Olympus E-520. This camera has consistently ranked among the top-rated DSLR cameras on the market, and for good reason. In this blog post, we'll take a deep dive into all the features that make the Olympus E-520 a standout choice for both professional and amateur photographers alike.

Written by Victor Chan | Updated: Mon May 01 2023

Olympus E-520 article cover photo

Key Features

Aug 20 2008


10 megapixels


Sensor TypeFour Thirds

Other similar cameras

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Olympus E-420

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Olympus E-500

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Olympus E-510 thumbnail

Olympus E-510

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Overview of the E-520

Capturing the perfect shot requires the right equipment, and the Olympus E-520 definitely fits the bill. This camera has been a favorite among photographers for years due to its user-friendly design and top-of-the-line features. Whether you're a professional photographer looking for a powerful and reliable camera, or an amateur looking to take your photography to the next level, the Olympus E-520 is a great choice. In this blog post, we'll explore all the reasons why this camera is consistently ranked among the best DSLRs on the market. From its high-quality images, to its advanced features, we'll cover it all. So, let's get started and discover why the Olympus E-520 is a must-have for any photography enthusiast.

Olympus E-520 Pros and Cons

Now, we will look more closely at our review of the Olympus E-520 camera. We will see what it can do and compare it to other cameras like it. We will tell you what's good about it and what's not so good. This way, you'll know if it's the camera for you!


Excellent image quality
Innovative live view technology
Compact and lightweight design
Superb autofocus system
Waterproof and dustproof chassis
Wide range of lenses available
Good color reproduction
Image stabilization system


Limited video capabilities
Slow start-up time
Limited dynamic range
Small LCD screen
Poor high ISO performance
No built-in flash
Limited battery life

Build and Construction

Body and dimensions

Olympus E-520

Weather sealed
Dimensions136 x 92 x 68mm

Weather Sealing

The Olympus E-520 is not sealed against water and dust, so it's important to be careful when using it in such conditions. If you often shoot in environments with water or dust, it's recommended to check out another camera with weather sealing.

Design and Handling

Main design features

View FinderOptical (pentamirror)
Screen TypeFixed Type
Screen Resolution230k dots
Body typeCompact SLR

Suitable for:

PhotographyAbove Avg.
VideographyAbove Avg.
TravelAbove Avg.

LCD Screen

This camera has a fixed type 2.70" screen, with a display resolution of 230k dots. This makes the Olympus E-520 not as suitable for those looking for a vlogging camera as you cannot view yourself while shooting selfies easily. Unfortunately, the camera does not have a touch screen, which may make it less user-friendly.


E-520 includes a optical (pentamirror) viewfinder with no electronic viewfinder of resolution with a coverage of 95% and a magnification of 0.46x. This feature enhances the camera's suitability for outdoor photography in bright conditions.

Image Quality

Olympus E-520 has a 10MP sized CMOS sensor. You can shoot at maximum resolution of 10 pixels. Olympus E-520 has a native ISO range of 100 - 1600 which can be boosted to null - null. It can also save files in RAW format which gives you a wider room for post processing.

Key Features

Aug 20 2008


100 - 1600

ISO Range

SensorFour Thirds
Extended ISOnull - null
Max resolution3648 x 2736 pixels

DXO Sensor Scores


55 / 102

Color Depth

21.4 / 26.5

Dynamic Range

10.4 / 14.8

Low Light ISO

548 / 4505

DXO mark sensor scores

The DXOmark rankings indicate that the Olympus E-520 camera has above average color depth performance, which refers to the number of colors the sensor can distinguish. Additionally, its dynamic range is also average, allowing it to retain low amounts of details in both bright and dark areas of a scene. The camera's low light ISO performance is poor, which is an important factor to consider if you plan to use it in dimly lit indoor environments or at night. Overall the image quality of the E-520 is below average

Crop Factor

Camera crop factor (or focal length multiplier) refers to how a camera's sensor size affects the apparent field of view of a lens. Crop factor is determined by comparing the size of a camera's sensor to that of a full-frame sensor, which is a standard reference size for camera sensors.

Size comparison

Medium FormatFull FrameAPS-C (Sony, Nikon)

Crop factor calculator

Crop factor


Full frame equivalent


This camera: Four Thirds



Connectivity, storage, battery

StorageCompact Flash (Type I or II), xD Picture Card
Battery Life650 shots
Battery Model
Wireless Connectivity


The Olympus E-520 supports Compact Flash (Type I or II), xD Picture Card with 1 slots for storage. This may suffice for everyday use. However, for professional applications such as wedding photography, it is not recommended as a memory card malfunction could lead to the loss of all footage.


The Olympus E-520 uses the undefined model of battery pack. This is rated for 650 shots shots which is high. If you intend to take photos or record videos for an extended period, it might be a good idea to bring along additional batteries.

Photography Features


The Olympus E-520 has built in flash which is great for event photography and in low light situations. It also offers a flash shoe that allows you to attach external flashes. This provides more versatility in your lighting choices.


The Olympus E-520 boasts a maximum mechanical shutter speed of 1/4000s, which is ideal for shooting fast-moving subjects in bright environments, such as in sports photography. Faster shutter speeds enable you to freeze the action and capture every detail, making it easier to get the perfect shot.

With a continuous mechanical shutter speed of n/a or an electronic shutter speed of n/a, this camera is not capable of capturing the perfect moment more easily, making it not as suited for wedding, sports, and wildlife photography. Higher shutter speeds make it easier to capture fast-paced action, ensuring that you never miss the perfect shot.


The Olympus E-520 includes two autofocus (AF) systems: contrast detection and phase detection, with 3 number of focus points.

While contrast detection is generally more accurate and precise, phase detection autofocus is faster and more effective in most situations, particularly when photographing moving subjects.

Phase detection autofocus works by dividing the incoming light into pairs and then analyzing how they intersect on the camera's sensor. This method allows the camera to determine not only if a subject is in focus but also the direction and distance needed to adjust the focus to achieve perfect sharpness.

On the other hand, contrast detection autofocus works by analyzing the contrast of an image and adjusting the focus until the highest contrast is detected. While this method is very accurate, it can be slow, especially in low light conditions or when photographing moving subjects.

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What is the sensor size of the Olympus E-520?

The Olympus E-520 features a CMOS sensor

Is the Olympus E-520 weather sealed?

No the E-520 does not have weather sealing.

When was the Olympus E-520 announced?

The Olympus E-520 was announced on Aug 20 2008

Does the Olympus E-520 have in-body image stabilization?

Yes the E-520 does have in-body image stabilization that can compensate for camera shake, making it easier to shoot handheld in low light conditions.

What is the ISO range of the Olympus E-520?

The E-520 has a native ISO range of 100-1600, which can be expanded to ISO null-null for even greater sensitivity in low light conditions.

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