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Olympus Evolt E-330 with PT-E02 Underwater Housing

All-purpose digital SLR with live view LCD and professional quality underwater housing system
(by Conrad H. Blickenstorfer and Carol Cotton Walker)

At this year's PMA -- the Mecca of shows for professional photographers -- Olympus product manager Sally Smith Clemens pointed out that in the digital era, unlike in the olden days of film, cameras change very quickly. "In electronics, the technology is constantly evolving, and we want to bring the new innovations to our customers as soon as we can," Smith Clemens said in an interview with USA Today.

And things indeed change quickly. No sooner did we complete a detailed review of the Olympus Evolt E-330 that the company revealed its 10-megapixel Evolt E-410 and E-510 models. Does that mean the E-330 is already obsolete because its maximum image resolution is 7.5 megapixel instead of 10? Not really. Newer is (almost) always better, but we found the E-330 to be an exemplary digital SLR, one that worked beautifully, took great shots, and, best of all, gave us a chance to test it not only for everyday shooting, but also underwater, in full scuba gear. Above you can see how substantial the waterproof housing is. Yes, we probably took more pictures in the depths of sinkholes, caverns, and rivers than we took on the surface. That's with the extensive, professional-quality PT-E02 underwater housing, of course, and we'll get into that.

As is, the Evolt-330 is a formidable camera. It has most of the same technologies used in the just released E-410 and E-510 models, and now that the new cameras are out, the E-330 may come down in price (it was originally more expensive than the two new dSLR offerings).

The "Four Thirds" system

What you get with the Evolt E-330 is a full-function digital single lens reflex camera that uses the Four Thirds Mount System developed by Olympus and Kodak specifically for digital SLRs and used by several other camera companies. A word about the Four Thirds system: The name تض»ْ²¶سمسخد·