Olympus E-520

Olympus E-520 front
  • 10MP - Four Thirds Sensor
  • 2.7" Fixed Screen
  • ISO 100 - 1600
  • Sensor based Image Stabilization
  • No Video
  • Micro Four Thirds Mount
  • 552g - 136 x 92 x 68mm
  • Introduced August 2008
  • Superseded the Olympus E-510
  • Read full specs
  • Alternatives
  • Lenses
  • Size Comparison
  • FAQ

Olympus E-520 overview

Olympus E-520 is Olympus's Entry-Level DSLR digital camera initially announced on August of 2008. The camera comes with a 10MP, CMOS Four Thirds size sensor with a peak resolution of 3648 x 2736.

Olympus released this model to upgrade the earlier Olympus E-510 (Read Full Comparison)

The E-520 is positioned #64 out of 80 in Entry-Level DSLR cameras and all round #549 out of 1465 for cameras in our database. You can check our Smart camera search to see camera rankings based on your personalized requirements.

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The following is a chart of various criteria used in the scoring system.

Olympus E-520 history

The Olympus E-520 is part of a family of digital cameras. You can see the full list below.

ModelVisualizeResolutionSensor SizeMax fpsReleased
Olympus-E-600 front thumbnailOlympus E-600
E-520 vs E-600
12MPFour Thirds4.0 fps2009
Olympus-E-620 front thumbnailOlympus E-620
E-520 vs E-620
12MPFour Thirds4.0 fps2009
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Olympus-E-450 front thumbnailOlympus E-450
E-520 vs E-450
10MPFour Thirds4.0 fps2009
Olympus-E-520 front thumbnailOlympus E-52010MPFour Thirds4.0 fps2008
Olympus-E-420 front thumbnailOlympus E-420
E-520 vs E-420
10MPFour Thirds4.0 fps2008
Olympus-E-510 front thumbnailOlympus E-510
E-520 vs E-510
10MPFour Thirds3.0 fps2007
Panasonic Set to Launch New Entry-Level and High-End L Mount Gear
Olympus-E-410 front thumbnailOlympus E-410
E-520 vs E-410
10MPFour Thirds3.0 fps2007
Olympus-E-400 front thumbnailOlympus E-400
E-520 vs E-400
10MPFour Thirds3.0 fps2006
Olympus-E-500 front thumbnailOlympus E-500
E-520 vs E-500
8MPFour Thirds3.0 fps2005

Olympus E-520 Pros and Cons

Here is a collection of benefits and drawbacks of the Olympus E-520 based on aspects that are normally seen as important in a digital camera.

built-in flash
built in image stabilization (Sensor based)
decent sensor size (Four Thirds)
exports RAW formats
good battery power (650 CIPA)
good min ISO (100)
has manual focus
includes face detection focusing
supports phase detect AF
swap lenses (Micro Four Thirds mount)
doesn't have selfie friendly screen
lack of external mic jack
lack of HDMI support
lack of headphone jack
lack of Time Lapse mode
low megapixels (10 megapixels)
max frames per second very slow (4.0 frames per second)
no video shooting
screen does not articulate
screen has low resolution (230 k dot)
screen is small (2.7 inches)
$12k fine levied on photographer for using own photos

Olympus E-520 Sensor features

The sensor dimension on the Olympus E-520 is 17.3mm x 13mm (Four Thirds). The 225 mm² sensor can resolve 3648 x 2736 pixels with aspect ratios of 4:3. The camera includes Image Stabilization (Sensor based). Optical stabilization is superior than digital stabilization since the latter can easily lead to cropping.

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The CMOS sensor boasts 10 megapixels and gives a standard ISO range of 100 to 1600. RAW format is supported therefore you have more room to maneuver in post.

The graphic below illustrates the E-520's sensor size compared to other popular sizes. The E-520 sensor comes with a crop factor of 2.1 and is presented in green.

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To get an idea of specific aspect ratios, you should refer to the graphic below.

Camera sensor aspect ratios

Olympus E-520 dimensions

Olympus E-520 has a weight of 1.22 lb (552 gr or 19.47 ounces) and the overall size of the camera is 136mm x 92mm x 68mm (5.4" x 3.6" x 2.7"). The weight of general Entry-Level DSLR camera is 540 gr and the Olympus E-520 is very similar when compared with other rivals.

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The following is a pic of the Olympus E-520 beside a softdrink to help you to have a feel for its size.

Olympus E-520 dimensions scale

The top view below will show the button arrangement on the E-520.

Olympus E-520 topview buttons dials

Olympus E-520 Lens features

The E-520 works with the Micro Four Thirds mount and has 162 lenses that are available. Here is a few of the lenses we have in our database that will work with the E-520.

ModelVisualizeFocal LengthApertureStabilizedWeight
Lensbaby-Burnside-35-Micro-Four-Thirds lensLensbaby Burnside 3535mmf/2.8374g
Panasonic-Lumix-G-Vario-45-200mm-F4-5.6-II-Power-OIS lensPanasonic Lumix G Vario 45-200mm F4-5.6 II Power OIS45-200mmf/4-5.6 370g
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Samyang-8mm-F3.5-Aspherical-IF-MC-Fisheye-Four-Thirds lensSamyang 8mm F3.5 Aspherical IF MC Fisheye8mmf/3.5 443g
Olympus-M.Zuiko-Digital-ED-7-14mm-F2.8-PRO lensOlympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 7-14mm F2.8 PRO7-14mmf/2.8 534g
Lensbaby-Sol-22-Micro-Four-Thirds lensLensbaby Sol 2222mmf/3.5144g
Olympus-M.Zuiko-Digital-ED-8mm-F1.8-Fisheye-PRO lensOlympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 8mm F1.8 Fisheye PRO8mmf/1.8 314g
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Panasonic-Leica-D-Vario-Elmar-14-50mm-F3.8-5.6-Mega-OIS lensPanasonic Leica D Vario-Elmar 14-50mm F3.8-5.6 Mega OIS14-50mmf/3.8-5.6 434g
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Olympus E-520 Connectivity

The E-520 has the following connectivity:

  • USB Yes

Cameras which have NFC and Bluetooth support can be controlled wirelessly by smartphones. You can copy files and sometimes alter settings without the hassle of connecting directly with the camera.

Several apps also allow a Liveview and press the shutter if you aren't close to the camera. If the camera features a HDMI out, it can be connected to an external display. A good number of cameras will allow you to charge the battery with the USB port.

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Olympus E-520 Video features

Olympus E-520 doesn't capture video. If you are shopping for a digital camera to shoot just images, it might not be a concern.

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Olympus E-520 Weather Sealing

Olympus E-520 doesn't have weather proofing so rainy conditions can easily affect the camera.

Olympus E-520 Screen and Viewfinder

The Olympus E-520 comes with a 2.7" fixed display with a resolution of 230k dots.

Sadly the display isn't a touch screen.

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The ViewFinder specifications regarding Olympus E-520 are below:

  • ViewFinder Optical (pentamirror)
  • ViewFinder Coverage 95 percent
  • ViewFinder Magnification 0.46x

In those bright outdoor conditions that make the camera screens washed out and tough to view, viewfinders can be pretty valuable.

Olympus E-520 Shutter features

Olympus E-520 can shoot continuously at 4.0 frames per second. The maximum shutter speed is 1/4000 seconds.

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Olympus E-520 Flash and Hot shoe features

Olympus E-520 includes both inbuilt flash and external flash ability. The max flash sync speed is 1/180 seconds.

Olympus E-520 Autofocusing features

Olympus E-520 includes both Phase Detect Auto Focus along with Contrast Based Auto Focus. Phase Detection autofocusing is a lot snappier and accurate than Contrast Based autofocusing. The camera comes with Face detection which makes it handy for portrait photography.

It comes with 3 focus points to pick from. Olympus E-520 has manual focusing if needed during low light occasions or you want more accurate focusing control.

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Olympus E-520 Battery life

The battery power for the Olympus E-520 is designed to last for 650 clicks as per the CIPA benchmarks making it above the usual when compared to its category. The typical Entry-Level DSLR camera battery life is 589. Pentax K-x features the highest (1900) battery life within this kind of cameras.

Here is a collection of Entry-Level DSLR cameras which have the best battery life:

Olympus E-520 for various forms of photography

The following diagram indicates a analysis of the Olympus E-520 for various forms of photography. To see more, scroll to the specific paragraph below.

Olympus E-520 as a Portrait photography camera

The Olympus E-520 receives a score of 59 which is reasonable, meaning that it is relatively appropriate for portraits. Shooting portraits leans heavily to sensor resolution, RAW support and capability to work with external lighting.

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manual focus
sensor size is nice (Four Thirds)
features face detect focus
exports RAW files
sensor resolution low (10 megapixels)

Olympus E-520 Street photography factors

Coming in at a very good rating of 65, the Olympus E-520 is a respectable choice to buy for street photography. A decent street photography camera comes with a perfect balance of picture quality and portability.

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image stabilization (Sensor based)
sensor size is nice (Four Thirds)
delivers RAW formats
no articulating screen

Olympus E-520 as a Sports photography camera

A decent sports photography points tally of 55 indicates the Olympus E-520 is somewhat adequate for photographing sports. A camera needs to have great autofocus plus continuous shooting for sports photography.

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image stabilization (Sensor based)
sensor size is good (Four Thirds)
better than average battery (650 shots)
has phase detect autofocus
max fps low (4.0 frames/s)
resolution not great (10MP)

Travel photography with Olympus E-520

Portability is pretty crucial when choosing a travel camera. Over-all, the Olympus E-520 gets a moderate 52 as a travelling camera which is fairly acceptable for your holidays.

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great battery power (650 shots)
flash built-in
no Timelapse function
low megapixels (10 megapixels)
doesn't posses selfie friendly display

Landscape photography with Olympus E-520

For anyone who is planning to buy a digital camera for landscape pictures, the most critical factor will no doubt be image quality. The Olympus E-520 and it's average grade of 58 for a landscape camera is reasonably suited amongst its competition.

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you can focus manually
swap lenses (Micro Four Thirds mount)
has image stabilization (Sensor based)
nice sensor size (Four Thirds)
saves RAW formats
better than average battery (650 shots)
tiny screen (2.7 inches)
low MP (10 megapixels)
does not have Timelapse function

Olympus E-520 Vlogging details

A vlogging camera should really have a moving display, mic port and ideally IBIS. Taking everything into account, the Olympus E-520 is not really acceptable for vlogging as it receives a awful rating of 9.

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no video shooting

Olympus E-520 Alternatives

If you need alternatives to the E-520, here is a collection of the highest ranked cameras that fall into the class of Entry-Level DSLR.

The diagram below gives you a summary of the E-520 vs it's highest ranked competitors suggested previously.

There are more cameras you may see as alternative options. To go through a full comparison, just click on the "compare" link.

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General Information
Model type
Olympus E-520
Entry-Level DSLR
Body design
Compact SLR
Sensor Information
Sensor type
Sensor size
Four Thirds
Sensor dimensions
17.3 x 13mm
Sensor area
Sensor resolution
10 megapixels
Anti alias filter
Aspect ratio
Highest resolution
3648 x 2736
RAW pictures
Highest native ISO
Min native ISO
Manual focusing
Touch focus
AF continuous
AF single
Tracking AF
Selective AF
Center weighted AF
Multi area AF
AF live view
Face detection focusing
Contract detection focusing
Phase detection focusing
Total focus points
Lens mount type
Micro Four Thirds
Amount of lenses
Crop factor
Range of screen
Fixed Type
Screen diagonal
2.7 inches
Screen resolution
230k dot
Selfie friendly
Touch function
Viewfinder Information
Optical (pentamirror)
Viewfinder coverage
95 percent
Viewfinder magnification
DXO scores
DXO All around rating
DXO Color Depth rating
DXO Dynamic range rating
DXO Low light rating
Lowest shutter speed
60 seconds
Highest shutter speed
1/4000 seconds
Continuous shooting speed
4.0 frames per sec
Shutter priority
Aperture priority
Manually set exposure
Exposure compensation
Set WB
Image stabilization
Inbuilt flash
Flash distance
12.00 m (at ISO 100)
Flash settings
Auto, Auto FP, Manual, Red-Eye
External flash
Auto exposure bracketing
WB bracketing
Highest flash sync
1/180 seconds
AF area
Center weighted
Video features
Highest video resolution
Mic input
Headphone input
USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
Environment seal
Water proofing
Dust proofing
Shock proofing
Crush proofing
Freeze proofing
552 grams (1.22 pounds)
Physical dimensions
136 x 92 x 68mm (5.4" x 3.6" x 2.7")
Battery life
650 shots
Form of battery
Battery Pack
Self timer
Yes (2 or 12 sec)
Time lapse shooting
Storage media
Compact Flash (Type I or II), xD Picture Card
Storage slots
Launch price