Forgotten gem?

How things have moved in a decade in the camera-world.

It’s just over 10 years since Olympus launched the E-520; a camera which was pretty well specified for its time.  Relatively compact (smaller than many current mirrorless bodies) to take advantage of its Four Thirds sensor and yet including image stabilisation, live view (very clunky compared to what we expect now) a decent amount of control for those who wanted it, and plethora of scene modes for those who didn’t.  It’s 10MP sensor is no great performer by the latest standards but as is often the case for Olympus, it can certainly churn out beautiful colour.

Regent’s Canal, behind King’s Cross station

So why mention it now?

Because old cameras like these can be picked up for a relative song these days.  In this case I was looking for a camera for my partner Elena’s 13 year old nephew who wants to study photography.  £100 bought the E520 complete with 14-42 and 40-150 kit lenses, plus the Olympus FL36 flash.  All in superb condition – looks like it has taken around 4,000 images from new.  You’d struggle to buy a single lens for a modern camera for that kind of money.

Always nice to take photos of boats in the sun!

Before handing the camera over, I thought I’d better check it out so these are just some quick images taken around London a couple of days ago – it was a breeze to use, small enough to barely notice when carrying around, and an awful lot of fun.

Even the kit lens can give some bokeh in the right circumstances

I suspect there are rather a lot of mid level cameras gathering dust as their owners have moved on to better things, which is rather a shame really – time to get them out and see if someone else can put them to good use.  In modern throwaway society it’s a great pity that the lifespan of so many of our possessions is measured in such short time spans, especially when, if considered objectively, they still more than serve our needs.

Oh well, sermon over, at least for now. A few more images below which probably get bigger if you click on them – I’ve never used the E520 or 14-42 kit lens before, but they certainly didn’t hold me back on this occasion; I hope their soon to be new owner feels likewise!

And I only washed it the other day!


My mum learned to drive in one of these, well a bit like one of these…

And one final image to sign off – I rather like this typical quiet side-street view:




By Jon Schick

Hertfordshire-based, I work for the National Health Service but try and fit in some photography on a regular basis. Not so much during the recent lockdown era, but here's hoping things can only get better in 2021....

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