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Olympus E-30 Art Filters surprisingly addictive

I guess enthusiasts who pay $1,300 for a dSLR are entitled to some preset fun, too.

Lori Grunin Senior Editor / Advice
I've been reviewing hardware and software, devising testing methodology and handed out buying advice for what seems like forever; I'm currently absorbed by computers and gaming hardware, but previously spent many years concentrating on cameras. I've also volunteered with a cat rescue for over 15 years doing adoptions, designing marketing materials, managing volunteers and, of course, photographing cats.
Expertise Photography, PCs and laptops, gaming and gaming accessories
Lori Grunin
2 min read

During and after the rollout of the E-30 dSLR, Olympus really pushed the Art Filters feature--a handful of preset special effects--which seemed a bit out of place on a $1,300 dSLR (especially a dSLR that has quite a bit going for it, including very good photo quality and speedy performance).

But in the course of testing the camera I discovered that the Art Filters, or at least some of them, are pretty useful and interesting. Which is another way of saying that they're kind of fun and addictive and completely derailed my completing the review.

Photo samples: Olympus E-30 Art Filters

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More expensive than the Nikon D90, which offers video capture (flawed though it might be) and competing head-to-head with the high-ISO king in its class, the Canon EOS 50D, this is an interesting way for Olympus to differentiate the E-30 for its competitors.

And I still haven't decided whether this tactic succeeds at providing a compelling reason to choose the E-30 over one of the more entrenched models, or whether it's just a gimmick that you'll regret the first time you need to shoot at ISO 1600 (it's great up to ISO 800 but then the E-30's quality begins to seriously degrade).

So here are some examples of the Art Filters. Keeping in mind that you can shoot an Art Filtered JPEG simultaneously with an untouched raw (a plus) but that some of the filters slow file processing and that you can't change any of the parameters (minuses), would you want these capabilities in your next dSLR? Share your thoughts in the comments.