Just prior to the big PMA camera show in Las Vegas next week, Olympus has announced three new digital cameras, including two new mid-range Four-Thirds system digital SLRs.
The most significant is undoubtedly the new E-510, a replacement for the impressive E-500. The stand-out new feature is the inclusion of Live View on a big 2.5in LCD monitor, a first for a conventionally styled DSLR, with 16x magnification for assisting manual focus, and the option to flip the mirror up for autofocus. Alterations to white balance and exposure compensation are also shown on the monitor.
Other important features include body-integral moving-sensor image stabilisation, Supersonic Wave Filter CCD cleaning, and a 10 megapixel Live MOS Four-Thirds format sensor. A new faster image processor allows shooting at three frames a second with a seven-shot buffer in RAW mode,
The Olympus E-500 was aimed at the beginner to intermediary level photographer, so not surprisingly the E-510 also has a range of newbie-friendly features, including 18 scene modes and a colour filter system, as well as full manual control for the more experienced photographer. The E-510 will be launched in June, so not surprisingly the price has not yet been confirmed.
The exceptionally cute E-400 mid-market DSLR also gets an upgrade, and is replaced with the E-410. This is also a 10-megapixel mid-range camera, and retains the E-400’s compact size and light weight despite also being equipped with Live View on its 2.5in LCD monitor, with the same manual focus magnification and the ability to autofocus by flipping up the reflex mirror as the E-510. It also features live preview of exposure compensation and white balance alterations.
The E-410 has 32 scene modes including Underwater Wide, Underwater Macro and xD Panorama, as well as colour and monochrome filters. It can shoot at three frames a second with a seven-shot buffer in RAW mode. Like the E-400 it has slots for both CompactFlash and xD-Picture memory cards. The E-410 will also be available from June this year.
With two new DSLRs on the way, and the photography press awaiting announcement of the much-anticipated replacement for Olympus’ flagship professional DSLR the E-1, the third new camera just announced is in danger of slipping by un-noticed, which is a shame because it looks very nice. The mju 780 is a weatherproof 7.1-megapixel luxury pocket compact that incorporates a 5x optical zoom (equivalent to 36-180mm) and a Dual Image Stabilization system that combines mechanical moving-CCD anti-shake (similar to the one in the E-system DSLRs) with a high-ISO mode to produce a faster shutter speed.
It also incorporates Bright-Capture technology (automatic monitor gain and ISO control) in both still and movie modes, as well as Shadow Adjustment Technology, a system which selectively brightens shadow areas, compensating for limited dynamic range. The mju 780 will be available a little sooner than the E-410 and E510, hitting the shops in April.