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Olympus DSLR offers live LCD preview
By Michael R. Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, January 26, 2006 - 00:43 EST)

Among Olympus' large group of announcements today, there is one that will almost certainly provoke the most discussion in online forums.

The Olympus EVOLT E-330, the latest in the EVOLT line of consumer-oriented digital SLR models, offers something a lot of people have been hoping for. Taking advantage of how far the price of image sensors has fallen, the E-330 features not one, but two sensors. The first is an nMOS sensor with a resolution of 7.5 megapixels, which is used for image capture. The second sensor is a CCD of unknown resolution, which is used to allow a live preview image on the camera's LCD display. A couple of digital SLRs have offered live previews in the past, but these have come with strong limitations as to how long (and how) they could be used, making them essentially unuseable in the manner that most point-and-shoot digicam owners have become accustomed to. The E-330 solves this, and so the company has focused on optimising the LCD shooting experience, with a larger than average 2.5" LCD display mounted on a tilting mechanism for easy viewing from a range of angles.

The E-330 also offers a range of other features shared with past Evolt models, including CompactFlash and xD-Picture card storage, dust reduction system, and more. We've posted a first look overview of the camera, and so will allow the specifications to speak for themselves here, rather than providing our usual lengthy news item analysis. The Olympus EVOLT E-330 will go on sale this March, with pricing planned to be $1099.99.

Olympus EVOLT E-330
General
Camera Type SLR
Manufacturer Olympus
Model Number E-330
Dimensions 5.1 x 3.7 x 2.6"
129.3 x 94.5 x 65.8mm
Weight 436.6 g
15.3 oz
Planned Price $1099.99
Planned Availability Mar 2006
Image Capture
Sensor Type Four Thirds N-MOS
7.94 megapixels (total)
7.50 megapixels (effective)
Filter Type RGBG
Aspect Ratio 4:3
Image Dimensions 3136 x 2352 (7.4 megapixels)
2560 x 1920 (4.9 megapixels)
1600 x 1200 (1.9 megapixels)
1280 x 960 (1.2 megapixels)
1024 x 768 (0.8 megapixels)
640 x 480 (0.3 megapixels)
Image Preview / Review
Viewfinder Yes, Eye level Dach Penta Mirror type Optical View Finder
LCD 2.5", 215,250 pixels
Playback Zoom 14.0x max
Lens
Lens Type Interchangeable Lens
Lens Mount Four Thirds mount
Focusing System 3-point TTL Phase Difference Detection with AF assist lamp
Manual Focus possible (0) steps
Exposure
ISO Sensitivity Auto, 100, 200, 400, 800*, 1600* (with ISO boost on)
Shutter Speed 480 - 1/4000 second
Exposure Modes Aperture, Shutter, Manual
Metering Modes 49-zone Digital ESP, Center Weighted Average, Spot, Highlight Spot, Shadow Spot. (Spot Approx. 2%)
Exposure Compensation +/- 5.0EV in 1/3EV increments
White Balance Image Sensor - Auto, O ne-Touch, Lamp 1 (3000k), Fluorescent 1 (4000k), Fluorescent 2 (4500k), Fluorescent 3 (6600k), Daylight (5300k), Cloudy (6000k), Shadow (7500k), Manual
Creative
Scene Modes Portrait, Landscape, Landscape & Portrait, Night Scene, Night Scene & Portrait, Children, Sports, High-Key, Low-Key, Reducing Blur, Macro, Nature Macro, Candle, Sunset, Fireworks, Documents, Beach & Snow, Underwater Macro, Underwater Wide, Panorama
Self Timer Yes, 2 or 12 seconds
Time Lapse No
Product Bundle
Flash Memory 0.0MB
Other
Tripod Mount Yes, Metal
Remote Control Yes, Optional RM-1 Wireless w/ bulb
More Photos
 

Original Source Press Release:

OLYMPUS INNOVATES AGAIN WITH EVOLT E-330: THE WORLD'S FIRST INTERCHANGEABLE DIGITAL SLR WITH A "LIVE VIEW" LCD

100% Digital SLR Camera Combines a Live View 2.5-Inch Articulated LCD, Exclusive Dust Reduction System for Spot-Free Photos, and TruePic TURBO™ Image Processor with Largest Selection of Digital-Specific Lenses

Melville, New York, January 26, 2006 – Since the introduction of the first single-lens reflex (SLR) camera, photographers have prized SLRs because they can see with the naked eye, through an optical viewfinder, exactly what is passing through the camera’s lens. The “reflex” of a mirrored shutter that bends light to the camera’s viewfinder, and then snaps open rapidly to create exposures, makes this possible and gives the SLR its advantage. But this SLR advantage, while delivering high-performance speed and accuracy, has one drawback in the digital age. Because the image sensor is blocked by the mirror and shutter until the moment the shutter button is pressed, the mirror and shutter mechanism prevents a traditional digital SLR from viewing and composing a photo using only the camera’s Liquid Crystal Display as a viewfinder.

As anyone who has used a compact digital camera knows, composing a photo just by viewing the camera’s LCD is easy and commonplace, and many compact cameras do not even offer an optical viewfinder. Composing on an LCD has its own advantages, and Olympus engineers asked the question: How can we design a new digital SLR that delivers not only the traditional through-the-lens optical viewfinder experience of an SLR, but also adds the ability to frame photos with an LCD like a compact camera?

The solution to this technical challenge is the revolutionary Olympus EVOLT E-330 digital SLR – the world’s first interchangeable lens digital SLR to feature a true "Live View" image on the LCD screen, in addition to the optical viewfinder, and unite the best of both worlds.

Live View is Designed to Do More
Users of the EVOLT E-330 will quickly realize that when composing an image on the LCD, they can do more with this camera than they could with comparable SLRs without Live View. Because the camera’s LCD is “articulated” it can extend out from the camera body and swivel downward or upward so the E-330 can be held overhead to shoot over a crowd, or held at the hip or even placed on the ground – something that’s not possible with a traditional SLR that relies on an optical viewfinder alone. Whether shooting from a low angle for dramatic composition or in close for detailed macro photos, with the exclusive Olympus Live View LCD photographers can follow action easily and capture just the right moment with greater creative control.

Large Live View 2.5-Inch HyperCrystal™ LCD Monitor
Big and bright with 215,250 pixels, the E-330’s 2.5-inch high-resolution HyperCrystal™ LCD offers many times the contrast of conventional LCD monitors, so captured images can be beautifully displayed in vivid color on the screen with exceptional clarity. Because photos are for sharing, the E-330 LCD features a wide, 160-degree viewing angle on the vertical and horizontal axis, ensuring excellent visibility and beautiful image quality even when everyone huddles around the camera to see what you’ve created. The larger LCD also means the icons and text on the camera’s menu display are large enough for easy viewing.

A New Live MOS 7.5-Megapixel Image Sensor
The excellent image quality of the Olympus E-System takes a giant step forward with the EVOLT E-330. Newly developed specifically for this camera, the 7.5-megapixel Live MOS image sensor, with its high dynamic range, captures photos with accurate true colors, detail from edge-to-edge and lower noise – bringing home all the benefits of Live View and the E-System.

Patented Dust Reduction System for Spot-Free Photos
Dust is all around us, and when swapping out a lens on a digital single-lens reflex camera there’s a chance that a camera’s electro-statically charged image sensor will attract micro dust that can ruin photos. Since the main advantage of using an SLR camera is the ability to change lenses for better imaging effects, Olympus has developed a way for photographers to enjoy the freedom of using all the lenses of the Olympus E-System in the most challenging, dusty environments without compromising image quality.

Olympus’ Dust Reduction System produces spot-free photos with the exclusive Supersonic Wave Filter™, a patented ultrasonic technology that shakes at 35,000 vibrations a second to remove dust from in front of the camera sensor every time you turn the camera on, and captures dust to prevent it from reappearing. These spot-free photos liberate users from hours spent retouching images at the computer. The new EVOLT E-330, like all Olympus digital SLR cameras, is equipped with this exclusive user-friendly technology, and only Olympus has a solution to provide spot-free photography in a digital SLR.

Digital-Specific Zuiko® Lenses
Olympus offers the largest selection of lenses designed for digital excellence, and they’re all fully compatible with the E-330. Since each lens is perfectly matched to the camera’s image sensor, light is received by each pixel. As a result, images are brighter, more colorful and super-sharp from edge to edge.

The E-330 outfit includes a compact, Zuiko Digital 14 – 45mm f3.5 – f5.6 Lens (equivalent to 28mm – 90mm in 35mm photography) that perfectly matches the imager so light strikes the sensor directly to ensure rich, accurate colors and edge-to-edge sharpness. Its 3.2x zoom covers the range most frequently used in ordinary photography and weighs just 10 ounces (285 grams) offering users an extremely dynamic, portable everyday-use zoom. Close-ups as near as 15 inches (38cm) are possible throughout the zoom range.

Ergonomic “Flat Top” Body Design
The E-330 camera body is lightweight with a smart design that fits naturally in your hand with a full-sized grip, and is light and compact enough to comfortably shoot with all day. In place of the traditional pentaprism design, the camera incorporates the exclusive Olympus TTL Optical Porro Finder coupled with an exclusive side swing mirror that gives the camera its unique “flat-top” appearance and makes it more compact for greater portability. This design also enables the camera’s full-time Live View capabilities.

TruePic TURBO™ for Clarity and Speed
Olympus’ TruePic TURBO Image Processor provides fast camera response, operation and processing speed for more responsive camera operation. This is done by closely integrating the image processor and hardware elements to eliminate unnecessary processing tasks, accelerating camera operations.

Along with the speed advantages, TruePic TURBO also produces crystal-clear photos using all the pixel information for each image to provide you with the best digital images possible for every photo.

PT-E02 Underwater Housing
An underwater housing for the EVOLT E-330 that will enable users to enjoy underwater SLR shooting is planned for release in the spring of 2006. Easy to set up, it offers waterproof protection up to a depth of over 196 feet (60 meters). The Live View LCD is ideal for underwater photography because it’s much easier to compose on the EVOLT E-330’s large, bright LCD when under water rather than using the optical viewfinder. And, with three scene select modes for underwater wide, underwater macro and underwater wide-angle auto exposures, the E-330 is designed to perform optimally in the deep.

Availability
The Olympus EVOLT E-330 Digital SLR will be available in March 2006. It includes: EVOLT E-330 Body or EVOLT E-330 Body with 14-45mm f3.5/5.6 Zuiko Digital Zoom Lens, USB Cable, Video Cable, Li-Ion Battery Pack (BLM-1), Li-Ion Battery Charger (BCM-2), Shoulder Strap, OLYMPUS Master Software CD-ROM, Manuals, Warranty card.

US Pricing
EVOLT E-330 with 14-45mm f3.5/5.6 Zuiko Digital Zoom Lens Estimated Street Price: $1099.99
EVOLT E-300 Body Only Estimated Street Price: $999.99
PT-E02 Underwater Housing Estimated Street Price: $1219.99

ABOUT OLYMPUS IMAGING AMERICA INC.
Olympus Imaging America Inc. is a precision technology leader, designing and delivering award-winning products for consumer and professional markets.

Olympus Imaging America Inc. works collaboratively with its customers and its parent company, Olympus Corporation, to develop breakthrough technologies with revolutionary product design and functionality that enhances peoples lives every day. These include:

  • Digital and film cameras
  • Professional SLR Imaging Systems
  • Digital and Microcassette recorders
  • Digital Music Players
  • Personal Photo Printers
  • Digital Print Kiosks
  • Digital Video Projectors
  • Digital Media
  • Binoculars

Olympus Imaging America Inc. is responsible for sales in United States, Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. For more information, visit: www.olympusamerica.com.

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