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Olympus' EVOLT E-300 digital SLR. Courtesy of Olympus, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Olympus: New Evolt firmware (UPDATED)
(Monday, March 28, 2005 - 13:09 EST)

Olympus Japan has today released a new firmware version (v1.2) for its E-300 digital SLR, known in the US as the Evolt.

The new firmware marks a return of several features found in preproduction cameras, which were presumably removed to allow them to be fine-tuned before public release (and are documented in a PDF manual insert available for download on the Olympus website). In brief, the changes are:
  • Shading Compensation - Corrects for vignetting in images, particularly with wide angle lenses. May cause increased image noise in corrected areas. Not available in RAW or RAW+JPEG modes, or when using a teleconverter / extension tube.
  • Anti-Shock - Reduces camera shake caused by the mirror. A user-selectable time from the mirror being raised until the shutter is released can be set, from one to 30 seconds.
  • Release Priority S - Allows the shutter to be triggered in S-AF mode without the camera confirming focus lock, and while the flash is still charging.
  • Release Priority C - Similar to Release Priority S, but works in C-AF mode. When in use, predictive AF is not possible.
These are not the only changes, however. Other updates include:
  • Improved performance with SanDisk Extreme III CompactFlash cards.
  • Improved battery check indicator when using the HLD-3 Power battery holder.
The firmware also incorporates changes from Olympus' previous Evolt firmware v1.1:
  • White Balance performance better accomodates subjects containing yellow
  • Fixed problem where highlights appeared pink when the color space was set to [Adobe RGB] and [CUSTOM WB] was set to a low color temperature.
  • Battery consumption during sleep mode improved.
E300 owners can download the software from Olympus Japan's website, and should refer to the instructions on how to install the firmware update to their camera.

UPDATED 2005-03-28 18:21ET: Official press release added.

Original Source Press Release:

Olympus Announces Free Updates To EVOLT E-300 Digital SLR Firmware

New Firmware Version 1.2 Improves Already Fast Write Speed of the EVOLT with Support for Newer Compact Flash Media Cards

Melville, New York, March 28, 2005 - A key advantage of the Olympus Digital SLR System is that the performance of the cameras, lenses, and flash units can be enhanced through free user updates accessible via the Olympus image editing software and the Internet long after the products have arrived at a user's home. Olympus once again demonstrates this advantage by posting online today a free firmware update for the EVOLT E-300 Digital SLR body.

"Performance and new features for the E-System can easily be updated, adding to the user's confidence and enjoyment of these SLRs," said John Knaur, senior marketing manager at Olympus Imaging America Inc. "Updating the E-System components assures that you are utilizing the latest versions of the firmware for Olympus bodies, lenses and flash units in order to maximize performance. The ability to upgrade your equipment easily online is one of the advantages of the Olympus 100% Digital SLR system solution."

The new firmware version 1.2 will improve the already fast write speed of the EVOLT with support for newer Compact Flash media cards.

Additional user controls added to the EVOLT E-300 with the update:

  • Shading Compensation Control: This new feature replaces the original default setting for shading which was always on, with a user selectable On/Off shading compensation menu. Under some conditions a lens may render images slightly darker around the edges. This new selectable menu option assists with the even dispersion of light to the edges of a captured image, thereby fixing the problem.
  • Anti-Shock Function: For those users who enjoy shooting in extremely low light, this selectable menu option will lock the mirror into a stationary position to eliminate vibration caused by the mirror movement before the exposure. This is a very useful addition for those who would like to use their EVOLT for long exposures on a tripod, for Astro-photography, or for Microscope photography when long exposures are used and camera shake must be eliminated.
  • Focus/Shutter Release Priority Menu selection for both Single Auto Focus Mode and Continuous-AF mode: This selectable option will allow users to control the shutter so that shots can be taken without waiting for the camera to confirm focus for faster shooting. Or, when focus is the most important function, the EVOLT can be set to fire only after the focus is confirmed. The new selections can be made for both the Continuous AF and Single AF modes.
The firmware update is easily accessible through the Help menu of OLYMPUS Master software which ships with the camera or through Olympus Viewer (shipping with the E-1) or Studio 1.1 or higher (optional for both the EVOLT and E-1). To upgrade to this most current version of the EVOLT firmware simply connect the camera to a computer that is connected to the Internet via the supplied USB cable. The onscreen instructions will guide you through the process which takes only a matter of minutes.

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
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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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